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.

sol-diorama

sol-bonehead

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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.

snackage

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 www.mimicross.com 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.

http://joelleanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/me-and-kelly.jpgWhy 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
    GR
  • 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.

sol-blog-tour

Tuesdayhttp://ayareader.blogspot.ca

http://padfootslibrary.blogspot.ca/

Wednesday https://alexabarry.com/

https://www.mostlyyalit.com/

Thursdayhttp://bookcatpin.blogspot.ca/

https://innocencewalker.wordpress.com/

Fridayhttps://fabbookreviews.com/

https://insidethepagesbookreviews.wordpress.com/

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 novaren.com.

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.

 

 

Speed Of Life ARCsTime flies, but it still seems like the release date for my new book is ages away…October 11th. However, just in case you can’t wait, I’m very excited to announce that I have two, count ’em two advanced reading copies of Speed of Life to give away – One to a Canadian resident (from Raincoast Books) and one to a US resident (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Kids)!

It’s no secret that I’m a cat lover, but my alter-ego J. M. Kelly might just be a dog lover too…at least that’s what Gimlet thinks (the hairy white one with the pink tongue below). In this photo, she’s smiling because her main-squeeze-person (aka Eileen Cook) has been reading Speed of Life to her and it stars, yes…stars…a German Shepherd called Bonehead. Gimlet loves Bonehead. She might even crush on him a little bit. She definitely recommends Speed of Life and not just to dog lovers. When I asked her for a blurb, she said, “Wooof! Wooof! Woof!” (times about a thousand) and nibbled on my calves, toes, and knees…she was that excited!

Gimlet and Eileen read SoLA few others besides Gimlet have chimed in. Kirkus says: 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 Eileen herself said: I loved this book.  I wanted to invite Crystal and Amber over to my house where I could make them a nice dinner and then help them figure out their lives while we enjoyed pie. Speed of Life grabs ahold of your heart on page one and doesn’t let go even after you’ve turned the final page. – Eileen Cook, author of WITH MALICE

So I’m thinking you should enter to win, and you’re wondering how, when & what do I get.

How? Leave a comment, receive an entry. Tweet about it, get another one (just include me @joellewrites in your tweet) , put it on Facebook get another one (you’ll have to let me know somehow as I’m not on FB). Put something about this contest on your own blog and get 10, yes 10 entries!!!

When? Between now and August 27, 2016

What Do I win? One US resident and one Canadian resident will win an advanced reader copy of Speed of Life sent to you by my publicist. I will also send you a signed postcard and maybe a few other surprises.

Here’s the jacket blurb if you haven’t seen it yet: Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.

Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.

And here’s where you can pre-order the actual book if…you know…if you want to. I always find it weird to ask people to buy my books, so I don’t. But I’ll give you the information!

Powell’s Books

IndieBound

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Books-A-Million

Chapters Indigo

iTunes

Amazon USA       Amazon Canada

 

Look! It’s my first Middle Grade novel and it’s also my first book set entirely in Canada published by a Canadian Publisher (Second Story Press)

Cover final large

Wohooo!! I also have a release date of March 7th, 2017.

Pre-orders gladly taken here (more to come soon):

Amazon USA

Amazon Canada

 

If you haven’t heard already, I’m writing YA under a new name, J. M. Kelly. I’ve now linked my other website with this one…mostly for simplicity, but also for my sanity. And if you haven’t seen the beautiful cover of my new YA, Speed of Life, here it is! It’s out on October 11th, 2016. Yay!

SoL tiny pic

 

5th Apr, 2016

Good News PLUS!

Title Page editedI’ve had so much good news in the last week, but I’ll start with the best…I’m very excited to announce that Second Story Press is going to publish my first Middle Grade Novel, A Month of Mondays. It’s tentatively scheduled for release in spring of 2017. Click on the image to see it a bit larger so you can read it. I created it as a title page for the manuscript and was feeling quite clever when I made it, but then I couldn’t figure out how to add it to my document, so you know…it doesn’t pay to think you’re too smart! Still, it’s cute, don’t you think?

In other excellent news, I have been asked back to Vancouver Public Library‘s Kids Book Camp. I was there a few years ago workshopping with the younger kids, but this August I’ll be leading workshops for teen writers. I’m pretty excited about it as it’s a lot of fun, and I get to spend a week in Vancouver with the fabulous Eileen Cook.

The last bit of excellent news isn’t really mine, but I intend to share the glory. My husband has been nominated for a Vancouver Island Music Award for his 2015 CD release Mystery Loves Company.

28th Mar, 2016

Changes & News

number 3I have three very exciting bits of news…but one you’ll have to wait for!

The first one some of you know about already, but here it is…I have a new YA coming out in October under a pen name. The reason I’m using a pen name is because I’m now writing for younger kids too, and so I want to keep my middle grade (and younger) writing separate from my writing for teens. Visit my alter-ego here, and read all about my new book!

The second bit of news is the changes that you’ll see here on this website. Because it’s going to be dedicated to middle grade books, I’ve decided to create content aimed at the parent/teacher/librarian reader. Kids should be reading books, but they don’t need to hang out on my blog. I haven’t decided exactly what this means as far as regular posts go, but time will tell.

Check back for that third bit of news…hopefully in the next few weeks!

Happy Spring everyone!

Bonus! Why not give you 4 things? Victor’s new CD Those Nashville Blues is now available for download (previously, you could only order physical copies through us). For the record, iTunes basically only pays him a pittance, so if you’re into supporting the artist, you should get the CD by emailing me.

30th Dec, 2015

Fave 15 of 2015

While I’m not really blogging anymore, I couldn’t resist making a list of my Fave 15 of 2015 reads and sharing them here. For those of you interested in what else I read, you can click here. A few notes about the list. First, there are more middle grade novels than usual because I was one of the judges this year for the prestigious Red Cedar Award, so I read a lot of them. As for the links, they’re mostly to Amazon simply because it was the easiest way to get them, and frankly, I’d rather be reading than making hotlinks.

So that said…In no particular order:

  1. Midnight Thief & Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne (yes, I know I’m cheating right off the bat with two counting as one, but they’re a duology).
  2. The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge – a fascinating look at the brain and plasticity.
  3. Under the Painted Sky* by Stacey Lee – a historical romp through the Wild West, beautifully written.
  4. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – a wonderful book about art and life.
  5. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams – if I were putting the books in order of favourites first, this probably would be my number one.
  6. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susan Nielsen – just a fantastic contemporary YA. I’m so happy this crossed my path.
  7. Loop and Twist by Karen Akins (again, a duology) – the only time travel books I’ve ever liked. And boy did I like these!
  8. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella – possibly my favourite YA of the year. I hope she writes more YA because she’s definitely got the knack (also, if you’re thinking, “Seriously? She writes chick-lit!” then get over yourself!).
  9. Winterkill by Kate Boorman – ooooh, so scary and exciting. Also, it’s written by one of my favourite people. You should buy this one (and its sequel, Dark Thaw. And the third one when it comes out)
  10. Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire – I picked this one up randomly off the library shelf and was pleasantly surprised.
  11. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – I know, I’m probably one of the last to read this fantastic book, but it was so good that I don’t mind.
  12. Rocket Blues by David Skuy – a middle grade novel about hockey? And I liked it? No, I loved it. Great book!
  13. Curve Ball by John Danakas – a younger middle grade novel published by a publisher notorious (as far as I’m concerned) for terrible sports novels, this one was a delight!
  14. Outside In by Sarah Ellis – a middle grade that felt more like a YA. It’s got a surreal feel to it making you wonder if something magical is happening or if real life can simply be magical.
  15. Zomboy by Richard Scrimger – Yes, I read a zombie book and not only that, I really liked it. Scrimger uses a zombie to explore racism in an interesting and thoughtful way. The ending’s a bit gory though, so I’m think it’s better for older middle grade kids.

Here are 3 books to watch for in 2016.

  1. The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence – I got a sneak peek and this is one you don’t want to miss. Hear me now, other reviewers will say this, but I said it first: This book is this generation’s Hatchet by Gary Paulson. An exciting tale set in the wilds of Alaska. 5 January 2016.
  2. With Malice by Eileen Cook – You all know I’m an Eileen fan, but this book is going to bring her a vast audience like she’s never seen before. Think the NPR podcast show Serial meets YA thriller. Read here the exciting story of how fast it sold! to a new publisher. 7 June 2016.
  3. Speed of Life by J. M. Kelly – no reviews yet, but a great cover. 11 October, 2016.

*Regarding Under A Painted Sky: While this book contains numerous factual errors, I still think it’s one of the best books I read this year. If you’re a stickler for that kind of thing, just try not to be so uptight and enjoy it anyway.

30th Jun, 2015

Shhh…it’s a secret!

P4271234ec1024For years almost the only thing I posted on my blog was writing-related. Then a while ago, I stopped updating regularly, and occasionally posted something of interest to me or a bit of personal news. I am guessing because of the lack of updates, and the fact my most recent book came out in 2012, I don’t have a lot of regular blog readers anymore! However, I thought, for the two or three of you still out there (Hi, Wanda & Alexa! And probably Eileen), I’d put up a little update about why it’s likely you’ll see even less new content here.

I have a secret identity. I am now writing under a pseudonym. My next young adult novel will be under this name, and as of right now, I’ve agreed to keep the connection between myself and the new name quiet. It’s not like I’m in the Author Protection Program, or anything exciting like that. It’s more like I’ve changed publishers and editors, and everyone involved would like me to have a fresh start with this next book. So for now, that’s about all I have to say about it.

I am still interested in teaching/speaking at conferences as myself (or anyone else you want to hire me to be…I am an actress, after all), so if that’s why you’re here, please be assured, I’m happy to discuss all those kinds of opportunities.

Right&Real_COMP05Oh, and one more word about The Right & the Real. The rights have been returned to me which is why you can’t find it online anymore as an e-book and only used (or possibly at one of those cut-rate book outlets). I’ll probably do an e-book of it myself at some point, but if you really wish you’d bought a copy when you had a chance, I might be able to hook you up. I still know people. Drop me a line if that’s the case.

Most importantly, I want to say thank you…thanks for reading my books, for your emails, and for your friendship. Happy reading!

RTBASC Poster

21st Mar, 2015

Round the bend…

I was just thinking that four or five people out there in the world might wonder if I ever planned to blog again. So I thought, “Why not?”

The main reason I haven’t been around is because I’ve taken 2015 off from writing new books, and I’ve switched it up a bit. Instead of a novel, I wrote a play. It’s called Round the Bend at Salt Creek and here’s the little blurby bit answer to “What’s it about?”

It’s a comedy with old-time traditional music, set in rural Tennessee in 1956, and it’s about a father and daughter singing duo and what happens when a stranger comes to visit them one afternoon. All three of them end up getting their lives turned upside down, but in a good way.

This morning, we had our first table read. Because I play one of the three parts (my husband plays the father, and the writer/actress/painter/singer Portia Boehm plays his daughter) another actor graciously read my part so I could just listen. What a great experience!

We’re doing a staged reading of the play in June as part of the series Lulu Turns Ten.

Mystery Loves Company, border, square, web

The other thing I’ve been doing is managing my husband’s music career. He has just released his first CD in 15 years. The party was last night, and was a whole lot of fun, as well as SRO.

The CD is called Mystery Loves Company and is available on CD Baby now, and on iTunes.

Chump Man Blues - Single, Victor Anthony

 

He also has a new blues single out, if you’re so inclined. At CDbaby and iTunes.

 

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