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.

Cover Reveal – City By Night

 

Preorder the book on Amazon | Read a preview on Wattpad | Visit the Publisher | Shelve the book on GoodReads

I don’t know why, but there seems to be this media-wide conspiracy to ensure that every vampire story set in the 20th and 21st centuries has a mystery element to it. Some are police procedurals with fangs, some have the immortal undead seeking vengeance for the innocent and wronged as detectives and vigilantes, and some focus on supernatural conflicts and personal conundrums in the vampire’s life. But make no mistake – there are a ton of vampire detective stories out there.

Off the top of my head I can think of Dracula: the Series, Forever Knight, The  Anita Blake books, The Vampire Files, Angel: The Series, Dark Shadows, Moonlight, Nightwalker, Master of Mosquiton, Michael Morbius, and Blood Ties (both television and books)And that’s without bringing up Wikipedia or Google.

So of course when I was writing my master’s thesis project on Mary Sues and self-representative characters in fanfiction, and I was asked to write a few fanfics of my own demonstrating the principal of the paper, my mind leapt back to my first fandom love – Nicholas de Brabant aka Detective Nick Knight of the Metro Toronto Police Department. I was young, impressionable, and hooked on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles when one of my cousins introduced me to the Canadian television series Forever Knight.

I tracked down every episode, recorded them onto blank VHS tapes, and watched and rewatched, and rerewatched the weekly mysteries that Detective Knight solved – both legal and supernatural – in the quest to redeem his soul as penance for the lives he’d taken as a young vampire during the Crusades. (Those VHS tapes, by the way, have since been donated to the film department of my undergrad alma mater for research material. The commercials that aired around the show are what’s important to scholars now.) Watching the DVD box set of the episodes while doing my Master’s, I saw that the show didn’t hold up as well as my nostalgia wished.  But Geriant Wyn Davies was still dreamy.

And I did notice something else –the pattern. The trope. The stereotype of the vampire who, for some reason or other, decides that it’s his duty to ‘repay society for his sins’, and chooses the path of protecting the innocent and avenging wrongs. To become the Thing That Goes Bump In The Night That Bumps Back. To be a bully bigger and badder than the regular bullies. To use their considerable powers, and memory, and experiences not to exploit, but to protect. And to brood artfully while doing so.

Why was that, I wondered.

Do we humans know that despite our bravado, we are all, in the end, still prey? Prey to one another, to random acts of god, to circumstance and terrorism, war and disease? And do we seek protection so badly that we’re willing to turn to –to have the gall to imagine – a predator willing to guard rather than eat us?

Or is there something titillating about walking that knife-edge of danger? Of knowing that at any moment, the protector could become the stalker, the murderer, the seducer?

The more I thought about it, the more I decided that this is what I had to write about for my thesis project. The trope of the wolf turned shepherd, the stereotype of the vampire detective, and the stock characters that routinely surround him. And as I was working as a production assistant on a made-for-TV film at the time, making my lead protagonist, my Mary Sue, a PA seemed like the most appropriate decision.

Thus “City By Night” was born. Originally meant to be a photo-graphic novel where I would pull the ultimate self-representative stunt and model for the Mary Sue character, the project fell through and I revamped (pun intended) the tale into a prose novella. This gave me a lot more opportunity to develop the backstories and characters, which I jumped into with glee.

Writing “City By Night” felt a lot like writing fanfic of my favourite media texts, but it also gave me one of my first opportunities to flex my own creative wings and start to find my own voice.  This was the first instance of the meta-textual storytelling I love to employ, which you’ll find more polished in my The Accidental Turn fantasy series.

And of course, it gave me lots of excuses to reread and rewatch my favourite vampires and swoon, squee, and sigh.

Though I have my theories, I don’t actually know why we love vampire detectives so much. But I’m sure as heck not complaining. And I hope that adding Richmond and Mary to the pantheon makes you swoon, squee and sigh too.

Happy reading!

JM FreyCover Reveal – City By Night
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Con-Volution 2017 Appearance Schedule

Where to find me at Con-Volution 2017!

FRIDAY 10/6/17

3:00 PM, Opening Ceremonies 

Main Stage, 60 minutes

 

6:00 PM, Guest of Honor Interview

Main Stage, 90 minutes

 

8:00 PM, Meet the Guests

Main Stage, 60 minutes

 

SATURDAY 10/7/17

11:00 AM, All Things Timelord!- with JM Frey

Social 2, 90 minutes

A casual social roundtable discussion for fans of Doctor Who.

 

7:00 PM, Poolside Lounge Party & Charity Carnival

South Courtyard, 120 minutes

 

SUNDAY 10/8/17

 

10:00 AM, GOH & Patron Brunch

Limited Access Event- in Green Room (room 508), 60 minutes

 

12:00 PM, JM Frey’s Book Release Party

Events 2, 90 minutes

 

3:00 PM, Closing Ceremonies

Main Stage, 60 minutes

JM FreyCon-Volution 2017 Appearance Schedule
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City By Night on Wattpad

I’m super pleased to announce that my satire novella THE DARK SIDE OF THE GLASS is returning to print as CITY BY NIGHT, published by Short Fuse. The Cover Reveal is on its way, but in the meantime, how would you like to read the first three chapters for free? They will be released one at a time on Wattpad this week, leading up to the October 6th publication date. And if you’ll be at Con-Volution on October 7th, join us for the release party!


This is a story about Mary, number one fan of the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, City by Night…until it becomes all too real.

An accident with the Craft Services truck sends her hurtling into the world of the show, and Mary is thrilled–who wouldn’t want to live alongside their favorite TV characters? Unfortunately, living in TV-land isn’t all that Mary thought it would be. The charm fades when Mary realizes that the extras still don’t speak, the matte paintings don’t become real, and all the infuriating flaws in the writing are just amplified when you have to try to interact with the shallow characters. And then, of course, the lead character Richmond DuNoir falls for her!

Sure, fine, he’s hot…but he’s also a bit, well, poorly written. And his admiration comes with its own set of problems: Antonio, Richmond’s psychotic stalker, has a habit of killing off the girls-of-the-week. Not only is Mary disillusioned with what she thought was a lush world until she had to try to maneuver in it, now she’s about to be murdered by one of the stupidest clichés in the history of television in a world that, pardon the pun, totally sucks.

A loving satire of the Toronto film industry, vampire-cop television, and what it really means to be a “fan” from award-winning science fiction author J.M. Frey.


READ THE FREE PREVIEW ON WATTPAD | PREORDER THE NOVELLA ON AMAZON


Chapter One : Concerning Rabbit Holes and All That

When Mary comes to, she is lying face down in the grass beside the road.

Her first conscious thought, beyond Ow ow ow, is How long have I been lying here? Followed closely by Ouch and Am I really so unimportant that nobody has helped me? and Ouch and Where am I? Followed again by Ouch as she tries to get her hands under her shoulders and push herself onto her knees.

Rain has pooled in her upturned left ear. Her toes are frozen. Everything aches. Her head throbs. Her knees and her palms burn. Her left arm and left leg are bleeding, both from jagged gashes right above the joint that look way, way grosser than anything she’s ever seen people sporting after a visit to the Effects Makeup trailer. There’s grit in the long cut, and when Mary flexes her fingers, she can feel the sickening grind of grains of dust against her muscles. It feels disgusting, the way that frogs squashed by a little boy’s shoe is disgusting, with that sort of oozing pop.

The Craft Services van that hit her is nowhere to be seen. The studio is gone, too, even though she was pretty sure she hadn’t run that far. Something warm and salty stings her left eye.

She’s on a street she doesn’t recognize, at night, with streetlamps that only mostly work. They cast an amber glow over the glistening pavement, so perfectly moody that it looks like something out of a cinematographer’s wet dream. There’s grass between the sidewalk and the road, and it’s wet from a storm that must have passed over her while she was unconscious, if her wet hair and ear are anything to go by. The air smells of…nothing.

Nothing at all. For reasons Mary can’t fathom—reasons which make her heart beat faster, her shoulders ratchet up to her ears—this unnerves her. It’s unnatural.

There’s no one on the barren street. It’s a strangely harmonious mix of residential and storefronts made out of the converted ground floors of houses, all dark and closed up for the night. There is, by some strange cosmic luck, or fate, or universal synergy, a phone booth less than a block away, on the corner. Mary hasn’t seen a phone booth in years, but she doesn’t own a cellular phone herself because she never wanted to be distracted at work. She hates her coworkers when they tap away with their thumbs, instead of paying attention to who is going in and out of the studio gate like they’re being paid to do.

It takes Mary a few minutes to get upright. She is reminded unpleasantly of the cliché about the wounded gazelle on the Serengeti: weak and tottering, but too afraid of attracting the wrong attention to bleat for help. Her head throbs again, and then a very stupid realization bubbles up to the surface of her muzzy brain: she is alone.

Totally alone.

There is no one on the street. There doesn’t even seem to be anyone in the houses. The Craft Services van driver, her boss, and her co-workers have all just abandoned her, left her for dead on the side of the road. Clearly, nobody came after her. Nobody even stopped to make sure she was alive, as far as she can tell.

That says a lot more about how they think of her than Mr. Geary’s horrible insults about her scripts. The ungrateful…jerky jerks! Mary thinks, clutching at the gash on her arm.

She has given City By Night two goddamned years of her life. She just wants the show to love her in return. Is that so very much to ask?

Apparently, it is.

Anger fuels her enough to get her over to the phone booth, helps her exchange pain for momentum. Clutching at the scarred metal frame of the door to stay upright, she stares in stupid incomprehension at the coin slot for a second. Her left hand dips unconsciously into her empty pocket, which is its own sort of special agony. She nearly cries when she realizes she has no quarters. It takes her a few more fuzzy, swimming moments to realize she can probably make emergency calls for free. Hopeful, she fumbles up the handset and dials zero. The operator—female and far too perky for Mary’s dark frame of mind—comes on and asks what she needs or where she would like to be connected. “I need help,” Mary says into the handset. She can practically hear the operator frowning, because, duh, why else would she be talking to one? “I was…I think I was hit by a car. A van. Whatever.”

“Holy sugar!” the operator says, all professionalism thrown out the window. Mary wonders if the operator calls her husband punkin. “Stay where you are, ma’am. We’re tracing the call and an ambulance is on the way.”

Mary winces; she’s too young to be called “ma’am” just yet, and it’s another dig at her self-esteem that she really does not need today. It’s pretty thoroughly dug already.

“Thanks,” she says, and lets the handset clatter out of her grip, relieved because it was pressing into her road burn. She slumps down the side of the phone booth to wait. She folds bruised elbows over bruised knees and rests her head back against the Plexiglass and tries to stay awake. She read that you’re not supposed to go to sleep if you’ve hit your head, and she thinks getting smacked in the skull with a Craft Services van counts. The cord for the phone handset isn’t long enough to reach all the way down to her ear, so she just lets it dangle, detachedly amused by the way the operator’s voice is squawking out at her. She’s pretty sure that she’s probably in shock. She’s also pretty sure that the fact that she’s in shock isn’t supposed to be funny, but she realizes belatedly that she’s giggling all the same.

Hysteria makes Mary drift for a while. She’s aware of closing her eyes, of replaying every time Crispin Okafor winked at her from the back seat of his car, the way she received the cast photo poster after the Season One wrap party, already signed with what she assumed at the time was a personal message. She thinks about how much she threw herself into the show, and how she’s never seemed to notice or care that she has been bouncing off of brick walls.

It’s a sucky thought. She stops giggling and lets herself be sad for a little while.

She might have even cried, but by then, her head is pounding and her whole body is like one stiff, hot rip. She thinks maybe the wetness on her face is tears, but it could also be rain, or blood; it’s hard to keep track, especially when the liquid feels so warm, and her skin is getting so cold.

She wonders if she should be mad for a bit, just to change things up, keep her life interesting until the ambulance arrives, but she isn’t sure whether she should be madder at the crew or herself for being so gullible. That spirals her back down into depressing aching sadness again, so she decides to stay there.

And somewhere in all of that, she thinks she sees Crispin Okafor. Crispin—the damnably beautiful lead actor who knows just the right way to smirk at a paparazzi camera, what angle he should hold his head and shoulders at—is sticking his face into the phone booth. He’s dressed in his costume; that black leather jacket that Richmond DuNoir favors (whose style Mary has copied), in the signature red silk shirt that makes his smoky dark skin take on the depth of velvet, that fake look of honest concern.

“Miss?” he asks softly. “Miss, are you all right?”

“Fuck off, Crispin,” she says back. At least she thinks she says it. It might come out just as a slur. Her mouth feels full of marbles and cotton now, and it’s getting harder and harder to do anything as simple as moistening her lips. Of course, Mary very rarely swears, so it could be that, too.

She feels like this is an appropriate time to start, though.

“Miss, I think you’re pretty badly hurt.”

“Go away,” she says, miserably. “You’re the last person I want to see right now.”

He startles visibly, dark eyes becoming dramatic white spots on his shadowed face. Overdone, she thinks. You’re trying too hard to emote. Retake.

“You know me?” he asks.

“Seriously, I said go away.”

He looks like he wants to argue with her, but cuts himself off, halted by the sudden approaching wail of sirens. The ambulance screeches to a halt beside her, washing the interior of the phone booth red and blue by turns, painting the already pale skin of her arms with deathly tints: blood-red and dead-flesh-blue and back to skin-colored before alternating again. Crispin is gone between flares, melting artistically into the darkness.

Mary’s head starts throbbing worse in the flashing light, and she is pretty sure she’s going to vomit any second now. She wishes Crispin had hung around long enough so she could do it on his goddamned shoes.

KEEP READING

JM FreyCity By Night on Wattpad
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Beyond the Trope Interview

Hey all! I did a really fun and funny interview with the folks of the Beyond the Trope podcast last month, and it is finally live! We talked about Doctor Who, The Accidental Turn series and its tropes, and a little bit about the very little voice acting I get to do.  I had an absolute blast and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Listen to the interview below:

You can also listen to it directly on the show’s website: http://traffic.libsyn.com/beyondthetrope/Episode_154_Interview_with_J._M._Frey.m4a

Or via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-the-trope-podcast/id818998823

Or via Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/beyond-the-trope?refid=stpr

JM FreyBeyond the Trope Interview
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Triptych is Back!

Back by popular demand, my award-winning debut science fiction novel Triptych is returning to Wattpad! Yay! I will be posting a chapter every Tuesday afternoon, until the book is done. I will then be rereleasing the novel as a paperback in the new year, with a brand new cover and some never-before seen in-print extras.

Read the full novel on Wattpad

About the Book:

In the near future, humankind has mastered the arts of peace, tolerance, and acceptance. At least, that’s what we claim. But then they arrive.  Aliens—the last of a dead race. Suffering culture shock of the worst kind, they must take refuge on a world they cannot understand; one which cannot comprehend the scope of their loss.

Taciturn Gwen Pierson and super-geek Basil Grey are Specialists for the Institute—an organization set up to help alien integration into our societies. They take in Kalp, a widower who escaped his dying world with nothing but his own life and the unfinished toy he was making for a child that will never be born.

But on the aliens’ world, family units come in threes, and when Kalp turns to them for comfort, they unintentionally, but happily, find themselves Kalp’s lovers.

And then, aliens—and the Specialists who have been most accepting of them—start dying, picked off by assassins. The people of Earth, it seems, are not quite as tolerant as they proclaim.

JM FreyTriptych is Back!
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