Interview With J.S. Frankel, Author of Catnip

22851796Please welcome my special guest J.S. Frankel, author of Catnip. Please enjoy his insightful interview.

1.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

Just keep writing, hone your craft, know your market, and keep working to find your voice.

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I don’t carry a message, per se. Preaching, especially to young people (the main group I write for) is a no-no. I simply try and tell a story about other people getting into situations not of their own doing and see how they manage to surmount the difficulties along the way.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?

In the old days, there were far fewer writers and publishers around. That meant a publishing house could focus on promoting just a few books. With the digital age upon us (indeed, already here) you have more people than ever before. It’s a very competitive market, so you have to promote. That’s just the way it is.

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

I mainly do Young Adult in both mainstream as well as for LGBT publishers. I love the sense of adventure I can bring to a story, the sense of wonder. My least favorite aspect? The editing…blech!

5.  What are your current/next projects?

Right now I’m trying to find an agent for a YA novel, Picture (im)perfect, the story of a young man and his relationship with a transgendered young lady. It’s a good story, filled with humor, romance, and it has a good message, I feel. I’m also editing another YA novel called Star Maps which takes place in Rachel, Nevada, and is about UFO’s and what have you. It’s fun to do…but editing stinks!

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

I usually work alone, but I have been working with a beta reader for a couple of novels. My sister is also invaluable in this regard. She never sugarcoats anything! If she doesn’t like it she tells me straight away and has a great eye for detail.

7.  How do you find time to write?

I make time. I write late at night after my children are asleep and always manage to get something down.

8.  Did you always want to become an author?

Yes and no. When I was younger I enjoyed reading and writing, but never found the courage to actually write something the mass market would be interested in reading or so I thought at the time. As I got older, I lost that fear.

9.  Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

I simply think of an idea, and then begin.

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

I usually write the first chapter or prologue first, then take it from there. I have written out of order on occasion, but it tends to mess me up mentally, so going in order is best for me.

11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Yup, and then it got sent to cyberheaven!

12.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

I’ve always written novels. Why, I don’t know. It’s just something I fell into.

13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

YES! My very first novel, The Tower, I felt like Bill Lampkin, the main character. It wasn’t my best novel, not by a longshot, but it resonated with me and gave me the impetus to keep creating.

14.  How did you come up with the title?

I think of what the story is about and take it from there. With Catnip, it has to do with a transgenic cat, so there it is. With Lindsay Versus the Marauders, the main character’s name is Lindsay and when you have “versus” in the title, you just know there’s going to be conflict!

15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

Catnip is my latest work, and it involves a young man, Harry Goldman, who’s a bit of a child prodigy, tossed into jail for doing illegal transgenic research. He’s freed by the FBI and has to work with them on the case of Anastasia, an amnesiac transgenic catgirl who’s been trained to do something ultra-secret. Lots of action and adventure in this one along with a nice romance. I was inspired to write it after reading about a teenager in Great Britain who built a machine to identify the gene that made his brother a redhead. Hey, it could happen!

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

If anyone wants to contact me, feel free to do so at, or they can find me on Facebook at Jesse Frankel.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby




Book Review: Twisted By J.S. Frankel

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

Chivalry isn’t dead. It just wears a skirt.

Highschoolers Charlie Matthews, his stepbrother Martin, and Sharon Collins win a contest to play an interactive medieval game as the avatars of their favorite characters. Their mission: fight off the monsters, storm the castle, and capture the evil king.

But things go terribly wrong. Charlie is dismayed to discover he is Angella of Avernon, the lead female character in the game. Fortunately, she’s the most powerful avatar around, but he also finds out that he, Martin, and Sharon have been infected with a virus that will kill them outside the game, so they have to stay inside the scenario.

Trapped and beset on all sides, Charlie has to deal with the sexism of the characters circa 1430, his stepbrother’s distaste for his female form, and his feelings about becoming a woman. In addition to fighting off the various monsters within the scenario, Charlie tries to fight his attraction to Sharon…and then realizes Sharon is attracted to him, which makes it all the more confusing.

When the deadly opponents in the game get the upper hand, Charlie must summon all of his love and courage to save the day and rescue Sharon. Will he understand that love is where you find it and that the gender of the one you love doesn’t matter at all?

51KKgfkbzkL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I loved this book that was packed with adventure. Imagine being stuck in a computer game as a gravatar. Not only that–but things aren’t quite as they seem. You thought the same rules applied, but after awhile, you discover there’s a computer virus that changes the game. Upping the stakes! This is what the three main characters Charlie, Martin, and Sharon went through.

They won the Hummel Corporation’s contest. Travianna was a popular computer game, so of course, the teens didn’t hesitate to be a part of the simulation. Their foreheads being taped with wires as their progress was monitored reminded me of The Matrix.

My favorite lines: 1) “Something in his eyes clicked, changed, went dark–and became evil.” 2) “It figured. Martin had the social skills of a donut hole.” 3) “Clearly, she liked me, and…I was a woman now.” 4) “He stopped in his tracks and his face held a mix of regret and acceptance.”

J.S. Frankel had an amazing talent with dialogue and overall tone of the story. Charlie’s first person point-of-view was used. I liked hearing his ups and downs, his fears and concerns as he tried to put on a brave face for his brother Martin and his crush Sharon. He was the only person who blacked out a couple of times in the game and was able to enter the real world. He had to hear the tragic news that the computer virus was making them sick. I couldn’t even imagine…The body language was great in painting the full picture.

The author was also great with description in the scenes. I enjoyed the tension between the teenagers, especially when danger approached. Martin couldn’t quite grasp that his brother was turned into a woman. He always had snarky comments, but later readers found out that he had a crush on Sharon. I enjoyed her feisty attitude. She didn’t take anyone’s bullcrap. I liked how Sharon and Charlie’s friendship developed slowly into something more. He was confused because in his mind he was still the same Charlie, but his physical appearance showed something different.

The ending was bittersweet. I felt for all parties involved. The Hummel’s were being investigated by the police for an accident, the parents were losing their children, and the children were trapped in the game. Can they make it out alive? You’ll have to read to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Death Bytes By J.S. Frankel

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

Where there is death, there is also life, only in a different form. High school student Sam Benson had to die in order to experience it, and once he did, he found it the most thrilling ride of his life!

Death Bytes, a Young Adult Fantasy of the highest order.

51m9a8BlRiL._AA200_I loved this 13 chapter book. It was told through Sam’s first person point-of-view. The author was great with voice; it sounded authentic like the way a 17 year old guy, who’s losing it all, would think and act. I loved his sense of humor–sarcasm.

I immediately felt sorry for Sam. He and his girlfriend broke up because she wanted to live her social life instead of take care of her dying boyfriend.  He had a fatal illness with no cure or surgery to offer comfort. Plus, Sam’s poor mom. I couldn’t even imagine knowing my child would leave Earth before me.

Luckily, they found a doctor who dabbled in experimental science–the consciousness of a human’s mind would be transferred to a computer program chip instead of a disabled body.

My favorite lines: 1) How would one go to the bathroom here? I mean, what would come out, bytes? 2) Disease didn’t care who it got and death cared even less. 3) So far, I’d died and gone to cyberspace, dodged a cyclops, fought a duel, and decked a king. Real or not, it beat watching television.

Once Sam entered the cyberspace world, the pages were action-packed with adventure. Twists kept me entertained as well as trying to solve the mystery of: Who was responsible for the tragedy at the lab? And, why did Boris and Merlin want Sam dead so badly within cyberspace?

The author painted a vivid picture with cool dialogue, overall setting details, characterization, voice, plot, and description. I could definitely see this as a Blockbuster hit.

My favorite moments were when Boris and Merlin were chasing Sam. I liked that he was proactive in helping himself instead of waiting for help. I also enjoyed that he researched for answers–reminded me of Sherlock Holmes or something. My other favorite moments were when he met a mysterious 17 year old girl in cyberspace. She had a sad past as well, so as a reader, I appreciated that they bonded over that.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby