The Untold Tale

Post the First Sentences of Your 10 Last Stories and Search For Patterns

I was tagged in this challenge on Tumblr, and because I’m super curious about this, and I wanted to do this for both my fanfic AND my original fiction. I wonder what patterns there are (if any), and in what way they will emerge.

Fan Fiction:

“What?” Dum Dum asked, prodding his seatmate in the ribs with his meaty elbow for the umpteenth time. “Seriously, Falsy, what?” (The Driver)

Mark nodded without looking up, bent to shovel. “If it’s hard on yer back, you could feed them instead.” (Basil and the Bales)

There was a time, Myrddin mused, that he would have been inclined to reach out to the horizon and murmur a soft spell, just to make the sun linger a few seconds longer on the horizon, just to treasure the rich red hues and the marvelous indigo that spread like an exhaled stain across the tops of the far mountains. (The Once and Future Kingdom)

Carson Beckett poked his head into the primary astrophysics lab hopefully, and sniffed the air. “Oh,” he said softly to himself when he realized it was empty and the enticing scent he was searching for was not there. (Five Times Doctor Rodney McKay Was The Topic of Conversations He Had No Idea Were Going On)

Johnny Sheppard was born when he was ten years old. Or, one hundred and fifty seven years old, depending on how you wanted to count it. (Flight)

I am wrongways up, and it hurts. My swimming pool has leaked all over the cloister again, and the bottles of the library books are akimbo on their shelves. My Time Lord is not within me. I moan, wheeze futile, and then open my external scanners wide, and search for the two Hearts I cradle within my own. (Not The Doctor I Was Expecting)

Kalp is uncertain, but his employer says that the dark blue of his work apron makes the green striation markings around his eyes and mouth attract attention. (Trenti)

On Christmas morning, John unwraps a big box. That’s what it looks like, anyway, and it’s from the Millers, even Madison. John is too excited opening the present to stop and read what the box says, but Rodney sees enough through the flashes of garish paper to make an educated guess at the contents long before John can sit back and take it all in. (Mondayish)

Jack Harkness was reminded of the children’s book he had seen in Gwen’s apartment. “Alexander and The No Good, Terrible, Very Bad Day”. Or something like that. What-fucking-ever. (Respected II)

When Johnny Sheppard was six years old, he begged his father for a toboggan for Christmas. He got an algebra set. (Tobogganing)

Original Fiction
(already-announced projects only, I’m afraid…)

Once upon a time, when we were all Bella Swan, my first crush was a sarcastic know-it-all Immortal named Methos. (“How Fan Fiction Made Me Gay”, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls)

The envelope from Elgar Reed came a few months after Alis’ first birthday. (The Silenced Tale)

The first indication that something was off was the phone call from the Smithsonian Museum. His typewriter, the old race-car red Olympia De Luxe his aunt had given him in the late’ 70s, had been stolen. (The Wondrous Woes of the Writer)

The air above the barn rips apart, wind against wind, power thrust into the multitudes between of the skies and raking through the void. Feet braced apart, bracketing the barn’s peak, a slight woman reaches into the sky and slices again. (The Forgotten Tale)

Once upon a time, oh yes, so very long ago, there was of course a lovely girl who came to learn to sew. (The Dark Lord and the Seamstress)

Creepy bastards like this always go for the eyes. Bevel doesn’t know why. They just do. (The Garrulous Ghost of Gwillfifeshire)

When I catch sight of the cart and its cargo approaching through the thick glass of my study window, I assume the body in the back is a corpse, brought to me for study and then burial. But no one handles a corpse with such care, and driver is directing the horse to travel slowly, avoiding each hole in the dirt road. (The Untold Tale)

In Saskwya thievery was punished with the forceful, bloody removal of a thumb. This was usually done on the spot by the soldier who caught the perpetrator and with whatever sharp implement they happened to have at hand, clean or not. Robin Arianhod still had both of her thumbs. She was thankful, because she couldn’t have picked the lock on the factory door if she had been missing them. (The Skylark’s Song)

When Mary comes to, she is lying face down in the grass beside the road. (The Dark Side of the Glass)

A body collapsing with no muscular control onto plush carpeting makes a kind of muffled thudding, all raw meat and cut strings. (Triptych)


So, do you see any patterns? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

JM FreyPost the First Sentences of Your 10 Last Stories and Search For Patterns
Read more

The Untold Tale – Fan Art!

by Kelley (anotherwellkeptsecret)

The Gang’s All Here
by Kelley (anotherwellkeptsecret)

And now, looking ahead, I can see the vitally important cup clenched in one of the dragon’s forepaws. The denseness of the forest and it’s awkward three-legged gait have slown the creature down enough for me to see that it is small, still – no taller than Dauntless, no longer than fifteen lengths at most. It is still quite young, probably not even out of it’s first century yet.

I reach for Pip again, fearful that the dragonet will spit fire back over its shoulder at us, but Pip is faster than me. Pip’s jogs have conditioned her to running and she speeds, now, after the horrible little lizard, as she once did after Lordling Gyre.

There is a crash and a howl behind me, the frightened whinny of Karl, and then Kintyre is shouting, “to one side, brother!” I flatten myself against the brush and Kintyre speeds past me, Foesmiter flashing. I follow at his heels.

“I’ve waited an age to have you between my claws, Kintyre Turn! Murderer!” the drakeling hisses, rounding suddenly in the middle of what appears to be a close clearing.

A trap! We’ve been led solidly and stupidly directly into a trap. Now the drakeling has room to maneuver and it rears back and slashes at Kintyre. Pip skids to a halt on the edge of the clearing and I fetch up behind her. She grabs my hand, but I do not know if it is out of fear, or awe, or to keep me charging into the area with Kintyre.

I am swift with Smoke, but my sword does not have the heft and strength of Foesmiter. To go in there would mean a broken blade for me, and potentially my death or that of my brother if he is distracted in defending me. No, I am smart enough to know when I am outmatched.

Pip strains forward, shouting. “Stop! Both of you, please, stop!”

“Murderer, murderer!” the drakeling snarls as each of its strikes are turned back.

“Forsyth!” Bevel shouts from behind me and it is just enough warning for me to shove Pip and I to the side to avoid the wide arc of the Rogue lad’s sword. There is blood on his chin and fury in his face as he slashes at us, clumsy in his anger.

“You leave her be!” he snarls, “You’ve done enough!”

“You’re the one hacking at me,” I snarl back. “Stand down or I shall—“

I needn’t finish telling him what I shall do because in an instant, Bev has the boy flat on his face in the dirt, the tip of his sword pressing into the soft flesh at the back of his neck. He is sitting on the boy’s waist, his hands pinned to his sides at the wrist by Bevel’s knees.

“Let’s try this again,” Bevel says.




The Untold Tale – December 2015
The Garrulous Ghost of Gwillfifeshire , an Accidental novella – Spring 2016
The Forgotten Tale – June  2016
The Wondrous Woes of the Writer, an Accidental novella – Fall 2016
The Silenced Tale – December 2016

JM FreyThe Untold Tale – Fan Art!
Read more


The Untold Tale Cover_JMFrey_Reuts Publications


It’s here! Holy moly, guys, look at how wonderful that cover is! Reuts and Ashley Ruggirello have done a FANTASTIC job and I am VERY pleased! Lookit how pretty it is!


The Untold TaleDecember 2015
The Garrulous Ghost of Gwillfifeshire , an
Accidental novella – Spring 2016
The Forgotten Tale – June  2016
The Wondrous Woes of the Writer, an Accidental novella – Fall 2016
The Silenced TaleDecember 2016



An epic fantasy meta-narrative about megafan Pip, who wakes up in the novel series that she’s loved since being a teenager. However, the world is darker, and far more dangerous than she could have ever predicted, especially as the hero is a bigger misogynistic ass than she knew.  The Accidental Trilogy  chronicles the adventures of Pip in a world whose tropes, clichés, pitfalls and loopholes she can predict and circumnavigate, and what happens when she pulls the characters outside of the comfort of the fantasy world for which they were written.

Master Forsyth Turn isn’t a hero. He’s never wanted to be one, either; not since his older brother Kintyre found the enchanted sword Foesmiter and waltzed away from his family, his estate, and his responsibilities to become one – and dumped all of his responsibilities on Forsyth.

And then, raiding the castle of a wanted criminal, Forsyth’s men rescue Lucy Piper. A bafflingly blunt woman, oddly named and even more oddly mannered, Lucy Piper claims to know things about Kintyre and Forsyth’s lives that she can’t possibly be privy to. She crashes into Forsyth’s quaintly sedentary life like an errant comet and before he knows it, she has him convinced that he is the only man who can join her on her quest to find a magical gateway back to her far-away home. She drags Forsyth into the kind of adventure that only his brother could have imagined, testing his mettle and forcing Forsyth to confront his own self-shame and the demons, and the bullying that had characterized his childhood.  But the Viceroy, Kintyre’s arch-nemesis, is after Lucy Piper and her magical gateway as well. And the truth of why threatens the stability of the whole Kingdom… Perhaps even their whole world.

Lucy Piper might be able to convince Forsyth that he can be a hero, but is it really his fate to defeat the one villain that even the great Kintyre Turn has never managed to best?





 “INSANELYAMAZING! The Untold Tale tears apart the tropes of heroic fantasy and gives back what we need: true heroes, true love, and the astonishing realization that yes, real people are magical.”
–Julie Czerneda, Author of A Turn of Light & A Play of Shadow; Prix Aurora Award winner

“I started reading Untold Tale, and was captivated. This superb novel grabbed me from the opening sentence, and never let go.

The very best fantasy stories show us fresh new settings in which deeds and events matter—but first and foremost, they give us colorful, captivating characters we fall in love with, or love to hate, or are fascinated by. The Untold Tale does all of this, and more. We see someone from a world we know plunged into a world that is strange to us, through the eyes of that unfamiliar world.

And we care what happens to her, and to everyone we meet in Untold Tale’s pages. And the whole tale is several clever twists on the oh-so-familiar fantasies we’ve read before.

I want more. Books more”.
–Ed Greenwood, Forgotten Realms & The Edverse

“I highly recommend JM Frey’s The Untold Tale. It’s easily the strongest manuscript I’ve read in the last year. Frey’s novel takes a familiar trope – the idea that every novel written creates an actual world that the reader can enter, and it’s corollary, that we might be living in such a world ourselves – and gives us an entirely new take on it. Usually, this type of story is told from the point of view of the real world character, who finds herself a “stranger in a strange land” in the book she’s reading.

In The Untold Tale, however, we have the entirely fresh perspective of the story being told by one of the fictional characters.  This character discovers not only that the world he inhabits isn’t entirely the world he imagined it to be, but that he himself is not the person he always assumed he was. The real-world character, on the other hand, discovers that even a deep understanding of a fictional world isn’t as much practical use as she’d thought it would be.

The fictional world = real world trope isn’t the only one Frey twists, however. She also plays with the ideas of the hero and heroic adventure, feminism, gender roles, and the role of the narrative itself, in innovative – and occasionally cheeky – ways.

[…] This novel has the potential to appeal to a great many readers, across genres. Think Robert J. Weirsema’s Bedtime Story.”
–Violette Malan, PhD, The Shadowlands Series

“John Scalzi did Redshirts. He poked fun at a beloved symbol of geekdom, and we loved it. Frey has done the same for the sacred fantasy tropes and it’s fantastic. An empowered woman of color, thrown into the chauvinistic world of the epic fantasy today’s geeks were weaned on, serves as the perfect narrator for a critical and wonderful look at fantasy in the modern world.”
— Leah Petersen, author of The Physics of Falling trilogy




Award-winning spec-fic author J.M. Frey is back. With the announcement of her sophomore novel, The Untold Tale, Frey has blown back onto the Science Fiction and Fantasy scene with a sophisticated, cheeky, and thoughtful character study wrapped in an epic high fantasy novel.  Fergus, Ontario-resident Frey talks about what her new, highly-anticipated series is about, where it came from, and what it all means.

First off, The Untold Tale, book one of The Accidental Turn Series, ain’t your grandpa’s fantasy. Frey, who has never written in the centre of any genre she’s adopted for her novels, prefers to push the boundaries of the norm. “What’s the point of rehashing the same sorts of narratives?” she asks. “Other people have already done the space opera, or the violent alien invasion, or the sword and sorcery fantasy, or the heroic steampunk fighter pilot. There’s no need for me to tread those paths again. I’d rather walk the fringes.”

And walk the fringes Frey does. As in her debut novel Triptych, the narrator of the tale isn’t the main character. In Triptych, the story focussed on Gwen, a Canadian linguist working for a government organization, but the titular three narrators were Evvie, Gwen’s mother, Basil, Gwen’s husband, and Kalp, her lover. In The Untold Tale, the story is told not from the point of view of the enchanted-sword wielding fantasy hero, but his stammering, shy, slightly podgy younger brother.

“I love to tell stories from a perspective that is just on the rim of the action,” Frey admits. “History is written by the victors, they say, which has always made me wonder how the losers would tell it. Or the victor’s personal assistant or dog-walker. How is the same tale told when it’s being related by someone who isn’t in the center of it? Someone who isn’t the hero?”

For all that The Untold Tale happens in a fantastical world, complete with maps and a complex culture and history like J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth or George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, the emphasis of the book isn’t on the locations, the creatures, or the battles. Frey is trying, she says, to move beyond that, to take the next step in the evolution of the genre.

The Accidental Turn Series was not created to attack the works of Tolkien, Jordan, or Martin, but rather to comment on them. “These great classic fantasy books, they gave us what it means to write modern western fantasy, and what it means to be a fantasy writer. With each generation, it’s the artist’s responsibility to enter into a dialogue with what came before. That’s how you get expressionism and cubism out of the work of the romantics. This is my reply to what came before me. This is the next phrase in the dialogue.”

Feminist and video game reviewer Liana K. says that Frey’s new work is vital because it “shines a light on what conventional fantasy stories do to women: we fall in love with them of our own volition, then they figuratively ‘rape’ us by showing, again and again, that we are inherently less. We are trophies. We must wear pretty dresses — or perhaps very little — and, going back to Tolkien, if we do otherwise, it is a minor tragedy or a casualty of war. When we are permitted to be warriors, it’s of the silly ‘chainmail bikini’ type, which is a visual metaphors that female warriors are just for show, or for conquest, or for a hero’s trophy.”

Heavy stuff.

“It’s not a light subject,” Frey agrees. “But the book isn’t without humour, mostly at the expense of the blundering jock warrior-hero, and it is also not without tenderness. Forsyth, the book’s narrator, is a genuinely good, smart man who’s just never had a break. He is whip-smart, but he’s been overshadowed by his hero big brother his whole life. He is, in essence, the geek everyman. And he finds his own power,” Frey says. “He doesn’t transform into a muscle-bound sword-waving hero. Instead he finds his own heroism in his own strengths, in his own way. He doesn’t transform so much as finally begins to fill his own skin. And his biggest strength is in how he doesn’t see the women around him as lesser, especially the women of colour, like his adventuring partner Lucy Piper.”

The rest of the humour comes from the pretense of the book-within-a-book. Forsyth is younger brother to the titular hero of an eight-book fantasy series written in the 1980s and early 90s called The Tales of Kintyre Turn, penned by American writer Elgar Reed.

“There is no such series, of course,” Frey explains. “I had to make up all that, too. And I did a lot of research to make it as realistic as possible. Things like what kind of fantasy was being written in the 80s in North America, and what sorts of allegories they were filled with, that kind of thing. I really wanted it to seem as if the world that Forsyth comes from is an actual, honest to goodness book series. And it was really, honestly, a lot of fun.”

The conceit goes so far that Elgar Reed, the faux author of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, has his own social media – maintained by Frey and the Reuts marketing team together – and has already amassed fan fiction and fan art.  Frey also plans to write two novellas set within the confines of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, but she also invites fans to dive into the world of Kintyre and his sidekick Bevel Dom, and create tales of their own interpretations of what happened in her fantasy world before The Untold Tale began.  “I’ve written the back cover copy and named the eight The Tales of Kintyre Turn books, which should give people a great head start,” Frey says. “And Reuts is working on giving them covers!”

So Frey is fine with fan fiction, fan art, and cosplay based on her works?

“I better be!” Frey says. “That’s where I started, as a writer: with Dracula: The Series and Sailor Moon fan fiction in the nineties. I love conventions. I adore cosplaying. Okay, so this is super geeky, but I’m so proud that the single most talked about thing on the internet that I’ve ever done is a Steampunk Victorian TARDIS dress that I designed and modeled. It even lights up!”


  • More Promotional Images may be found at
  • The Untold Tale book cover reveal will be in Fall 2015.
  • Advance Reader Copies of the book are available through Reuts Publications ( upon request.
  • M. Frey is available for interviews.

Author’s Website:
Author’s Contact:
Agent’s Website:
Agent’s Contact:
Publisher’s Website:
Publisher’s Contact:
Publicity Contact:

Read more