Jen Cole is an Aussie primary school teacher who in recent years has begun writing fiction for both children and adults.
Her first novel, Play or Die - a thriller in which a girl finds herself forced into a bizarre game, can be purchased at Amazon.com (Click the 'Where to buy in print' link below.)
Two of her children’s stories, 'Killer App' and 'Swarm', written under the pseudonym, S. Carey, appear in Penguin Australia's 2013 Eerie Series. They are available in bookstores as a paperbacks and through the Apple ibooks store and Amazon.com as ebooks.
Where to find Jen Cole online
Where to buy in print
Test Planet 01
The search has taken a thousand years. Can the ship have hit the jackpot with the very first planet it's found?
They're back. They succeeded. So what's with the lousy welcome?
Can a second honeymoon on an obscure planet help Martin shed his rich wife?
Emily Macintosh, Ghostbuster
Trying to prove she's not a coward like her father gets Emily into all kinds of trouble.
This is a ghost story for nine to thirteen year olds.
Twice as Bright
A flash story to fit into your coffee break. Ever wondered why time seems to be running increasingly fast?
Angela has enough problems without the bundle that her son unexpectedly produces.
This short fiction story will fit into your coffee break.
Is Abby the only one who can see there's something wrong with her new stepsister?
Claire, just six-years-old, is pretty and bright. To the rest of the world, she's a little angel.
This is a tale of horror for twelve to fifteen-year-olds.
Jen Cole’s tag cloud
Smashwords book reviews by Jen Cole
- Around the World for 900 Years: Watching History Happen
on Oct. 16, 2012
Bias warning - I am the writer's daughter. At school, history was always taught in discrete chunks. We learnt what famous people had done, but not what was going on in the rest of the world at the same time.
Do you know what the Chinese were doing while Captain Cook mapped the east coast of Australia? Or what was happening in India when Marie Curie experimented with radium?
'Around the World' selects periods in time and looks at the events occurring simultaneously over the globe during those years. There are many surprises, including how much more meaningful human history becomes when shown in a worldwide context.
This is a potted historical overview. Well worth the read.
on Oct. 16, 2012
Verbit is a fun story. S.A. Barton has a compelling style that keeps you reading. I have to say though that I felt a little mislead partway through. There's a section early on when the kid calls for a car using a public reader. He makes a point of saying he prefers using public readers as, unlike his cell pad, they have nearly perfect voice recognition. Ah ha, I thought. This is a setup for something that's going to happen later on. Sure enough, later in the story the kid uses his cell pad to call for a car, and after getting in, darkens the windows.
The car's going to go to the wrong destination, I thought. Though the kid has other intentions, he'll find himself in a situation in which he has to use the knife in some news-making way. This doesn't happen. The car arrives where it's supposed to, so why were such elaborate and ultimately irrelevant details about voice recognition devices included in a short story?
Despite that small hiccup, I enjoyed the ride, along with the twist at the end, and intend to read more of Barton's work.
on Oct. 19, 2012
I enjoyed reading Adversary - a futuristic story in which the remnants of humanity dwell in some kind of space habitat, after having abandoned a hostile Earth thousands of years before. Their religion tells them science and machines are friends and the nearby planet is the enemy, hostile to all humans. One family, questioning the religion's warnings, decides to visit it.
I did feel an important element was missing here. The people in the space station hadn't reverted to primitives. They were still educating their children, teaching them high-level science, sufficient to maintain their space station, mine asteroids for resources, and to keep spaceworthy, a fleet of craft. So how had all knowledge of their ancestors' relocation to the space habitat been lost? A reason for such wide gaps in their education needs to be given. Here's a possible one:
The original sets of refugees fleeing to the space station had contained a group of religious zealots who, rather than blaming humans for making the Earth hostile, blamed the Earth itself, and decided that nature was the enemy of mankind. These zealots, through sabotage and rebellion, killed the leaders and took control of the space station. They destroyed all the information data cubes except those relating to the pure sciences, and forced their own version of history/religion onto the rest. Some kind of explanation along these lines would have made the premise more believable.
The story is progressed through the viewpoints of different characters in the family and this works well. Like astronauts setting foot on a new planet, they explore the sensations with trepidation and excitement, and the reader silently urges them on, delighting in their delight.
I'm not sure the ending was entirely realistic but it certainly came with a bang. Overall an enjoyable story that gives readers something to think about.
- The Mystery of the Elusive Fitness Instructor
on Oct. 20, 2012
This was a nice little mystery, albeit containing a few mysteries that perhaps weren't intended. The protagonist, Cynthia, introduces herself as someone who used to be a computer programmer until her boss was murdered. As she was to be a witness at the trial, she decided to exploit her newly acquired skills and become a detective (!?) How does being a witness to a crime turn you from a computer programmer to a detective I wonder.
Later on she is given a phone number of a kick boxer but when she calls with a job offer, the man claims to know nothing about kickboxing or the company that referred him. The logical assumption would have been that she'd been given the wrong number. Yet this never even occurred to her and she continued investigating on the assumption that the number was correct. Hmm, the computer programming's looking good, Cynthia.
However, apart from those two fairly minor glitches, I found the story overall to be a fun read, and enjoyed the bits of humour sprinkled throughout.
Note for the author: The text contained some random font size changes. It could have been my reader - I was using Adobe Digital Editions to view the epub version on my computer.
- Sub-Textual Evidence for the Existence of Alien Life and the Extrapolation of Internet Protocols
on Oct. 23, 2012
A novel alien contact story, entertainingly told.
- The Long Goodbye
on Feb. 22, 2013
I'm sorry for the author if this story is about a real occurrence. It certainly seems real. Though the reader knows the ending from the start, this calm, poignant description of all the little things that make up a long goodbye holds you in its grip.
on June 15, 2013
A fun story providing a great little fantasy to fill your thoughts as you race to get to that meeting!
- The Long Afternoon
on June 15, 2013
An interesting story and very readable. I did feel though that switching styles from brisk modern to a kind of wandering fantasy nightmare was perhaps not quite kosher. I would have also liked the ending to have left the reader with a better idea of the reason these events unfolded in the way they did for the protagonist and of the road ahead.
- Last Woman On Earth (A Short Story)
on June 15, 2013
Good writing and a gripping if depressing tale. In general I like stories to end with at least a smidgeon of hope. For example, in this one, the woman could become aware of an animal nearby behaving with a strange intelligence and in a flash of realization, give a nod of hope to the next dominant species before ending her own.
- OCR is Not the Only Font
on June 15, 2013
Very cool stories. Most enjoyable!