Expansive Writing with Joëlle Anthony

Sat, May 11th – 10-3pm Arts & Heritage Centre, Gabriola Island, BC

We’ll start small using writing prompts and timed writing exercises. Over the course of the day, we’ll learn how to expand what you do quickly into something longer…maybe even a start on a novel! You never can tell. This is a fiction workshop, although, if you write memoir or essay, you can probably tweak it a bit and get something useful out of it.
Beginning to Advanced writers. Teens and Adults.

$60 Pre-register: workshops@joelleanthony.com

19th Feb, 2019


Busy writing. Hope you’re doing the same if that’s what you do, or reading if that’s more your speed. And music, there’s always music. All is well. Choose joy.

12th Feb, 2019

Love is All You Need

They say that the “first” holidays and birthdays and anniversaries are the hardest after you lose a spouse. For us, Valentine’s Day was never a big deal because we pretty much said and showed our love fifty times a day, or more! Sometimes there’d be flowers or a treat or a card on the day, but often it would go by unmarked because we lived every day like that.

With that in mind, I thought I would share this video from the Celebration of Victor here on the island. I chose this song for our friends to sing because in the last few months of Victor’s life, he would tell anyone who would listen how when this song came out in the ’70s, he thought it was kind of trite and unimportant, but he’d come to realize it was one hundred percent true. I couldn’t agree more.

Tell someone you love them. Tell them ten times. Or a hundred. Don’t miss your chance.

26th Dec, 2018

Victor Anthony 1952-2018

I debated whether or not to post this here as my website is generally for my career. But then I decided I wouldn’t even have a career if not for the support of my wonderful husband, Victor Anthony. So…if you’ve come here looking for things about me as an author, just know that I’m sharing this with you because everything I’ve written over the last 16 years has been run by this amazing man and he’s as much a part of it as I am. And if you’re a friend or family who came here specifically for this, please know I love you and wish you peace and grace at this difficult time.

(photo credit: James Emler)

George “Victor” Anthony

(nee Mecyssne)

April 1952 – December 2018

Victor Anthony (nee George Victor Mecyssne) passed away at home on Gabriola Island, British Columbia on December 17th, 2018 with his wife Joëlle at his side. He married Joëlle in 2004, and thinking it would be great to have a simple last name, he changed his to hers and became Victor Anthony. Instead of simplicity, he ended up with three first names, and for the rest of his life, much to his chagrin and amusement, half the people he knew called him “Anthony” instead of Victor.

He was predeceased by his father George Mecyssne and his mother Victoria Elizabeth (Drennon) Mecyssne, and is survived by his wife Joëlle Anthony, his mother-in-law Linda, father-in-law Frank, brother-in-law Erik (Mizu), and niece Ashly. An only child, he often referred to his three best friends as his brothers, Bob Deck, Andrew Smith, and Tom Mitchell of Tennessee also survive him.

A Nashville native, he made his living around the edges of the art world starting in 1985, working as a musician, actor, and photographer, occasionally all in the same week. He appeared on national television performing his music, and toured 48 of the 50 States and Europe. In 2000, The Nashville Ballet choreographed six of Victor’s songs into a new work called Short Stories, which had its world premiere at the Tennessee Performing Arts Centre. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he could often be seen playing venues like The Blue Bird and The Radio Café with his band The Ragtops.

For more than fifteen years, he worked on and off as a musician and performer at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, Tennessee, his last role being Burl Sanders in Smoke on the Mountain. Before immigrating to Canada, Victor recorded three CDs in Nashville as Victor Mecyssne (Personal Mercury, Hush Money, and Skinnybones).

After moving to British Columbia, he recorded Mystery Loves Company featuring all new songs and several local musicians he’d come to know and love. In 2014, Victor became a Canadian citizen and at the ceremony the judge encouraged the candidates to share their home culture with their new one, which led to Victor recording Those Nashville Blues, a collection of pre-World War II songs he’d learned back in Tennessee.

Victor’s greatest wish after moving to his new country was to see it by car, to explore it, to get to know it and its people. While he never made the trip all the way across the country, in 2016, he did do a Home Routes House Concert tour with Joëlle of northern British Columbia and it was a highlight of his time here in Canada.

It is only fitting that Victor ended up living in the West as he’d had a fascination with it from early childhood. This interest eventually led him to a take a course and then volunteer at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He spent one amazing summer working at the youth camp there which changed his life forever. He was also an environmentalist and lover of the work of The Nature Conservancy of Canada and felt it was so important to protect our wild lands. In lieu of flowers, Joëlle requests donations be made either to the Allen Youth Center at the Pine Ridge Reservation http://okini.net/index.cfm or The Nature Conservancy of Canada http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/

Events to remember Victor:

Portland, Or – 5th January, 2019, The Kennedy School, 1-4pm

Nashville, TN – 13th January, 2019 – 3pm

Cloister Club House
105 Emma Neuhoff Court
Nashville, TN 37205

Gabriola Island, BC – The public is welcome to a Celebration of Victor! 3 February, 2019 Gabriola Community Hall…and as Victor would say, “Doors 1pm, downbeat 2pm.” We’re going to raise the roof.

To see Victor’s amazing photography or hear his music, please drop by his website at www.victoranthony.ca

Victor’s Instagram is still up, also, at VictorAnthony52

Victor on Youtube, including very old footage of him on Prime Time Country. Look! He has hair!

I’m adding links here for write-ups that are happening for Victor.

Celebration Of Life Planned For Musician Victor Mecyssne

Country Update – Scroll to Page 11

The Cumberland County Playhouse put up these wonderful pictures of Victor’s time there.



25th Dec, 2018

Giving and Receiving

This is the letter I wrote to the editor of the Gabriola Sounder after Victor’s death. We actually wrote it beforehand together, planning to send it when he was well, and I changed it to my point of view, but it was originally a joint project.

To the Editor:

In 2005, I came to Gabriola to meet with Steve Orsatti, the only real estate agent who would answer emails from Americans. Totally understandable! Victor was working as an actor and musician in Tennessee and he stayed home. I was supposed to look at houses and get a feel for the island’s real estate. Instead, I bought the one we’ve lived in for the last eleven years.

If there was one thing that islanders had drummed into our heads on previous visits, it was that water was a commodity and a good well was very important. After the deal was done, Victor had me on the phone and he asked how the water pressure at the house was. I answered, “Uhh…” Yes, I can admit it now, I bought a house without checking out the well or the pressure. And do you know what? Our little property has one of the best wells on the island, with plenty of drinkable and delicious water year round (knock on wood, of course). A dowser once told us there’s an underground stream running under our driveway and you only have to look at our green grass in August to see he’s right.

The other thing we didn’t know was that the Gabriola community is not only as vibrant, as generous, as life-sustaining as our well, but it is the underground stream that is still there when things are drying up. The community is there for you in ways you can’t possibly imagine before you need them; big, small and everything in between. I am so grateful to be a part of this stream here on Gabriola, and it was a lifelong dream of Victor’s to live in a place this wonderful. He told me so every day.

One always hopes to be the giver, the donor, the generous person in the community, but sometimes we are forced by circumstances to say, “Yes, please.” and “I do need some help.” and most importantly, “Thank you.” While that was hard at first, especially for Victor who only wanted to give, never to take, I am so grateful we allowed ourselves to be helped because “giving” is actually only full circle when you can receive as graciously as you give. It took Victor’s illness to teach us that.

So thank you all for making our life here so wonderful, joyous and all the things a person could want. Victor was grateful every moment he was here, and I continue to be so. I wish you all could’ve seen his face every time someone stepped up to assist us over these last few months, some of you we don’t even know. He would tear up every single time. And then he would say with all modesty and complete wonder, “But why? What have I done? I was just doing what you do.” The truth was, he really didn’t see that he’d done anything special here, because, it’s what you do when you love a place and the people in it. It’s what any loving human being would do.

Nearly every day, I would look at him and say, “How’d we get so lucky?” and he’d answer, “Just lucky, I guess.” Yes…indeed. Just lucky, I guess.

Thank you all.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Peace and Grace,

Joëlle (and Victor) Anthony

http://joelleanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/me-and-kelly.jpgAs many of you know, I took the name J. M. Kelly partly from my own name, and partly from best friend, Kelly B., who passed away suddenly seven years ago today at the age of twenty-two. She was many things to me, and if you’re interested, you can read about them here and here.

As you might imagine, it took a long time for me to have enough distance from the event of her death to be able to write about her, but I did it not too long ago, and I am very, very excited to say that I recently found out that the piece I wrote about teaching her to cook, called Sous Chef, won First Place in the Writer’s Digest 87th Annual Writing Competition! It will be published later this year in their special magazine for the award winning pieces.

So, as we remember Kelly, I just want to say that while I wouldn’t say I’ve quite lived up to her nickname for me, “Famous Author!” (which she used to yell across parking lots to embarrass me!), I am still writing, and I’m still thinking about her, and loving her, and feeling blessed to have known her every single day!

Feel free to share any blessings you’ve received, whether from a tragedy or just in general. I’m always happy to hear them!


3rd Jun, 2018

So Honoured!


Also, shortlisted for the Violet Downey Book Award!

Here’s my schedule for the Festival of Trees in Toronto May 15-16. Don’t forget, I will be listed under my pen name J. M. Kelly for all events!

Hope to see some of you there!

May 15th –

10-11am – The White Pine Award Ceremony, Concert Stage

12:30-1pm – Workshop (Get Unstuck – get those ideas moving!), Main Loft

1:10-2pm – Signing, Tent C1/D

3:30-5pm – Reception (this is not a public event, but I’ll be there, so if you are too, come say hello!)

May 16th –

10:45-11:00am – Speed of Life: Inspirations and Process, Main Round Stage

1:00PM-1:30PM – Signing, TCAF Tent K

1:30PM-2:00PM – Reading and Q&A, TCAF Tent H

BONUS! I have a limited number of Ford Mustang cookie cutters paired with “J. M. Kelly’s Mum’s famous butter cookie recipe cards” to give out to teen readers or librarians who find me and ask for one! First come, first served!


Lots of good news already this month for Suze and A MONTH OF MONDAYS. I’m so thrilled to announce:

The book is an Ontario Library Association Best Bet 2018 Read.

And today it won a VOYA Award.

And I was interviewed here by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for their newsletter.

There are three more Mondays this month, who knows what will happen?


For those of you who have stopped by to get the new Discussion Questions for A Month of Mondays, they are under the Study Guides and Articles tab or here.


I’m very excited to announce the launch of The Write Potential 

This is something I’ve been planning with the fabulous writer and story editor, Eileen Cook, for a while now and we’re thrilled to put our plan into action. If you’re a writer looking for professional mentorship, we’ve got several options to choose from. We also offer query letter edits and manuscript editing. Pop on over to the new site and see what you think!


7th Jan, 2018

2017 Books

Time for my favorite books of 2017 post. I read about 87 books during the year, some I didn’t finish, but that’s a fairly accurate number. Some I read aloud to Victor, which was fun. Sometimes I do a long list of favourites, in 2016 I simply picked one book (A Gentleman in Moscow). This year, I’m going to just list a few of the greats I read by category.

Favourite Nonfiction for Kids

Lizards in the Sky by Claire Eamer – fun, fact packed, and a great read with fabulous illustrations. Interesting for adults as well as kids.

Favourite Middle Grade – It’s a tie

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green – Shari is a friend of mine, so I was looking forward to reading this book in verse and the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking, “I’m soooo proud of her! This is amazing!” Victor loved it too.

Lemons by Melissa Savage – I hope this book gains traction as I think it’s a really amazing book. I have to admit, I stopped after about 30 pages because it seemed as if I knew where it was going. But then I kept thinking about it, so I picked it up again and it surprised me. By the time I was done, I was completely in love with it.

The YA I Loved

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I was not a fan of her earlier, extremely popular book (I’ve even forgotten the name), so I started this with some trepidation. I absolutely loved it. Really. A whole lot.

Best Adult Nonfiction

Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowell – a must-read for Canadians and Americans could get a lot out of it too. Answers to all those questions those of us who aren’t indigenous want to know, but have been afraid to ask. Entertaining, tongue in cheek humour, and incredibly accessible and informative.

Just a Really Great Read

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – A novel I devoured and then Victor blew through in two days, too. A wonderful story, beautifully written.

The Novel I wish I’d Written

Beautiful Ruins  by Jess Walter – Amazing. And inspiring. I read this once myself and once aloud to Victor in the same year. It’s that good. And it really made me up my game as far as my own writing. You will love it, no matter who you are or what you like to read.

The Most Beautiful Book I Read

Small Beneath the Sky by Lorna Crozier – I had the opportunity to do a literary event with Lorna and we got this poetic memoir to read aloud. Absolutely stunning.

Victor’s Favourite Read

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide – a novella translated from Japanese to English. He loved the library copy so much, Santa brought him his own.

My Favourite Book Released in 2017

A Month of Mondays by…ME!

Through Sunday (Dec 17) my publisher has A MONTH OF MONDAYS for 40% off (Canadian…if you buy it with US dollars, that practically makes it free…okay, not quite, but still it’s an awesome deal).



15th Nov, 2017

PNBA Shortlist

I’m extremely honoured to share that Speed of Life has been included on the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association 2018 Shortlist. Out of 420 nominated books, they chose 12 and only one Young Adult novel! To find out more about it, visit their site.

Here is a list of the nominated books:


You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
A Memoir
Sherman Alexie

American War
A Novel
Omar El Akkad

This Is How It Always Is
A Novel
Laurie Frankel

All’s Faire in Middle School
Victoria Jamieson

The Hope of Another Spring
Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness
Barbara Johns

Speed of Life
J.M. Kelly

Little Blue Chair
Madeline Kloepper, Illustrator
(words by Cary Fagan)

The Selected Short Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin
Boxed Set: The Found and the Lost; The Unreal and the Real
Ursula K. Le Guin

The Book of Mistakes
Corinna Luyken

Dead Feminists
Historic Heroines in Living Color
Chandler O’Leary and  Jessica Spring

A Novel
Emily Ruskovich

The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
Jonathan White


3rd Nov, 2017

Ontario Tour Dates

I will be touring in Ontario twice in 2018 (Jan & May), which means reduced travel fees for those of you in Ontario. Also, there’s some assistance available through the Writers Union of Canada.

Info about workshops, offerings, fees, and travel are under the Have Me Visit tab along the top. My tour dates are now available here. 

24th Oct, 2017

Writers Social

If you’re looking for info on the November Writers Social, it’s under the Events, Appearances, & Workshops tab.

I’m very honoured to be included on the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award Nominee list for 2018. Speed of Life is one of ten books, and I can’t wait to read the other nine! Congratulations to everyone on the list. I’m particularly excited about being on this list because it’s a Reader’s Choice Award. Those are pretty awesome. And in May, I’ll be going to Toronto for the Festival of Trees to meet readers!

Here’s the list.

 Writing & Whiskey

A fun evening of writing—unleash your creativity the way thousands of writers before you have—with whiskey! No writing experience necessary. Snacks will be provided to help absorb the alcohol, but please make sure you have a safe way home!*

13 October, 7pm – 9pm, Arts & Heritage Centre

Space is limited, pre-registration REQUIRED


*Don’t imbibe or are the Designated Driver, but you want to participate? The DD rate is $35 and alternate non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Please let me know when registering.

To register contact me at workshops @ joelleanthony dot com

Email me to join the mailing list to hear about future workshops & appearances!

6th Jun, 2017

Send Down the Elevator

I once heard an interview with a comic who was talking about when you reach the top, you shouldn’t forget to send the elevator down to all your friends and colleagues who you like/admire in order to help them succeed. Two writers have really gone out of their way for me in this respect. Both Eileen Cook (her latest,With Malice is out in paperback today!), and Joelle Charbonneau have been great about mentioning my books, in particular Speed of Life. In this video interview with Joelle, she talks about her new book Dividing Eden (out today), but she also sends that elevator down to me. Thank you, my friends!

Joelle Charbonneau #BookConLive

Join us for a chat with Joelle Charbonneau, author of DIVIDING EDEN, at #BookConLive!

Epic Reads 发布于 2017年6月3日

If you’re not on FB (like me!), then simply click on “not now” when the sign-in page comes up. You should be able to watch it after that.


6th Jun, 2017

How to Help an Author

I would also like to add: Request your library buy the book (if they don’t have it already). My book budget doesn’t stretch to everything I want, so I often do this. It actually helps the author even more than you buying it, because libraries often buy multiple copies!

Enter to win one of five copies of A Month of Mondays here. And while you’re there, you can get a sneak preview of the first three chapters.

Did you know I’m also a freelance editor? You can hire me to give you editorial feedback on your manuscript. I prefer to stick to the genres I’m most familiar with and enjoy reading, so if you have a manuscript that falls into any of the categories below, and are interested in getting more information about my services, please email me through the contact page. I’m about to finish up a new book of my own, and am scheduling clients for June, July, and August now.

Genres I edit: Middle Grade fiction, Contemporary YA fiction, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, Memoir, and general Fiction. As you’ll see, there’s nothing too dark here…no Horror, Thrillers, Mysteries, or Science Fiction/Fantasy. I prefer to stay away from excessive violence and bullying as well. This is not a judgement on those topics, I simply have to consider my own mental well-being and so I give those a miss. If I don’t do what you’re looking for and you would like a referral, my favourite person to recommend (for some, but not all of those genres) is the wonderful writer and editor, Eileen Cook. She’s the person I use myself!

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 Amazon.ca 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…