Sneak Peek: Dreamers (Trans YA Novel)

A few months ago over spring break, my roommate went out of town on vacation and I found myself with the apartment to myself (and no classes to teach) for a solid week. I used this time to start work on a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time: Namely, a trans guy coming out and learning to live life as himself. Perhaps because this was a sort of written exorcism of my own feelings, I ended up writing the entire novel in that one week, a feat I have never before accomplished (and suspect I never will again).

Said novel, tentatively entitled Dreamers, follows a young trans guy coming out to friends and family in high school – while dealing with the fact that the ghost of his father has started appearing in his dreams. The book is still in the editing phase at present, but I thought I’d share a blurb and excerpt today, because (a) Pride Month, and (b) honestly, I’m pretty excited about this project and can’t wait until I can get it out there for people to read.

I should also mention that one of my biggest goals in writing this book was to give trans kids something to read that doesn’t focus on the inherent trauma of being trans. The main character, Leo, goes through his share of angst, but the story overall is positive and upbeat, meant to uplift rather than beat down. There’s nothing wrong with stories that explore the very real trauma that trans people often endure, but this isn’t one of those stories.

S’arright? S’arright. Now onto the book!

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Take me home, country…plane

Greetings, friends. As usual, it’s been a while, so I’ll attempt to bring you up to speed on recent developments as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Having (a) just wrapped up a 12-week 5th/6th grade after-school teaching gig, and (b) gotten myself fully vaxxed (woot), I now finally feel comfortable making good on the Secret Plans I’ve had for quite some time: namely, moving back to Chicago after two long years away. There are many things to love about Virginia, but sadly it just doesn’t seem to be a place I “vibe” with, and thus I’m returning to a locale that feels much more like home (and trying to ignore the nine-month-long freezing cold winters for the time being).

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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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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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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 … Continue reading Site revamp, shiny new covers, and cats

In which my heart is soft and squishy

So, yeah, if you want to break down crying over a story about a friendly beaver named Chopper, have I got a book for you! I’ve heard so many people say that this book is the reason they went vegetarian or vegan, and now that I’m reading it, I can see why. It puts into words things I’ve felt but never been able to express, … Continue reading In which my heart is soft and squishy

On Chosen and queer lady vegans

Greetings, friends. Today I found myself faced with a truly monumental decision: Should I watch The Jeffersons marathon or the Supermarket Sweep marathon?

Sometimes life is hard.

In other news, I’ve been doing some work on Chosen (also knows as the LGBTQ fantasy epic I’ve been chipping away at since approximately the age of the dinosaurs), attempting to inject some more action and awesomeness into the book. It’s going pretty well so far, and I’ve also done another experimental gender-switch and transformed the main love interest, Nicholas, into a female character who is primarily attracted to women. This wasn’t something I planned, but it makes her romance with Kaine (biologically female but male by every other definition) all the more interesting and complex, and also ups the number of main female characters.

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On Chosen, Writing, and Doing What I Please

Long-time visitors will recall that I’ve been working on an LGBTQ+ fantasy novel called Chosen for approximately the last 17,000 years. Its main character, Kaine Ikarra, is a fifteen-year-old transgender boy who is struggling with magic, identity, and the fact that most of the people around town want very much to kill him. It’s tough being fifteen, man. As I’ve mentioned before, this story started out … Continue reading On Chosen, Writing, and Doing What I Please