JB Kelly novelist


 A Recipe for Rhythm is a literary noir that takes place in the rave scene of the early 1990s.

Synopsis: After witnessing a murder on an underground warehouse dancefloor in the early 1990s, three friends seek justice for the victim and get stalked by dangerous drug dealers. On their quest to understand what led to the murder, they encounter an underground scene full of street hustlers, toy industry vigilantes, occult gangsters and psychedelic revolutionaries.

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Writer, Novelist, Dancer, Martial Arts Practitioner, Urban Frontier Investigator
*Selected as Lighthouse Book Project Mentee for 2020-2022*


J.B. Kelly’s roots as a writer were planted in the back of a VW van driving from California to the East Coast with only his parents and books to keep him company. Hundreds of novels and dozens of people nurtured his growth over the years until he finally decided to quit his job in marketing and pursue his passion for writing novels.


J.B. Kelly graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on the social and cognitive aspects of decision making.


Reading, writing, dancing, training martial arts (Bagua and Xingyi) , bonsai and watching vintage soccer matches.

My Literary Heroes

The giants on whose shoulders I stand

Every novel, short story and article I have read has influenced my writing in some way, but these are influences I consider inspirational literary heroes.


László Krasznahorkai


“Ever since he was young he had lived with the unshakeable conviction that music, which for him consisted of the omnipotent magic of harmony and echo, provided humanity’s only stay against the filth and squalor of the surrounding world, music being as close an approximation to perfection as could be imagined, and the stench of cheap perfume in the stuffy hall together with Frachberger’s senile croakings represented a crude violation of such transparent ideality.” – The Melancholy of Resistance

Kem Nunn


“It might also be said that life in the valley had taught them to recognize trouble when they saw it, so that when Don Pickering looked out of his front door late one afternoon in the even later autumn, the sun already beginning to smear colors across a western sky as though some child of God had been loosed among the reds, pinks, and yellows, and saw there two strangers arrayed before him, like figures come for trick or treat on the wrong day of the year, before the sun had even a chance to set, he knew that something was amiss.” – Tijuana Straits

Ivy Pochoda

Brooklyn-Los Angeles

“You think you have it all figured out—you’ve timed your commute, you’ve fit in your weekend run or you haven’t, you’ve got life down to a science, a mathematical equation of time, interest, and energy. But one day something stands up to you, surprises you in a place where you’ve determined never to be surprised. And that’s when you run. You move fast the wrong way through traffic. You think it’s working. But something deep inside, driving the rhythm of your steps, tells you that it isn’t. So you try again. You search for that tiny space hidden in you, untouched by everything that you’ve experienced or survived.” – Wonder Valley

Charles Willeford


“It is a funny thing. A man can make a promise to his God, break it five minutes later and never think about it. With an idle shrug of his shoulders, a man can break solemn promises to his mother, wife or sweetheart, and, except for a slight momentary twinge of conscience, he still won’t be bothered very much. But if a man ever breaks a promise to himself he disintegrates. His entire personality and character crumble into tiny pieces, and he is never the same man again.
I remember very well a sergeant I knew in the army. Before a group of five men he swore off smoking forever. An hour later he sheepishly lit a cigarette and broke his vow to the five of us and to himself. He was never quite the same man again, not to me, and not to himself.” – Cockfighter

Roberto Bolaño


“Even on the poorest streets people could be heard laughing. Some of these streets were completely dark, like black holes, and the laughter that came from who knows where was the only sign, the only beacon that kept residents and strangers from getting lost.” – 2666

Oakley Hall


“He had never understood what was wrong and what was right, good and bad, what he wanted and did not want; he had never been able to solve the knotted snarl of his life because of the very complexity of that snarl, because of his indecision, because of the double responsibility he felt, and when, finally he had become man enough to solve it, it was too late, and too many forces had been set in motion.” – So Many Doors

Thomas Pynchon

New York

“There is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made – at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery. ” – Gravity’s Rainbow

Raymond Chandler

Los Angeles

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.” – Farewell, My Lovely

Megan Abbott


“Where’d that world go, that world when you’re a kid, and now I can’t remember noticing anything, not the smell of the leaves or the sharp curl of dried maple on your ankles, walking? I live in cars now, and my own bedroom, the windows sealed shut, my mouth to my phone, hand slick around its neon jelly case, face closed to the world, heart closed to everything.” – Dare Me

Fuminori Nakamura


“In this life, the proper way of living is to make use of both joy and suffering. They are both merely stimuli that the world presents to us. So by blending them skillfully within you, you can use them in a completely different way. If you want to be steeped in evil, you mustn’t forget good.” – The Thief

Laura Lippman


“He turns on the radio and it’s that goddamn song that’s on the radio all the time this summer, the one about chasing waterfalls. No one chases a waterfall. You go for a swim and next thing you know, the current catches you and throws you right over.” – Sunburn

James Crumley


“Stories are like snapshots, pictures snatched out of time, with clean hard edges. But this was life, and life always begins and ends in a bloody muddle, womb to tomb, just one big mess, a can of worms left to rot in the sun.” – The Last Good Kiss

Javier Marías


‘I don’t know, it seems to me that most people in these societies of ours have seen too much violence, fictitious or real, on the screen. And that confuses them, they accept it as a lesser evil, as not being of great importance. But neither fictitious or real violence is real on screen, as a flat image, however terrible the events we’re shown. Not even on the news. “Oh, how terrible, that really happened,” we think, “but not here, not in my room.” If it were happening in our living room, what a difference that would make: feeling it, breathing it, smelling it, because there is always a smell, it always smells. The terror, the panic.’ – Your Face Tomorrow: Dance and Dream

Juan Gabriel Vásquez


“Childhood doesn’t exist for children; however, for adults childhood is that former country we lost one day and which we futilely seek to recover by inhabiting it with diffuse or nonexistent memories, which in general are nothing but shadows of other dreams.” – The Shape of the Ruins

Don DeLillo


“It is possible to be homesick for a place even when you are there.” – White Noise

Joan Didion


The Last Thing He Wanted, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays



“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – The Brothers Karamazov

Jim Thompson


“People looking for easy answers to big problems. People that blame the Jews or colored folks for all the bad things that happen to ‘em. People that can’t realize that a heck of a lot of things are bound to go wrong in a world as big as this one. And if there is any answer to why it’s that way – and there ain’t always – why, it’s probably not just one answer by itself, but thousands of answers.
But that’s the way my daddy was – like those people. They buy some books by a fella that don’t know a god-danged thing more than they do (or he wouldn’t be having to write books). And that’s supposed to set ‘em straight about everything. Or they buy themselves a bottle of pills. Or they say the whole trouble is with other folks, and the only thing to do is to get rid of ‘em. Or they claim we got to war with another country.” – Pop. 1280

Can Xue


“The poplars were a symbol. It was only the light from behind the poplars that made their silhouettes visible.” – Frontier


from the blog

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