Interview With Author J.S. Frankel

By way of introduction, here is J.S. Frankel’s bio.
J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he came to Japan at twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

In 1997, he married Akiko Koike. He, his wife and his two children, Kai and Ray, live in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music. 


Now that I’ve introduced you to J.S., let’s get to know him a little better.

Hello, J.S., welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.


What inspired you to be a writer?

I had an idea one day a few years ago for a story, and something inside me compelled me to put pen to paper. I think people are natural storytellers, but I wanted to do something special, and so… here we are!

Is writing your full-time profession?


No, not yet, anyway. I work as an ESL teacher and edit on the side. I’d love to become a full-time author, but those funds have to roll in first.

How long have you been writing?

Only about six years.

Have you won any awards?

I’ve won a few minor awards, but those are nothing, really. My biggest ‘award’—or reward,—is if someone says, “I loved your book!”

How many books have you written?

So far, thirty-five. I’ve got more on the way.

Which genre do you write?


YA Fantasy, with a lot of action, a bit of romance, and usually a happy ending.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?


There are a lot of tropes in any genre. I try to subvert those tropes if I can, or make fun of them in some way. What I really want is to make each book unique and fresh.

What are you working on now?


Right now, I’m editing an old story of mine and cutting it down. I may self-publish it or submit it. I haven’t decided.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
I look at the world around me, the events unfolding, and I let my mind wander where it will. Inspiration is all around us; you just have to think about it.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?


Having people compliment me on my style and stories. That’s good enough for me.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?


Cliché time: don’t give up. I was rejected over fifty times before someone took a chance on me. Keep writing, study the art, and improve. Let no one dissuade you from achieving your goal!

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I’m not very exciting; I don’t go on Bond missions every single day, except in my head. Hmmm… well, I’m a resident of Japan and I speak the language well enough. My wife is Japanese, and we make our home in Osaka. That’s about it, really.

What message are you sharing in your books?


Essentially that you can overcome the odds if you work hard enough at it. All my characters are underdogs, the fringers of society, and they have an every person quality to them. No person is a failure as long as they try. It’s a cliché, yes, but one I wholeheartedly believe in.

What are your favorite books/authors?


Favorite authors would be Robert McCammon—Gone South is his best work, in my opinion, and Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Inferno stands alone in sci-fi/fantasy, to me, anyway.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?


I watch little TV these days, but I love the original Star Trek.
Movie-wise, anything superhero. Ironman, Batman, Wonder Woman…they all rock.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?


I’m usually on Facebook or Twitter.

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?


Anything is okay, as long as I don’t end up as the first victim!

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?


Run like crazy and hope I don’t mutate!

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?


I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007640056961

Where can we find your books?

You can find them here!–> (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/J.S.-Frankel/e/B004XUUTB8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Or here http://www.devinedestinies.com/js-frankel/

Thank you, J.S., for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Brian Merrill; courtesy of: Pixabay
Osaka

Game Over

After eight seasons, the epic TV show, Game of Thrones, is over. On tenterhooks I watched the series finale, eager to see how it would conclude.

After Ned Stark’s beheading, The Red Wedding, The Battle of the Bastards, and many other superbly unexpected plot twists, I knew I was in for a bittersweet treat.

For days, my family and I hypothesized many final scenarios for the remaining characters. Several of my predictions came true.

  1. After sharing a tender moment with Daenerys, Jon would kill her. It seemed logical that he would be the only one with a moral compass to get close enough to her to do it.
  2. Arya would sail West of Westeros. She told Lady Crane she wanted to go there in Season 6.
  3. No one would sit on the Iron Throne after Cersei Lannister.
  4. Jon would somehow push Drogon into melting the Iron Throne. It didn’t happen the way I imagined but nonetheless the throne was liquefied.
  5. The Kingship/Queenship would no longer be inherited through a bloodline. I was a little off on this one. I was more in sync with Sam’s thought process. I thought the people would be given the choice to install their own rulers through an appointed council.
  6. Jon would end up in the true north with the Wildlings.

When the episode ended, I was unsatisfied and much like an Ironborn denied their plunder, I’m feeling a little salty about it.

As an author, I know about artistic privilege. Of course, the creators can write their story and end it the way they want, but as a fan I’m so disappointed.


One of the biggest let downs for me was the way Jon Snow behaved toward Daenerys.

After initially refusing to bend the knee to her, breaking with The Night Watch‘s traditions as Lord Commander, dying for the Wildlings after saving them, leaving Ygritte to be faithful to his vows for the Watch, and fighting for the living against the Night King, I felt his unwavering devotion for the Dragon Queen was a little out of character.

It also confused me that Daenerys let Tyrion live instead of burning him on the spot. She and Drogon had just burned King’s Landing to the ground. In the scheme of things, what was one more life, especially one who had betrayed her?

Another thing that bewildered me was Daenerys’ warm response to Jon when he entered the throne room. Their previous encounter in Episode 5 ended in heartache and anger. Why was she suddenly willing to share the leadership role with him?

I’m sad that it’s over but even more so at the way it ended. As an author, I know composing satisfying endings is a challenge.

Game Of Thrones didn’t just set the bar high, it created its own iron stake that rose higher and higher each season. In an effort to shoot for the stars the creators rushed the process and missed their mark.

Interview With Illustrator Patrick Harrington

Patrick Harrington is an all around creative person whose artistic interests range from singing to sketching. His passion for visual art began when he was a small boy and continued to develop as he grew older.

A native and resident of Philadelphia, PA, Patrick studied art and graphic art at The Antonelli Institute. He’s worked for Toll Brothers, Inc., ISCA and started his own business, Harrington’s Live & Studio Caricatures and Cartoons.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Patrick, let’s get to know him a little better.

Hello, Patrick, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be an illustrator?

I’ve always loved drawing. As a little kid I was mesmerized sitting on my father’s knee while he drew cartoon characters from the Sunday funny comics.

When I was in school, I would draw my classmates, teachers and some of the nuns. This got me into a lot of trouble and was a lot of fun! When I got older, it was more Mad Magazine and Heavy Metal Magazine. Then political cartoons and editorial illustrations. And now 2d Animation. 

Is illustrating your full-time profession?

Yes. Mostly Live caricature Entertainment at various events: Weddings, Mitzvahs, Tradeshows, Graduations, etc . 

Traditional (paper and marker), Digital, and Animated services. But I am also getting a lot more kids book illustration and animation projects. 

How long have you been illustrating?

Pretty much from the day I was born, so I would say @50+ years? Doing live caricatures since 1980.

Have you won any awards?

The first political cartoon contest I ever entered I won the grand prize, first place & third place. It was called the Homer Davenport Days Political Cartoon Contest. Cash total of prizes was something like $400.

I was blown away by that experience! I won a portfolio excellence award in art school and I won a couple Caricature awards too.

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

What types of media do you illustrate?  

I’ve done kid’s books, Business book spot & interior cartoons and book covers,

Whiteboard animations, explainer videos, coloring books, board-game & game card designs, trading card sets, joke books, comic books,

Album covers, character designs for iPad apps and game apps, cartoons for customer calendars, invites, save the dates, etc., and I do a lot of flash animation cartoons for various clients and sites.

I work in many styles to meet clients needs.

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

How many books have you illustrated?

@20 or so

Some projects larger than others, some for clients personal use only and self-published. Some published work and soon to be published work and links below.

2 Hercules coloring books Kappa

2Bad cats kids

Fair Thee Well comic

3 business books cartoons-

Adventures in the sea of complexity

Jokebooks 

Are you Indian? Publisher Bad swami 2012

Bageltoons comics and Animations

Hamish McLogie and the worlds biggest Boogie -kids (est @June 2020)

That’s not Chocolate, Nigel kids-@Feb 2020

Oh Dear Dudley -@June 2020-kids

Libby’s Magical Garden kids

Mr RobiNson kids

iSammy suitcase app

https://www.backatchabooks.com/apps-cjn9

Senior v Zombies app

& my most intense project to date –

Ms Love’s Mystical Island Adventure kids book & animated iPad app

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

Which genres do you illustrate?

Just about everything.

Mostly humorous and fantasy, also dark and gritty.
I prefer comical and exaggerated characters but I work in different styles to suit clients needs.

What do you find most challenging about illustrating?

Working with different clients of different mindsets. Some have seen a certain piece of work I did and want something in that specific style. That makes it easier to know how I will approach that project.

Some that say they love my work and give me full and total creative freedom. I love when that happens! 

Then there are some who have very specific visions they want me to realize, they are laser focused on what they want and not looking for too much creative input from the artist. Those are the hardest projects to deal with.

Sometimes it comes down to I’m really only using my talents for that project and not my full creativity. I have worked with and I am fine with all types of clients and art directors. It’s the client I am aiming to please.

And sometimes the client is pleased with something I am not entirely pleased with. And if given a little more creative freedom, I feel I could have made better. 

The projects where I use my imagination and creativity are the ones I am closest to and proudest of. 

What are you working on now?

Another music video animation using flash and aftereffects.

A fun little kids book geared around growing up wanting to be a player for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, but we have to call them the Green Beagles because of copyright.

An animated Caricature template for an upcoming Mitzvah, 

A bug race animation for a birthday party gift, and another book trailer for Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Everywhere, real life, family, friends, strangers, inspired by other artists work, doing a lot of live Caricature events I run into all different people.

A wonderfully diverse and beautifully bizarre collection of shapes, colors, personalities and textures. A lot of times someone will sit in my chair and I will think automatically yeah this guy could be a great inspiration for a pirate or wrestler in my next project.


What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?  

Continuing to get more work I enjoy creating and meeting interesting new colleagues, authors and clients that inspire me to continue to grow. 

Excited about how much positive feedback and expanding interest our book Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure is getting publicists representation, media and press and plans for future promotions. 

What advice would you give to illustrators just starting out?

Draw. Draw all the time. Love it! Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Experiment. Draw! Have FUN! Learn software programs but don’t let them be a substitute for drawing skills.

Draw-draw something that’s hard to draw that takes practice that you will be proud of when you accomplish it because it wasn’t easy to start with.

Don’t be intimidated, Be inspired… and oh yeah draw some more after you’re done drawing

Is there anything else you’d like your followers to know about you?

Happy to announce that I will be teaching a course in Cartoons, Comics, and Caricature at Mount Airy Learning Tree starting Wed evenings 7-8:30 starting April 24th – check out 

www.mtairylearningtree.org for info registration, etc.

I love Led Zeppelin and sang in a tribute band for 10+ years.

What message are you sharing in your books?

Different books have different messages, or some are more serious than others, usually that is the authors call. But I am working on some stories of my own.

Ms Love’s Mystical Island Adventure kids book & animated iPad app Message is about teamwork and appreciating the differences in each other makes us more valuable to each other.

Who are your favorite illustrators?

Wow! Too many to list. If I start typing now, I won’t be done until The 12th of never and that’s a long, long time…

Different illustrators for different topics and subjects, more added daily. If pressed to give an answer, I would say top 10 overall in no particular order:

Thomas Fluharty

David Cowles

Tom Richmond 

(MAD magazine)

JAN Opdebeeck

Alex Ross

Nate Kapnicky 

Stephen Silver 

Joe Bluhm 

Jason Seiler

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sopranos, How To Train Your Dragon, Just about anything animated Pixar. 

When you’re not illustrating where can we find you?

Maybe singing karaoke or playing tennis.

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

Can you tell us a little about Harringtoons Live & Studio Caricatures & Cartoons?

Traditional caricatures are just a small part of our services.

Harringtoons offers various Live Caricature Entertainment services to suit your budget/ needs. 

From traditional to ipad and digital and animated! For a real WOW factor!

Explained here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s13ysNHWeI

Harringtoons also offers: 

Gift Caricatures from photos, Caricatures used for: Custom Business Cards, T-shirts, Logos, Greeting Cards, Coloring books & Comic Books, album cover art/ designs, animated music videos etc. Pet Caricatures & 3D Clay Caricatures also available.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes. Keep up to date with my fun and crazy live Caricature antics on social #harringtoon

Patrick Harrington

www.harringtoon.com

www.mslovesmysticalisland.com

harringtoon.blogspot.com

www.caricamation.com

www.iwanttodrawyourpet.com

www.instagram.com/harringtoon/

www.facebook.com/harringtoons/?ref=mf

267 304 3230 cell

215 904 6247 studio

215 964 0841 alt

Where can we find your books/artwork?

Portfolio www.harringtoon.com 

Ms Love’s Mystical Island Adventure kids book & animated iPad app

http://www.mslovesmysticalisland.com/

Fair Thee Well comic

Adventures in the sea of complexity business cartoon book

https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=Stephen+wagener&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Jokebooks 

Are you Indian? Publisher Bad swami 2012

https://smile.amazon.com/Are-You-Indian-Humorous-Growing/dp/0578116138/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=6ZVFCR02WBEYSQX07E9V

Bageltoons comics and Animations -in process

Hamish McLogie and the worlds biggest Boogie -kids (est @June 2020)

That’s not Chocolate, Nigel kids-@Feb 2020

Oh Dear Dudley -@June 2020-kids

Libby’s Magical Garden kids

Mr RobiNsons class kids

iSammy suitcase app

https://www.backatchabooks.com/apps-cjn9

Senior v Zombies app in process

Thank you, Patrick, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Patrick Harrington

The Lahaska Bookshop

The Lahaska Book Shop is the first stop on my Independent Book Store tour. In an effort to bring awareness of how vital these places are, I’m interviewing the great folks who manage them.

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of chatting with the manager of The Lahaska Bookshop, Daniel Eilisii. The moment I stepped through the door, Daniel and his staff greeted me with smiles, eager to share their love of books with me.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to get a photo of Daniel holding one of my books that is sold at the store. Shameless, I know. As you can see he was happy to oblige. Thanks, Daniel!

The Lahaska Bookshop, located in Peddler’s Village in Pennsylvania, is a bright and cheerful place. Peddler’s Village is a quaint shopping mall with cobbled paths and picturesque store fronts.

Like the other merchants, The Lahaska Bookshop, has large glass windows filled with eye-catching displays that delight and entice. But, they specialize in one important item the others don’t-books!

Not only did Daniel welcome me to his beautiful shop, he was kind enough to answer the many questions I had about running an Independent Bookstore.

Hi, Daniel, welcome to Angle Kiss Publications. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What motivated you to open (or work at) an Independent Book Store?

Well, my family owned a small bookstore back in the ’90s, The Dublin Bookshelf. And when I started working at the Doylestown Bookshop in 2005, it felt similar in a way.

A family-owned store. There was a camaraderie with all the staff. We all share a love of reading.  That continues to The Lahaska Bookshop.

Can you tell us a little about the Lahaska Book Shop?

We are a relatively new store located in Peddler’s Village. We’ve been here almost a year and a half. We are connected to the Doylestown Bookshop which has been in Doylestown for over twenty years.

Our staff has decades of bookselling experience. We have a large selection of books in every subject as well as gifts, cards, stationery,  puzzles, and toys.

What’s involved with running an independent book store?

I can only speak of my experience but it’s a full-time job that is always active and exciting. Besides the basics of ordering books, unpacking, processing, and shelving, we are handselling books and making recommendations throughout the day.

Making displays, arranging new sections, trying to keep things fresh and interesting. It also takes time to develop an understanding of what books your customers are interested in and stocking those books yet still keeping an assortment of books on the shelves for visitors and tourists.

Is competition with online retailers difficult? How do small book stores compete with Amazon and Barnes & Nobel?

In the past decade, there has been a movement to support your local businesses. These stores are the backbone of our communities. People want to have that connection.

I will shop at my favorite stores because they do their best to take care of me and I want to do the same for them.

Among independent bookstores, there is also an invaluable network of support provided by the ABA, The American Booksellers Association.

What makes your store unique?

I think what makes our store here at Lahaska and at the Doylestown Bookshop most unique is our staff. No matter what business you are in, you need a crew of people that love what they do.

You need that love to be infectious. So it’s the faces and the smiles and the love of books. We all want our customers to discover their next great adventure in literature.

And we love customers recommending books to us. We’re all in the biggest coolest book club ever.

What are your biggest sellers?

This changes a lot throughout the year. Right now “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens and “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris are selling very well. “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles and Tara Westover’s “Educated” continue to be popular.

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

We have promotions and special events throughout the year at both of our stores. We held our “Blind Date with a Book” promotion during the month of February.

The books come wrapped up in plain brown paper and tied with twine with just a few keywords of description written on them to pique your curiosity and take a chance.

March has been history month in our Doylestown location. We are working with the Doylestown Historical Society to put on programs all about the interesting and almost unknown facets of our community.

We have a regular children’s storytime every week and many diverse book clubs. Also, The 5th Annual Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 27th!

Do you have author book signings?

We do.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

As a bookseller I would say after the hard work of writing your book is done, there is still more hard work to come. Getting out there to promote and sell your book is not easy.

It takes time and lots of energy. Promote your work on blogs and social media. Send it out to get reviews.  Look for new and unique ways to promote.

Work with your local retailers, develop a friendship with them and get to know your readers.. In talking to authors we’ve had at our stores over the years, the most successful have been the ones that communicate the best with their audience.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

Our website lists all the events and special programs for both of our locations. There is something upcoming for everyone.

We also have a great staff picks display. It’s our favorite section. Get to know us and let’s talk books!

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

The author who got really got me to love reading was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To this day, his books hold a special place on my shelf.

And I’ve been devouring and loving his other series and characters, “Brigadier Gerard”, “Professor Challenger”, the “Round the Fire” stories and his historical fiction, “Sir Nigel” and “The White Company”.

I am also a big fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Tolkien, LeGuin, Bradbury, Asimov, Gaiman, Vonnegut and of course Stephen King.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

www.doylestownbookshop.com

https://www.facebook.com/LahaskaBookshop/
https://www.instagram.com/lahaskabookshop/
https://www.facebook.com/DoylestownBookshop/

Thank you so much, Daniel, for taking the time to tell us about The Lahaska Bookshop. I had so much fun talking with you and exploring the store-again.

Independent Book Stores

As an author I love books. I love cracking open a fresh cover and hearing the stiff crinkle as it’s unfurled for the first time.

There’s something special about being the initial one to open a brand new book. It’s as if the words inside are old friends welcoming you, keen to tell a tale written with you in mind.

Over the years, I’ve purchased books for my Kindle and my Nook but I never seem contented with the purchase. E-commerce transactions are convenient for our fast-paced lifestyles.

That handy-dandy click to purchase button has turned into the norm but, for me, the experience comes up short. It lacks the personal touch of chatting with an Independent Bookseller who cares for books as much as I do.

I enjoy entering a place where books are the mainstay and the atmosphere is awash with the joy of bibliophiles as they peruse the shelves. I also like being surrounded by many shelves chock full of books that cater to every niche. You can’t get that with an online merchant.

Because I value the contributions of Independent Books stores, I’ve started interviewing the people who manage them. It’s important for us to recognize that small business owners are people who recognize their patrons and cater to their different needs. 

Independent Bookstores are an integral part of a community and we can’t let them disappear into obscurity. We must prevent their being overwhelmed by a single impersonal conglomerate that rakes in millions of dollars every year without paying their fair share to neighborhood economies.

Since small business proprietors are established in local communities, they care about the people they serve and often donate to support youth groups and other charitable causes.

For more on why Independent Book Stores Matter click the articles below.

Writer’s Digest

Buzz Feed

Odyssey