Jack Forge


Born John Stephen Rohde in Los Angeles, California, I focused my academic study on the liberal arts and I have striven to create worthy art most of my life.

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
When I was twelve I wrote my first poem, THE FIRST CHRISTMAS, which St. Cyril's church published in the Christmas bulletin and a priest read to the congregation.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Los Angeles which strongly influenced much of my poetry, some of my stories, and at least two of my novels--AMATEUR AT HEART and HUNTING KETCH.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jack Forge online


The Graphic Art of Jack Forge
A slideshow of a lifetime of work in graphics.


The Monster in the Mirror
Price: Free! Words: 610. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2014. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A sort of dramatic horror story with a timeless theme told in free verse.
The Box
Price: Free! Words: 380. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A short free verse poem on a long view of expectation for the future.
The Plague
Price: Free! Words: 370. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A new prose poem about a deadly affliction affecting the planet.
Price: Free! Words: 430. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2013. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
A new poem about the many ways we measure the moments of our lives.
Out of a Cloud
Price: Free! Words: 290. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Lyrics to a song composed by my son, Sean Damon, whose music is on Soundclick. This poem is included in my book of poetry, SPIRITS, available on Smashwords.
Purchasing Power
Price: Free! Words: 1,150. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Flash fiction about a future that could come terribly true. A story from my collection of short stories, PRESSED LEAVES.
Shooting Bear
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,740. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2012. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
A short novel about guilt, redemption, and love
Price: Free! Words: 420. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A poem about the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime when becoming seventy years of age
House of Swallows
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 51,140. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Family
A tale of a girl's devotion to wild birds
Between the Dark and Dawn
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,690. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2011. Category: Fiction » Historical » General
An historical novel of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire

Jack Forge's favorite authors on Smashwords

Smashwords book reviews by Jack Forge

  • Why a Train? on May 17, 2011

    Much like a dream. Bits of humor too. For its brevity, the story works. It is difficult to write a short-short and make it succeed. Good use of details for vision and taste. I really can't see anyone even thinking of approaching a bear to inquire about a pair of pants, but then this is a dream where anything goes. Your use of the language is rough in spots but maybe you intended that. The end suggests an existential point of view. Interesting touch. The story closes with an unpredictable darkness that left me wondering about this character's life--and death. Maybe the story should have told me more.
  • IN ORCHARD LOST on May 19, 2011

    An interesting take on the loss of Eden. I found myself captured by the opening scene of a young couple finding a pear orchard. And I was further intrigued by the threatening darkness of chemical-poisoned apples. But I wanted more. When the writer left the story to conclude with a homily about maturity, I was lost, not in an orchard but at a dead end to a promising story. Maybe revise it with more development of the characters and theme.
  • Smashwords Style Guide on May 31, 2011

    Essential to preparing manuscripts for ebook publishing, especially on Smashwords. Thorough and organic. But it could benefit from editorial/organizational skills from someone, such as, well--me.
  • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide on May 31, 2011

    Well written guide, covering more clear information and direction in one cybertome than available in numerous sites on the internet. Remains to be seen if the apparently good advice will help me sell my books.
  • 100 Easy Household Tips on Nov. 17, 2011

    Lori J. Mitchell’s little book, 100 EASY HOUSHOLD TIPS, is packed with many ingenious remedies for those common household problems we all encounter. This simple volume will surely help anyone who reads it achieve more efficiency in the home. I recommend 100 EASY HOUSHOLD TIPS!
  • A Cure for All Known Diseases on June 05, 2012

    An effective short-short that presents real people in a convincing setting. One can feel the wetness while reading this series of verbal pictures that assemble a brief but complete story of marriage, need, and commitment. Applause for accomplishing a challenging task--creating a good story in fewer than a thousand words.
  • Wishful Thinking on June 05, 2012

    Good work on a difficult job of a story with few words.
  • The Rot on June 05, 2012

    Good premise that is all too likely to happen.
  • Let The World Die on June 16, 2012

    What a fascinating twist on the mythical self-sacrificing hero! An enjoyable little gem. One suggestion: Develop it. This deserves to be a novel or at least a full-blown short story. It is the germ of a major work.
  • The Medusa on June 18, 2012

    An interesting retelling of the myth. The horror comes out on the page. Even though I had known about the Medusa, the writing involved me in the story to the end. Good work.
  • Alius Dies on June 25, 2012

    Overall, an affecting poem on the horrors of war. Although I don’t know if you want comment, constructive criticism, or both, I offer you some comments. First, I’ve read some Sassoon, so I know for what you’re striving. I can see and hear and almost feel the plight of the soldiers in the trenches. I commend you on your enterprise in using an aabb rhyme scheme in English, a language not as rich in rhymes as the Romance languages, such as French and Italian. I also don’t know the reason you used the word Alius. Perhaps to cast an aura of antiquity, as in the repetition of wars throughout human history. But I could be reaching. Anyway, glad to see you presenting your work to the world. I hope you have continued to do so.
  • Oranges on June 25, 2012

    One of my favorite fruits! Thanks for reminding me of the transcendent pleasure of eating one. In your effective use of blank verse you present some sensuous images, such as “…juices as cold as the new morning...” Makes me want one right now! Keep writing!
  • I Would be Naive on June 25, 2012

    A fine tribute! I have become cynical about Mother’s Day, what with all the crass commercialism choking its essential meaning. Your mother must have been very pleased to read this homage. Your rhymes integrate well into the poem without standing up and shouting: “Hey, look at me! I sound like another word here.” And I’m glad to see you consider your life a blessing. Alas, so many of us, maybe those without mothers like yours, see life less happily. May you enjoy many more days of your mother and celebrate them this way.
  • Kaboom! on July 07, 2012

    Effective little piece of black comedy. I like the way you look at ecology from different points of view. To me, this seems like a germ for a longer story or novel. Nicely executed flash fiction since that form is more difficult than it looks. Good work!
  • A Perfect Mouse on July 07, 2012

    A sweet little fable. I'm not sure how happy I'd be with "my mouse" but I get your point. Nice work.
  • At The Bank on July 07, 2012

    Good concept. Nice little study of human nature. However, the dearth of paragraphs and some irregular punctuation make reading the tale a bit of a challenge. You may want to develop this promising sketch into a longer short story.
  • Warm Summer Night on July 09, 2012

    Interesting take on a police state. While I found your little story engrossing and amusing, I must take mild issue with its premise. Having written a similar story (Purchasing Power), I do not exactly share your point of view. Your tale presents a sort of dictatorship of disease prevention. But I see it as one of treatment with more money for that going to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Nevertheless, I enjoyed your story and applaud you for writing socially conscious science fiction.
  • Dragon Lance on July 10, 2012

    A fable for contemporary adults, this obviously works on more than one level. While a dash of cynicism spices the story, it does not overwhelm the satirical humor. Well told.
  • Twitter Troubles on July 10, 2012

    Quick and smart. A well-aimed shot at a bloated icon of the contemporary social networking maze. Your words ring truer than a tweet. Sweet.
  • The Peppermint Major on July 10, 2012

    Many very good lines. You handle a demanding rhyme scheme fairly well. Most of all I like the sensuous depiction of your interaction with a friend. You paint the experience with words.
  • Your Call on July 17, 2012

    Of course Autumn means some different and added things to me but in this fine little poem you captured the sensuous images of one of my favorite seasons. Now in the midst of summer I look forward.
  • Hell and the Devil on July 17, 2012

    Some startling images here. I sure hope people don't have to go to the hell and face the devil you describe since so many of us have suffered hell on Earth.
  • November the First on July 18, 2012

    Nicely collects the sensuousness of the slow-beating heart of autumn. A fine reminder of a favored season.
  • Let The World Die on May 04, 2013

    Good work! Such short stories can be difficult to write, yet you made it suspensefully interesting while making a strong statement about humanity.
  • We Who Embrace The Night on May 04, 2013

    Although this is not one of my favorite genres, I enjoyed the story, which opens doors to intriguing interpretations.
  • The Last Fight of the Dwarves on Aug. 12, 2013

    Good opening sentence that hooks the reader. This short-short seems like it would work well as a chapter in a novel. Maybe you had this in mind. Lots of color and action here. I enjoyed the read and wanted more.