Archive for August, 2014

For some reason, my body demanded I wake up at 5-something this morning, I suspect because of claims I made yesterday re: not getting up until the sun was shining. Because what’s the fun of my making confident statements unless the universe can later contradict them?

avpm-snape-bullshit

Anyway, though.

To my (albeit sleepy) delight, another individual of awesomeness has created some artwork for Chosen!

avatar_sokka_drunkbowing

Here’s Kaine in his school uniform, drawn by deviantart user StormWhiskers:

kaine_by_stormwhiskers-d7xcddc

This, I think, is a great representation of what I’d call “Inner Kaine.” On the outside, Kaine tends to be sarcastic, defensive, and very much in the realm of I Don’t Need Anyone / Leave Me Alone / Why Are You Still Here, but much as he would hate to admit it, that all stems from a deep-down fear of rejection and abandonment. Not that I can blame him for that, given the whole business of his father mysteriously disappearing and half the civilized world wanting him dead, but…ya know.

More on Kaine and Chosen here:  https://tjbaer.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/chosen-stuff-and-more-stuff/
More on my continuing search for artists here:  https://tjbaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/looking-for-artists/

In other news: Today, I’m determined to get some writing done! I’ll be unplugging my modem and ignoring the siren call of Facebook for as long as I possibly can. My record yesterday was about six and a half minutes, so…let’s aim for seven or even eight (!) minutes today. Go, Speed Writer, go!

furioustyping

I’m pleased to announce that the first round of Chosen artwork has arrived! And…okay, most of it is my own and thus is imbued with a certain lack of what one might call “artistic talent,” but meh, details.

So, yes! ART! (Or whatever we’re calling it.)

silas-pencil_b

First up, we have a pencil sketch of Silas Phelps, the sweet-faced bully whose hobbies are being rich, coming to class late, and beating the crap out of Kaine. Lovely girl, really.

elisabeth02c

Next is Elisabeth Defrin, Mr. Defrin’s wife and Nicholas’ mother. Sweet and quirky, with a (mostly) sunny outlook and a rather serious addiction to tea, Elisabeth looks a lot like Amanda Abbington (or would if I could draw her properly) primarily because I was watching an unhealthy amount of Sherlock when I was writing her scenes.

n-k-pencils_b

Next, a sketch of Nicholas and Kaine when they’re a bit older. Stubble added because they looked like girls otherwise. Pretty, pretty girls.

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

marcoemma_chosenart_sm

A fun, colorful artwork of Mr. Defrin, Nicholas, and Kaine, done by MarcoEmma over on deviantart.  This picture has brought me a lot of joy, I have to say. For a story that’s somewhat dark, having a picture like this of three of the main characters is pretty awesome. Thanks, MarcoEmma!

In related news, I’m still looking for artists who’d like to have a go at drawing some of the Chosen characters. If you or anyone you know is familiar with moving a pencil over a page and afterwards discovering that a picture has appeared, let me know. For more information, head back to that long-ago entry I posted two days ago: https://tjbaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/looking-for-artists/

And for more on Chosen – including my Absolutely Sure To Happen movie dream cast – head over to this post: https://tjbaer.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/chosen-stuff-and-more-stuff/

And now, since my upstairs neighbor woke me up at 4:00 in the morning with her drunken singing and stomping around, I’m going to go collapse face-down on my bed and not get up until the sun is shining again.

avatar_sokka_sandwormdance

Pleasant dreams, friends. <3

In other news: I’m currently looking for artistically inclined individuals who would be willing to do some art of the main characters of Chosen. Said art would be used on this site for promotion of the book, and you would of course receive full credit for your artsy awesomeness, as well as my undying gratitude.

You wouldn’t need to have read the book, of course (particularly since it’s still in the editing phases); I’d give you a full description of the characters and then let you choose which (or how many) you’d like to have a go at drawing. (And if you’re not particularly skilled at The Art yourself but know someone who is, kindly send them in my direction.)

SO. Any takers? I’ll just be sitting here with my hopeful puppy face, staring at the screen and waiting for the inevitable flood of comments.

avatar_chibisokka_smileblush

Incidentally: You may recall how I mentioned in June that my first novel, the curiously named and non-mushroom-related Talking About Fungus, was going to be available for the low-low Pride Month price of $0.99. Well, why celebrate Pride for only one month? Thus, I’m going to keep the Kindle Edition of TAF at this Super Awesome Amazing Did You Buy It Yet and If Not Why Not Price for the foreseeable future. Hurrah!

TAF_amazon_screengrab
Talking About Fungus (Kindle Edition) – $0.99

I’m also working on making a print edition of TAF available with the spiffy new cover, so look out for that in the coming days/weeks/months/however long it takes me to stop being lazy and edit the bloody thing.

avatar_zukobeach
And now to go take a shower. …with seagulls.

Until next time.

Friends, this morning it finally happened. I finally grew tired of living in squalor and cleaned my apartment.

miguel-tulio_likeaboss
Now my nasal passages are coated in dust, the bottoms of my feet have turned gray, and I’ve managed to soak my Sally Brown “Sweet Babboo” T-shirt in a charming layer of sweat, but IT IS DONE. MY APARTMENT IS CLEAN.

Well. Cleaner, anyway. After two solid hours of cleaning, dusting, sweeping, and cursing the existence of entropy, the place is still far from sparkling, but at least it looks somewhat more presentable. My style of organization tends to revolve around stacks of books and papers and things placed in strategic locations around the apartment, and now, at least, they’re neat piles of books and papers and things on a freshly swept floor. So, huzzah.

To reward myself for this awe-inspiring effort (I even cleaned the microwave and the stinky corner behind the litter box, which were both pretty horrifying), I’ve made myself a lovely lunch of soup with rice noodles, zucchini, fresh tomatoes, edamame, and wakame (Japanese seaweed, great for soups). Of course, as there’s literally no way to transfer rice noodles from package to bowl without an explosion of little noodle fragments, I sadly had to spend the next several minutes sweeping the kitchen floor again. But this is the price we pay for deliciousness.

And now to enjoy my lunch and try not to think about the last bit of cleaning I have to do (namely, the kitchen sink), which will probably involve a great deal of bravery and some kind of HAZMAT suit.

han-goodluck01 han-goodluck02
/somewhat pointless update

Incidentally: If your mouse-clicking finger is tired of clicking on all those things that don’t in some way benefit me, head on over to my Facebook page and give it a like. Or stop by my Books page and discover that the one thing that’s been missing from your life all these years is my fiction, and now that you’ve found each other, you shall never be parted again…! I do so love happy endings. <3

It’s Saturday again, which means I’m once again faced with a mountain of household chores that desperately need doing. So, hey, blog update!

futurama_bender-pointlessday

I’ve actually spent much of the morning in a somewhat productive manner, working on Chosen and finally making some progress on a scene I’ve been struggling with for about a week now. The problem with having two highly complex and complicated individuals as your main characters is that it’s pretty damned hard to get them to have a straightforward conversation with each other, but I think I’ve finally got them heading in the right direction. After said scene is finally finished, I can go back to the arduous task of reading through the finished book again and again to make sure everything makes sense and I haven’t accidentally created an utter piece of crap instead of a Grand Opus fifteen years in the making.

avatar_aang_neuroticcraziness

No pressure, though.

bc-mrdefrin-brownhairI’ve also been realizing, more and more, just how desperately in love I am with Mr. Defrin, to the point that I’m pretty seriously considering writing a prequel from his point of view at some point in the future. I’d like to start when he’s relatively young, then take it all the way up to the events of Chosen, ‘cuz, damn, I adore him. And not just because I’ve cast Benedict Cumberbatch to play him in the Sure To Actually Happen movie adaptation of the book.

No, my love for Mr. Defrin is rooted in the fact that I both long to be like him and want someone like him in my life. He’s calm and patient, intelligent, has a good sense of humor, and cares for the people around him so deeply that he’s willing to make any sacrifice necessary to keep them safe. He’s a mentor, friend, and substitute father for Kaine, and while he makes mistakes from time to time, he always tries to do what’s right, and to protect the people around him. He’s just…*flutter-sigh* Ohhhh, Mr. Defrin. <3

sherlock-shiftyeyes

Er, anyway, though.

Moving on. I don’t actually have much else to say, as I think I used up my daily allotment of coherence during my writing session this morning. All I can think about now is finding something good to eat for lunch, and then maybe collapsing onto my bed and thinking about how great it would be if I could clean my apartment with the power of my mind.

luke-concentration

Use the Force, Luke. Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.

Until next time, friends.

luke-rotjSo, when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be Luke Skywalker. Not whiny farmboy Luke or patience-challenged who-is-this-muppet-and-where-the-hell-is-Yoda Luke, but kick-ass, calm and cool and awesome Return of the Jedi Luke.

To pursue this lofty goal (as, I should mention, an 11-year-old girl living in small-town Pennsylvania), I did a number of things. First, wardrobe. Very important. Black shirt, black pants, black boots, black leather glove on one hand. Check. Next, attitude. I amassed an impressive amount of Jedi knowledge through meticulous study of the three Star Wars films and related books, magazines, etc. Finally, action. I fenced for hours with various lightsaber-esque weapons (sticks, curtain rods, ski poles, etc.), I rode my bike at breakneck speeds to emulate the desperate flight through the forests of Endor on speeder bikes, and most importantly of all, I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at rocks and pencils and various other small objects, attempting to move them with the almighty power of my mind. (Sadly, the Force was not strong with me, though I did get rather adept at subtly tilting the table so the pencil I was concentrating on MIRACULOUSLY AND AMAZINGLY began to move as I stared at it.)

And in the end, did I achieve my goal of becoming Luke Skywalker? Well…in fact, no. But my time in pursuit of Jedi-dom did mold my psyche in some pretty deep, lasting ways. My sense of right and wrong, my urge to help people who need it (despite my own rather strong introvert tendencies), and the general sense that there’s good in most people, even if they’ve gone a wee bit crazy and murdered half the galaxy while wearing a freaky black mask. (And really, haven’t we all been there?)

My point, I suppose, is that Luke Skywalker was probably the biggest fictional role model of my young life, and even today I can see his influence on the way I think and how I view the world. And really, I’m okay with that. I still think Luke’s pretty awesome, and he represents a lot of the things I aspire to be. Will I ever be able to move objects with my mind and do crazy flips and communicate telepathically with my sister who I absolutely was not hitting on just one movie ago? Alas, probably not. But I’d like to think that I can at least aspire to be a calm, in-control person who always tries to do what’s right, and maybe looks pretty spiffy dressed all in black.

luke-flip

Wise words, Luke. Wise words.

Greetings, internet. I have returned! You may rejoice if you wish.

arthur-fingerdrumming

Or not. It’s cool.

So, yes, as for the reasons behind my lengthy hiatus, I have no excuses except that Chicago has been experiencing an unusual stretch of gorgeous weather, and thus I’ve been somewhat distracted by strange feelings of optimism and delusions that the world may not be such an awful place after all. Amazing what a little sunshine can do.

I’ve also been working hard on Chosen, and have actually finished – finished, I say, FINISHED – the first draft of the book.

atla_foaming-mouth-guy01

And now, of course, I’m working hard on editing, adding new scenes, and in general trying to ensure that the novel I’ve been agonizing over since I was a wee gel of 15 does not, in fact, suck monstrously.

I’ve also made a rather significant change to the story, wherein main character Kaine and his love interest actually exchange words PRIOR to the last few chapters of the book. A radical notion, certainly, but one must take risks from time to time.

hunterparrish_sadnicholasSaid love interest is portrayed (in the highly unlikely dream cast of my mind) by Hunter Parrish, seen here looking angsty but very Nicholas-ish (albeit somewhat older than 16). I’m actually really enjoying having the chance to put him and Kaine together so much earlier in the story, as they have an interesting sort of chemistry. Kaine is sarcastic, defensive, and doesn’t bother much with this whole interacting-with-other-humans thing, whereas Nicholas seems to be normal and perfect and almost supernaturally well-adjusted. He has a devoted league of friends at school, he plays sports, he has two awesome, loving parents, and he’s just all-around the most irritatingly perfect person Kaine’s ever encountered. Kaine alternately hates him and longs to be him, and the really bizarre thing is that Nicholas genuinely seems to like him, and Kaine can’t quite figure out why. Of course, things in Nicholas Land aren’t nearly as perfect as they seem, which Kaine will eventually discover (drama drama drama).

Anyway, I’m working hard on getting the book finished, after which I’ll begin on my lofty goal of it becoming a massive hit and eventually leading to a movie deal and bags of money and Jon Stewart asking me to come on The Daily Show to discuss my awe-inspiring literary success.

gwen_ummm

…it could happen.

In other news, I’ve finally watched Games of Thrones, which I have to admit is pretty damned compelling despite having given me borderline PTSD. (This due to the characters’ unfortunate tendency to misplace various body parts in the messiest and most disturbing ways possible.)

In any case, GoT has at least done the noble deed of bringing Thomas BrodieSangster to my attention.

thomas-brodie-sangster

I’m determined to find a place for him somewhere in the Chosen series, because dammit, he’s awesome. So, People of the Earth, hear my vow: There shall be a role for this man in my series! Maybe Book II, maybe Book III, but somewhere in there, there will be a character he can play in the inevitable (and doubtless award-winning) screen adaptation. And at least I don’t have to worry about him getting too old for whatever role I may give him, as he seems to be permanently frozen at age 16. Most convenient.

Anyway. Lunchtime.

atla_sokka_library!

To the refrigerator!