COVER REVEAL: Worldbuilding Through Culture

This beautiful cover is by Ruthanne Reid, and always, it’s fantastic. It’s taken nearly two years of work, but I have finally completed converting my in-person presentation workshop “Worldbuilding Through Culture” into a workbook! Originally conceived and given as a presentation to help writers break out of their own cultural biases in order to create

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Types of Editing

There are many ways to approach manuscript editing, each with its own particular process, and nearly every editor and writing advice site has their or its own method.  This post will describe the most common types, explain what they’re for, and provide questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you’re approaching this stage in the

ANNOUNCEMENT: “City by Night” now on Radish!

If you prefer to read your steamy fiction on RADISH, then good news – my vampire-romance-satire novella CITY BY NIGHT is now available on the app. Click here to read now. Chapters drop every Thursday. But don’t worry, the ebook and paperback versions are still available from your favorite book store. About the book: This

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Stages of Editing

Draft one of a manuscript is for you. In this draft, you get to tell your story to yourself. You can write as much as you want, go off on tangents or side quests, or infodump and worldbuild to your heart’s content. Draft two is for your readers. Draft two is where you rework the

ANNOUNCEMENT: “Dear Abby” now on Radish

In my continued quest to republish my backlist for my erotica works as Peggy Barnett, I’ve begun to serialize DEAR ABBY on Radish. I’m shocked and delighted that my readership is growing on this reading app, and am amazed by how much everyone seems to like my weird early-career spice. You keep being awesome, you

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Secondary Characters and Subplots

This post is the fourth in a series on subplots. As you’re developing your secondary plot, you’ll need to start thinking about who is going to carry it. Some subplots continue to feature, or may be told from, the POV of your main character. Other subplots may focus instead on a minor or secondary character, who guides the reader through

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Creating a Subplot

Now that you know what a subplot is, and you’ve decided what kind you’re going to write, it’s time to figure out what shape that subplot is going to take. Read the article here. or Read more WORDS FOR WRITERS advice articles here.

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Types of Subplots

Now that we know what a subplot is, let’s take a look at different types of subplots and see how they work. Read the article here.

WORDS FOR WRITERS: What is a Subplot?

Welcome to a new article series! This time, we’ll be talking about about the structural and narrative importance of SUBPLOTS. But before we dive in, let’s figure out what a subplot actually is. According to, a subplot is: “A secondary or subordinate plot, as in a play, novel, or other literary work; underplot.” Therefore, a subplot is

INTERVIEW: “So… I’m Writing a Novel”

I was interviewed by the kind and extremely articulate Oliver Brakenbury of the “So… I’m Writing A Novel” podcast, and you can listen to the whole episode here! Episode Description (From Spotify) Oliver has a long, highly informative chat with author, actor, and voice actor J.M. Frey about her experiences as a writer, including what

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Tips for Critiquing

Working as a sensitivity reader or a beta reader for a writer friend is one of the greatest joys of being part of the writing community. You get to read a new story before anyone else and you have the privilege of helping your writer friend turn their just-pulled-from-the-cave-wall stone into a highly polished, beautifully

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Narrative Voice and Tone

If your characters are the lens through which the reader experiences your story, and you the writer are the glassmaker, then vocabulary makes up the grains of sand which create the glass.  Likewise, tone is the mold into which you pour your hot glass to set the lens. Some grains will be hard, rough, imperfect;

LIPS LIKE ICE – Back in Print!

After a short hiatus, LIPS LIKE ICE is back in print! If you’d like a copy of your very own, you can find all the current retailers listed here. I’ll update the links as more become available, so check back if your preferred retailer isn’t linked yet. The book is still serializing for free on

COVER REVEAL – “Lips Like Ice”

  It’s Cover Reveal time! Lips Like Ice is getting a reprint, and a new BEAUTIFUL cover. (I say ‘beautiful’ a lot in this video, but it IS!) Available September 1st, 2021 through online retailers. Keep an eye on my Erotica Books page for updated links as they become available.

LIPS LIKE ICE – Now Available on Wattpad & Radish

I’ve been re-releasing my backlisted titles over the last year with my personal imprint Here There Be. I’m happy to announce that in advance of the re-release of my 2015 erotica novel LIPS LIKE ICE, I will be serializing it on Radish and Wattpad for free. There will be three short episodes dropping each week,

eBook Now Available

Good news! THE WOMAN WHO FELL THROUGH TIME, my queer regency romance is now available as an ebook! You can get it on Nook, Kobo, Kindle and anywhere else you like to purchase your eBooks. Happy reading! About the book: Armed with a newly minted university degree and a plane ticket to Paris, Jessie’s plan

WORDS FOR WRITERS: How to Get People to Read Your Work Online (Guest Post)

With the advent of the internet, there are now more ways than ever to reach potential readers. However, the World Wide Web is a vast space, with more than a billion websites competing for attention. For instance, Facebook alone has at least 2 billion users, while platforms like YouTube and Instagram all clock in at

WORDS FOR WRITERS: The Value of Fanfiction

There’s been a lot of chatter on social media these last few weeks, recycling that trashy, self-aggrandizing, tired old “hot take” that reading and writing fanfiction is somehow bad for you as a writer.   Before we go any further, let me give a clear and definitive answer to this take: No, reading and writing

BACK IN PRINT – Hero is a Four Letter Word

What’s that? You can now get a copy of this collection of short stories in paper? A copy of your VERY OWN? Yes! With the fantastic design and layout skills of Rodney V. Smith, Wattpad Star Extraordinaire and a man utterly generous with his time and talent, this short story collection is now available in

NOW IN PRINT – The Woman Who Fell Through Time

It lives! Many people have been asking when there’ll be a paperback edition of “The Woman Who Fell Through Time”, and I’m happy to say that with the help of the incomparably generous Rodney V. Smith (cover) and the time and talent of Brienne E. Wright (interiors), the novel is now available to buy in

WORDS FOR WRITERS – Do You Need That Prologue?

  Question: Do you agree with Brian Klems that agents don’t like prologues? Brian says only use one if it’s “out of time sequence,” which mine is (it’s also necessary to the story). He suggests, if a writer has a prologue, changing the name to “chapter one,” even if it’s out of time sequence. Would

Downloadable Guide – Worldbuilding Through Culture

Worldbuilding is more than just maps! Every memorable speculative fiction story has a world we wish we could live in – from Earthsea to Middle Earth, from the USS Enterprise to Panem. The geography of your secondary world is key, but the culture and the way it influences your characters is even more important. This

INTERVIEW – With Trending WWWWandW

I had the great pleasure of getting to sit down with Trendingwwwandw a little while ago and talk about The Untold Tale, where I’d take tourists in Toronto, and my advice for new writers. You can watch the whole interview above.

WORDS FOR WRITERS – Narrative Conflict

Stories are, fundamentally, all about conflicts. In most stories, your Protagonist wants something – to change a rule in the government, to avenge a death of a loved one, to hook up with the cutie from band practice, to dispel a witch’s curse – and your Antagonist usually wants something that is in direct opposition

WORDS FOR WRITERS – Leaving an Agent

While I’ve spoken at length on how to get an agent, something I haven’t discussed is how to leave one. I’m not talking about ragequitting because you got told off for bad behavior, or because your book isn’t selling, or because you weren’t an instant  success. I’m talking about having a big, long, honest think about whether your

READING – Ephemera Series

The amazing Ephemera Reading Series has done a wonderful job pivoting from an in-person celebration of literature in Toronto to a monthly online event.  There are over a dozen writers reading from their work, and musicians playing from their hearts on their YouTube Channel. I recently had the great joy to read in Episode 08:

ANNOUNCEMENT – Hero is moving to Wattpad!

Huzzah! My short story collection, HERO IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, is now available exclusively through Wattpad. The collection has been expanded to include more short stories. I’ll be uploading either one whole short-short story, or part of a longer one, each Friday. You can read the first story and add the collection to your Wattpad

WORDS FOR WRITERS – How Long Should it Take You to Write a First Draft?

Tweet from Katie Crabb: I am making sense of an idea document for a potential new project tonight, and thinking of all the research I would need to do, and all the things I would need to figure out, and it makes me think of seeing people writing drafts in like…a month and honestly?? How???

WORDS FOR WRITERS – In Conversation with Kisa Whipkey – Part II

J.M. Frey, author of THE SKYLARK’S SAGA, in conversation with series editor Kisa Whipkey. Join them as they discuss how the series was first acquired, the decision to split the first book in two, and why they love “enemies to lovers” and slow world-building so much. Warning – contains spoilers for book one of the

WORDS FOR WRITERS – How to Make Author Connections

We all know the importance of networking and community when it comes to the arts. Word-of-Mouth buzz is the most important kind of marketing your book or story can ever receive, which is why so many writers (whether they have a marketing team connected to their publisher, or they’re their own marketing team) spend so

ANNOUNCEMENT – I have a Talent Agent!

I am extremely excited to announce that I am now represented by Jennifer Fry and Carol Anne Prosje of Star Talent, Inc. as a Voice Actor! (If you’ve never heard them before, you can listen to my professional demo reels here.) Being a professional voice actor has been a dream of mine since I was 13 years

WORDS FOR WRITERS – In Conversation with Kisa Whipkey Part I

J.M. Frey, author of THE ACCIDENTAL TURN SERIES, in conversation with series editor Kisa Whipkey. Join them as they follow the series from idea, to how it was pitched and sold, through the editing stages and concept challenges, to final product. Warning – contains spoilers! Watch out for Jazz Hands! About the books: This book

“The Skylark’s Song” – Reading Videos

Yes! That’s right! With the permission of my publisher, REUTS Publications, I have spent the last few weeks reading my novel on camera for you! I’m in the middle of editing the videos now, and will start serializing them on July 13th. You can find out all about the duology here.   Bookmark this playlist,

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Prose vs. Screenwriting

Today’s question comes from a writer who wants to know the difference between how I go about braining stories for prose writing, as opposed to how I brain for screenwriting: Question from Oliver: If you haven’t covered it already, I’d be interested to hear what you have to say about how to switch headspace from Prose

Jane Eyre – Live Virtual Performance

I had the an incredible opportunity to join the Elora Community Theatre’s Virtual Playhouse for their Live YouTube rendition of “Jane Eyre” this week. This was an extremely ambitious virtual production, where each actor not only totally performed their part – each from their own home – but did so in full makeup, full costume,

WORDS FOR WRITERS: The Point of the Scene

As writers, we all know that books are made up of a bunch of scenes strung together to make a chapter, and a bunch of chapters strung together to make a story. But how, exactly, do you plan a scene? How do you make sure that the scene you’re writing is engaging, interesting, and necessary?

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Marketing for Writers with No Marketing Budget

  Guest Post by Hayley Zelda Book sales have previously been heavily associated with traditional publishers putting books in bookstores and various distribution platforms with the hopes of landing on a bestseller list. In this new age of self-publishing and social media, there are so many new ways to promote books and drive sales. There

ANNOUNCEMENT – “A Woman of the Sea” is swimming over to Radish Fiction

Hello, friends and readers! Things have been pretty bonkers for me for the last five days! I’ve barely slept, but for VERY GOOD REASONS! Starting on June 5th 2020, I’m publishing A WOMAN OF THE SEA exclusively on Radish Fiction as “The Woman Who Fell Through Time”. You can either read the novel an episode at a

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Creating a Book Photoshoot

What is it? A ‘book photoshoot’ is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Think of it as a modern ‘glamour shots’ for your book baby: it gets all gussied up, put in a fabulous setting, and photographed under professional lighting and from the most flattering of angles. Book photoshoots – colloquially known

WORDS FOR WRITERS: The Importance of Your Author Headshot

A term taken from the entertainment industry, a headshot is an 8″ x 10″ professional photograph of an actor, taken with specific parameters, which is submitted to a casting director or producer in the hopes of booking an audition based on the first impression of their looks. Having a headshot-like photo of yourself as an

WORDS FOR WRITERS: What is a Hybrid Author?

Hello! Hi there! If you’ve gotten this far in Words for Writers, you might be wondering who the author behind all of these articles is. My name is J.M. Frey – I’m an agented author with several awards under my belt with six of my novels currently published in the trade-wide traditional manner with professional

Yet Another COVID-19 Blog Post

I promise you, I’m not here to talk about “living in interesting times” or “steps we’re taking to ensure the health of our customers and employees” or even to remind you to stay home and wash your hands. (But no, really – stay home and wash your hands.) I just wanted to remind you that

WORDS FOR WRITERS: How do writers get paid?

While we all became story tellers because we had something in our hearts we want to share, there are a lot of us writers who also want to turn this into a career.  There are likely lots of you dreaming of massive advances and comfortable (if not Rowling-levels) of wealth, so let’s break down where

2019 Writing Roundup

The new year is here, and with it everyone is talking about what they wrote this past year. The last quarter of 2019 was a brutal rollercoaster for me, emotionally and personally, so it’s good for me to have the chance to sit here and reflect on what I accomplished and the good things that


I’ve talked about this in other articles, but I wanted to dedicate a full post specifically to getting an Agent. There are thousands of agents out there at any given time, but those thousands of agents are getting requests for representation from hundreds of would-be-writers every month. There’s massive, massive competition for the attention of

My Granny

My grandmother, Evelyn Alexandra Winer (nee Gilmour) was born in the middle of The Depression into a household which would, eventually, contain nine children and two cousins. She was just five when her mother passed away in childbirth, along with the baby, leaving the leaving the older kids to raise their younger siblings. The children

BOOK TRAILER – “The Skylark’s Saga”

Robin Arianhod grew up in the shadow of a decade-long war. When she’s shot down behind enemy lines, her arch-nemesis The Coyote promises that he’ll help her escape on one condition: she takes him with her. Find out more about the books |  Animation: Elizabeth Hirst | Music: “Skylark’s Song” by Victor Sierra “The Skylark’s Song” and

“The Skylark’s Sacrifice” – Bonus Epilogue

by J.M. Frey Warning: This short is very spoilery. Only read this if you have already finished both books in The Skylark’s Saga duology. Robin coughed and shoved her work goggles up onto her forehead, only faintly amused by the curl of dark smoke that puffed by her face. The edges of the black cloud swirled

Blog – Masonry