Ask a Question

Here you go folks, ask away.  But be advised, questions are moderated.  While I’ll answer all questions as best I can and while I won’t shy away from criticism, profanity and belligerence isn’t tolerated and won’t see the light of day.

To ask a question, use the comment box below.


24 responses to “Ask a Question

  1. francesfalls

    Hi JF Owen! My question is: Where are you?

    • Well hello there! I suppose the answer to that question depends on whether you’re asking where I am in the physical universe or why I haven’t been writing in a while. 🙂

      If your question concerns the former, I’m in a small town located in North Carolina, which is a geographic region on the third planet of a G2V star in the Orion Spur of the Milky Way galaxy.

      If your question concerns the latter, life intervened for a bit. I’ve started writing again, but I’ve been concentrating on finishing Providence and on another blog that I have which is devoted to engineering topics. I am planning to revive this blog though, hopefully in the not too distant future.

      If I missed the mark with both answers, let me know and I’ll give it another shot! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      P.S. Where are you?

      • francesfalls

        Thank you for the detailed response! Glad to hear you haven’t disappeared from this space altogether. In the physical universe, I currently call Australia home. We are actually old friends – I told you I would stop by and say Hi if I ever assumed a new identity 🙂

        • Well hello! It’s nice to hear from you again. How are the boys doing? 🙂

        • francesfalls

          All is well! Life blunders on and we pass through ages and stages without anyone ever asking me if I am ready 😄. Currently filling out high school applications and trying to subdue the fear.

        • I’m glad! I miss your writing. You truly do have a gift. I will surely be a regular visitor at your new place!

  2. Carl Porter

    Good book! I had some trouble getting used to bouncing between the present time and the flashbacks, but it worked after a few chapters. Why Australia? Australia never seems like a major player in world affairs. It seems like they usually just sit down there and mind their own business. Why wouldn’t China, Russia or India move to the leading spot?

    • Hi Carl,
      Agree or not, there is a strong consensus that the U.S. currently acts as a dampening force in world politics that prevents wild swings. Equally important, the U.S. acts as a driving factor in world economics.

      The political premise in the “Chara’s Promise” universe is that, when the United States split into three countries, the world economic and political structure was thrown into upheaval. What happens after the recovery would be conjecture, but my premise is that the United Nations disolved and was replaced by a group of regional power groups. One of those groups was the UFN, comprised of what is currently called the Commonwealth Nations (minus India which was was pulled into a confederation with China), Ireland, Japan, the Commonwealth of American States, the Independent United States, and a quartet of southeast-asian island nations that Australia annexed.

      Neither of the UFN countries that split off from the United States would be in a position to reassert power. If you look at the economic and political strengths of the remaining UFN nations, the candidates for taking the lead would be Japan, Great Britain, Canada and Australia. Japan is out of the mix because their economy was so tightly tied to the U.S. that recovery after a U.S. civil war would be problematic. Canada is in a similar situation, aggravated by Quebec separating from Canada during the turmoil. Great Britain doesn’t have the natural resources to take the lead spot without reasserting it’s colonial powers, something it’s unlikely to attempt. That leaves Australia as the de facto political and economic leader.

      There’s also an underlying strength in Australia that the other countries, except Canada, lack. Australia, like the United States, is populated by people who took an untamed continent, made it their home and built it into a country of strength. The tenacity and resolve necessary to complete that would be an important trait for a world power.

      Beyond all of that, and almost as important, I love the Australian accent and I think Australian girls are really cute. 🙂

  3. Scott

    I haven’t read your novel yet, but your blog is a riot. It seems like pets and heights are key components when you write. You don’t seem to suffer from acrophobia but you may have issues with Acroklutz. Very entertaining! I think I’ll have to buy the novel.

    • Well, my experiences with heights began when I was eight years old and a big DC comics Superman fan. One day I cut the red blanket from my bed in half, tied it around my neck like a cape, crawled out of my bedroom window and jumped off of the porch roof. I remember being sure that I could fly if I tried hard enough. It was a rude awakening when I hit the ground, but at least it made me realize that falling from a moderate height was survivable.

      I’m not afraid of heights, but my track record says that I should still have a healthy respect for it.

      If you’re interested in reading Chara’s Promise, check out the “FREE BOOK” post at the top of the page. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Greg

    As a wise man once told me on his last day of working with us – “Illegitimi non carborundum”

  5. No questions, just wanted to say thank you for adding me to your blog roll! I feel special 🙂 I’ve only been blogging a few months, so as someone who is still relatively new to wordpress, I sincerely appreciate it. I noticed you’re from north carolina, I’m living near nashville and it’s not too shabby.

    • I’m really glad to meet you Cathy! Nashville is a great city. Is the Stockyard restaurant still one of the best places in town to eat?
      I was glad to add you to my blogroll. You’re an outstanding writer! I look forward to reading more from you.

  6. Rhonda Baker

    This sucks! You got me all interested in the story and wondering if Seth was going to finally hook up with Cassie and then you do that at the end. What happens now?????

    • Well Rhonda, as Captain Kirk once said, “there are always possibilities.” The end of the book isn’t necessarily the end of the story. I’ll let you know when “Providence” is ready to be released. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Mark

    I would like to read your book but I don’t have an ereader. Why isn’t it available in paperback or hardback. Couldn’t you find a publisher who would print it?

    • I didn’t submit Chara’s Promise to a traditional publisher for several reasons.

      First, writing isn’t my vocation, it’s a hobby that I simply enjoy. That’s why I wrote the novel, why I write short stories and why I maintain a blog. Honestly, it would probably have been very difficult for me to find an interested publisher. I’m an new author without an agent. If a publisher did show interest, it’s unlikely the advance would have been more than $1000. At that, with the usual publishing royalties, the book would have to sell thousands of copies before I covered the advance and was able to earn any more. I chose to publish as an eBook. With a 70% royalty, selling four hundred books will earn that same $1000.

      Second, because writing isn’t my primary source of income, dealing with the hassles of a publisher just didn’t seem worth the effort or emotional cost. Whether you like my writing style or not, the book was edited by a professional and there aren’t very many spelling or grammar errors in the book. Actually, I only know of one. I’ve read thousands of books in my life and many eBooks. Most had at least a few errors that slipped through and OCR eBooks are the worst offenders. You may not like my plot and you may not like how I develop the characters but you won’t be driven crazy by poor grammar, poor spelling or significant punctuation errors.

      Beyond that, I like learning new skills. Publishing on Amazon and Barnes and Noble gave me an opportunity to learn a variety of new skills. That was almost as fun as writing the book.

      Finally, the only real advantage I can see to using a traditional publisher is that they can provide marketing support and access to brick and mortar book stores. The amount of marketing assistance a new author can expect from a publisher is minimal. Access to brick and mortar stores is a plus, but it’s a plus with a time limit. Come back in ten years and tell me how far you have to travel to find the nearest book store. Book sellers and publishers are at the same point now that scribes were fifty years after the invention of the printing press. I’m certainly not the only author that feels this way. Many authors, including many established mainstream writers, are also bypassing the traditional marketing channels.

      Thanks for your question Mark! It was an interesting one. By the way, if you really want to read the book and don’t have a tablet or eReader, you can always download Amazon’s Kindle for PC App and read from your computer.

  8. Lizze T

    I LOVED Chara’s Promise! It’s not often that a hard SF book has so many major women characters. So if they were ever to make CP into a movie who would you want to be the director and which actors and actresses would you want to play the characters? Liz

    • LOL! Thank you for the compliment and I’m glad you enjoyed the novel. It’s unlikely beyond all comprehension that anyone will ever want to make a movie based on Chara’s Promise, but if they did, I suppose Ron Howard would be my choice for director. I’ve always been a fan of his work. As far as the cast goes, George Clooney would be my first choice for the adult Seth, I actually used him as a mental crutch to flesh out the character. Caitriona Balfe as the adult Becca, Cate Blanchette for Grace, Denzel Washington for Ethan, Yifei Liu for Ayumi and Gerard Butler for Bryan. I’m flexible for the rest of the cast as long as Morena Baccarin and Brad Pitt find a spot. 🙂

  9. Andy P

    Do you cut chips on the side?

    Good story, by the way.


  10. Jason

    I have two questions.

    The flashbacks at the beginning of each chapter confused me at first, but by the third or fourth chapter I was actually looking forward to them. The writing style seems different between them and the main novel plot. Did you write the novel and then add the flashbacks or did you write them as you went?

    The epilog doesn’t seem like it shuts the door on the plot. What’s next?


    • Thanks for the questions. Actually it was more convoluted than either way you mentioned. For the first two or three chapters I wrote the flashback and then wrote the main chapter. After that it became a game of hopscotch. Sometimes I wrote two or three flashbacks and then caught up with the chapters and sometimes I fell back into one and one mode. Towards the end I finished the last five chapters in one stretch and then went back to fill in the flashbacks.

      The epilogue does leave the door open, but who knows where the door leads. I’ve started working on the sequel and it’s tentatively titled “Providence”. I also have some work done on a prequel that deals with the second civil war in the United States. I’m not sure I’m going to pursue that because other writer’s have already done it. While I detest his politics, the best in my mind is Orson Scott Card’s “Empire” Like his, mine deals with a red-blue split although mine takes a decidedly different track and has a twist. That book will be more of an epic, which is another reason I have it on the back burner right now.

      I hope you enjoyed “Chara’s Promise”!

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