Triptych

TRIPTYCH – Hiatus

triptychcoverwattpad

Hey, everyone! So, if you’ve been paying attention to my Books Page, you’ll have noticed that the cover and the purchasing links for my award-winning 2011 science fiction novel TRIPTYCH have vanished. Slowly, over the next few weeks, TRIPTYCH will also be de-listed on sales sites like Amazon, etc. though I do hope that the GoodReads page for the book will remain intact.

Why is TRIPTYCH vanishing?

Well, for a number of reasons that basically boil down to: I didn’t like how the book was being handled. The publisher with which I published the book and I have never agreed on the marketing, the direction, and on important aspects like the cover, and how the book was being described and promoted.

Let me make it clear that publishing with them originally was a delightful experience. I adored working with Gabrielle Harbowy, the editor, and have sought her out for other projects since, will continue to recommend her, and will continue to say yes to anything she invites me to submit to.

The publisher Gwen Gaddes is also a good woman. But our visions and views don’t match at all, and after several years of trying to convince her to change the cover and marketing direction for TRIPTYCH, it was decided that it would be best for all involved if we simply parted ways.

I thank DMP, Gwen, and Gabrielle for offering me my first publishing contract and being there with me for my debut novel, and the rollercoaster of all the award ceremonies, incredibly bogglingly stellar reviews and accolades, as well as the epic flaming troll reviews.

But it’s time to for TRIPTYCH to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Stay tuned for news on where and when the novel will be available again.

JM FreyTRIPTYCH – Hiatus
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My LGBTQA+ Characters

Pride Month #1

In honor of Pride Month, I thought I’d give you a run down of all of the LGBTQA+ Characters in my novels and short stories!

Heart – Bisexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Kalp is the alien protagonist of Triptych, and he comes from a world where there are two biological sexes (along with the standard percentage of genetic variants that produce he produce the spectrum of biological variations that occur between two biological sexes), but very little concept of gender. When he flees the destruction of his home planet – and the death of his two spouses – he finds himself on a strange restrictive planet filled with humans who have bizarre notions of who he is allowed to desire and what he should find fascinating and satisfying based on his genitals. Kalp eventually enters into a romantic and sexual relationship with two humans, over the course of the book.

Basil Grey – Bisexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Basil Grey is a Geek Everyman with a wide-open heart from Triptych. He had never considered whether he was straight or not simply because everyone he’d ever fall in love with (or had a crush on) were female. However, he slowly falls in love with Kalp over the course of their friendship. When the alien proposes to expand his relationship with his girlfriend Gwen to include Kalp, Basil is game for giving it a try. The threesome eventually end up marrying.

Gwen Pierson – Heterosexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Gwen Pierson is the third in the triptych of lovers from Triptych. A bit of a grump, cynical, tough, and realistic, Gwen nevertheless has a great capacity for love and genuinely revels in the powerfully memorable domestic moments that she has with her partners. She is far more reluctant to open up her relationship with Basil to include Kalp, mostly because she fears losing his friendship if the relationship doesn’t work out. She doesn’t believe in the maxim “It is better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all,” because that just sounds so painful. She’d rather stick with the safe and reliable. In the end, though, she’s happy with the development in their relationship, adores the sex, and is selfishly smug about being the wife of two big-hearted and attentive people whom she in turn loves deeply and gluttonously.

Kintyre Turn – Bisexual

Art by @inchells

Kintyre Turn is the hero of The Tales of Kintyre Turn by Elgar Reed, which is the book-within-a-book in The Accidental Turn Series. He is bold, brawny, brash, brave, and a bit of an arrogant buffon. His traveling companion and loyal scribe, Bevel Dom, has been by his side for fourteen years, and during that time Kintyre has tumbled in and out of the beds of Damsels, Princess, and Pirate Queens. These affairs were often curated by Bevel, and sometimes he even joined in. When that happened, it always sort of accidentally ended up that Bevel and Kintyre were the ones making love, and the proxy woman got up and left in an ignored huff. It took fifteen years for Kintyre to be able to work his way through the toxic masculinity he was mired in enough to realize that he actually loved Bevel, enjoyed sex with him, and wanted to be in a real and lasting, healthy relationship with his best friend. By the end of The Untold Tale, the two heroes have cleared the air and pledged their troth to one another, living opening as a couple.

Bevel Dom – Gay

Art by @inchells

The narrator of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, Bevel lives in a fantasy realm where the love between men is supposed to be brotherly, macho, and platonic. He is sixteen when he first meets Kintyre, and doesn’t understand why he is so attracted to the arrogant Lord’s son. He becomes first Kintyre’s Squire, then his Sidekick, then a fellow Knight, all the while being Kintyre’s closest friend and chronicler. Eventually he realizes that his love for Kintyre is more lustful and romantic then it’s supposed to be; he willingly sets up trysts for Kintyre (and joins in) because it’s the only time he can act on his melancholy desire. Eventually, Kintyre and Bevel work through their emotional constipation, realize their love for each other, and become as close to married as this repressed realm allows for. Bevel is blissfully happy, though he wishes they could have a child.

The Prince – Heterosexual, Transgendered

Art by @archiaart

The protagonist of my erotica novel Lips Like Ice, The Prince is an alien on the verge of sexual maturity. In his species, adolescents can choose which biological sex they want to develop as, and against all societal norms and mores, The Prince chooses to become male. This causes him no end of abuse and misgendering in the court, and leads to his father trying to bully him into becoming female by providing him with a pet that is meant to encourage his nurturing, feminine side. However, the pet is more intelligent than The Prince thought, and together they escape the court, find happiness and love, and acceptance.

Lydia – Bisexual

Art by @archiaart

Lydia is “the pet” of Lips Like Ice. She mentions her bisexuality just briefly, as she’s explaining to the Prince that on Earth, his desire to match his biological sex to his internal gender would not be so horrific and shocking. She teaches The Prince to accept himself as he is, to fight for his right to be male, and to love himself when no one else, save her, seems to love him. Eventually they escape the oppressive and bigoted court together, and have their own Happily Ever After.

The Narrator – Lesbian

Art found on Pinterest. If you know the artist, please let me know so I can credit them appropriately. I couldn’t find the credit.

The narrator of my short “The Moral of the Story” from “Wrestling With Gods” is a lesbian, and I hesitated to add her to this list because she dies. (That’s not really a spoiler.) And I didn’t want to promote one more Dead Lesbian. But she doesn’t die because she’s a lesbian, so… anyway. This is a tale of survival in a post-electronics world, where the magic has returned in order to heal the planet after humans have made the icecaps melt and wreaked environmental havoc.

do have a lesbian romance with a Happily Ever After in the works, but it’s unfortunately not ready to be announced yet. Soon though! I hope!

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

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Not technically all mine, and not actually fiction, but this great non-fiction book is filled with confessionals, essays (like my own “How Fanfiction Made Me Gay”), funny stories, comics, and tales of women from a wide variety of sexualities, gender expressions, ages, cultures, and ethnicities.

I have other LGBTQA+ characters sprinkled throughout my short stories and forthcoming novels and screenplays, as well. Check them out, and stay turned for more project announcements.

JM FreyMy LGBTQA+ Characters
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Questions from Fans – TRIPTYCH

Afternoon, Nerdlings!

One of my FAVOURITE things as an author is when I learn that readers are SO INVESTED in my work that they are just bursting with questions about it.

I got a really interesting, in-depth set of questions from Red Dog Reid about Triptych, and with their permission, I am posting my answers (and their responses to my questions!)

 

  1. How tall is Kalp? What is the height range for his species?

Kalp’s around six and a half feet tall; he’s a little runtish for his people, who can get to upwards of nine feet.

 It’s probably pretty weird, then, since Kalp was short on his planet, for him to suddenly be tall. I know that feel. I’m 5’3 and was a stilt walker in a parade once; it’s quite an experience!

Yes, it must have been! Just one more thing to throw him off on Earth. He was frightened that he would accidentally crush a tiny human child quite often.

 

  1. What actors would you pick to play your characters if it was made into a movie?

Funny you should ask that; I just did a guest blog post about that elsewhere.

I like those picks. I wonder at Basil’s actor, though. He’s not pudgy at all (and can I say I love that you have a pudgy main character!), and a bit young, yes? But definitely a good actor!

Oh, I bet Colin Morgan would love the opportunity to eat a lot of fried foods! Originally I had Canadian actor David Hewlett in mind for Basil (inspired by his characters in Nothing and Stargate), but unfortunately if the film was to be made now, he’s aged out of Basil’s age range.

And yes, it’s important to me as well that I represent real people with realistic bodies in my novels. Perhaps not as important as it is in visual mediums like TV, film, and comics, but to have people with normal bodies –  or bodies the best suited to their occupations – means a lot to me.

Basil lives a very sedentary life, and even his childhood hobbies meant he spent a lot of time sitting around, so he is pudgy. Gwen grew up on a farm, doing chores and running through fields, so she isn’t pudgy, though she isn’t a svelte unrealistic model either. In one of my upcoming books The Skylark’s Song, my female MC is skinny and her upperbody musculature is on par with a body builder’s because she spends all her time hauling machine parts in a city under severe rationing.

 

  1. Would you ever want to turn this into a movie? What about a sort of three-part series of long episodes/short movies? Tv show? (if a show would work somehow; not sure if it would with the format and all.)

 

Yes, I would love to see a dramatic adaptation of “Triptych”, though I think the complexity of the story would be better served as a miniseries rather than a feature film. There was some interest from a few companies, but it never ended up panning out. Of course, I’d love to see Starz, HBO, SPACE, SyFy or Showcase pick it up.  Also, I don’t think there’s enough story in the book to stretch it out into a full multi-season TV series, but then again, someone with a great idea might prove me wrong.

But of course, an author, unless they work in or have ties to the television industry, doesn’t have much control over whether a book gets optioned for a dramatic adaptation. A producer/screenwriter/director first has to take an interest, and pitch it to their team, get approval and funding, option the rights from me, and then they make the show/film. I might be consulted, or ask to come on board a story consultant, or even be invited to write some of it. Or the production house may choose to keep me out of the production entirely. It’s their call, I have no say in that outside of whether I would agree to licence the rights to option my intellectual property, and if an invitation to participate is extended to me, whether I’ll take it or not.

(Unless I have a spare five million bucks hanging around and choose to executive produce it myself.)

I would love to see this made into a three-part series! By the way, you don’t happen to ever have made/thought about making anything in the way of merch? Posters or the like? (I ask because I’m saving up to open a bakery in Eugene, Oregon within the next three years, and I intend to have a book-trade/library area with book posters, and would love to put Triptych up! Or, with your permission, blow up the cover image and frame it?)

Oh, yeah! Definitely a three part series, each of them 90mins, like Sherlock? That’d be really swell. I think that would serve the narrative very well, especially if each episode was told from a single POV, like the book’s sections.

In terms of merch, that’s a bit more tricky. See, I don’t own the cover art. The publisher commissioned the cover art. It’s understood that I can use it in my marketing efforts – on postcards and bookmarks I bring to conventions, or on my website, or on things I give away for free – but to actually make money on the cover, to put it on teeshirts and posters and the like and sell those, I would need my publisher’s permission and a contract regarding licensing rights and who gets how much of the profit.

I haven’t discussed this with my publisher because it’s a small press, and I’m still a small author, and it’s a relatively unknown novel. The amount of money made on the merch probably wouldn’t offset the price of setting up the online store, or the bother of doing said paperwork. It’s probably not an attractive option for them.

Having said that, you never know until you ask, so contacting my publisher and expressing an interest in having the cover design available on their Zazzle store couldn’t hurt! And while you’re at it, I’m sure if you asked the publisher would let you know what they feel about letting you create a big poster for your store. I’m sure they’d probably have no problem with it.

And man, from my perspective? That is DARN cool and an honor. I’d love you to do it.

 

  1. What Earth language do you think is closest to Kalp’s language?

I’ve never really thought of it. Something lyrical, with a lot of glottal stops, I think. Funnily enough, considering that Basil is from Wales… maybe Welsh?

Welsh. That makes sense. I was reading it as sort of a Russian/Pashto blend. (By the way, is Trus’ name pronounced like “truce” or like “trust” without the t? Is ‘isk’ pronounced the Western way, just as it’s spelled, or does it have the more back-of-the-mouth feel like some other languages, where the the i is less ‘ih’ and more ‘ee’?) How about gramatically; does it follow a western grammar, or more eastern or perhaps Germanic, or like in sign language? 

Oh, gosh, you’re asking me to think a lot more hard about this than I originally did when I wrote the novel! I didn’t do as much worldbuilding on Kalp’s world as I have since done for worlds like the one in The Tales of Kintyre Turn, precisely because I didn’t want the reader to know too much. The point was that Kalp found it all too painful to think about, so I didn’t overthink it myself. (And of course, I’m no linguist like Tolkien or Roddenberry!)

But to answer your questions, I imagined that his language is more like sign language in grammar – encompassing ideas and particular singular meanings that are given grammar by context, usage order, and familiarity with your conversation partner.

And as Kalp’s people have little snouts, I’d say the language is a little more nasal, and probably involves a lot of lips shaping the sounds.

Trus = “trews”

 

  1. Does Kalp’s society have abnormal relationships? How do they view it when/if only two get together? Four? Pairings of all-same-sex relationships who are thus unable to have kids?

Of course! Though I wouldn’t call them “abnormal” so much as “just not mainstream.” Like humans, like bonobos, like dolphins and penguins, of course there’s a spectrum of sexuality and relationship arrangements.

However as biological sex is a lot more complicated in Kalp’s people than it is in ours, no arrangement of sexual partners is ever biologically “unable to have children”, unless there is a medical reason for sterility. (Or a personal choice to use contraceptives.) There are Those Who Can Get Pregnant and Those Who Can Impregnate, but even that can shift, and alter, and is a finer line that it is here.

If an Aglunate of all one biological sort, their biology is adaptable enough that with some medical intervention, it could happen.

I wish I could live in that sort of society. As a queer transman, it sounds utterly ideal.

I wish we could a live in a society where any and all arrangements of romance, affection, gender, and sexuality are accepted and medical science is able to easily and freely help people have the bodies they know they are meant to have.

 

  1. This was your first book, right? Were you worried about writing about material that isn’t really socially acceptable, such as poly relationships, bisexual/homosexual characters, interspecies relationships, things like that, for your first book or even in general? 

To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the marketability of the subject matter when I wrote the book.  The book evolved slowly, so in the first version of it (published as a novella titled (Back)), there was no interspecies relationship, no bisexuality, and no poly relationship. When I began to expand it into a novel, a friend who’d read the original novella actually said, “Wait, were Basil, Gwen and Kalp F@#$ing?” And I was like, “Wait, what? What?… um…  yes? Yes! Good idea!”

I was more concerned about telling the story, and being true to the characters and the narrative, than the subject matter.

Having said that, it was also important to be to be respectful of the issues and topics that DID end up as part of the narrative through the organic evolution of the revisions. I did a lot of research, asked questions in the community, and read books.

Whenever I decide to include things that don’t fall within my own personal lived experiences, I always do very careful research and make myself aware of the negative stereotypes and pitfalls inherent in including them in my work. And if my best isn’t good enough, I’ll own up to it and invite feedback from people whose lived experiences I’m attempting to emulate in prose.

Do you ever worry about accidentally doing something offensive without knowing? Even with all the research you can possibly do, you can never be sure. I’m writing a book right now myself, or trying to, and I keep getting torn between not having diverse representation, and how horrible I would feel if I accidentally mucked something up. Any advice on this particular dilemma? Like, what to do if it happens (because I know pretty much all you can do to avoid it is research and talk to people.)

Constantly. One of my biggest fears is really effing it up and hurting my readers without meaning to.  My advice in this case is to do your research thoroughly and via lots of varied sources that don’t reference each other, but come from lots of different places. Secondly, ask someone who comes from that community to read the book over, and give you suggestions or point out places where you’re making misinterpretations, mistakes, or accidentally reinforcing harmful stereotypes.

And if you do make a mistake, and are called out on it (even if the book is already published), thank the person, acknowledge the mistake, apologize, and learn from it. Readers are usually very respectful when you say, “Ah, right. I’m sorry. Thank you for pointing that out to me, and I’ll try harder next time.”

But also be aware that sometimes people misread a book.

For example, I’ve had readers complain that there’s too much sex in The Untold Tale for a YA book… but it’s not a YA book. I’ve had reviewers complain that the book was full of spelling and formatting errors, when I stated in my advance coverletter that the version they were receiving was the ARC, and that it hadn’t gone through final line edits yet.  You can be explicit about the context of the book and people can still miss it.

And also be aware that you cannot take “werewolf cookbook” reviews to heart. (These are reviews that are essentially like: “This is an okay cookbook, but there are no werewolves in it. I only like books with werewolves in them, so I’m only giving this cookbook one star.”) Like, seriously? You’re leaving a one star review in the book because it didn’t meet your personal taste? Uhg.

Of course, sometimes there are people who just live to be offended, and no matter what you do or how hard you worked, they’re going to scream and say horrible things about you, and accuse you of doing it on purpose and being a bigot/racist/mysoginist/asshole. And sometimes they will threaten you and say horrific, vitriolic things about you, as Requires Only That You Hate/Winterfox said about me.

And in that case, I say try to ignore them and forget it ever happened. I know that’s actually hard, because it will hurt, especially if the attacks get personal. But remember, no reviewer worth their salt reviews the author – their job is to review the book, and ad hominem attacks are a sign of a cranky amateur. Haters gonna hate, and assholes love to hear the sound of their own voices. Take Elsa’s advice on that one.

 

  1. How do you feel about people doing art/fanfics of your work? Does it bother your or do you like it? (yes, I’m kinda asking permission. And yes, I do include erotica in that. >///<)

Welp, seeing as I started as a writer in fanfic and wrote my MA thesis on Mary Sues, I think I’m cool with it. I honestly love it, and knowing that my work inspires others to create in their own way fills me with all the warm fuzzies.

You go right ahead and fic/art/smut to your smol heart’s content!

I have more to say on that here, and here, and here.

The only caveat is this: if anyone is writing fic of something I’m actively working on – like The Accidental Turn Series  – for example, I can’t read that, unfortunately. It’s for legal reasons, so there’s no chance I could accidentally steal an idea, or be accused of it later. You can tell me about it. But I can’t read it. Not yet, anyway.

But for anything else, I usually read the fic, or at least skim through it, and I definitely love the fanart, comics, and cosplays. I have a wall in my office filled with fanart that I’ve printed out and framed.

I find fanworks flattering af, and if you tag me/ping me on them, I’d love to see/read/adore it.

Here’s me on tumblr, and on A03, and here’s A03’s Triptych tag.

In that case, I went ahead and posted a quick doodle of Kalp on my tumblr. I don’t know if that’s really what he looks like, but I tried!

OMG! Lookit at the wee Kalp, everyone! Look at its perfection!!

Kalp by Red Dog Reid

  1. Can you suggest any other authors for me to read who write things like this, things that go outside societal norms without making it disrespectful or offensive or a joke or queerbaiting or, well, all that?

Oh, easily!

Jennifer Roberson, Octavia E. Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, George Sands, James Tiptree Jr., Anne-Marie McDonald, Margret Atwood, Julie Czerneda, Tanya Huff, Ann Carson, and if you’re feeling like some good old fashioned ancient Greek comedy-erotica then Petronius’ The Satyricon is hilarious. Also check out the Lambda Literary Awards, James Tiptree Jr. Awards, Gaylaxian Awards, and the Bi Writers Association Awards for reading list suggestions.

I’ll try them out, thank you!

You’re welcome! Happy reading.

 

  1. What made you choose a triptych style for the book? Why did you decide to start in the middle at the beginning? 

The format of the story – and indeed, the title – grew organically out of the narrative. I wanted to tell Gwen’s story, but from the POV of the people who mattered most to her.  The original novella was written from Evvie’s POV, and Evvie’s section, so that left her boyfriend/husband and (later, when I decided Kalp would be in a relationship with them) her lover. That made three, so I decided to write three novellas, three separate tales from three separate voices. And what’s a word for three separate panels that combine to form one piece of art? A triptych! I actually struggled about whether to include the prologue and epilogue, but in the end, the story really did need those two extra snippets at the house, and on the farm.  In the end I appeased my artistic sensibility by at least keeping the book in three POVs, if not three parts.

We’re always told to start a story in media res, or in the middle of the action, not in the lead up. And I decided to tell the story chronologically by year, not by narrative experience. That’s always a choice you have to make when you’re telling a time travel tale – which order do I tell the story in?

In the end, when I had to add the prologue and the epilogue, I thought it would be really nifty to literally start the story in the action, and at the climax, when the bullet leaves the barrel and the body hits the ground. It was a bit of a bold storytelling choice, and it took some finessing to make it function, but I’m proud of it. And yeah, it is the kind of narrative trick that, again, only a time travel story would let an author use.

I like the inclusion of the epilogue and all, I think it works well. And the first line was actually what made me pick the book up; such a bold choice really made the book seem interesting from the get go, no slow starts there!

Awesome, thanks!

  1. Do you think that Kalp would be considered some sort of non-binary gender, though he uses masculine pronouns? Or is he a cismale but doesn’t conform to traditional western gender norms?

Kalp’s sexuality and gender presentation isn’t really on a binary, it’s more of a … wibbly-wobbly gender-wendery ball of stuff. Obviously there are biological differences between Those Who Can Get Pregnant and Those Who Can Impregnate, but it’s less delineated than it is here, and gender presentation, especially on a binary, is unheard of in his culture.

Kalp’s people were introduced to the concept of gender when they arrived on Earth. They are baffled by this need to separate based on biology. What do your genitals have to do, after all, with who you choose to love, the media you choose to consume, the employment you can take or are suited for, the colours you prefer, and the toys, games, and entertainment you enjoy?

Kalp’s people had the option to choose to identify themselves as either male or female, but some also chose to identify as both, and some as neither. I imagine Kalp took an online personality quiz with a title like “Can We Guess Your Gender Based On These 30 Awesome Questions?”  and based on that said, “Right, yeah, okay. I guess I’ll pick male. It’s simple to the point of being insulting, but saying ‘male’ is the least incorrect.” Kalp is a One Who Can Impregnate, and he works in the sciences, so according to our narrow Earth designations, that makes him more male than female. (But he also likes domestic tasks like cooking, he enjoys tidying, and he was really looking forward to being a parent.)

So he’s neither cismale nor does really consider himself male. He just chose the pronoun for the ease of communication. He isn’t really on the gender spectrum, either, because his people have no spectrum. They just are.

So, he chose male because English often demands that speaker does so. It was a communication shorthand. Not because he is “male” in the way we understand it.

Do they have words in their language for One Who Can Impregnate and On Who Can Be Pregnant? 

I’m sure they do, but I haven’t made any up.

 

  1. Does Kalp hate heights in general, or did he just panic because he was in something that reminded him of the escape pods?

Kalp doesn’t have any particular issue with heights. Most of the dwellings on his homeworld were built amid the trees, so he couldn’t. He just flashed back to the escape pods and couldn’t handle the PTSD episode it brought on.

That panic attack was really well done, too. A lot of people exaggerated them, make it cliche. You didn’t do that. It was really nice.

Thank you. I’ve only had one or two in my life, but one of my former roommates used to have them a lot, and I remembered sitting up with her sometimes and talking her through them. I also know other people who get them, and spoke to them about what they felt and how they experienced the panic. I wanted to make sure it was authentic and an honest portrayal.

More questions! (If you don’t mind? Sorry, I’m a little over-eager; I’ve never actually been able to talk to an author before!)

I don’t mind at all. I think every author likes to talk about their worlds and characters. 😀 We don’t always have the time to do so, but we love it when people love our worlds, and characters, and our work.

 

  1. What are the sorts of physical differences one sees in the species from different regions of their home planet? Accent differences? Cultural?

    Generally speaking, fur colour varies, just as human melatonin distribution varies, based on proximity to the equator. Greener near the rainforests, bluer nearer to the ice. There were only two continents, and of course there were cultural and linguistic differences between the continents. They’re probably quite varied, like the difference between Japanese Shinto culture, and Muslim Islam, and European Judeism. Though Kalp’s people weren’t particularly religious, there was a great deal of ritual, social hierarchy, non-verbal gestures with the hands and ears, and a rich culture of cuisine and storytelling.

Kalp mentions in the book that stories start differently on “the other continent”, but on his they start, “In a place that is not here and a time that was not now,” (or something to that effect, I don’t actually recall how it went). Again, this is one of those worldbuilding questions that I never asked myself, because I wasn’t writing about the differences between the cultures.

 

  1. How do Kalp’s limbs work, with the extra joints? A fluid bend? Like the tail of a monkey or cat, lots of little bones/joints? Are their legs different, three-part like a human’s, since it’s refereed to Kalp having knees? It’s always noted that he spreads his toes when he walks; is his species plantigrade or digitigrade?

    Rather like a monkey’s tail, I would say, though there are major joints amid the minor ones that humans called knees and elbows for ease of reference.

    I had to look up what plantigrade or digitigrade mean:

    And the answer is… kinda both? It’s Digitigrade, but not to this extreme degree.

 

  1. What’s the name of their species? How they refer to themselves and/or a name humans have given to them. They can’t just be refered to as “the aliens”, right?

    “Us.”

 

  1. You’ve written a lot since this first novel. Looking back, is there anything you would change if you could rewrite it? 

There’s little I would change, but I would maybe choose to have written the whole book from Kalp’s perspective and involve more reference to his culture and history.

The one thing I really regret not doing is making the human character’s varying ethnicities more obvious.  I hate saying “so and so is Black” or “so and so is Asian” because, of course, no one ever says in fiction “so and so is White.” White is the assumed default. I thought I left enough clues in the narrative by using non-European family names, and little hints, but I guess not. Many people assumed the characters who were not-white were in fact white, and I got a lot of crap about making a world-wide organization “filled with white people”.

It’s difficult to figure out how to balance the twin desires to have a wide variety of representation and not be pedantic, self-congratulatory, or condescending about describing everyone’s skin tone.

 

  1. How did you deal with the language? Do you have more words in their language that weren’t added to the book itself, like if you came up with the language beforehand? Or was it more a situation where, when you found something you wanted to add Kalp’s word for it in, you figured that out on the spot? 

Ah… this is a bit embarrassing, but most of the words in that language are taken from things that were around my desk as I was writing. At that time, I was in grad school so most of the words are acronyms for academic grants that I didn’t get. 😛

*

Thanks for the Questions, Red Dog! Does anyone else have any more questions?

JM FreyQuestions from Fans – TRIPTYCH
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A Summary of My 2015

I wrote two novels, a novella, a few shorts; two novels I wrote launched; five anthologies in which I had shorts or essays launched; I signed and announced two new book series (whaat??); got injuries that I am still recovering from (come on, me, being immobile is so 2006); had my heart absolutely crushed to sludge twice; moved back home with the rents (best. roomies. ever.); made my comic-writing debut; and made some amazing new Tumblr friends that I adore to pieces (one of whom just proposed to me last night. I’m moving to the Deep South, y’all. I hope she realizes that I’ve decided her joke was serious. :p ).

So in short: I’ve had lots of amazing things happen on the professional side, some really awful stuff happen on the romance side, so absolutely crappy stuff happen on the health side, and have had some amazing friends and family helping me through it all. Really am blessed in that category, and I won’t forget it.

Now onto the granular breakdown:

January

  • Announced that my two comics “Bloodsuckers” and “Toronto the Rude” had been accepted into Toronto Comics Vol 2. (I got a great pair of illustrators assigned to my stories, too!)
  • Midway through the month I took a slip on the ice outside of my house and (though I didn’t have a full diagnosis until November) herniated a disc, got micro-tears in the muscle of my back, wrenched my knee, tore the muscle at the top of my ankle, and tore the squishy stuff in the socket of my hip. Slept for the rest of the month with the really good drugs.

February

March

April

May

  • Unable to work full time due to my injuries, I moved home to live with my parents, and focus on getting better and meeting my contracted writing deadlines.

June

July

August

September

October

  • Attended EerieCon17
  • The War of the Worlds” happened, and I realized I was really, really not healthy enough to be treading the boards yet. It was interesting and extremely painful.
  • Began writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Second round of edits for “The Untold Tale” begins

November

  • NaNoWriMo: wrote two short stories,one novella, and finished writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Wrote and Launched “Ivy”, an Accidental Prequel
  • Finally got all the diagnosises for my slip and fall. Have now had enough MRIs and XRays to glow in the dark.
  • Finished line edits for “The Untold Tale”

December

 

Goals for 2016

  • Finish a short story for Peggy (so close to being done!)
  • Finish the second Accidental Novella (so VERY close to being done!)
  • Write two more Accidental Shorts
  • Write “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 2” (And possibly 3, we’ll see.)
  • Write “The Silenced Tale”
  • Assemble all my Peggy Barnett short work into a short story collection, add a few new stories
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike

Goals for 2017

  • Publish the Peggy Barnett short story collection
  • Write “The Skylark’s Search”
  • Write “The Skylark’s Sacrifice”
  • Finish some short stories set in the Skylark world
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike
JM FreyA Summary of My 2015
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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
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