I’ve encountered thousands of people in my life, all of us have. Each person I’ve ever met has, in varying degrees, shaped the person I’ve become. It seems only right that I would want to tell their stories. Ultimately, their stories are mine too.
I am expanding my writing to include longer stories and novels. In the meantime, my extensive flash fiction, poetry and short stories can be found on my website.
As a reader, I was overjoyed to find independently published authors whose works I love and admire, most notably: Chris James, JD Mader and David Antrobus.
Where to find Jo-Anne Teal online
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Smashwords book reviews by Jo-Anne Teal
- The Second Internet Cafe, Part 1: The Dimension Researcher
on July 26, 2012
I bought this book on the strength of a previous novel by Chris James, Class Action, which I really enjoyed and which was, apparently, his first novel. I am so pleased I did as the Dimension Researcher has turned out to be my favourite book from this past year! I liked it so much, I'm rereading it now...in preparation for the second in his series, which I understand will be coming up within the next year.
The character of Lucas Hunter compelled me to continue reading as SciFi has never been my genre of choice;however, with this book, I have changed my mind. What I loved about the adventures? The science, the wonder, the human impact of the unique time travel.
The story is a fascinating one...actually, it isn't one story, it's many. Timelines in alternate universes pop up regularly to create new challenges for the characters and the reader. I was enthralled by the choices Mr.James made in these realities, particularly when there was significant attention paid to the emotional toll of this kind of travel.
Mr. James is a skilled literary writer and a wonderful storyteller. I really can't wait to read the next installment...and the next...and the next!
- The Second Internet Cafe, Part 2: The Cascade Annihilator
on Feb. 24, 2013
I was anxious to begin reading Part 2 of the Second Internet Café series because I enjoyed Part 1 so very much. I'm one of those readers who, upon finding an author I enjoy, devour every book he/she has written. I had to wait a year for The Cascade Annihilator; I'm happy to say the writing, story and characters were worth the wait!
The Cascade Annihilator picks up soon after the action of The Dimension Researcher. Some of the main supporting characters are back and some intriguing new ones are introduced. The story starts in the middle of action so we're immediately pulled into Lucas Hunter's latest adventures/dangers.
Chris James is a rich writer: scenes provide us with just enough detail to fill our imaginations, realistic dialogue(real for both time and place) moves the story along as it would in real life, the writing is beautifully woven. Strange how science can provide such poetic imagery. In particular, the colourful visual of the dimension `tree' has stayed with me.
To fully enjoy this novel, I do believe readers must read The Dimension Researcher first. DR provides more background on how the Second Internet Café came into being (and why it has the unusual moniker. It also provides the science groundwork.
There is an added voice in this book of the series, and James has made an excellent choice with the female character of Paula Featherstone. Her storyline is integral and provides emotional balance overall.
I'm shocked to have become such a diehard fan of this series as science fiction has never captured my attention previously. It is the high quality of James's writing, a rollicking original story and the blend of tension, humour, drama and adventure that keep me riveted and lead me to ask: when, oh when, is Part 3 making its appearance? Trust me,readers, this series is brilliant!
One more thing. My name appears in the acknowledgement page of this novel; however, I would never endorse a book that I felt was of a low standard. My credibility and integrity are both on the line. I am confident and sincere in my hearty recommendation of this quality novel.
- Stories of Genesis, Vol. 1
on Aug. 03, 2013
The soundtracks to our lives not only provide background music to life events, they can also spur imagination of the highest order. How often do we listen to songs we love, wonder as to what the lyrics really mean, then just attach our own stories (really, our own fantasies) to those same songs?
Chris James has done that and oh, so much more. He's taken fan fiction to another level with this project. James has written original, imaginative short stories using the exhilarating, fantastical songs of his favourite rock band, the incomparable Genesis, as inspiration.
Let's be clear here. He hasn't quoted the lyrics directly. He's used the songs as springboard into his own, well-woven stories.
There is a range - an eclectic mix. At first I wondered if all of the stories should have been forced into a theme. But, that would have been so wrong. The common denominator of Genesis band inspiration is enough of a theme. Chris takes his stories into everyday lives, into the future and into fantasy; this mix is another strength of this collection.
I am really looking forward to reading more of his creative noodling and hope more volumes of this "new kind of fan fiction" will be forthcoming soon. Such creativity and excellent writing!
- Stories of Genesis, Vol. 2
on March 09, 2014
Having read Chris James's sci-fi, alt. reality, action-driven novels, and the first volume of `a new kind of fan fiction', I knew I would enjoy this new collection. Chris James is a known quantity - he's an excellent writer. This book, however, exceeded my expectations. James has added another level and scope to his storytelling that is wonderful indeed.
I admit I don't know all of the Genesis songs (Genesis the pop/rock band, not Genesis in the Bible) which were the author's inspiration. When I read these stories, I did so in the absence of the framework avid fans will bring to their reading. No matter.The stories stand tall on their own and don't require previous knowledge of the musical context.
Counter-factual history, nuanced and well-paced plots, and the inclusion of details I believe to be homage to H.G. Wells: all of these components wowed me. Probably most importantly for this reader, within action-packed stories (full of well-researched history), the intriguing characters grow and change as a result of the circumstances they find themselves in. I thoroughly enjoyed all five stories but for me, three really stood front and centre. In particular, `A Thought Spared for Providence' is a truly magnificent piece of writing.
This is beautiful, masterful story-telling. I will keep these epic journeys and characters in my heart for a very long time.
**added: I was honoured to be a beta-reader for this volume but I purchased my own copy of the book for my collection**
- Stories of Genesis, Vol. 3
on June 08, 2014
*Cumulative emotional impact*
Chris James is audacious in his choice of range and subject for these new stories. I was surprised at the emotional journey on which I was taken, and this feeling remains after having now read each story at least twice.
As I am familiar with just a small selection of progressive rock band, Genesis’s music, I read the first two volumes of Chris James’s “new kind of fan fiction’ with only the slightest understanding of the music that inspired his short stories. It didn’t matter. The stories stood as excellent writing on their own. In fact, in the second collection there were several beautiful pieces of literature: stories that have stayed with me, magnificent writing.
When I saw this volume,I realized I would be reading this group of stories with a lot more reference knowledge: two of the stories are connected to songs that are official standards in my desert island favourites. Would I experience the writing differently this time around?
I’ve ultimately decided that knowing the song inspirations may be a nice coincidence but it is truly the strong writing that made my reading such a pleasure.
Although I was looking forward to the last two stories the most (because those were the ones with familiar connections), I took my time and read the entries in order, from the beginning, as the author has placed them. This was exactly the right approach. I was completely ensconced in plot lines, action and characters’ dilemmas. Only upon finishing the entire book did I go back to check the song lyrics.
Folks, this is unique, unflinchingly real storytelling.The journey is real. Humour to discomfort. Uncomfortable empathy to anger. Everyday horror to poignancy. Quite a range!
The complete set of these Genesis inspired volumes have been eye opening for me in terms of form and imagination. This third and apparently final volume is definitely reading time well spent.
**Note for transparency: I was honoured to be a beta-reader for this book; however, I have purchased my own copy through Smashwords for my library.**