JM Frey

thewriterjess

JM holds a Masters of Communications Culture from Ryerson and York Universities, as well as a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts from Brock University and a minor in Classical Mythology. She specializes in fanthropology: the study of media audiences and fans. She also appears in several documentaries and radio shows speaking on this topic. JM is also a professionally trained actor, voice actor, an award-winning vocalist, and a published poet and science fiction author.

RELEASE DAY – The Accidental Collection

RELEASE DAY – The Accidental Collection

Something Magical happened today!

The forth and final book in The Accidental Turn series is now out in the world!

Happy book birthday to THE ACCIDENTAL COLLECTION

Forsyth Turn had no desire to be a hero, but that’s what he became. Bevel Dom has spent his whole life telling stories, never realizing that he was part of one of the most popular ones of all time. Kintyre Turn never thought he could be more than just a wandering hero with a sword, but he has reinvented himself as a compassionate Lord and a kind father. And Lucy Piper never believed that magic, adventure, or The Tales of Kintyre Turn ever really existed; but they do, and they have helped shape her life in ways she never expected.

Here now, for the first time in one collection, are all of additional stories set in the world of The Accidental Turn series – the shorts Home, Happiness, and Health, the novellas Ghosts and Arrivals, the prequel comic Ivy, and the exclusive new novella Magic, and short Pride.

As well, you’ll find all of the nursery rhymes and songs from the series, and the sheet music for Forsyth’s lullabye to Alis, For Calling Children In From Play, composed by the extremely talented Brigit O’Regan. And, er, performed by yours truly. Head here to check out the song on YouTube.

If you don’t have your copy of “The Untold Tale”, book one of the series, yet, you can also pop over to Voracious Readers Only, sign up for their newsletter and select “Fantasy” to get one.

Also, you can read my intro from and farewell to the collection right now over on my literary agency’s blog, Fuse News.

And of course, you can pick up your copy of The Accidental Collection in eBook today! (Paperback will be available at the end of the week!)


Art by Kelley Fesmire / Anotherwellkeptsecret

I’m sad to be saying goodbye to the world of Hain, and all of the lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of creating and getting to know in the last six years. What started as a vague idea and a monologue (see Pip’s Rant in chapter 11 of The Untold Tale), became a stand-alone novel. When Reuts Publications signed the book, it was with a request for a trilogy, and somehow opening the floodgates to the rest of this world and it’s characters created not just two more books, but a half dozen more stories.

And there are easily a dozen more that could be told in this world.

But (for now) I’m satisfied. This has been a wonderful adventure, completing my first series, and getting to dig my imagination into all sorts of different pies. But this also feels like a good stopping point.
I have enjoyed writing as Forsyth and Bevel immensely, had fun with Elgar though he was absolutely the most difficult voice to nail down, and getting to tell Pip’s tale has been an absolute privilege. I wrote my Master’s Thesis on Mary Sues and fan fiction, which I presented and made publicly available in 2009. Here we are nearly a full decade later, and I feel like the end of this series is that research come full circle.

As ever, thank you for being my Readers, for peering through the Veil of the Skies with me, and for trusting me to lead you through to the ending.

And hey, if you feel the need to write fanfic, cosplay, or create fan art or vids based on this series? Go for it. And let me know where I can find it when it’s done.

I think Forsyth would find it very appropriate.

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JM FreyRELEASE DAY – The Accidental Collection
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COVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection

COVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection

The Accidental Collection, the fourth and final book of The Accidental Turn Series

Releasing July 3rd 2018!

You can preorder your copy of The Accidental Collection right here.

Once again, REUTS Publications and Publisher/Cover Designer Ashley Ruggirello has smashed this one out of the park. I specifically requested a purple cover because Pip’s magic, unlike the Viceroy’s, is violet. (The same color as a Mary Sue’s eyes!) It was also important to me to get the enchantment on this cover, because the third and final Accidental Novella – Magic  – is debuting exclusively in this collection.

Isn’t it pretty? I can’t wait to get a photo of the whole series on the shelf together.

If you haven’t had the chance to start the series, now’s the time. You can get a free copy of book #1, The Untold Tale, by signing up for the Voracious Readers Only newsletter this month and selecting “Fantasy”. You’ll also be automatically signed up for my newsletter as well.

For those of you who didn’t know, I have a past life as a musical theatre performer. Yes, I sang, danced, and acted my way across the boards in my youth. (And I still do so in community theater productions where I can, on occasion). But this means I love singing.

So when someone hooked me up with Brigit O’Regan, the famous YouTube Electric Violinist, you better believe that a song was going to come of it! In the process of building a culture and world for Forsyth Turn, I had the joy of getting to write a lullaby for book #2, The Forgotten Tale. Forsyth sings it to his daughter Alis in the opening chapters, and Brigit composed a melody that sounded exactly as if she had reached into my brain, plucked it out, and laid it gently on paper.  I also had a freaking hoot recording with Brigit – she’s bright, bold, and brilliant. And it was awesome to hear her go “yaaaaas!” every time I hit the high notes.

So without further ado, here is For Calling Children In From Play:

Lyrics:

Ah! The fields are dappled over, my love,
And the spring sings high and sweet!
Ah! The fairies flit and spin, my love,
And so it’s time for us to meet!

The sun sinks ever lower, my love,
It marks an end to play,
So come straight to my side, my love,
Now at the close of day.

Come not through murky forest, my love
Where trolls and goblins bide,
Come not oe’er standing pools, my love
Where kelpies wait and hide.

Come not through vasty deserts, my love
Where sun and djinn are cruel,
Come not through the icy wastelands, my love
Where reflections baffle fools.

Come not past cavern mouths, my love
When they issue smoke and steam,
For those are the homes of dragons, my love
Where they hoard things bright with gleam.

Heed not to the call of sirens, my love,
Nor any creature deep,
For they long to sing away children, my love,
To hold, to drown, and to keep.

Go not through the lofty halls, my love,
Made of fir, or ash, or pine,
For those are the realms of the elves, my love,
And to trespassers they are not kind.

Nor too, through the deep mountain kingdoms, my love,
Though the dwarves are a good and fair race,
They like not surprise from strangers, my love,
When they find folk out of their place.

Oh, the road goes ever onward
No end to sea and sky.
And Quests may call you forward,
But many go awry.
Just promise, heed my word, love,
Wherever that you roam:
Ensure your eyes stay on the route,
For that will bring you home.

When you come to me, my dear sweet love,
Come safe, come sure, and come true.
For adventures are all well and good, my love,
But home is now calling for you.

Come only to the parlor, my love,
Come only down the stair,
Come to the fire with me, my love
And sit with your family there.

Like the song? Want to learn it for yourself? You can download a copy of the sheet music – written, and transcribed by Brigit O’Regan – Right Here!

See you on JULY 3RD for the launch of THE ACCIDENTAL COLLECTION.

 

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JM FreyCOVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection
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Album Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”

Album Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”

I am very happy to once again have the privilege of filling my head with the glorious sounds of my Parisian friends The Legendary Converted Princess, Big Machine, and Commander Bob a.k.a. the marvelous steampunk band Victor Sierra.

Their fourth album – take that in! four albums – was released earlier this month, and it is yet another wonderful, fantastical jaunt into the realms of alterverses, distant planets, and eternal social struggles.

I’m a storyteller at heart, and what I love best about Victor Sierra’s albums is that enjoyed individually, each song has a tale to tell – a disenfranchised defector, the crashlanding of a spaceship crew on a distant planet populated with the statues of long-dead fantastical creature, the cry of a woman in this age of Fake News – but taken together, the whole album has an overarching narrative to relay.

This time the intrepid crew of their ‘punked up airship the Hydrogen Queen has travelled off world, and into realms of bizarre bazzars, aborted missions, and strange realms.

What I have always liked best about Victor Sierra is how distinctive their music sounds – not just among other industrial rock groups, but other steampunk bands as well: Vaguely atonal, always just a bit uncomfortable, deliberately off-beat in places, voices honest. There is nothing pretty, or pre-packed, or overly engineered about their sound. Victor Sierra is not a slick, shiney fabricated music with autotuned voices, poppy sounds and insipid lyrics.

They dare to sound exact as they are – raw, authentic, cobbled-together. This is Maker-Space sound. This is what the beating heart in the clockwork chest of Steampunk sounds like.

And yet, this time around, while the songs absolutely still sound like Victor Sierra, the melodies are fresh, and this album infinitely hummable. I will admit, there’s nothing I like more in a song than my ability to sing it later all by myself!

We open the album with Visitors, which is an apt title for the theme-setting song of the narrative of discovering the new and the weird.  I especially like the chugging backbeat of this song because it sounds like the train featured on the cover and sets the pace for the rest of the album – relentless, sometimes exhausted, sometimes triumphant, but all about what it means to keep going, keep going, keep going at all costs.

My favourite has to be Track Four – “Arguments & Facts”, featuring Mark Rossmore. It’s framed as a woman refusing to bend to the pressures of her society – and as a steampunk world we can imagine what sorts of issues she must face – but is also a scathing critique of modern media, fake-news sharing culture, and Google Science.

The lyrics are:

 

PAIN RUNNING ‘ROUND MY BRAIN ALL DAY
I MUST GET A GRIP ON MYSELF
THEY WANT ME TO THINK THE SAME OLD WAY
AND LEAVE MY SENSES ON THE SHELF

I’D LIKE TO FLEE THIS KINGDOM OF ENNUI
AND SPEAK WITH THE MASTER OF CLOCKS
WE’D FIGHT OVER THE THEORY
AND SPEND EVERY NIGHT ON THE DOCKS

SUSTAINING A NEVER ENDING INNER FIGHT
WHILE VERITY IS FADING AWAY
SOME PRETEND TO BE BEACONS IN THE NIGHT
STRUTTING WITH VERY LITTLE TO SAY

ARGUMENTS AND FACTS / INTELLECT VS QUACKS
BETTER USE YOUR NEURONS AND SYNAPSES TO THE MAX
ARGUMENTS AND FACTS

THEY CHOSE NEW SPINELESS KINGS TO ENTHRONE
IT’S A CORNERSTONE OF THE BOHO’S ROUTINE
I DRINK TO THE SPIRIT OF THE UNKNOWN
EVEN THOUGH THEY PUT ME IN QUARANTINE

SOMETIMES TALKING TAKES SUCH A HEAVY TOLL
SOMETIMES I’M LOSING CONTROL

My only critique is that I do wish there had been one or two ballads where the relentless pace of the chugging machine had slowed for a few minutes. But maybe that’s the point.

In this modern world, we all have our side hustle, our crazy schedules, our personal and societal battles, or ideals and convictions. And Victor Sierra gives us the soundtrack for fighting the good fight.

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I was provided a copy of The Manchurian Pass by the band for review purposes.

 

JM FreyAlbum Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”
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WORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Get My Book Onto A Screen?

WORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Get My Book Onto A Screen?

This is a question I see a lot from new writers – “Yeah, sure, I want to write a book, but everyone knows that the real money is in screen adaptations. How do I get that?”

The answer (take it from someone who has had a few close calls) is “not easily.” It can happen, but it is a very long process, with a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, and nothing that you can control until you are already a multi-billionaire who can afford to pay other people to adapt your work as a vanity project. (And even then, you still have to convince a team that your property is going to make them money for them to make it and distribute it.)

So, first things first –if you’re writing a book solely on the hope that someone will turn it into a movie/TV show, I would encourage you to consider that maybe you should be expending your energy on screenwriting instead of novel writing. If that’s where your heart lies, then follow that!

If your heart is still set on the idea of writing a novel, then I’m happy to outline the steps that a book takes from page to screen.

  • Write a novel.
    1. No, seriously.
    2. Write it. Finish it. Edit it. Polish it.
    3. People don’t license adaptation rights for unfinished works/ideas unless you are very, very famous and a proven cash cow. You wanna sell a thing? It generally has to be a FINISHED thing.
  • From the minute you write that novel, you own the copyright on the Intellectual Property (IP) of the world, characters, individual and particular details of the novel. In Canada, you don’t need to register it, but I believe you may in the USA.
  • Publish the book.
    1. You can self-publish it, or go the traditional route.
    2. The book has to be published, or filmmakers will never know it exists. Again, you need to prove that you can finish a thing, and they need the whole story to know what they’re agreeing to. Usually the whole SERIES, if there’s more than one.
  • When you publish a book with a publisher, they will not be buying your book, but paying you in royalties (and maybe advanced royalties if you’re lucky) for the right to license your IP and create a product called “a book” out of it.
    1. There will be subclauses for “a print book” and “an ebook”.
    2. There may also be subclauses for an “audiobook” if the publisher has an attached audio production house and/or is willing to shell out to get it made.
    3. Most indie publishers do not have the money to make an audiobook, and won’t take the rights for that.
      1. In this case you can either pitch it to a house or produce or pay to/make it yourself.
  • HOWEVER, publishers are not production studios and 99.99% of the time will NOT ask for further rights.
    1. Though they may include a clause saying they get to participate in negotiations for those dramatic adaptation rights for your IP.
    2. If they do ask for more rights, consult your i) agent, ii) lawyer, or iii) a friend in the biz to make sure it’s all on the up-and-up.
    3. Again, most indie/small press publishers won’t even bother including a clause regarding dramatic adaptation because they have no connections and no intention to pitch it around for you.
  • Once the book is out in the world either:
    1. An interested party will contact you/your agent (acquisitions folks read review mags and sites all the time), or
    2. The Entertainment Lawyer/Agent at your literary agency will pitch the IP to production houses, or
    3. You the author will start pitching it to production houses/creators, or
    4. You the author will decide to write the screenplay and produce the whole production out of pocket. (In which case, skip down to the celebration part of the list).
  • If A, B, or C: in the event that you get a bite, the interested party (it could be an agent, an actor, a director, a producer, a screenwriter, etc.) will enter into negotiations with you/your agent for the rights to license your IP for a screen adaptation.
  • Like the publisher, the company/individual petitioning for the right to adapt your IP for the screen will arrange to pay you for the right to do so. Generally this comes in three segments – an Option, a Greenlighting Fee, and a Back End Deal.
    1. An Option is a set amount of money that the interested party agrees to pay you annually for exclusive access to your IP and your promise that you won’t sell it out from under them while they work to amass funding/interest/cast and crew to create the adaptation. Basically, they’re paying you to have exclusive right to use your IP, when they get around to it
      1. An option is not a guarantee that the production will be made – people lose interest, funding falls through, studios change hands, screenwriters quit, etc.
      2. But it’s a way for interested parties to ensure that you don’t go wandering away with the IP while they work to contract a screenwriter, audition actors, ask for funding money, and build sets/costumes, and basically revv up to make the thing.
      3. Not every creator gets an Optioning Fee, and sometimes there’s a statute of limitations – i.e. after 10 years, if it still isn’t made and you’ve collected 10 option fees, then you get to take your toys and go elsewhere with them. This is actually good for you, because it makes the interested parties be serious and not just buy your IP to sit on it.
    2. A Greenlighting Fee is a percentage of the budget as it stands when the production is ‘greenlit’ that is gifted to you as a thank you when the production begins.
      1. Not every creator gets a Greenlighting fee, and the percentage changes.
    3. A Backend Deal is a percentage of the box office/merch profits you receive as a royalty after the production has been paid off, and the cast/crew paid out.
      1. Not every creator gets a Backend Deal, and the percentage changes.
  • Once that contract is negotiated between you and the interested party, you can make additions like asking to be the screenwriter (can be a good thing, can be a not good thing), asking to be on set, asking to be in the writing room for a series, asking for input on casting, or to be the story consultant.
    1. Be aware that the interested party can say no. If you don’t like that, then you have to decide if you want to license it to them anyway and remain hands-off, or if you’d like to cancel the deal.
    2. They may ask you to compromise – if you have no prior experience in screenwriting, which is a very different beast, they may pair you with a pro. Or if you don’t know how productions are made, what an on-set script supervisor is or a writing room is, etc. then they may pair you with a teacher-buddy. It’s not an insult. It’s just to make sure you have a support system when new stuff gets tossed at you.
    3. They may say yes. Make sure you really, really, really know what you’re agreeing to.
  • Assuming everything goes well, and you/your agent ink a deal you’re happy with, then an announcement will be made that the screen adaptation is in the works!
    1. Yay!
    2. Productions falter or get trapped in pre-production hell. This is STILL not a guarantee that it will actually happen.
    3. But you have a greater chance now!
  • The production company/ interested party will then get onto the business of sourcing funding, hiring actors, hiring a screenwritier, etc.
    1. You may or may not be consulted in this.
      1. They may really want you there, and really want your involvement.
      2. They may really have a vision of their own and don’t want your input. You need to be ready to just take your money and butt out, if it comes to that.
  • In the meantime? Write something else.
    1. Seriously.
    2. Distract yourself. Making films/TV shows takes YEARS.
    3. Other people might reach out to you interested in what else you may have to license when your first deal is announced. Make sure you have something when opportunity comes to knock!
  • Okay – so, contract signed, production in full swing, adaptation gets made! Yay! Celebration time! Enjoy the premiere!
    1. Oh god, wear comfortable heels. Red carpets are long, and you tip all over the place in stilettos cause the carpets can be squashy.
    2. There’s a photo of me falling on my face. It exists and I cannot make it unexist.
  • You still own the IP.
    1. Unless you signed it away.
    2. Read everything you sign very thoroughly.
  • Start over!

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Got a question about the craft or business of writing? Ask it here.

Read other Words for Writers blog posts here.

 

JM FreyWORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Get My Book Onto A Screen?
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