Anime North Schedule

Anime North: Canada’s premier fan run Anime convention!

Anime North is an anime convention located in Toronto, Canada that celebrates anime, manga, music, games and all other forms of Japanese Culture!

This year, Anime North will be the weekend of May 25 – 27, 2012 at the Toronto Congress Centre and Doubletree International Plaza Hotel. Stay tuned for further updates as we start to ramp up for this year’s convention. We look forward to seeing you all there!

I’ll be appearing as a guest at Anime North on SATURDAY MAY 26th ONLY. My schedule is here:

Writing Young Adult – Saturday at 1200 in Hamilton (DoubleTree)
World-building! – Saturday at 1300 in Windsor (DoubleTree)
Writing Strong Women – Saturday at 1600 in Windsor (DoubleTree)
AUTOGRAPHS – Saturday 1400 in the Dealer’s Room at the Author Autograph table.

Copies of my novel of Triptych will be for sale at the convention. Special advanced copies of The Dark Side of the Glass will also be available for sale!

JM FreyAnime North Schedule
Read more


At FutureCon last January, I bid on and won a Heroizing in a charity auction.  HEROized is a company that will create a superhero out of you. Read more about it here.

I had an absolutely positive and wonderful experience with the team from HEROized, and I am pleased to introduce my super hero secret identity!


Origin Story:

On a seemingly normal, snowy night in Toronto, J.M Frey was taking a break from her writing to watch her favorite television program. She sat curled on her couch with a cuppa and the remote control, playing with the ends of her thick scarf, her eyes tuned into the T.V. Just as the blue police box faded into view, there was a loud knock on her front door.


With a grumble, J.M. moved to the door to answer the obnoxious knocking. She swung the door open to reveal her ill-timed guest, but was greeted only with the chill of the night. Not a soul was in sight, only a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with string sat on her welcome mat.


Curious, J.M. picked up the box and brought it inside. Printed clearly on the front was her name and address but no postage markings whatsoever.


J.M. pushed her unfinished manuscripts and hand written notes aside on her desk and placed the box in the cleared space. Carefully she opened it, lifting the lid as if something might jump out and bite her.

A faint glittering light seeped from the box and J.M. peered deeper inside. The light was coming from the pages of a worn, leather bound journal.

Instinctively, J.M. knew what she had in her possession. It was as if she had lived this moment before, perhaps in a dream or maybe in another life. She took the journal from the box and opened it. On the inside cover, written in her own handwriting was the name, The Quill. She picked up a pen and began writing.


Things started to change instantly. Her house was suddenly spotless as if she had been cleaning all day. Three plane tickets appeared on her desk, their destination the final three continents she longed to step foot on. The Doctor was lounging on her couch. Every idea she wrote became reality.


J.M. knew with ever fibre of her being that she had the power to change the world with a stroke of her pen. She had done it before and it was time for her to work her magic once again.


Using these new-found gifts J.M. created the new identity of The Quill. With no limits to what she could create, she created a space travelling star ship able to travel to any time or dimension. Inspired by steampunk technology she has built an arsenal of Victorian themed high-tech gadgets. Wherever she goes she experiences strange new worlds and exciting adventures, using her gifts to help those in need. And always making it home in time to catch her favorite sci-fi TV show and a nice cup of tea.


JM FreyHEROIZED: The Quill
Read more

The Steampunk TARDIS Gown

Now that the Women of Valour Calendar is officially out and on sale, I thought I would show off my latest Cosplay.

Model: J.M. Frey
Costume (The TARDIS Gown): designed by J.M. Frey; built byAshley Katryna and Kenneth Shelley
Parasol: Hand Dyed to match the costume by Bedford Falls Headware
Wig Styling and Makeup: J.M. Frey
Jewellery: J.M. Frey and Red Moon Glassware


Wow! Big thanks to Neat-O-Rama, Mental Floss, and the Official Doctor Who Tumblr for featuring this dress! There are now a bunch more photoshoots over here on my Tumblr and in the galleries below. Enjoy!

Photos by Elemental Photography

Photos by Vlade Shestakov (taken on an actual antique camera with silver plates)

by Valde Shestekov

Photos from FutureCon I

Inspiration Detailing

Photos by K. Meyers (For the Women of Valour Calendar)

About the Costume

This costume is, of course, meant to be the TARDIS. The TARDIS is the Doctor’s time-and-space ship, from Doctor Who.

I commissioned the costume in April of 2011 from Kenneth Shelley of Strange Days Costuming. The embroidery and pattern work was done by Ashley Kung, whom I would reccomend highly. Usually I do the sewing and designing myself, but this time I knew that my ability with a needle would not match up to the ambition of my design, and so went to some of the area’s Master Level Cosplayers.

This dress debuted officially at FutureCon 2011-2012, and was featured in the organization’s charity calendar. (Unfortunately, the 2011-2012 calendar is now sold out).

I thought up the design in 2010 and played with it for several months, looking at historical patterns and fabric samples frequently before deciding to comission the gown in the spring of 2011.

I was a little dismayed when Neil Gaiman’s episode “The Doctor’s Wife” aired in late 2011, featuring Idris (a woman whose body the TARDIS takes over), but decided that the patterns I had chosen and the Idris costume were different enough from my concept to continue to have my gown made. Besides, I’m the TARDIS, not Idris.

Though, inevitably the comparisons to “Sexy” were made, and I can’t say that I mind them. I’ve come to think of this costume as what Idris/Sexy might have worn if she had become a reoccurring character. (I was also very pleased when Mr. Gaiman commented on the dress via Twitter.)

I chose an Edwardian-ish/Victorian-ish look (there is a full pillow bustle and all the underpinnings) because the Doctor often looks like a bit of an Edwardian Dandy, and I figured the costume would go well with any Doctors I met at conventions.

Choosing the colour for the wig was, actually, the most difficult part! In the end I chose this shade of copper because it is similar to the interior of the TARDIS.I styled the wig, and made all the accessories myself, save the hat. For this event, and borrowed the light on my hat from The Doctor Who Society of Canada’s room party decor for the night! I am also wearing yellow contact lenses, to evoke the Heart of the TARDIS. The throat-broach has a standard yale key, like the one that the Doctor gave Martha and Jack Harkness, and the belt is hung with small pieces of electronics. There’s a circuit board, knobs and handles, gears, a clock that I dismantled and aged to make it look as if it was falling apart as it dangled from my chains, and of course, a sonic screwdriver.  The belt is meant to resemble the control console.The blue is a gorgeous silk that has a dark pattern that resembles wood grain, and the underskirt is of an incredible brass/teal fabric that shines both colours as I walk, which evokes the teal lighting of the new TARDIS interior. Kenneth also made the steel-boned corset and trimmed it with the brass fabric.

There is Gallifreyan writing on the skirt, and the standard “Free For Use” signage has been added to the jacket. Both are embroidered.

It’s not entirely finished – there are lights that are going into the grommets on the brass underskirt, which we haven’t found an opportunity to add yet, and eventually I would like to track down one of the more Gallifreyian TARDIS key toys and remake it as a brass key for my throat-broach.


I generally wear this costume out to convention dances, so if you want to see it person, that’s where you can expect it!


Photo by Christine Mak

Here I am parodying the famous photo of me as Belle that Christine Mak took ages ago.

Photo by Christine Mak

Photo by Christine Mak

At the "Friday Society" book launch. I don't remember who took this photo. If it was you, let me know so I can credit you!

At the “Friday Society” book launch. I don’t remember who took this photo. If it was you, let me know so I can credit you!


Want to read more about J.M. Frey’s love of Doctor Who? Pick up the book!


Or check out her article GADGETS, GOGGLES, AND THE DOCTOR in Enlightenment Magazine vol 168

Enlightenment Magazine


JM FreyThe Steampunk TARDIS Gown
Read more

2012 Cosplay Charity Calendar

It is nearly the end of 2011 (yipe! How did that happen?) which means only one thing… you need a 2012 Calendar!

Well, how about the 2012 FutureCon Charity Cosplay Calendar – “Women of Valour”?

Why should you buy it? ‘Cause there are beautiful, brave, kick-butt geek ladies all over it!

And… ‘Cause I’m Miss November!

I'mma gonna sonic you!

FutureCon is a New Years Eve convention whose many year-round events support Epilepsy Toronto, a charity dedicated to epilepsy awareness and support endeavours in the Greater Toronto Area.

Have I convinced you? Pre-order the Calendar HERE.


(This is not necessarily the final image that will be in the Calendar. Photo by Krissy Meyers. Costume by Kenneth Shelley. Accessories by J.M. Frey)

JM Frey2012 Cosplay Charity Calendar
Read more

The Power of Sacrifice and the Price of Being the Hero

Yesterday, unable to get my brain to calm down before heading out to a rehearsal, I was looking at fan art pictures of SailorMoon. I will admit I still love that series, love that love is the greatest weapon in the universe, love the adorable outfits that no living human being will ever be able to carry off (physics says “no!”) simply for their beauty and frivolity.

Going back and looking at the things that had inspired me in my childhood helps me to reconnect with the emotional, visceral feelings I had when I first loved them. I rewatch Forever Knight, and SailorMoon, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek to remind myself why I love story telling and what it meant to be a kid enamored with a narrative for the first time, not just the pretty bright colours on the television and the flashbang of distraction. I reread Peter and Wendy, The Tale of the Body Thief, and the Howl’s Moving Castle books for the same reason. It wasn’t reading a story because the teacher told me I had to read a book, but because I loved the story and wanted to feel that same surge of connection over and over again.

When my writer brain won’t shut off, I go and watch music videos or clips on YouTube, or peruse fanfiction and fan art of childhood shows, in order to unplug and just revel in comfort consumption.

(I sound like an addict going back to her drug of choice. I guess I am.)

The image that really struck me was this one, by SpaceWeaver:


SailorMoon FanArt by SpaceWeaver (found on DeviantArt)

As I often do, I paused to tweet about it. I said:

@scifrey: I think what I liked best about #SailorMoon was this: the more powerful Usagi/Serena got, the less human she looked. Emphasized her alienness


Now, I was talking about how inhuman Usagi/Serena got – the emphasis of the fact that she is, actually, not from Earth. She was reborn after the destruction of the Moon Kingdom into a human vessel, they all were, but the human flesh that she wears seems to barely be able to contain the power of her Star Seed, the Silver Crystal, and the vast powers she possesses as the Princess of the Moon.


At the start of the series she is happy go lucky, oblivious to what is hibernating inside of her, and totally human. As the series progresses and she unlocks more and more of her “true” self, i.e. her powers, she becomes more wraith-like, less intimately connected to her friends and family, less of a human and more of an abstract concept of compassion and love.


The “Serena-ness” of her was burned away and replaced by a serene, human-shaped creature who loved passionately but who forgot how much she enjoyed teasing her little brother.


I actually always felt sorry for her human family – how would they deal with the fact that their sister/daughter was not really human at all, had this double life replete with so much sorrow, and that in the end everyone knew that she was destined to die, to give up all that she is, with no thanks for it from the world she has sacrificed so much to protect? That she engages so fully with a life that is past – a melencoly thing in itself because she is living with the dead – and all but divorces herself from her human friends and family. 


Anything that is not “Sailor Business” or people who are not heroes/villains eventually fall away, cease to be a motivating factor in Serena/Usagi’s life and that, I think, is the saddest thing about the show of all. That she becomes alienated from the very people she has sworn to protect.


Though, by the end, she’s not SailorMoon to be a superhero and save the people of Tokyo/the Earth, is she? She’s become the lynchpin in a struggle for power encompassing the whole galaxy, and Earth becomes little more than a staging ground for their wars, humans not much more than cannon fodder and energy sources. That’s sad, too.


And that is some damn gorgeous storytelling.


And then this happened:

@AdamShaftoe: Same sort of thing happened in Tekkaman Blade – The more D-Boy/Tekkaman tapped his power, the more of his sense of self was lost


@scifrey: Never thought of that. You’re right. Same thing again in Eva – the more the kids around Shinji succumbed the less human they became


@scifrey: Is this a predominant theme in anime? Correlation between tapping into a supernatural power, sometimes bestowed scientifically…


@scifrey:…and the loss of humanity? Are there any Japanese myths or legends where this is the moral/theme? Theme of fear of power?


@scifrey: Lots of examples springing to mind – “X”, “Tokyo Babylon”, “Inu Yasha”, “Naruto”, “Bleach” Power is a force for good, or evil.


@scifrey: Seems the pattern says it doesn’t matter that the one gaining power is good or bad. Humanity is in jeopardy regardless.


@scifrey:  Even the loss of humanity isn’t positioned as good or evil. It just it. However, it does come tinged with melancholy.


@scifrey: Like it’s sad that the person has evolved away from more intimate emotion and a vibrant personality, only has abstract emotion.


@scifrey: Sure EternalSailorMoon has compassion for humankind and love for her family/friends, but she seems dimished in her “real” life.


@scifrey: And we’re positioned to hate Seichirou in “Tokyo Babylon”, but can’t help pity him his inability to feel beyond lust and hate.


@Adamshaftoe: Anime writers don’t seem content to let people do good but to show that heroism requires more and more self-sacrifice

@Adamshaftoe: I think it’s an interesting take on Superhero mythology, skipping the Uncle Ben BS for something more tangible.

@scifrey: YES

@AdamShaftoe: D-Boy/Tekkaman is left in a lobotomised cripple not from the combat of his final battle but from his final transformation.


@AdamShaftoe: Of course in his case this ultimate sacrifice comes after watching his brother and mentor murder his twin sister and…


@scifrey: Same thing happens in both “Tokyo Babylon” and “X” – mentor/brother/lover kills sister/lover to emotionally cripple the hero.


@AdamShaftoe: … eventually fighting them to the death to save the Earth. First he gives up his family, then his sanity, then his body.


@AdamShaftoe: And I’m not even touching the biopolitcal aspect of the Radamians colonizing child D-Boy via the TekSet system.


@AdamShaftoe: If we really wanted to melt our brains we could chart this phenomenon through Neon Genesis Evangelion.


@scifrey: It’s def. there.


@AdamShaftoe: Wow, impromptu twitter discussion of the heroic sacrifice in anime with @scifrey #awesome


@scifrey: Yes, I love this stuff…!


@AdamShaftoe: Though I think NGE takes it a step farther with Shinji/Gendo’s transhuman agenda.


@scifrey: I think one of the more fascinating visual cues that this process is happening is the removal of pupil in the character design


@AdamShaftoe: In the sense that the hero is fully formed without a “Yoda” to guide them through their powers? #animechat


@scifrey: And in having no mentor, they somehow fail to retain their humanity and become little more than an abstract emotion embodied?

The conversation petered out there, but feel free to continue in the comments!

(Dude, I am an aca-geek and proud of it!)

JM FreyThe Power of Sacrifice and the Price of Being the Hero
Read more