Friday, 23 October 2015

Book Event

It's always nice to go to a book sale, whether the sale is of new books or of used books. I like to paw through boxes of old books or shelves of nicely-arranged paperbacks. What I hadn't known until my own books were in print was that it is also fun to attend book sales as an author.
Maybe it would be less fun if I were trying to be The Most Famous And Popular Writer Ever. But I've always known that my books appeal to some people, not to everyone. Margaret Atwood can be famous and popular -- I'm glad to be HERE in the world of books with some works of which I can be proud.

Saturday October 24th I'll be spending the afternoon at Shirley Community Hall some miles down the road from Sooke BC. It's a cheerful little hall where a used book sale is happening from noon to four pm. Next door is a picnic park and a lovely little restaurant. You can see the Hall's page on Facebook at this link.

Come by and see copies of some of my books! I'll have a tablet and a Kobo there to show more of them. There won't be a lot of copies to buy, but there will be my cards with info you can take to any bookstore. My books can also be ordered from online booksellers or directly from the publisher.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Book Reviewing

I've always liked reviewing books, or writing articles about them. It's interesting to see how similar themes can be handled by different writers, or how one writer can show both consistency and variety from one book to another. Right now writing a few book reviews is helping me settle into my new place with some quick new writing projects.

As a reader, I'm looking for many similar things in everything I read. Maybe most of us don't judge fiction by the same standards as non-fiction... but I think facts and real life don't get in the way of a good story. They certainly don't in the science fiction and fantasy books I'm reviewing right now. Any novel is improved by the careful use of real facts. The book sitting on my desk is a new edition of a “trip to Mars” novel first released in 1972. A few edits had to be made based on scientific discoveries by the Viking lander on Mars, but surprisingly few changes were necessary to the setting – and none to the narrative. A strong story can work even in a profoundly changed setting,

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Books on Noteworthy Lives

The page here on my blog labelled "Biographies" has four of my books profiled. The most recent one is from Five Rivers Publishing -- King Kwong, a biography of Canadian hockey player Larry Kwong. If you're a hockey fan, you'll find plenty of hockey history in this book to catch your interest!
Also included on the Biographies page are two books for a series from Greenwood Publishing. All of the titles in this series are telling about the lives of celebrities and famous people. The two I've written are on Lady Gaga and Lance Armstrong. One book on each of 'em, I mean. I don't think there's even a rumour linking these two famous people, and it would be hard to write TWO books about a rumour.
The fourth book is for a series from Rosen Publishing, and it profiles author Will Hobbs. If you're looking for YA fiction, this is a name to find in your bookstore or public library. His heroes are virtuous, and in his adventures there is plenty of excitement with very little violence.
It's interesting to be writing biographies. Recently I finished one on Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and I'm working on another about Charles Tupper, both for a series on Canadian Prime Ministers. It's not only famous lives that are noteworthy, though. When I teach writing workshops there are so many people working on a story or a book about the lives of their parents, or grandparents, or other relatives or themselves. Ordinary lives are worth living, and they're certainly worth reading about.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

King Kwong reviewed in Vancouver Sun

Good news! My biography of Larry Kwong, King Kwong, was reviewed in the Vancouver Sun today by Stephen Hume! As he says in his August 5 column:

B.C. writer and self-described lifelong hockey fan Paula Johanson reminds us of the ephemeral nature of sports history in King Kwong, her marvellous little biography of the whirlwind on skates who blew out of the dusty interior 75 years ago.

Hume gives a little context for Larry Kwong's sports career, and adds:
...Just as many Canadian kids before and since, Larry discovered the pleasures of playing shinny with a frozen horse apple. One of the most charming hockey photos of the many Johanson unearthed for her book is one of Larry, his sister Betty and a couple of neighbour kids playing shinny outside the Vernon family store.
Like many another hockey kid, he wheedled skates out of his mom with a promise that when he was a real hockey player, he’d buy her a house.
It's important to note that most of the photos which Stephen Hume calls charming were "unearthed" by Chad Soon, many of which came from the private photo albums of Larry Kwong. That particular charming hockey photo was contributed by Larry Kwong's grown daughter from her own family album.

Hume goes on to say:
On March 13, 1948, he was called up by the Rangers for a game against Montreal Canadiens. They only played him for one shift — less than a minute — but the China Clipper had ended the era of whites-only hockey in the NHL.
Johanson’s book with Five Rivers Publishing is aimed at young adults but I doubt there’s a hockey fan who will be put off any more than Larry Kwong was by his nickname as he dashed up the ice to score the winning goal for the Smoke Eaters in that long-forgotten B.C. Championship of 1946.

You can read Stephen Hume's entire column here at this link.There's a bio note and a listing of some of his books on a page of Harbour Publishing's website.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Healthy books

I've been adding to this website some listings for my books on Health. It's always a pleasure to be assigned one of these books to write. While writing, I try to hold in my mind the needs of the readers, so it might be a book that someone would be interested to read.
Click here to go to my blog's page on my books on topics of Health.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Books on Science

I've just been updating my blog's page for my books on science. Most of these books are for a series from Rosen Publishing, called Understanding the Elements of the Periodic Table. I really liked the approach to the topic of chemistry for this series. We authors were encouraged to find interesting facts to place in each book, often as sidebars set aside from the main text. Some of these facts are about the element itself, others are about the history of chemistry and the uses people have for various elements.
These sidebar facts are great ways to introduce my science books. Who knew that Copper had many uses among the First Nations of North America, including shields? Why was a 16th-century scientist burned as a witch for studying Cobalt ore? What does a Peruvian lake full of Lithium salts have to do with nuclear weapons? How could a Jewish refugee flee Nazi Germany with a piece of platinum stashed in his little homemade crate? It was fun to think of hard science facts in terms of the actions and choices that people were making through history.
The origins of the modern science of chemistry include the studies of the alchemists looking for the Philosopher's Stone. I like the idea that people can be trying very carefully and methodically to understand the world around us, and change their focus from a goal of perfection or worldly gain to centre instead on the methodical study itself.
Look here for my books on science!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Books on Sustainability

I've updated this blog's page on Sustainability, to show all of my books on this topic. It's been a pleasure to write for the series Green Matters, In The News, Green Careers, Make Money Now, and The Truth About The Food Supply. The publisher of these books, Rosen Publishing, has several books in each of these series as well as my own titles. Look here for my books on green careers and sustainable issues.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Essay on Writing Horror

It's a good day to share info on an essay I wrote for an anthology of essays on writing about horror. The entire collection is a cracking good read for people who are learning to write dark fiction. It would make a good textbook to use during a writing course.
"What Scares You?" is my essay in

Telling Tales of Terror: Essays on Writing Horror & Dark Fiction
by multiple authors
Damnation Books
eBook ISBN: 9781615727209
Print ISBN: 9781615727216
Includes an introduction by Bram Stoker Award nominated, James Dorr. Essays on writing horror and dark fiction by authors Kim Richards, Paula Johanson, Bob Nailor, Ivy Reisner, Mitchel Whitington, Carol Hightshoe, Cinsearae Santiago, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Kathryn Meyer Griffith, Lisa Morton, Sephera Giron, and Jason Gehlert. Includes advice from current publishers.
 - click here for a link to the publisher
 - click here for the publisher's link to Amazon, where this book can be ordered

In the first essay, relating her own experience on a horror panel, Paula Johanson asks us "What Scares You?" How can we find out the things we fear most and transmit that fear to the people who read us?

In this book thirteen authors (well, the last chapter is actually by a collective of eight of the publishers who buy our stories) attempt to find out what makes horror work—and how you, as a writer, might take up the torch and pass on the legends, the true stories with them.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Launch on Saturday June 27

Just a reminder that for people in and around Victoria, you are all invited to attend the book launch for three authors on Saturday June 27 at 3pm in Britannia Branch of the RC Legion at 780 Summit Ave. There's parking and good bus access. See you there!

-Dave Duncan will be launching his 50th fantasy novel, The Eye of Strife. If you are one of the many fans of his Omar books or his Apprentice series, you'll appreciate the review at this link.
As well, Dave is announcing the release of the omnibus edition of his historical fantasy trilogy The Adventures of Ivor, which you can read about at this link.

-Nowick Gray will be launching his mystery novel set in 1960s Ungava in Canada' North, Hunter's Daughter. He was interviewed here in a podcast:
The novel has already had an excellent review:

-Paula Johanson will be launching her 30th nonfiction book, King Kwong: Larry Kwong, the China Clipper who broke the NHL colour barrier. The publisher has a cheery article about this book on their website.
As well, Paula is launching the new edition of her fantasy novel Tower in the Crooked Wood, a newly-expanded edition from Five Rivers Publishing. There's another cheery article at this link.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Facebook group of Larry Kwong fans

For anyone interested in Canadian hockey player Larry Kwong, there's a Facebook group for the Larry Kwong Appreciation Society. Look here for some photos and discussion of this interesting man! Some of the members were very helpful when I was writing the book King Kwong.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Book Launch Saturday June 27 3pm

Dave Duncan and Nowick Gray and Paula Johanson are doing a Book Launch of our new books just released from Five Rivers Publishing. These books are The Eye of Strife, Hunter's Daughter, and King Kwong -- one fantasy, one mystery, and a bio, for an eclectic mix.

Join us on Saturday June 27 at 3pm. We'll be in Victoria BC, at the Royal Canadian Legion's Britannia Branch at 780 Summit Avenue (corner of Summit and Nanaimo near Mayfair Mall). There's good access by bus, and plenty of parking.

Come celebrate three books at once. No, five, and all from Five Rivers! In addition to Dave's 50th novel The Eye of Strife, he will in June see the release of the omnibus edition of his three novels of Ivor the Runner. And the new edition of my novel Tower in the Crooked Wood will also be released in June. All five of these books are from the Canadian publisher Five Rivers which is based in Neustadt, Ontario.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Now available -- Tower in the Crooked Wood

Tower in the Crooked Wood
Five Rivers Publishing
ISBN 9781927400913 $12.99

eISBN 9781927400920 $4.99
available as a paperback or an e-book 
-click here for a link to Kobo, where new customers are offered a $5 credit-
-click here for a link to Amazon-

They were stolen in the dark to work for a night and a day, building a tower for the wizard Krummholz on faraway Copper Island, in a place where the trees grow twisted in a poisoned bog. Some of the unwilling workers were returned bewildered, bruised and marked by whips — others died as the uncaring wizard called new workers to his tower. Now Jenia is the only one left of her family willing to leave her orchards and walk five hundred miles in search of her abductor, and the answers to questions burning inside her.
Why was she stolen out of the dark? What is wrong at the heart of the tower? And why does the magic twisting the very trees strike a strangely familiar note? All Jenia knows for sure is that she will not let herself be made a prisoner again, not by magic nor by force of arms. When a soldier tries to trap her in a lord's garden, and a village of gentle people tell her to give up her hopeless quest, Jenia has to choose where to place her trust: in friends, in strength, or in the cunning in her own two hands.
And then the wizard Krummholz sends his call out again….
Review of Tower
A wealth of realistic detail lends authenticity to this engrossing tale of a young arborist, “a scholar of trees.” Paula Johanson has created a magical alternative world both mythic in feel, and hauntingly evocative of our own.
— Eileen Kernaghan, author of The Snow Queen

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

New edition of Tower in the Crooked Wood -- released today!

Just a quick note to be enthusiastic about today's release of the new edition of my novel Tower in the Crooked Wood, from Five Rivers Publishing. You can read about it here!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Review of Tower in the Crooked Wood

It was so good on May 25 to see Ursula Pflug posting on Facebook a link to her review of the first edition of Tower in the Crooked Wood back in 2009 for the Peterborough Examiner. That review is excerpted below. The new edition of Tower in the Crooked Wood is due for release from Five Rivers Publishing in early June 2015!      

Tower in the Crooked Wood is a female lead tale set, as are so many fantasy novels, in a vaguely medieval forested land. High Fantasy has changed in the decades since the publication of Tolkien's LOTR trilogy; contemporary readers want to know more about the lives of ordinary folk: what they eat, what they wear, how they raise their children and make a living.
Johanson is brilliant at this kind of local colour. For example, in her travels Jenia relies on her training as an arborist to rehabilitate a martial lord's neglected orchard and later to recognize the dark magic afoot in the crooked wood. The trees within are not what trees should be, and because of it Jenia recognizes that she is close to her goal.
As in all the best quest novels, Jenia learns about herself, about others, and about her place in the world. Just like in real life, work, friendship and storytelling are important parts of Johanson's beautifully built world. The author is an avid kayaker and her love and knowledge of the outdoors imbues her narrative with a rich verisimilitude. As well, the reader will remember spunky, sympathetically drawn Jenia for a long time.

Ursula Pflug is author of the novel Green Music and the story collection After The Fires. Visit her on the web at:

Sunday, 24 May 2015

King Kwong

My thirtieth book is now available in in print and as an e-book from Five Rivers Publishing. It's a very Canadian story -- the biography of a Canadian hockey player who was an international star in several leagues. The cover art shows a photo of Larry Kwong when he was playing for a team in Nanaimo, BC.

King Kwong: Larry Kwong, the China Clipper who broke the NHL colour barrier
Five Rivers Publishing 2015
ISBN: 9781927400753 $11.99
eISBN: 9781927400760 $4.99
Available as a paperback and an e-book
Includes: black & white photographs, Timeline, References.
 -click here for a link to the publisher's website, where this book can be ordered-

or, click here for a link to Kobo, with a $5 credit for new customers
or, a link to Amazon

Chad Soon, Director of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame, says of the biography:
Author Paula Johanson brings justice to Kwong’s extraordinary life.  All the elements of classic fiction are here, and yet this is riveting history. We follow the ultimate long shot as he chases the 'impossible'…and triggers a shift in his society.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Creating Page Content!

Hello, I'm Paula Johanson, the author of several books that I'm promoting here on my website.

As first posts go, this is a pretty basic one. You can see at the top of the page that the site has pages for differing categories of my books, such as Biographies, Science, Health, Sustainability, Literature, and Fiction. I've been writing posts for these categories, but it's taking a while to get them all placed. Please check back, as during the summer of 2015 I have several new projects being released!

The publishers of my books are listed here. As well as my books, they have other good titles that might interest you. Most of these publishers release books in multiple formats that can improve accessibility.
Rosen Publishing - here are links to my titles with them in print format, or e-books.
Enslow Publishing
ABC-Clio / Greenwood Publishing
Five Rivers Publishing
Okal Rel / Reality Skimming Press
Tesseract Books