Author Spotlight

It is with great pleasure we welcome Jesse S. Frankel to our Author Spotlight for today.

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 the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and 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, currently reside in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music. His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and its sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of Future projects for Devine Destinies include the final novel in the Titans trilogy, the final novel in the Just Another Quiet... trilogy, The Undernet, the re-release of Star Maps, and more. He is also the author of The Menagerie and The Nightmare Crew trilogy, all courtesy of Finch Books.

Today we are going to showcase Jesse's Catnip Series as well as his latest release Star Maps

Catnip Book 1

Harry Goldman, teenage DNA researcher, genius, and total nerd, is thrown into jail for illegal transgenic research. Freed by the FBI on the condition he works under their aegis, Harry is taken to New York where he meets Anastasia, a cat-girl and the product of transgenic engineering. No sooner do they get acquainted then they are attacked by another creature, a bear which is more than a bear, and are forced to flee for their lives. Along the way, they encounter furries, Doug the Dog, find out that they are more into each other emotionally than they’re willing to admit, and end up in the Catskill Mountains where Harry finds out the shocking truth about how Anastasia was created...and what she was created for.

A meow answered him, and then they heard the sound of the toilet flushing. The cat-girl came out, shook the water off her hands, and stopped to stare at Harry. “Meow,” she said again, but this time it didn’t sound like a cat’s meow. It sounded like a human saying the word. Then she stopped, sniffed the air, and took a step in his direction. He was transfixed, and while one part of him wanted to retreat, the other part wanted to see what would happen. She took another step and then jumped and yowled as the agent zapped her. A series of snarls and hisses emanated from her mouth, and after turning around, she backed into the cell and watched him through narrowed eyes. Farrell closed the door and locked it. “She seems to like you,” he observed as he moved out of range. “You think she’s cute, like those furry animated creatures or something?”

Harry didn’t know what to say. He stood there, mouth slightly ajar, and then shrugged and turned his head away in order to hide his embarrassment. Yeah, he thought she was cute. “I guess she’s okay.”

A chuckle came from the older man. “Maybe you’re right. I’m a dog man, myself.”

Farrell’s hand went to his jacket pocket and he took out a pager. He checked it and turned it off. “I have to go upstairs for a moment. When I come back, I’ll bring someone to take a blood sample from her. Don’t move, got it?”


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Catnip Two - Rise of the Transgenics

”I told you, don’t call me Miss Kitty.” Harry Goldman, young genius, DNA researcher and still a nerd, is back, and this time he’s working for the law. At the end of Catnip, his girlfriend, Anastasia, devolved into a cat. He manages to bring her back to her half-human form, but no sooner does he do so than a new problem surfaces. Two other transgenics emerge, and they are out for blood. Harry and Anastasia have to face off against Lyudmila, another cat-girl, and Piotr, a half-rhino, half-boar monstrosity that lives to kill. And if that isn’t bad enough, the police, lynch mobs, and underground dwellers are after Harry and his girlfriend as well. With time running out, they embark on a treacherous journey to the Ukraine in order to solve the riddle of Anastasia’s DNA, a journey that could also cost both of them their lives.

Through fuzzy eyes, he saw her fur, black and shiny, lie smooth and flat upon her body. When she sauntered over, seemingly unconcerned that he was injured, she bent over to lock gazes with him. He flinched and wanted to look away, yet he couldn’t. Her eyes were black, the color of night...the color of death. She sounded...Russian. How could that be? The other girl had sounded American all the way. A wave of agony went through him, and the cat-girl added to that agony by whipping her claws left and right, shredding his face. Blood poured out and soaked his coat. The loss of blood also meant loss of consciousness. Sensing that the end was near, he whispered, “Last time I saw were had spots.”

This time, the cat-girl showed her teeth. They were razor sharp, and her smile seemed cruel and calculating. “You’ve never seen me before,” she said, her voice harsh and unyielding, the same as her gaze. “And you’re never going to see anyone again.”

With a swift move, she leapt upon him, biting savagely into his neck. Right now, he felt no pain and wished that he’d been one-step quicker, his moves faster. However, it was not to be. In his last moments of life, Nick wondered why he’d been chosen as some kind of sacrificial lamb, why no one would help him when he needed it most, and why life had to be so unfair...

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Catnip Book Three - Revolution

Harry Goldman is back once more, and this time he’s living the domestic life up in the Catskill Mountains with Anastasia, his transgenic girlfriend. At the end of Catnip 2: Rise of the Transgenics, he went through the same process as Anastasia did. Now he’s the same as she is, and their only wish is to be left alone and to live their lives in peace. Their peace is shattered by the arrival of a pig-man named Istvan. It seems that Istvan escaped from a laboratory in Hungary where yet another scientist was conducting transgenic experiments. In short order, the young couple is confronted by Szabo, a giant of a man who is more shark than man. He has plans not only for himself but also for others who wish to become as he is. This is something that Harry cannot allow. Soon he, Anastasia and Istvan are circling the globe and making stops in Hungary and Serbia. Their journey ends in Russia where it all began. There, Harry meets the real brains behind the transgenics program and is once more involved with his girlfriend in a battle against those who’d destroy society, a battle that could very well cost them their lives.


“What’s wrong?” he asked. Thoughts of getting hitched were forgotten as the hair stood up on the nape of her neck. A low growl came from her throat, but it wasn’t one of anger or fear. It sounded like she was curious, but also cautious. With quick and sure movements, she sidled over to the window, peered out and turned back. From the way she held her head, ears twitching madly and nose sniffing, she’d detected something or someone. A second later, he heard it, too, the sound of small feet stamping on leaves. The visitor was trying to keep his or movements as quiet as possible, but it wasn’t working. “Yeah, I hear it now,” he said. “It’s got small feet, a small body, the size of a large dog, right?”

“Right,” Anastasia affirmed with a quick nod. “We’ve got company. There is someone outside. Whoever it is, he or she is doing a good job of staying hidden. I can smell the person, but it’s not like any smell I’ve ever detected.”

Now Harry’s detective skills kicked in overtime. He took a sniff and tested the air, but his sense of smell wasn’t as refined as hers was. “What kind of aroma are we talking about?”

Anastasia uttered in a whisper, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but it smells like bacon.”

Bacon... that did sound crazy, but all the same, he took what she said seriously. However, he did have images of a massive ham tottering toward them on two meaty legs, squashing anything and everything in its path and fought to stifle a laugh. “If it smells like Porky Pig, then how is it covering its scent?”

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Catnip Book 4 - Separation

Acceptance has never been an easy thing. Harry and Anastasia, newly married, find out love may not be enough. Monsters are out there…and they’re waiting.

Harry and Anastasia are back, this time married and attempting to fit into society. When another transgenic emerges—a mole-man named Leonardo—he tells them an old friend, Istvan, a pig-man, long thought dead, is still alive.

Doing the right thing, Harry and Anastasia go to investigate and find out other transgenics are alive, well, and led by yet another madman, bent on destruction. The trail begins in Italy, and continues on to France, Spain, and finally back to the United States.

As if that wasn’t enough, Anastasia is pregnant and Harry has to worry about her, the baby, and the plans of the madman who hates all transgenics and wants to see them eliminated. Anastasia’s life is threatened as is the life of her baby, and with the outcome far from certain, the quest continues.

Inside, Anastasia lay in bed, her eyes closed, and her chest moving slowly and rhythmically. “Anastasia,” he whispered, “I’ll be back soon. I have to find Istvan and I have to stop this monster. Wait for me... please.” A constricted feeling in his throat prevented any more words from coming out. He started to cry, sobbing as though part of him had been torn out. Now, in this time of separation, what would he do without her, without the only person who’d ever meant anything to him in his adult life, save his parents?

The sound of the door opening disturbed him and he wiped his eyes. A nurse came over to check Anastasia’s vital signs. “She seems to be all right,” the nurse said. “I’ll be with her.”

“Please,” he begged. “Do what you can.”

Outside, he found Overton on his cellphone. He was sporting a bandage wrapped around his head, and soon clicked off. “I’m having guards placed here, just in case. Your wife will be safe.” Rotating his injured arm, he winced, but his face held a look of determination on it. “What’s the plan?” Harry shook his head. “I don’t know.” A feeling of loss swept through him like a typhoon. “I don’t know where to go. Farrell is gone, Leo is gone, and you’re hurt...”

“Listen to me. I’m here to help you.” Overton stood tall, and a new kind of authority sounded in his voice, the kind that spoke of newly acquired experience and understanding. “Jason and Maze will also help, and you know how to do this. You’ve got a friend out there, and you have to find him. There’s no one else.”

In a moment of clarity, Harry realized there was no one else, and a special someone needed him. It meant leaving his wife, but he had a job to do. “You’re right. We have to get this done. First thing, we talk to Jason and Maze. Then we go after Allenby.”

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Catnip Book 5 - Reunion

Harry and Anastasia are expecting their first child, but there are forces in the world that do not and never will accept Harry’s kind. Transgenics frighten people, and in a bid to win over public opinion, Harry puts his best foot forward. However, other forces are at work. Allenby, a mad scientist, is still alive and out to reshape humanity to his whims. Government officials also stand in the way of societal acceptance. Added into the mix are the arrival of some new transgenic creations, and Harry is forced once again to take them on with the help of Pavel, a Russian dog-demon, and bring the fight to one of the coldest regions in Russia. For his wife’s sake as well as his daughter’s sake, this is one fight Harry intends to win.

A curious crowd had gathered along with the ubiquitous reporters. Some of them held up signs in favor of transgenic rights. About thirty others standing ten feet across from them held up signs saying Mutants leave! Harsh words passed between both groups, but no violence seemed imminent, at least for the moment. Tolliver’s men kept the two groups back. The chief escorted Harry inside, with Overton bringing up the rear. “Those groups,” Tolliver muttered, jerking his thumb behind him. “They’re a pain in the butt to control.”

“You mean the pro-or anti-groups?” Harry asked.

“Both of them...”

The chief kept up a running commentary as they walked along. “We didn’t actually capture this... individual. He found his way in, he said, through the bottom level and the service elevator. According to the arresting officers, he sat down in the lobby and offered no trouble when we put him in a cell.”

“Name,” Overton wanted to know.

“He gave his name as Pavel.”

Pavel... it was obviously Russian.

“Was that it?”

Tolliver nodded. “That was it. He said he wanted to speak to Harry Goldman and no one else. We had to sequester him away from the other prisoners. You’ll see why.”

Going down the stairs, they entered a holding room containing the usual street scum. A few of them yelled epithets, daring the chief to let them out so they could exact some retribution. Tolliver ignored them and went to the back door. Opening it, he pointed to a cell straight ahead where someone was standing. “He’s all yours.”

Pavel turned out to be unlike any transgenic Harry had ever seen. Roughly five-ten, he resembled a demon mixed with a dog, with a long snout, beady red eyes, and a pronounced brow. He had a hyper-muscular, lightly blackfurred body clad only in a pair of torn-up jeans and a nondescript t-shirt easily a size too small. Lumps dotted his face, almost as if something inside was straining to come out. He seemed quiescent enough, but exuded a raw, animal strength.

Unlike a dog, though, he did not have paws. His hands, though, were abnormally large and thick-fingered, almost as if they’d been designed to tear through something—or someone. With a look of curiosity on his face, he walked over to the door. “You are Harry Goldman?” he asked in a thick Russian accent. The voice came out muffled and somewhat indistinct, probably due to the snout and the construction of the creature’s jaw.

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Now for a look at Jesse's latest Release - Star Maps

Carl Thornton, seventeen-year-old stargazer and total nerd, resides in Reno, Nevada, and lives for watching the night sky. His dream—discover a UFO. His mantra—“Seeing is believing.” He meets Grace Paxton, and finds out through a series of circumstances, that she, her family and friends, aren’t exactly from around here. As well, he learns the reason why Area 51 exists, the secrets it holds, and the danger in finding out those secrets. Carl also falls for Grace, but realizes that he has to find a way to get her and her people home—even if it costs him his life.

Julie remained at her desk, nervously gathering up her books. Walking over to her, one of her notebooks had a picture of herself in the foreground and another picture of someone who looked almost like her in the background. This was an obsession in a very weird way. When she saw me, she hastily closed her notebook and shoved it in her bag. “Um, you got a second?” I asked. “It’s about the other day... you know?”

Her mouth opened and closed spasmodically, like a fish out of water. “It was nothing,” she finally said, her eyes darting all over the place. “I thought I saw something when I was fixing my makeup. I lost it, I know that. Don’t worry.”

What was up with the lying? Attempting to inject a confidential tone to my voice, I said hopefully, “Julie, I saw them, too, the doubles, I mean. I believe you.”

With my admission, I figured she’d understand that she wasn’t alone in seeing things. She didn’t, as her mouth wrinkled into a sneer. “I can handle it. If you’re having trouble with reality, talk to someone else, okay? I’ve got a life, and I don’t need a space nerd to tell me I’m seeing things.”

Julie suddenly snapped her head around, and venom spewed from her mouth as she caught sight of Grace calmly taking in the scene. “Hey,” she called out. “It’s none of your business!”

Whoa, this wasn’t right. Grace started to enter the room, and I stood between both girls, just in case the ultra-violence started. “Julie, she didn’t do anything,” I said. “We should talk this over.”

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Twitter: @JessSFrankel


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Top 5 things on your bucket list

Wow, some list to fill out! Let me see…

1. Visit Europe with my wife and family. I went to Spain on my honeymoon, and I’ve been to a few other countries—England, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries—but never to Italy or France, and I’d love to see the history and artwork available. There are so many places I want to go…if I ever have the time and money, then yes, this is number one.

2. Write that bestseller. I know, it sounds vain, but if I could write only ONE bestseller, something that everyone could enjoy, then that would be enough for me.

3. Jump out of an airplane, preferably with a parachute on! I have a terrible fear of heights, and this would be one way of overcoming it. As long as I land safely, it’s all good.

4. Live long enough to see my sons get married. As I write this, my older son is seventeen, and my younger son is thirteen. My father died when I was twenty-three, way before I got married, so he never had the chance to meet my wife or hold his grandchildren. My mother—now gone—did, and she was thrilled with it all.

5. Fantasy time. Circle the Earth in a space shuttle. Yes, fear of heights thing again, but I’ve always had a fascination with space and what might be out there. Just to see our planet, with all its beauty and terror and wonder would be the most awesome thing—ever.

We would like to thank Jesse S. Frankel for being our Author Spotlight today we had a lot of fun creating this.

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