Posted by: T.J. Baer | September 26, 2020

Why are people so mad at J.K. Rowling?

Greetings, friends. So, you may have noticed that a lot of people are not so pleased with J.K. Rowling as of late, and if you haven’t delved too deeply into the issue, you may be wondering why emotions are running so high. I thought I would offer some clarity on this matter, as it might be helpful for someone innocently wondering what JK possibly could’ve said to alienate and anger so many people.

So, with that said, let’s get to it.

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | September 3, 2020

How To Fail At Vegan Cooking

So, yeah, somehow I ended up writing a cookbook…? Not sure how that happened, but let’s just roll with it.

Want to get started down the road to vegan cooking but don’t want to be too good at it? If your kitchen is way too clean and peaceful and you’d like to incorporate some (potentially) delicious disasters, look no further: This book is for you.

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | September 1, 2020

Aces Are Wild (Let’s Talk About Asexuality)

Image: In today's edition of "I was wrong about something"... What exactly is asexuality?

As a long-time member of the queer community, I naturally thought that I had a pretty good handle on the many different and wonderful flavors of queerness. As it turns out, however, there is one particular orientation about which I was grossly misinformed, and maybe you are, too.

Asexuality.

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | August 6, 2020

Girls just aren’t interested in that sort of thing

I occasionally find myself wide awake at 3 AM because my body thinks it’s funny to be a jerk sometimes, and as I lie there pretending to be asleep so my cats won’t decide it’s breakfast time, I often end up thinking Deep Thoughts. My thoughts this morning ventured back to childhood and some of my youthful interests, and I got to thinking yet again about the bizarre gender divide we’ve set up around certain activities.

There’s a continuing narrative, even in these “woke” modern days, that those born of the male and female persuasions are naturally and perhaps even biologically interested in different things. Girls like this and boys like that, and that’s just the way it is. And while we’re now beginning to encourage girl-type-children to enjoy pursuits outside of the stereotypical “feminine” realm (while stubbornly insisting the boy-type-children stay firmly in their place), we still have this idea that being born male or female automatically inclines a person toward certain endeavors.

But if we’re not biologically programmed to like certain things, then why do so many girls act this way while boys act that way?

Well, let’s talk about that via my own example.

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | July 27, 2020

What is CHOSEN and why should I care about it?

T.J., you say aloud to your screen, I’ve seen you mention this queer fantasy book series, Chosen, approximately 1,000 times per post, but what is it? What is it about? What would the characters look like if someone spent valuable writing time creating avatars of them via an online fantasy avatar creator? I MUST KNOW.

Well, my inquisitive friends, look no further. This is the post for you.


What is Chosen?

Chosen is a book series that asks the question, “What if there was a fantasy story that featured 99% female characters, most of whom are queer people of color, but it was also, like, interesting and good and stuff?” <–(official tagline)

I’m a huge fan of fantasy, but the fantasy I grew up with generally involved straight white dudes (or straight white elves, or straight white dwarves, etc.) getting to do cool stuff while the women were there either as background characters, romantic/lustful objects for the aforementioned dudes, or as the requisite Tough Female Characters who were generally overly sexualized and ended up being defeated (or romanced, or both) by the main character dudes, anyway.

Queer storylines were pretty much non-existent, and while you would often get a token brown character thrown in somewhere along the way, it was always the exception rather than the rule. And you know what’s really awesome about creating a whole new fantasy world of your very own? You can decide what’s normal, so in the fantasy world of Chosen, normal involves a pantheon of queer goddesses, an abundance of non-white folks, and a general acceptance of queer relationships, trans people, non-binary people, etc.

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | July 18, 2020

Updates and a haunted purse

Why, hello there.

For all the die-hard fans out there yearning for news on my doings as of late, I offer you:

AN UPDATE

(Big text means it’s Very Important, you see.)

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | July 3, 2020

Pansy Crewe and the Mystery at the Antiques Roadshow

What I should have been doing this afternoon: Working on my book.

What I did instead: Wrote a Nancy Drew parody story about Antiques Roadshow.

Eh, it happens.

Please enjoy. :P

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Posted by: T.J. Baer | June 30, 2020

TJ Talks to TJ: A Totally Normal Author Interview

Greetings, friends, and thank you for joining us. My name is TJ, and today I’m going to be interviewing…*checks notes*…TJ.

TJ: Thank you for having me, TJ.

TJ: It’s my pleasure, TJ.

TJ: Do you think this format might end up being somewhat confusing and/or irritating for readers?

TJ: Most likely. Well, let’s begin! So, TJ, first of all, why don’t you tell us something incredibly fascinating about yourself. No pressure.

TJ: Uhh… Well, I was a three-time Scrabble champion in elementary school, and I used to be able to do a round-off back handspring without killing myself in the process. Is that fascinating?

TJ: Eh. Let’s move on. Tell us about your books.

TJ: Sure thing. My first book came out way back in 2007, and it’s a gay romance called Talking About Fungus because I didn’t listen to the repeated pleas of my writer friends and change the title to something that did not bring to mind venereal disease.

TJ: Good call on that one.

TJ: My second book, Following Grandpa Jess, came out in 2013 and involves no fungus of any kind. While it was marketed as a gay romance, it’s really more of a family story with a gay romance in the midst of it, and I find it far less cringey to look back on than TAF.

TJ: TAF being…

TJ: Talking About Venereal Disease.

TJ: Gotcha. Well, this is all very fascinating. Why don’t you tell us now about the projects you’re working on currently? Our reader(s) desperately want(s) to know more about them, I’m sure.

TJ: Well, the one I’ve been focusing on lately is Guardians, a YA LGBTQ+ fantasy/action novel in which queer teens fight to save the world from an invasion of dimension-hopping body snatchers. The book is actually in its final editing phase, though I’m sure I’ll wake up at 3 AM some night with the realization of a massive plot hole that will require me to deconstruct the entire story and build it back up again from scratch. For now, though, it’s pretty much finished – huzzah!

TJ: Huzzah indeed. And why do you think Guardians is worth our reader(s) caring about even the slightest tiny bit?

TJ: Well, it’s a pretty fun adventure, for one thing, and really one of my goals in writing it was to set a story in my hometown in Western Pennsylvania (one of the whitest, straightest places on Earth) and then fill it with queer people and people of color. So that is what I have done. :D

TJ: Well, it sounds like our reader(s) will have a gay old time reading it.

TJ: I hope they do, TJ. I hope they do.

TJ: And your other project, TJ?

TJ: My other project is Chosen, a queer fantasy epic I’ve been working on for the past 7,000,000 years [citation needed]. I’ve actually finished it a bunch of times and then scrapped it and started over, because I enjoy rolling boulders up and down hills for eternity, apparently.

TJ: Wonderfully obscure reference, thank you.

TJ: You’re welcome.

TJ: Well, I think we’ve just about run out of time, so why don’t you tell our reader(s) where they can find you on social media, buy your books, etc.

TJ: Well, if you want to buy my books, you can head over to the Books page and buy-buy-buy away, and if you want to find me on social media, I’m @TJBaerAuthor over on Twitter.

TJ: Glorious. Well, thank you so much for being here with us today, TJ.

TJ: I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, TJ, but you’re welcome, and thank you for having me.

TJ: Wonderful.

TJ: Indeed.

Posted by: T.J. Baer | June 17, 2020

Site revamp, shiny new covers, and cats

So, if you’ve stopped by the site lately, you may have noticed that everything is completely different.

Yes. Hi. I did that. :D

It was time for a change, so I revamped the site entirely, making it easier to access my books, check out my blog, read the bad sci-fi of my youth, and (of course) learn more about my cats. (Because come on, we all know that’s the kind of content you’re really here for.)

I also, through the help of Fotor’s Book Cover Maker site, created some spiffed up covers for several of my projects, including a shiny new one for my 2013 short story, “Rain Would Come.”

And hey, did you know that you can go buy “Rain Would Come” right now on Amazon for the low-low price of $0.99? IMAGINE.

Anyway, if you feel so inclined, take a stroll around the new site, browse through my books, check out my works in progress, and learn about the Feline Management Team, a vital part of the T.J. Baer organization.

Posted by: T.J. Baer | June 12, 2020

On Gender Identity and How To Be Cool

All right. Gender identity. Let’s rap.

So, there seems to be a lot of confusion out there about sex, gender, gender identity, etc., so I figured I would offer a quick primer for anyone in need of clarification. I’ll start out by saying that there’s a certain fluidity to all of this, and one person’s experience does not encompass all people’s experiences, and a general rule of thumb is just to take people at their word when they say they are this or that.

Example:

“I’m trans.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“I’m non-binary.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“My pronouns are “they/them.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“I am a giraffe.” “I mean, you don’t look much like one, but you would probably know better than me, so okay, cool.”

See? Super easy.

But let’s get a little more in-depth here.

So, at some point in our illustrious history, it was decided that when it came to humans, there were only two boxes that could be checked. One was “male” and one was “female.” Which box you ticked depended solely on what body parts you had, and this was further expanded with the idea that said body parts also determined your interests, personality, mannerisms, and what kind of body wash scents you were allowed to enjoy.

For example:

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