Worldbuilding Through Culture: A Workbook for Storytellers

(Here There Be, 2022)

Worldbuilding is more than just maps! Creating a believable secondary world, with consistent internal logic, idioms, taboos, and politics can be tricky. Luckily, this workbook is here to help you devise the best possible setting for your story! Filled with thought exercises, explanations, question lists, and lots of space to jot down your own ideas, these pages will soon hold the shape of your own worlds.

Time and Tide

(Wattpad 2019; Coming out in Print in Spring 2024 with W by Wattpad Books)

Armed with a newly minted university degree and a plane ticket to Paris, Jessie’s plan was to celebrate graduation in the City of Love, kissing as many drunk French girls (or boys, she’s not picky) as she can. Only, she never makes it. When her plane goes down mid-Atlantic she’s pulled from what should have been a watery grave by an intriguing British Naval Captain—in 1805!

Stuck in Regency-era England, Jessie is left with no choice but to enter into the services of the Captain’s sister as a lady’s companion. But she didn’t reckon on the sister being Margaret Goodenough, the world-famous authoress whose yet-to-be-completed novel was the first lesbian kiss in the history of British Literature.

And Jessie’s not just entranced by Margaret’s powerful words…

As their attraction grows, Jessie must tread the tenuous line between finding her own happiness in a world where she is alone, and accidentally changing the future of the queer rights movement. Is Jessie’s duty to preserve Margaret’s history-making book? Or to the happiness of its author, the woman she’s learning to love?


(Dragon Moon Press, April 2011; Here There Be, May 2018)

Part District 9, part Lost in Translation, part Stranger in a Strange Land.

Kalp is a widower, burdened with an unimaginable grief, who escaped his dying world with nothing but his own life and a half-finished toy for a child that will now never be born.Gwen is a language expert covertly recruited for a United Nations initiative to integrate a ship-full of alien refugees into life on earth. She becomes Kalp’s teammate and lifeline. Basil is the engineer who lives with, and loves them, both. But he has no idea how to defend his new relationship against the ire and condemnation of a violently intolerant world.

TRIPTYCH is a poignant, character-driven science-fiction story about tolerance, love, loss, and the desperate attempt to find connection in a world that no longer makes sense.


Book One of The Accidental Turn Series
(Reuts Publications, Dec 2015)

This book follows Pip, who is pulled against her will into the epic fantasy novel series she’s loved since she was a teenager. However, the world is darker, and far more dangerous than she could have ever predicted, especially when it turns out the hero is a much bigger misogynistic ass than she knew.  Pip knows how to circumnavigate the Hero’s Journey and the pitfalls and loopholes of this particular world – but what will happen to her beloved characters outside of the comfort of the fantasy they were written for? And what happens when it’s not the male-power-fantasy hero, but the hero’s overlooked and bullied little brother who proves to be her biggest champion?


Book Two of The Accidental Turn Series
(Reuts Publications, Dec 2016)

Forsyth Turn has finally become a hero—however reluctantly. But now that Lucy Piper has married him and they’ve started a family in her world, his adventuring days are behind him. Yet not all is as it should be. Beloved novels are disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the minds of readers like Pip, but from bookshelves as well. Almost as if they had never been. Almost like magic.


Book Three of The Accidental Turn Series
(Reuts Publications, Dec 2017)

Forsyth Turn can’t stand being a hero. Even when the adventure is over, pain and death seems to follow him wherever he goes – even into the Overrealm.  Forsyth expected to return to the life he’d built with Pip and Alis, his days of magic and heroics behind him. But then Pip starts suffering night terrors laced with images of glowing ivy and Elgar Reed calls with fears of bizarre threats and a man garbed all in black. Now, he has to face the possibility that Pip’s dreams and Elgar’s fears are connected . . . and that maybe they weren’t the only ones to escape the pages of The Tales of Kintyre Turn. And if that’s the case, it’s going to take more than a handful of heroes to save the day this time. It’s going to take an army. Luckily, Reed fans are legion.


Book Four of The Accidental Turn Series
(Reuts Publications, Spring 2018)

Forsyth Turn had no desire to be a hero, but that’s what he became. Bevel Dom spent his whole life telling stories, never realizing he was part of one of the most popular ones of all time. Kintyre Turn never thought he could be more than a wandering hero with a sword, until he reinvented himself as a compassionate Lord and kind father. And Lucy Piper never believed that magic, quests, or The Tales of Kintyre Turn  truly existed; but they do, and they shaped her life in ways she never could have foreseen.

Here now, for the first time in one collection, are all of additional stories set in the world of The Accidental Turn series – including “Magic”, an exclusive new novella!


Book One of  The Skylark’s Saga
(Reuts Publications, September 2018)

A Saskwyan flight mechanic with uncanny luck, seventeen-year-old Robin Arianhod grew up in the shadow of a decade-long war. But the skies are stalked by the Coyote—a ruthless Klonn pilot who picks off crippled airships and retreating soldiers. And as the only person to have survived an aerial dance with Saskwya’s greatest scourge, Robin has earned his attention.

As a Pilot, Robin is good. But the Coyote is better. When he shoots her down and takes her prisoner, Robin finds herself locked into a new kind of dance. The possibility of genuine affection from a man who should be her enemy has left her with a choice: accept the Coyote’s offer of freedom and romance in exchange for repairing a strange rocket pack that could spell Saskwya’s defeat, but become a traitor to her county. Or betray her own heart and escape. If she takes the rocket pack and flees, she could end the war from the inside.

Filled with intrigue, forbidden romance, and a touch of steampunk, The Skylark’s Song soars in this new duology from the award-winning author of The Accidental Turn Series.


Book Two  of  The Skylark’s Saga
(Reuts Publications, September 2019)

Robin Arianhod has been shot down, and is on the run. Trapped behind enemy lines, her only choice is to disappear inside the sprawling capital of Klonn, and use the mysterious rocket pack she stole from the enemy to end the decade-old war.

Her vigilantism attracts the attention of more than just the city guards, though, and Robin finds herself embroiled in an underground Klonnish rebellion. But are the rebels really her allies, or are they using her as bait? And will the secrets of her former arch-nemesis end the war, or lead Robin and her allies to their deaths?

Rife with high-flying action, subterfuge, and deception, The Skylarks Sacrifice is the explosive conclusion to the saga of war-torn Saskwya, and the one pilot who can change it all.


(Here There Be, 2020)

Good and Evil. Two sides of the same coin? Or something less defined, something more liminal? Entertaining and always thought-provoking, author J.M. Frey offers a collection of remarkable short stories that explore the grey area of the hero/villain dichotomy in this short story collection. Heroes. Villains. Monsters. Fairy Tales. Myths. Legends. Who is the good guy, who the bad, and who gets to decide which is which? After all, ‘hero’ is just another four letter word.


(Here There Be, November 2020)

This is a story about Mary, number one fan of the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, City By Night… until it becomes all too real. An accident with the Craft Services truck sends her hurtling into the world of the show, and Mary is thrilled – who wouldn’t want to live alongside their favorite TV characters?

Unfortunately, living in TV-land isn’t all that Mary thought it would be. Not only is Mary disillusioned with what she thought was a lush world until she had to try to maneuver in it, now she’s about to be murdered by one of the stupidest clichés in the history of television in a world that, pardon the pun, totally sucks.

A loving satire of the Toronto film industry, vampire-cop television, and what it really means to be a “fan”.


(Here There Be, 2013)
Short Story

On his 257th birthday, Reginald got stuck in a bank. Well, yes alright, it was a bank robbery, but you know, it sounded better to say “in a bank.” Less horrifically embarrassing. Imagine, someone like Reginald Schilverspün (and he’s heard all the jokes about being born with things his mouth, and yes, they’re all very clever but, you know, after 257 years the joke gets rather tired don’t you think? So he’ll thank you very much for not telling it.) Imagine! Reginald getting stuck in the middle of a bank robbery on his birthday. Really now; only Reginald. A fun, frivolous short story about bank robberies, body theft, and bottled up frustration.

The Skylark’s Song (Free – YouTube Playlist)
Written and Read by J.M. Frey


The Dark Lord and the Seamstress (Free)
Written and Read by J.M. Frey

The Once and Now-ish King (Free)
Written and Read by J.M. Frey

Another Four Letter Word (Free)
Written and Read by J.M. Frey

The Maddening Science (Free)
by J.M. Frey
Read by Chris Herron of Tall Tales TV

Time to Move (Free)
Written and Read by J.M. Frey
From The Secret Loves of Geek Girls Redux
(Warning: this story contains frank discussions of sexuality)

The Dying of Albert Ball (Free)
Written by John Grey & Eric Peterson
Read by J.M. Frey

Official Selection (Free)
(Warning: this story is NSFW)
Written and Read by Peggy Barnett


Feature Screenplay, Currently Seeking Production Placement

Mark Farthing is an unremarkable lawyer living an unremarkable life, when his twin brother is diagnosed with breast cancer. After Mark falls for his brother’s oncologist, life suddenly seems remarkable. But the tragic death of his brother puts the lovers on opposing sides of a legal dispute, and Mark learns that finding your way back to yourself sometimes means having to leave others behind.


Feature Film/Webseries Screenplay

Screenplay about a small-town girl moving to the big city and using a dating blog to discover who she is not only as a person, but as a proudly out queer geek. But when her blog becomes super popular, she faces a backlash of fannish hate, and has to come to terms with a brand of fame that’s come at the expense of others.

Click here to view J.M. Frey’s full bibliography.

Click here to view books written under the pseudonym Peggy Barnett (NSFW/Erotica).

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for some of these resources which means that, at no cost additional to you, I make a commission if you purchase via my Amazon or Kindle links.