Welcome to the official author site!

A couple of months ago I mentioned receiving a black and white rough sketch of the cover for my upcoming middle grade sci-fi book, STRICKEN. Well, the actual cover came in a few weeks back. In a flurry of excitement I splashed it across Facebook and Twitter, but if you haven't seen the cover image yet, voila:

I couldn't be more thrilled about the fantastic illustration by Canadian artist Nick Craine. Thank you, Nick, for this absolute awesomeness! This is the BEST cover I've ever had right down to main character Naomi's defiant posture atop an overturned car. 

Stricken will be released by Cormorant's Dancing Cat Books imprint this fall. Here's what it's about:

Naomi doesn't expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran's Alzheimer's. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.


In Canada you can pre-order Stricken through Chapters.Indigo and Amazon.ca. The book will be released in the U.S. in spring 2018.

I'm also ever so happy to say that last week CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials published a wonderfully thoughtful review of my most recent contemporary YA, Just Like You Said It Would Be.

Just Like You Said It Would Be review by Joanie Prosek, CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 39. . . .June 16, 2017

CM give it their "highly recommend it" designation and rate the book a 3.5/4, but more than that I'm just so appreciative of all the background research the reviewer did, including quoting a blog post I wrote in 2013 on why I feel it's important to have realistic sex scenes in YA novels and not just fade to black. I couldn't be any happier!

 "...many of the voters in last year’s {U.S.} presidential election cast their ballots, animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership. To say this is not controversial: it is simply a fact...The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order."
―  Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland

Humour me, okay? Normally I look at pictures of puppies or sunsets over the ocean to cheer myself up but these work too!

My editor sent me a black and white rough sketch of the cover for my upcoming middle grade sci-fi book STRICKEN last week and I hope I'll be able to share the final cover image in not long. I'm enormously excited as this is my middle grade debut (coming out with Dancing Cat Books in the fall). And this cover, this cover is pure fantastic! It makes all the different versions of me, from ten-year-old me up to the me I am now want to pick the book up and devour it and hey, I already know what happens.

The description of Stricken is now up on Indigo and Amazon so I can at least share that much:

Naomi doesn't expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran's Alzheimer's. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one. Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found. But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

Coincidentally, my most recent YA book is also set in Dublin and has a Canadian main character too.

That's pretty much where the similarities end but now's a good time to mention that today is the last day in a two-day e-book sale for Just Like You Said It Would Be. Until the end of the day you can pick it up for $2.99 at Amazon U.S .http://amzn.to/2qWNyHf and Canada https://www.amazon.ca/Just-Like-You-Said-Would/dp/1542749468 with equivalent prices at other Amazons.

You can also pick it up for $2.99 at:

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/just-like-you-said-it-would-be

and iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/just-like-you-said-it-would-be/id1205047739?mt=11

and B & N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-like-you-said-it-would-be-c-k-kelly-martin/1125660708?ean=2940154005361

If I'm quiet around here lately (okay, yes, I know I am!) it's because I'm hard at work on a speculative YA novel but I'll be back the minute I can share my first illustrated cover.

Psst, ordinarily I'm not big on creative advice (too many generalizations) but there's such great stuff in Mike Birbiglia’s 6 Tips for Making It Small in Hollywood. Or Anywhere. (especially #5 and #6) that I'm passing on the link.

The Just Like You Said It Would Be blog tour ends today and I want to thank Xpresso Book tours and all the bloggers who took part in the event and made it such a wonderful week for me. This is a book that might have sat on my hard drive forever if I'd held out for a traditional publisher as it's anything but high concept. It's slowish at the start, realistic, on the quiet side, literary, and it's also my personal favourite of all my novels. Various agents have told me they loved it, but that they wouldn't know how to sell it, others have suggested changes that would fundamentally alter the soul of the book. It took me a long, long time to realize that what's most important to me is not whether Just Like You Said It Would Be is traditionally published or sells many copies but that I be true to it. This is an eighteen year journey I've been on and whatever happens from here on out, I'm very happy that it's out in the world.

Reviewer Lynda Dickson (of the Books Direct blog) gathered a selection of Goodreads and blog review quotes for Just Like You Said It Would Be together as part of her write-up (thank you Lynda!) and I'm going to recap some of those here, and add a few others.

Praise for Just Like You Said It Would Be

"This novel drew me in from the first page and I was not able to put it down...It was so well-written and full of different and complex characters that I found myself easily invested ...Teen and YA readers will easily identify with the uncertainty that comes with growing up, going away to college, first loves, etc. Adult readers—prepare to find yourself quickly being swept away in the nostalgia of your own experiences at the age. Whether it was joy, curiosity, anger, worry, or sadness, author C.K. Kelly Martin perfectly captures the varying emotions associated with that age."
~ Dandelions Inspired

"The powerful first chapter captured me and made me want to read more. The emotions Amira feels are so well written that it brought me right back to the moments in my life where I felt that sad, scared and lonely and missing "the guy"...The writing is just perfectly detailed and the writing when describing any level of emotion is excellent."
~ Bookshipper

"The air feels crisper, and the world more alive than in most other YA. It’s filled with sass, and zippy dialogue, and tender feelings that have to be protected, and the cavernous, shaky unknown of ... is this thing between them the best thing ever, or is it nothing at all? ...This could easily be a TV series—a good one. Richly drawn characters, sympathetic lead, a central relationship with both sharp edges and soft spots, tons of conflict, great setting..."
~ CC, Goodreads

"Amira is perhaps one of the most most deeply introspective 16 year olds that I’ve read. She has a rich internal dialogue and is also a character that is very empathetic and sympathetic. She's experienced great loss, is facing the possible demise of her parents' marriage. The summer she spends in Dublin opens her up to finding herself. Martin does an amazing job creating a character with the kind of personality open to the exploration and growth she embarks on. She’s spirited and yet contemplative and smart enough to understand the impact of the vast change she is experiencing." 
~ Once Upon A Page

"The beginning of the book is slow, and there is what feels like too much unnecessary and irrelevant information. As the book progresses, however, we see that everything is relevant. This is not just a sanitized summer romance, but a true coming-of-age story ... a touching tale of first love, growing up, and realizing that real life isn't a fairy tale."
~ Books Direct 

"You can’t see me (I hope), but right now I am holding up my e-reader and declaring: This is why I read young adult novels!...The emotions between the characters are palpable and the “sex” means something, which I have to admit has not been obvious in the other books I’ve read lately where it is a rote act and makes you want to skip pages. I didn’t skip these pages. Everything was an amazing discovery ... What made Just Like You Said It Would Be really work for me was that it felt real."
~ Sascha Darlington's Microcosm Explored

"Is there anything more potent, more intoxicating than first love?...I loved the geography of the book, especially that most of it took place in Ireland. It gave the story a magical, almost ethereal quality at times....The writing is fresh and modern, the story is incredibly relatable, and the characters are dynamic and three-dimensional."
~ Reads & Reels

"The music is almost a character itself within ...I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and found the primary setting of Dublin to be stunning. This is a contemporary book that will leave you entranced with the complex characters and the overall plot."
~ To Be Read

I'm excited to pass on details of the Blog Tour for Just Like You Said It Would Be. It's starting in only a months' time and if you want to learn more about the book, and read various bloggers' thoughts on the novel you can drop by any of the tours spots listed below.

March 27th
Ammie’s Book Obsession
2 girls who love books

March 28th
To Be Read
Drunk On Pop

March 29th
Reads & Reels
Girl vs Books
Barbara’s Book Blog

March 30th
Haddie’s Haven
Once Upon A Page
The Haathers Blog
So Many Books, So Little Time

March 31st
Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
The Avid Reader
Dandelions Inspired
Amy’s Bookish Life
Rockin’ Book Reviews

April 1st
A Writer’s Devotion
Books Direct
Romantic Fanatic
Sinfonia dos Livros
Erotic Romance Book Blog with Sandy
CBY Book Club

A thousand thanks to Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours for putting this together! The Rafflecopter giveaway in association with the blog tour will be going live when the tour starts. Good luck!

I've also created a website dedicated solely to Just Like You Said It Would Be that you can visit here:


Most years February is my least favourite month. It’s generally dreary and cold, and being that I live in Canada, by the time February rolls around it’s been cold for months already. But today my new young adult book, Just Like You Said It Would Be, releases and I have such affection for this story that it spreads over the edges of the paperback and leaks into February itself, whispering that this month can’t be all bad, that even February holds promise.

Because Just Like You Said It Would Be is essentially a coming of age tale wrapped around a love story, I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately—and which elements of love stories I particular enjoy and/or find compelling. I want to talk about a few of them here, but often it’s music that does the purest and best job of communicating what it feels like to fall in love.

* Dancing to you all night long

Below are a few songs that I personally believe faithfully translate the feeling of falling in love. Listen to the great Bill Withers hold the hell out of that final note at the end of Lovely Day (*this is believed to be the second longest note in UK chart history) and who, while falling head over heels, could argue with the Elton John lyric, “How wonderful life is while you're in the world” from Your Song? One of my perennial favourite lyrics comes from Billy Bragg’s A Lover Sings: “It's things like this that remind me of how I felt/The first time you came back for coffee. The way you took it amazed me.”

But I don’t have to stretch back in time for examples, here and now there’s Warpaint singing, “you're a new song baby, you're a new song to me” and “dancing to you all night long.”

This is what it’s like to fall in love. You didn’t realize it could be this way, and then suddenly you do. Every little thing about the person you’re in love with feels like a wondrous revelation. Their very existence seems to alter reality. The love story-lines that hit me the hardest (some examples are Tender by Belinda McKeon, Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo)—whether they centre on relationships that will last,  ones that will burn to ashes, or even ones that will never actually start in earnest—often reflect the above feelings palpably.

* Where is all this going?

When I’m reading about love, I don’t actually want the foregone conclusion of a happy ending. I want the journey to feel authentic. That way, I can celebrate and buy into in the happy ending if it materializes and feel devastated along with the character(s) if it doesn’t. Above all, like Fox Mulder, I want to believe whatever happens, and believe in the characters. One of my favourite young adult love stories is Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar and it’s not a book you would describe as a romance; it’s a book about healing, but I believed and fell for every word about Carly and Ryan. The raw honesty sparks.

* You can talk to me 

Hands down my favourite element of the original Office series was the friendship-but-could-it-be-more? pairing of Tim and Dawn. Surrounded by equal parts mayhem and drudgery, Tim and Dawn are the folks we root for. I’ve seldom seen as good an example of people who like each other as Tim and Dawn (and their American Office counterparts Jim and Pam too) on TV or at the movies. We see a lot of chemistry and conflict in potential relationships but the dynamic that I consider the best foundation for love often is short-changed or skipped altogether. Other good examples of this is the friendship that develops between Harry and Sally in When Harry Met Sally after they meet for the third time, the sweet lightness between Patrick and Richie of the Looking TV series and the messy but authentic attachment between Isabel and Smith in Let’s Get Lost by Sarra Manning.

* Across the divide

The moment an invisible divide between two people is crossed, some kind of act of (wanted obviously!) intimacy suddenly uniting them.

This can be something as simple as someone brushing the hair out of your eyes when you’ve never really even touched before, or suddenly taking your hand.

For me the two standout examples that spring to mind are 1) Robert Redford tying Barbara Streisand’s undone shoelace in The Way We Were before they ever become a couple.

2) Remember the scene in the Casino Royale remake when Bond and Vesper are attacked by terrorists in a stairwell? And much later, after Bond has returned to the card game and then his suite, to find a broken wine glass and hears his shower running? A traumatized Vesper’s sitting on the shower floor, soaked and fully clothed and eventually offering the anguished explanation that the blood on her hands won’t come off. James has sat down next to her so that now he’s being drenched by the shower too. Then he takes her hand, places her fingers in his mouth and sucks them clean.

* Alone in the Universe

David Usher has a song about this experience, and unsurprisingly it’s called Alone in the Universe

I have a scene like this in One Lonely Degree where Finn feels it with Jersy, the boy from her past, as they’re watching snow fall. Anyone who has been in love has felt this at some point, that for a certain moment in time the two of you are a universe onto itself.

We shove our shoes on and go out through the sliding door in the kitchen. The backyard has a swimming pool in it, but it’s impossible to imagine summer. The snow’s coming down so thick and soft that Jersy and I are already covered in fuzz. I fold my arms in front of me and hunch over, doing my best to hold on to my body heat. It’s quiet the way only winter can be, and I’m almost afraid to say anything, in case words ruin it.

“It’s like the inside of a snow globe,” Jersy says, smiling and hunching over next to me. I look at his breath on the air and nod.

We stand silently watching the snow fall for as long as I can stand it. The hazy orange lights from other houses seem miles away. It feels like we’re the only people on the planet, Jersy and me. It’s weird. He’s so quiet next to me, but that only makes him feel more real and near.

I sneak another look at him, for safekeeping. If I had more guts, maybe I’d do something more.


Trust me to ruin the moment for myself without even saying a word.

* This isn’t over

Because if it really matters, you'll fight for it! Like in the hallway scene of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when Joel, having had all his memories of his relationship with Clementine wiped, wants to start again.

Joel: I can't see anything that I don't like about you.
Clementine: You will, you will think of things...and I'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me.
Joel: okay.
Clementine: okay.

They both laugh in acceptance.  

Another classic example comes from The Last of the Mohicans. Daniel Day Lewis parts from Madeline Stowe with the words, “You stay alive. If they don’t kill you, they’ll take you north up to Huron lands. You submit, do you hear? You’re strong. You survive. You stay alive no matter what occurs. I will find you…no matter how long it takes, no matter how far. I will find you.”

* The moment(s) someone becomes attractive to you

Sometimes it happens all at once, like being struck by lightning. You see someone, and you don’t want to look away. Other times it’s a slow burn. A dozen things they do build upon each other to transform someone from the person you knew before into someone who gives you butterflies when they look you in the eye. Amira in Just Like You Said It Would Be explains her experience like this:

It was a surprise to see him in broad daylight. I wish I could say he wasn’t as good looking as I’d remembered and that he’d gone back to being the guy I’d barely noticed at the restaurant. But that would be a lie. Darragh’s song, and our subsequent conversation in Zoey’s backyard, seemed to have flicked a switch inside my head that I didn’t have the power to turn off.

And that's my incomplete list, post-Valentine's Day, of some of the things I like to see in a love story. It doesn't escape me that many of the things I talked about aren't from books or movies that are primarily love stories, but they might give you an idea of what Just Like You Said It Would Be is like. 

Happy February!

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