Canada has lost a great writer this month, and while I have always enjoyed interviews with him, I will admit I haven’t worked up the guts to read his writing because in his own words, “it will tear your heart out” and I like my heart firmly in place. I know I’m missing one of the greats, and someday the time will be right for me to read him. In the meantime, in honour of both Richard Wagamese and the Cubs…it’s time for baseball! And as Mr. Wagamese said in Embers:

Every year, once spring has sprung, my world regains proper proportion because baseball is back. I love the central metaphor of the game—all of us helping each other to make it home. Funny how a game can teach us so much about life…

Thank you to my friend Susan for writing this quote out on a post-it note and getting it to me. As I do every year on opening day, I will wear my grandfather’s Cubs jacket that I inherited from him, but this year…underneath it, I will also be wearing my Cubs 2016 World Series Champion tee!

On that note, let’s play ball! Go Cubs Go!

A fun time was had by all! And if you want to win a signed copy of A Month of Mondays, my good friend the writer Alexa Barry is giving one away (Canada, US, UK) on her instagram page.

Also, if you’re in the US and you’ve tried to order it and seen the 1-2 month delivery time, I’ve been told that they’re still waiting for delivery at the distribution centres, but it shouldn’t really take that long. Alternatively, you can order from and even with shipping, the exchange rate is so much in your favour right now that you should come out okay.

19th Mar, 2017

What He Said…

7th Mar, 2017

Release Day!

Happy Book Birthday to A Month of Mondays!

As is my tradition, I’m celebrating the release of my book by posting my Thank Yous.


Thank you so much to everyone at Second Story Press. Your enthusiasm and kindness is much appreciated, as is the charming cover. Thank you to my mother who has been with me (and Suze) every step of the way. Also big helpings of thanks to Cheryl Tradewell and Mark Shaw for research assistance, and Alexa and Eileen, fellow Brouhahas. I must include Will Barry here, too (for no other reason than he’s an awesome kid and a reader). Michael Bourret – merci beaucoup! And as always, Victor Anthony…this is the first thing of mine you ever read and you believed in it way back then. You’re my shining star.


16th Feb, 2017

Yes! So true!

Nothing says I love you like a book for Valentine’s Day!

While I’m all about buying newly published books, might I suggest a Nevil Shute love story? They’re always so much more than a simple romance. Often set against the background of war, they’re exciting and romantic. Of course, you sort of have to plan ahead to find them, but maybe for next year?

Pastoral Product Details

Ruined CityProduct Details

The Far Country The Far Country

I keep hoping someone will make a movie of Ruined City because I think it could be so great!

Happy Valentine’s Day! And happy reading! What are your favourite love stories?


A Month of Mondays is an intensely readable novel. It is full of fun, bright and natural dialogue. It has a lovable underdog narrator, someone to whom many readers will relate. Highly Recommended. (CM: Canadian Review of Materials)

Just a quick reminder that my first middle grade novel, A Month of Mondays comes out one month from today! I’m very excited about this book, as I started it about…oh…twenty years ago! Seriously. See this post for details if you’re interested.

Here’s more of what reviewers are saying about it:

[Joëlle Anthony] has created an engaging narrator bound to resonate with readers. Suze is half Anglo, half Japanese, and a Canadian tween through and through. Her missteps, hesitations, and assumptions are universal, and when she faces her toughest challenges, she takes messy but brave leaps that leave her a little more mature than the day before.” – Booklist

“Suze Tamaki is a Grade 7 slacker whose wry observations about the world around her make her both loveable and relatable.” – Quill & Quire

“A solid story that explores themes of family, abandonment, and belonging.” – Kirkus Reviews

Also, my publisher is giving away a copy on Goodreads.

In other news, I’m scheduling school visits in the Victoria, BC area in early March and all points north of here in late May (as far as Fort St. John, BC), if you’re interested in having me come to your school, library, or book club, drop me a line through the contact page.

And now, back to writing!

1st Jan, 2017

What she said:

“If novelists know anything it’s that individual citizens are internally plural: they have within them the full range of behavioral possibilities. They are like complex musical scores from which certain melodies can be teased out and others ignored or suppressed, depending, at least in part, on who is doing the conducting. At this moment, all over the world—and most recently in America—the conductors standing in front of this human orchestra have only the meanest and most banal melodies in mind… But there is no place on earth where they have not been played at one time or another. Those of us who remember, too, a finer music must try now to play it, and encourage others, if we can, to sing along.”

Zadie Smith

31st Dec, 2016

One Book for 2016

Ever since I started blogging I have made a year-end shortlist of my favourite reads of the year, but this year is different. This year, I’ve chosen to highlight only one book. Why? Well, for one thing, I only read 80 books (I’ve been known to average 125) and not too many of them were really that outstanding. For another, 2016 was its own beast. The UNTHINKABLE happened which we won’t talk about here. The UNBELIEVABLE happened, which we will celebrate all the rest of our lives – the Cubs WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!! And some pretty nice things happened personally…I had a new YA come out in October and I sold my first MG (out March 7, 2017).

But the main reason I’m only featuring one book is because I love this book with a white hot passion. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to start over (and that has only ever happened to me with one other book – Pride & Prejudice). Originally, I got it from the library, but I ordered myself a copy out of my Christmas money and it arrived three days ago. I’m now reading it aloud to my husband. I also bought my mother a copy of it for Christmas and I think she’s reading it now. If you’re a writer, you can both enjoy this book and be amazed by the writing all while learning untold amounts. If you’re simply a reader, you will fall in love with the story and feel as if someone has given you a warm blanket, a cup of your favourite beverage, a French pastry and chair in front of a glowing fireplace on a snowy night.

Without further ado, may I present…




12th Nov, 2016

Globe & Mail!

It took me three books, but I finally got a national review! Thanks Globe & Mail for reviewing Speed of Life (J.M. Kelly). If you want to read the very nice review online, click here. If you want to read the book, it’s available to buy at places like Chapters, Amazon, Powell‘s and from your favourite indie bookstore!

globe-mail-reviewIf you live in Portland, OR and want a signed copy, email me through the contact page as I’ll be there in December and can probably arrange something. And if you feel like telling Powell’s they should carry it IN store, that’d be great because so far they only have it online.

Maybe you saw these pictures of my Speed of Life Diorama on my blog tour, but since then I’ve added a papier mache 1969 Mustang fastback and the dog, Bonehead. You might say that my talents fall more accurately when using Sculpy clay (Bonehead) than with papier mache, but for the record, this is a version of the car right after Crystal bought it, before she restored it and after being damaged in a hail storm. So actually, it’s pretty accurate. As long as you don’t pick it up because the wheels have been known to fall off.



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24th Oct, 2016

Bloggers are the Best!

Today I’m over at James Booth’s blog. For those of you who don’t know his blog, you should check it out. He’s been a big supporter of my work from the very beginning when he read an advanced copy of Restoring Harmony, so you can be sure I asked my publisher to send him an early copy of Speed of Life, too. He wrote a lovely review, followed by a fun interview. We discuss where my idea for the book came from, advice for writers, and most importantly…snackage!

Wondering what snackage is? This is snackage! Also known as writing fuel.


16th Oct, 2016

This Is Our Year!

This is the year that Cubs fans have been waiting for. In honour of their fabulous season so far, and with high hopes for the rest of the season, I bring you this musical interlude, performed by my husband, Victor Anthony.

14th Oct, 2016

Welcome Mimi Cross!

cross-shining-sea-21628-cv-ft-v3Today for the Friday Five, we have the lovely Mimi Cross!

  1. Is there an author or book you’d think everyone should read (besides yours, of course)?

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. 

To me, this is a perfect book. There’s not a wasted word, not one word out of place. 

I love the setting, and the characters. It’s a timeless love story, full of subtleties, that anyone but the youngest of readers can enjoy.

2. Do you think you’ll ever retire, or will you write until your dying day?

‘Til my dying day, baby. 

3. Do you crave anything when you’re writing?

Chocolate, sometimes. Company, once in a while. Writing is so solitary.

4. Have you ever done any running when no one’s chasing you?

Ha! Yes. I ran a 10K. I trained for a month first. The inspiration came from a boyfriend who’d taken up running. I was just trying to keep up with him, I think. In the long run, (heh, sorry, couldn’t resist) it didn’t work out. I’ll always think of him as the one who got away… Maybe if I’d been faster…

5. Do you dream in colour or black and white?

Color. Definitely.

Thanks Mimi! It’s always a joy to talk with you.

Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter. Grammy award–winning artist Rosanne Cash has described Cross’s writing and singing as “Fusing delicacy and power, heart and gut. Inspiring, evocative, and refreshing.” Cross received a bachelor of music from Ithaca College and an MA from New York University and is the creator of Body of Writing, a practice combining yoga and writing that boosts creativity. Her debut novel, Before Goodbye, was published by Skyscape. She resides with her young son in New Jersey.

Visit Mimi online at or follow her on Twitter @mimicross.

Thanks Mimi! And thanks for being so patient while I sat on these fantastic answers for so long (Mimi answered these way back before my husband broke his ankle in May and that took over our lives!).

13th Oct, 2016

Why J. M. Kelly?

As you’ve undoubtedly gathered, J. M. Kelly is my pen name for my new YA novel, Speed of Life. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it and so I thought I’d answer a few of them here. J. M. Kelly?

J. M. are my initials…Joelle Marie, and Kelly was a choice I made based on three cool things. The first is a bit sad, so I generally don’t tell people this part when they ask unless I know them (I know you all, right?). Kelly was the name of my best friend who died unexpectedly five years ago from a heart condition that we didn’t know about. She was in her early twenties, so to say it was a shock is a bit of an understatement. Kelly was my friend, my cooking student, and one of my biggest champions. She was an early reader for Restoring Harmony, and would often yell across parking lots or stores, “Famous Author! Oh, Famous Author!” long before my first book ever hit the shelves. It was both embarrassing and lovely. If you want to know more about her, click here. I have this picture on a mousepad next to my computer and I start almost every day by saying, “So, Kelly. Are we ready to write?” I feel like she’s always with me, so using her name seemed a pretty obvious choice.

The second reason I chose Kelly is because I wanted to take a name from my favourite books, the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Tacy’s last name is Kelly!

The third reason I think I knew about in the back of my mind, but wasn’t actually aware of until I told my mum my new pen name, but Kelly is actually a family name…my great-grandmother was a Kelly from Ireland.

Is it weird seeing J. M. Kelly on something you wrote?

Not really. For one thing, J. M. Kelly actually feels like my name. Also, I liken it to someone who has their own company. They identify with whatever they name their company, and I identify with J. M. Kelly.

Also, honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I’d use a pen name from the beginning. When I started writing, being an author was much more of a private thing. In a lot of ways, I like how it’s become more public, but a pen name gives me a bit of separation between my private world and my publishing career. I expect to use J. M. Kelly on all my future books (except the middle grade A Month of Mondays coming out next year, and other MG books I do with Second Story Press).

Oddly, the last thing is more of a comment than a question that I seem to be getting a lot…people seem very worried that I’m not going to get “credit” for my book…that no one will know that Joelle Anthony is a published author. I have to admit that at first, I was a little concerned about that too. But lately, I’ve come to the realization that only my ego needs my name on my book. And I’m really trying hard these days to ignore my ego, so this is a perfect zen experiment!


Image result for thank you clip art

As is my custom whenever I have a new book out, one day during the launch week is designated a day of thanks. Just in case you don’t have a copy of the book on hand, here is my Thank You Section from the back of the book. Also, I’d like to thank Fernanda and Tara who came on board for me after this went to press…you’re both awesome publicists and I’m lucky to have you!

T H A N K – Y O U S :
Thank you to Karen Grove, my lovely editor, for her insight,
for being my sounding board, and for her all-around fabulousness.
And to Michael Bourret for making the writer-editor
match. Merci! Your faith knows no bounds.
Thanks to Papa for teaching me about cars, instilling
in me the love for the cool ones, and most importantly, for
checking this book for errors (if there are any, we need to talk
. . . just kidding, they’re all mine).
Big hugs and lots of chocolate to my early readers: Eileen
Cook, Alexa Barry, and Iain Lawrence. Thanks also to
the best cheerleaders a writer could have: Zac Brewer, Joelle
Charbonneau, Linda Anthony, Stacey Barney, and Suzanne Selfors. And to
Karilyn McEnroe for the Spanish help.
Love to K.B. and the Berthelot family for sharing something important and personal, with special thanks to Nicole.
And even though he’ll probably never see this, thanks to
Jay Leno, for first bringing this program at McPherson College
to my attention and making me want to write about it.
Also to Joshua Hubin in the automotive restoration program
for answering my admissions questions, which apparently
changes year to year!
Husbands always seem to get thanked last, but we all
know why . . . they make writing books possible, so there’s a
lot to say. Thanks, darling, for the input, the cups of tea, and
all the egg sandwiches when I was too busy to cook for real.
You’re my shining star.

11th Oct, 2016

Cubs Win!!!!!

cubs-winI just got the BEST Book Birthday present possible! In the bottom of the ninth, in true dramatic fashion, the Chicago Cubs scored 4 runs to take the lead and then Chapman came in and struck out the side, giving the Cubs the win and eliminating the San Francisco Giants. I’ve been waiting 34 years (a paltry number compared to many Cubs fans) for something like this and I’m here to say, that being a Cubs fan has prepared me for a life in publishing in so many ways, but especially when it comes to hope and cultivating never-ending optimism. Go Cubs Go!


Kelly's birthday cakeHappy Book Birthday to Speed of Life! You’re finally out in the world and I’m so happy to see you!

However, you’re not the only new book out there. So happy birthday to all the books I could find releasing today (and the ones I missed – feel free to add them in the comments!). I borrowed this list from Reading Books Like a Boss.


  • 11 — Never Better (Dark Obsession #3) by Charlotte Stein
    Amazon: USUKCAN | GR
  • 11 — The Midnight Star (Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — You in Five Acts by Una LaMarche
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — Sugar Free (Sugar Rush #3) by Sawyer Bennett
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
    Amazon: USUKCAN | GR
  • 11 — The Mothers by Brit Bennett
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — The Fix Up by Kendall RyanStandalone — Friends to more…
    Amazon: USUKCAN | iBooks | GR
  • 11 — The Eagle (Spy Girl #2) by Jillian Dodd
    iBooks | GR
  • 11 — Harley and Rose by Carmen Jenner
  • 11 — All In (Full Tilt #2) by Emma Scott
    Amazon: USUKCAN | GR

Also, I want to make sure and give a shout out to Thug Kitchen and their new cookbook Thug Kitchen 101. I’m on their mailing list and when I saw in their newsletter that we shared a release date, I sent them an email saying “If you buy my book, I’ll buy yours!” thinking it would disappear into cyberspace. Two minutes later I got one back that said, “That’s the best F#*%)*&g email we’ve gotten all day” along with a screenshot of their order for Speed of Life. I promptly ordered their new book and it came in the mail last week. It’s a great cookbook, whether you’re vegan or not, and it’s also quite hilarious. And for those of you who might be concerned that I use the “F” word too much in Speed of Life, well, I’m positively sweet and innocent compared to those cooks over at Thug Kitchen! You have been warned!

Also, I think it’s easy for authors to forget to BUY books–we get them free from friends, publishers, agents, and we use the library, and our budgets can be tight. But on my book birthday I always buy a few. So in addition to Thug 101. I bought this new release (debut!) by my friend and fellow author, Shari Green – Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles. Can’t wait to read it!

Book Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green


11th Oct, 2016

Canadian Blog Tour

If you were here last week (or you scroll down), you’ll know I’ve been on a US Book Blog Tour, which continues through this week. And now I’m adding a Canadian leg to the journey. I get around! below are the sites I’ll be visiting this week, as well as the US ones.






US Tour

10/10/2017- The Best Books Ever– Review

10/11/2017- With Love for Books– Guest Post

10/12/2017- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review

10/13/2017- Lost in Ever After– Interview

10/14/2017- Kayl’s Krazy Obession– Review

I’m pretty excited to share with you the book trailer for Speed of Life! My wonderful friends at WideLens Thoughtful Media made it for me and I think it’s pretty swell. Especially the car! Check it out below.

Also, thanks to these other wonderful bloggers & friends who are also sharing it on their sites.

Eileen Cook

Kami at Starbound With Books

One of my favourite people is Nova Ren Suma and she very kindly answered five quick questions for me for the Friday Five post. If you’re not familiar with her, get familiar!

nova-ren-suma-waiting-for-dinnerNova Ren Suma is the author of four novels, including the #1 New York Times Best Seller The Walls Around Us, which is an Edgar Award finalist and was named the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick for Spring 2015 and a Best Book of 2015 by The Boston Globe, NPR, School Library Journal, the Chicago Public Library, The Horn Book, and Book Riot. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches in the MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and now lives in New York City. Visit her online at

What book do you love so much you wish you’d written it? TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME by Carol Rifka Brunt

Are you more the off-the-grid, stay in a treehouse kind of vacationer, or five star hotel with spa treatments available? I have no idea. I haven’t been on vacation in more than 10 years.

Do you have a quotation you love or a motto you live by? What is it? What if?

What’s your writing space like (or your dream writing space)? I dream every day of having my own room to write in.

Is your writing fueled by salt or sugar? Sugar.

Thanks for stopping by, Nova! And congratulations on all your past successes and “cheers” to all your future ones!

3rd Oct, 2016

I’m On Tour!

speed-of-life-banner-from-rockstar-blog-toursSpeed of Life comes out October 11th and so I’m on a blog tour! I’m actually on two tours, one U.S. and one Canadian (the CA one starts next week). You can find out more about the book, read reviews, interviews with me, and guest posts on writing, my process, and tips to get yourself unstuck if you’re a writer. You can also win books! So make sure you stop by these websites and I hope you have fun. I know I had fun doing them, and I really appreciate the support of the blogging community!

The Tour Hosts

Week One

10/3/2017- Curling Up With A Good Book– Interview

10/4/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

10/5/2017- Wandering Bark BooksWhy you should be reading if you want to write!

10/6/2017- Book Wish Review

10/7/2017- Reviews Coming at YAWhy I Wrote about Teen Pregnancy

Week Two

10/10/2017- The Best Books Ever– Review

10/11/2017- With Love for Books– Guest Post

10/12/2017- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review

10/13/2017- Lost in Ever After– Interview

10/14/2017- Kayl’s Krazy Obession– Review

happybirthdaycg_1024x512_culinaryWhen my publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sent out an email to its authors asking us to help commemorate the 75th birthday of Curious George, I was all over that. I wanted to do something special because he lives in a small corner of my heart. I planned to do something big…bake a Curious George cake, do a clay sculpture, or wear a yellow hat! Turns out the best I could do was remember to post this!

If I’m honest, I barely remember Curious George except in that glorious childhood way where when someone mentions him, you say, “Oh! I LOVE CURIOUS GEORGE!” But two things do stand out…one, my mother read it to us a LOT, and they were my brother’s favourite stories. I do remember bits and pieces, like the man in the yellow hat, and the spaghetti pictured here, and my brother laughing himself silly. But I’ve also realized that it’s time to read these books again! I’m off to the library to put them on hold.

Tell me, did you read CG as a child? Or did someone read the books to you? What do you remember?

IMG_2436I’m very excited to share the ARC of A MONTH OF MONDAYS with you. By share, I mean show you a photo because they only sent me one and I have to keep it under my pillow.

I’m going to briefly say something about this book and why if you’re a writer you should never give up. There is a version of this book, with the same premise, most of the same characters, and even a scene or two that I started over twenty years ago! Yes, twenty years ago! It was the second “novel” that I wrote, although I know now it wasn’t anywhere long enough to be a novel (about half what it is now) and while it had voice, it was pretty much lacking in most other things…like tension, plot, and conflict! I have set aside a great number of books, probably ten. Some I set aside, others simply didn’t sell and my agent and I agreed to let them go fallow. But for some reason, I could never let this one go. I love Suze and I love her story and I always have and I always will.

A couple of years ago I sat on the judging panel for the Red Cedar middle grade book awards and I read a LOT of books. Two of the finalists came from a Toronto publisher called Second Story Press. I was impressed! But more than that, I got the feeling they might provide a home for Suze. Over the years, she’d immigrated along with me from the US to Canada and I had re-set the book in Victoria, BC, but then I’d never done anything with it. I polished it up and eventually it became what it is today…my first middle grade novel! I feel very lucky that Suze and I have landed at Second Story and I hope to continue to write about her and her friends for them (and readers) in the future! Not sequels exactly…but I have plans! Hopefully they won’t take another twenty years to come to fruition!

30th Aug, 2016

Winners & Reviews

Congratulations to Alyssa and Sarah who are the winners of the ARC of Speed of Life! Thanks to everyone who entered.

I’m excited to share a couple of very nice reviews for Speed of Life. There’s one more good one I’ve gotten a sneak peek at, but won’t be out until next month, and hopefully a few more from the trades are imminent. In the meantime…

Kirkus says (read the whole thing here):

Crystal’s narration is emotionally gripping as she deals not only with deviating from the twins’ plan behind Amber’s back, but the possibility of achieving her goals without Amber and even Natalie in her life. Her road takes still more twists and turns when she must also confront the truth of Natalie’s conception. Crystal’s struggles with independence and identity are realistic and palpable.

Feminist readers in particular will appreciate this strong young woman who doesn’t conform to gender norms.

And from Publisher’s Weekly (read the whole thing here):

Told from Crystal’s perspective, this contemporary novel from Kelly (the author of Restoring Harmony and other books as Joëlle Anthony) is rife with internal and external conflicts as it traces a sister’s reckoning with secrets and the bonds of family. While highlighting the difficulties of being a teenage parent, Kelly shows how hard work, determination, and honesty can help make dreams come true.

Thanks for dropping by the site! And for those of you who have had a chance to read SoL, reviews on Goodreads are always helpful to the author.