Joel Kelly's Blog

Joel Kelly's updates about his latest writing, his process, and his life as a Halifax-based author and marketer.

Excerpts from my novella, Scolding the Winds

If you're not following my updates on Inkshares, you're missing out! Check out the first few pages of my new novella, Scolding the Winds, (due out this winter) here: Part One, Part Two.

As a teaser, here's the first page:

“I’m nothing but a drunk,” she thought.

“No. I’m nothing. And I’m a drunk.”

And then she fell asleep.

The wind had pushed the grill a foot or so from the wet, slatted patio wall. The rain had filled the heavy glass ashtray until it had spilled over the side. It had dripped the greyish water down onto the rusting metal bistro table.

Down onto the pine two-by-four floor.

Down onto the neighbors’ patio.

Down onto the ground and grass.

Water had come in through the slightly open window in the living room. The wind had blown it against the screen until it made its way down onto the windowsill.

Down against the wall.

Down onto the old wooden chest on the floor, painted green a year ago. It had been a child’s coffin, once. But never used. The coffin was a gift from a family friend who was a woodworker. The order for the coffin had been canceled.

Riley slept on the couch in the living room with the coffin. Her feet were tucked under the corner of a heavy wool blanket, but the rest of the blanket draped off of the brown leather couch into a pile on the dusty hardwood floor.

She enjoyed the sound of the rain against the window, against the roof and walls. It helped her sleep, and reminded her of camping with her mother and father when she was eight or nine. They camped every year on Prince Edward Island, in an old canvas tent that would leak if you touched the sides.

So she slept deeply, now, as the water seeped in, more and more.

And it rained in her dream. She was walking toward her office, early in the morning. Too early, too dark. Her auburn hair was getting much too wet. But there was nothing to do about it. She had forgotten her umbrella. Forgotten her coat. But her feet were warm, and dry.

The coffee shop she usually stopped into wasn’t there anymore, in her dream. It had never been very good. They served coffee out of those giant thermoses, some off-brand generic roast, poured half-heartedly into a white styrofoam cup. But it was on the way.

Now, though, it was replaced with something else she couldn’t see, and didn’t want to. A part of her, something deep, and hurting.

She tried to walk away, but every step brought her closer. She tried to run, but her feet wouldn’t hold the ground. She bent over, tried to pry at the sidewalk with her fingers, to propel her forward but she only went back. Back and back. Toward something like a shard she couldn’t see but feel.

She felt something pierce her back, carve slowly through her skin. She felt it slide through muscle, wedging in between her vertebrae, and sending pain to every corner of her body. The shiv moved so slowly and so deep she could almost hear it.

She listened to herself die.

And then she fell. Down to the ground. Down past the sidewalk and through it. Down into the earth.

Down and down.

She fell until her she was traveling upward again through the earth. Toward the sky, toward heaven.

Up and up.

And then she woke.


Huge "Scolding the Winds" Giveaway!

I want to make "Scolding the Winds," my most personal and passionate story to date, as successful as possible.

So, I'm doing something I've never done before, or even considered. I'm giving away books.

Not just books, but the best books I've read so far this year. My copies. With my underlines and marginalia. That's how serious I'm being!

What are the books? Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, and The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

Creativity, Inc. tells the story of Pixar's beginnings, how they built their culture and their movies, and provides invaluable advice on management, leadership, and life. And it's told by the man who started it all, the President of Pixar, Ed Catmull. It is a great book, that is a must-read for anyone who likes Pixar, movies, or business. It's for everyone, really.

The Obstacle is the Way is a modern book that takes the lessons of ancient philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and applies them to everyday life. It is a capitviating book that teaches you how history's greats and today's leaders have benefited from stoic philosophy. From Ulysses S. Grant to Bill Clinton, some of the most important figures in history have benefited from stoicism, and this book shows you how you can, too.

I devoured these books, underlining important sections, keeping notes, and comparing them to each other.

If you want them, all you have to do is:

Contribute $5 or more to my Inkshares project between now and August 6. That's it. You'll be entered to win these books.

So, please, tell your friends and contribute today! The monetary value of these books is only about $50, but I assure you, they are worth far, far more than that. And for just $5 they could be yours.

Back my book here: "Scolding the Winds"

Love you,

400 Dollars to Go

Pre-order my new book, "Scolding the Winds"

That's it. Just $400 and my book will be funded. It will be happening.

I'm getting nervous, though, I'll admit. As you can see, pre-orders have flat-lined:

We still have 29 days left to go, so I shouldn't be nervous, but here we are. So, what to do next? I need to send out another email to my contact list, as well as an update to backers. Hopefully that will encourage people to share the link with their friends.

But, most importantly, I just need to keep writing. I need to focus on getting the work in, and making this the best book I possibly can. If this crowdfunding project doesn't work out, I'll figure something else out. This book is just so important to me.

So please keep sharing the link with your friends. Here's something you can write in your Facebook post, if you want:

"My friend Joel is crowdfunding his novella about losing your family and making a new one. It's about loss, love, addiction, religion, and hope. If that sounds interesting to you, you can pre-order his book here:"

On Twitter, a post could simply be:

"My friend Joel is #crowdfunding his new novella! Please check out his @Inkshares project page:"

So, thank you all again for your support over the past few weeks. You are truly making a dream come true.

Love you,


How to crowdfund a book

Thinking about crowdfunding your book? Use this link and Inkshares will put $50 toward my book!

UPDATE!! My book is now 80% funded, by 26 backers, with over a month to go. Help keep it going here.

My new book, an ebook novella called Scolding the Winds, is now 63% funded! Can you believe it? I'm having a little trouble believing it.

I've received 20 backers, some contributing $15, some (including my mother-in-law, and my friend and colleague) contributing hundreds. It's incredible to have so much support from so many.

Here's what things are looking like right now:

As you can see, we're very much outpacing our projected targets. But my backers per day are already dropping, and things are slowing down. Plus, any extra money we raise goes toward the costs I've already put into the project, and into making the book's marketing and distribution that much better. So I'm going to keep trying to get this in front of people.

How do you crowdfund a book?

Here's what I've learned so far:

  1. Tweet, tweet, tweet. You might annoy people. But those people weren't your friends anyway. And not everyone who follows you will see every tweet, so you need to get it out there several times, every day. Plus, you don't have to ask for money, just that people share the link. They will.
  2. Email! I had an email list from marketing my last book, so I reached out to them and asked for their support. Email your friends, colleagues, contacts, and ask them to share the link with their friends.
  3. Persistence! Several days will pass without a backer. That's okay. In some cases, it just means there's lots more on the way.
  4. Update your backers. My last funding update blog post got me a few more backers. This one might, too.
  5. Have an installed base of friends/supporters. Luckily, I already have a following on Twitter, some forums, Facebook, etc. I was able to reach out to those friends and ask them to help me out. Plus, I have a popular podcast. Using your existing networks is key.
  6. Advertise! I haven't spent much, yet ($50 on New Disruptors), but I'm thinking about advertising on my favorite podcast, MBMBaM, which has proved very successful for me before. As long as you don't spend more than you raise, it's worth it.

So, those are just a few ideas about how you can crowdfund a book. Do you have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

"Scolding the Winds" Funding Progress

My Inkshares dashboard

So, we're just over two days in, and we've raised 25% of my goal ($2,180). This is exciting!

But I know we've still got a long way to go. The momentum is going to slow down, and I've already received pre-orders/funds from many of my closest friends, so now it's up to a wider circle.

But I'm excited. Very, very excited. This story is so important to me, and to have received so much support so soon is inspiring. Thank you. I'm so grateful.

If you've pre-ordered, thank you. You're helping make one of my biggest dreams come true.

If you've shared the link, thank you.

If you've retweeted or shared one of my posts on Facebook, thank you.

If you're just reading this, thank you.

Why is this story so important? Well, the main character, Riley, is someone I've had in my head for many, many years. She's my Nick Adams, or Kilgore Trout. She's my alter ego, my friend, my nemesis. She's living a life that's harder than mine, but she's surviving. She's my role model.

And her life in this story is not just my life, but the lives of so many others who've been hurt by family, by religion, by so many other things that are supposed to support you and keep you safe.

And she survives. She prevails. Somehow.

This story is important to me, but I think it will be important for others. For anyone who's gone through something similar, or fears going through it. Kids who are stuck in homes that don't understand them, with families that don't believe in them, or trust them, or want what's best for them.

Adults who feel that they don't belong, or who are struggling to make friends.

Everyone who wakes up each morning wondering if they really belong anywhere.

There are so many people out there who feel that way. I really think this story will help — will give hope.

So I'm hoping you'll continue to support me, and this book. Please share this post, and share my Inkshares link. It means the world to me, and many others.