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White-knuckle read: My Poe-themed young-adult thriller Tick Tock Terror, recently published with Orca Books, takes readers on exciting plot swings of adventure. The young protagonist accepts a crafty old con’s dare to climb a Pit-and-the-Pendulum-themed amusement ride at midnight. Too late our hero realizes he’s been made the fall guy in a theft. How to set things right and out-con the con?

Booklist: “From the first tick to the end twist, Jackson’s gripping, first-person, plot-driven novel (spanning one 24-hr period) asks readers to consider self-confidence vs. over-active ego; right vs. wrong; and when relationships must be reconsidered. A suspenseful addition to high-low collections.”

CM Magazine clocks in with a “highly recommended” review: “Tick Tock Terror would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of human interest, mystery, adventure and realistic fiction. Themes include friendship, ethical choices and decision-making. Tick Tock Terror, in addition to being an excellent class novel for individual reading or as a read-aloud for the intended audience, would be an excellent addition for personal, class, school and public libraries.”

Resource Links describes TTT as entertaining and suspenseful, noting “the exposure to a literary legend such as Poe should prove beneficial and spark important conversations.”

And hey, why not stay up to the very tick of the tock minute? Follow me @melaniejackson.

Photo credit: Aislin Jackson

And now, a white-knuckle view: In this isolation time, through the #ReadAloudCanadian initiative, CdnPublishers and @AccessCopyright are giving homebound kids and kids at heart a chance to watch and hear authors read from their books. Thanks to Orca Books has included my reading of Tick Tock Terror, Chapter 1, on their YouTube Channel. I also deal with a royally difficult student. Feel free to watch and listen––if you dare.

Many thanks to TD Canadian Book Week!

I was tickled pink, quite pinkly pink, in fact, to be a 2018 TD Canadian Book Week author. Thanks to all the volunteers, staff and schools who welcomed her so warmly to Quebec.

My 2018 mystery, Medusa’s Scream, was named a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Book for middle readers.

ByChasTreeNow, back to our regular programming…c

Getting kids to read shouldn’t be a challenge. Shouldn’t put them in a dizzying pendulum whirl of confusion. The age-old attraction of reading is all in the story. A good conflict, a puzzling problem and accessible language: Now that’s a ride young-adult readers will climb aboard. In this blog, I share my adventures and enthusiasm as a children’s/YA author in writing mysteries. Thanks for visiting–and don’t forget to glance over your shoulder now and then. A plot twist may be coming at you!Medusas Scream Mock Up

Read all my blog posts, including Breaking up isn’t that hard to do–at least, not if we’re talking paragraphs. It’s advice I share with Grade 8s at the Vancouver school where I teach a mystery unit every spring.


2 responses »

  1. Andrea Grimaud

    Hi Melanie, I hope your visit to Quebec and then dealing with the time change didn’t leave you ragged. I enjoyed your presentation last Wednesday evening at Selwyn House and following that I came home and searched for the link to that Youtube video I mentioned to you. And I’m pleased to say that I found it ..

    If for some reason the link doesn’t work, just go to Youtube and enter the words Agatha Christie’s Garden. It’s very interesting and covers not just her garden, but much of her personal life story and her writing as well. It lasts one hour and I’ve watched it a few times over the past few years.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andrea,

      Thank you so much for writing to me! I had tremendous fun at Selwyn, and enjoyed speaking with you afterward. Like you, I am a total Agatha fan. In fact in the mystery unit I teach every year here at a Vancouver high school I assign the kids to read The Case of the Perfect Maid, starring Miss Marple.

      I look forward to checking out the link you sent. In fact, I’m thinking I could show that in class to the Grade 8s!

      Sorry to be late in replying. Speaking of the course I teach, I came home after the fabulous, dream-of-a-lifetime Book Week and after a few extra days we spent in Montreal––and then had about 90 student stories to mark and comment on. But now I’m done and can resurface :).

      I hope you enjoy lots of mystery reading over the summer. The perfect time! If you haven’t read The Woman In The Window, that will provide you with some Agatha-worthy surprises.

      I hope our paths cross again! It was such a pleasure to wind up my day by chatting with you.

      With warm wishes,




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