Which concerns my LGBT fantasy epic

I thought I’d mosey on over to the blogosphere with some updates, as I find myself with a startling surplus of both time and brain cells this morning. I’m sure this is a condition too beautiful to last, so let’s get right to the updates before I return to my usual state of Morning Pudding-Brain.

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First off, my thrilling revamp of Book I of Chosen continues, and is actually going surprisingly well. There’s still a vast gap of nothingness where three or four vital middle chapters should go, but I’m very much enjoying adding in setting and culture details and doing everything I can to diversify and gay-ify the Chosen world. Continue reading

Weenie roasts and blogger recruitment

It’s a lovely sunny morning, I have nowhere to go and nothing I have to do (aside from housework, but that’s easy enough to ignore), and it’s just about time for my second cup of tea. Life is good.

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Well, except for that whole thing about how very soon our country will be controlled entirely by a bunch of rich white guys who are determined to block any legislation that might help people who are not (straight, Christian) rich white guys.

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In less soul-destroying news, the Chosen publishing process is moving along nicely. An artist has been commissioned to design the cover, and I’ve had a review copy of the book printed up so I can press my nose up to the pages and scent out any typos, errors, or gaping plot holes as of yet undiscovered during the writing and editing process.

This isn’t the official cover, but here’s the cover of the review copy:

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Ooooh, (stock photo) fire.

In related news, I’m currently looking for bloggers or fellow authors who would be interested in writing review blurbs for the book. If you’re interested (or know someone who might be), drop me an email at tjbaerwrites@gmail.com. I’ll send you a free electronic copy of the book, and your review blurb will be included here on this site (and also possibly on the front or back cover of the book).

In case you’re not sure what to write, might I suggest one of the following?

1. “LITERALLY THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ OR WILL READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.”

2. “So good that Jon Stewart should immediately call up T.J. Baer and ask her to come on The Daily Show and talk about it.”

3. “I was really depressed about Republicans gaining control of the Senate, but reading this book made me feel like life had meaning again. Thank you, T.J.!”

Or something to that effect.

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Okay, not really. But any of the above will certainly get you a queen-sized helping of brownie points.

On my doings as of late.

Hey.

Hey, you.

Yeah, you.

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Now that that’s out of the way, on to business. Nearly a month has passed since my last update, and you may be asking yourself, “What has T.J. been doing all this time? Why did she leave us for so long? Does she not realize that her absence plunges us into a chill, unending darkness that never abates until she returns?”

Then again, you might not be asking yourself that at all. Either way, you’re getting an answer.

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So, what have I been doing as of late?

Many things, friends. Many things. I turned another year older, thus drawing me one step closer to becoming a crazy old cat lady. I started a new story, a Buffy-esque YA novel that I’m really enjoying writing. I dressed up as Mara Jade for Halloween, started taking a Japanese class for the first time in years, got a flu shot, voted, read a bunch of books, took on some new students, and discovered that my quality of life really suffers when it’s dark, cold, and miserable outside all the time.

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Who knew?

I also finished the fifth draft of Chosen (AKA, my LGBT fantasy epic), incorporating changes suggested by various folks who have been kind enough to read over the book thus far. And I think…I think…I think…!

I think it’s just about ready to go.

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Translation: Yay!

My next step is to get to work on my query letter, which I will happily admit is the most difficult, soul-crushing part of the whole writing/publishing process. Great, so you’ve sweated your guts out for the past several years writing a fantastic novel – now you have to condense everything that’s great about said novel into one short email and somehow convince an agent and/or publisher that it, unlike the other hundreds or thousands of novels they’ve received queries about today, is actually super awesome and worth reading.

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Yeaaaaaah.

But rather than focusing on that, I’ll focus on the fact that the book is finally almost ready to send out, because that’s pretty spiffy – particularly since I started the first version of this story when I was about fifteen, and I am now…considerably older than fifteen.

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Considerably.

Not much else to say, as I spent most of today in a rainy-day haze and am still having trouble getting my brain to do complex tasks like forming words or making coherent sentences. But I shall return at another time, I’m sure, and further assail you with gifs, sarcasm, and happy sparkling gayness.

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Until then, dear friends.

Coming Out Day and the Disney Princess of “Chosen”

First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Coming Out Day! May it be filled with rainbows and unicorns and glorious, glittering gayness. <3

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Coming Out Tip: If you dress up like Batman and Robin and proceed to do a jaunty dance together, your friends and loved ones may get the message without your even having to say, “Hey, we’re gay.” Just something to keep in mind.

In other news, I’ve been rather busy as of late with various non-internet-related endeavors, hence my lack of updates. Last weekend was spent having a writers’ weekend with my bestest of best pals, during which time we workshopped each other’s stories, made homemade chicken soup, and further cemented our general dorky awesomeness by wearing matching “WRITER” T-shirts.

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Fear the selfie. But don’t look too long into the dark circles under my eyes, as they may devour your soul~~~

headshot-elisabethThroughout the course of our writing weekend, I was able to get some feedback on two of the newer chapters of Chosen, and received some very useful commentary re: the character of Elisabeth (a.k.a., Mr. Defrin’s wife and Nicholas’ mother, portrayed by Amanda Abbington in my Dream Movie Cast).

In the previous version of Chosen, Elisabeth was very much a non-entity, more of a plot point than a character, and about as likable as a sofa cushion. Thus, in this version, I’ve taken great pains to make her more vibrant and personable, though it seems I carried things too far in the opposite direction, as the current criticism towards her character is that she’s “too Donna Reed.” Which…okay, is fair. She’s a few birds and a song away from being a Disney princess, and given that the rest of the book is a dark-ish commentary re: how awful it is to hate a group of people based on the word of an oft-translated holy book, her twirly cheerful Disney-ness does, perhaps, stick out a bit.giselle-twirl

A bit. Perhaps.

As such, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the editing of Chosen this week, and am pretty happy with how things are going. Plot holes are being mercilessly eradicated, Elisabeth is being de-Disney-fied, and the book is well on its way to actually being ready for the next step in this whole crazy writing-and-publishing process – namely, trying to find an agent who will carry my humble little story to the biggest of big publishers and thus secure its future as the inevitable Most Wondrous and Popular Book In the History of the World. (This is sure to happen, or my Magic 8-Ball is a filthy, filthy liar.)

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(Or possibly I don’t have a Magic 8-Ball at all and just wanted an excuse to use this gif.)

Anyway. Feeling a bit under the weather today, so I may be forced to spend much of my time lying in bed watching episodes of The Weekenders and eating leftover Chinese food. I’d love to be productive, I really would, but what choice do I have?

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None. None at all.

Paranormal lesbians and the pizza to end all pizzas

First, I’d like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to those individuals who’ve liked, commented on, or followed this blog. You guys rock!

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In other news, it’s somehow Sunday evening again, meaning that the entire weekend has vanished into a sad little puff of smoke and Monday morning looms all too near.

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Where did the time go? What happened to the weekend? Why won’t Monday just take the hint and go away? *woe woe woe*

Anyway, aside from trekking out to the pet store and buying a mighty tower of cat food for Benny, I also used today to get some writing done. I’m taking a little break from the editing of Chosen so I can come back to it with fresh eyes, so today, I did some work on Queer Investigations, also known as The Story Where Lesbians in Chicago Solve Paranormal Mysteries and Thus the “Queer” In the Title Has Two Meanings If You See What I Did There (working title).

It’s a fun little story, and I managed to get quite a bit of new stuff written today, though I find myself getting impatient re: finishing the bloody thing and getting it out into the world where people can read it. The problem is that I’ve set up a fairly complicated plot in the opening chapters, because I apparently hate myself and want my brain to shrivel up and die.

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But I’ll keep pushing on through, trusting (as I always do) that Future Me will figure out how to tie up all the loose ends and make this the best paranormal lesbians story ever…!

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(Not counting Madame Vastra and Jenny, of course, hallowed be their names.)

In other-other news, today continues my brave attempt at eating more healthily, though I’ve found that after consuming a massive salad of lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, black beans, bits of feta cheese, and toasted pieces of pita bread, I’m full for about an hour and a half – and then it’s as if my stomach has never before known the sweet embrace of food. An empty maw spreads through my gut, and I MUST HAVE FOOD FRIES OR POPCORN OR A HAMBURGER OR OH MAN SOME CHOCOLATE WOULD BE AWESOME

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But instead of succumbing to temptation, sweet reader, I made a reasonably healthy dinner and quelled my desserty cravings with a protein shake and a bowl of grapes. HOW TOUGH AM I?

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Damn straight.

I shall celebrate this victory of the human spirit with a pizza topped with chocolate and french fries and donuts and ice cream and steak, because dammit, I earned it.

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Until next time~~~~

/pointless update

In which Kaine searches for peanut butter.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on the writing of Chosen for approximately all of recorded time – or, more accurately, fifteen or sixteen years, since I was a Dragonlance-obsessed teenager longing desperately to write my own fantasy opus. The story has gone through dozens of different incarnations, though always with Nicholas and Kaine (and their relationship, be it BFF or something more) at the heart of it.

This morning, friends, I came across a version of Chosen that I would very much like to share, as it has given me great amusement on this otherwise irritating morning.

I call it: Kaine Searches For Peanut Butter

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Okay, not really. But that’s the general gist of this two-page start to a story that never got off the ground. Rather than setting the story in an alternate fantasy world, Past Me decided to play around with the idea of Nicholas and Kaine living in the modern world. More specifically, in Chicago.

Here is the result:

Continue reading

Stars. Can’t do it. Not today.

Labor Day has arrived, and as it’s rainy and miserable outside, I can’t possibly go out and do all the many dull and important errands I was planning to do today.

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So, yes, woe of woes, horror of horrors, I guess I have no choice but to just stay inside and write all day.

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I’ve hit a slight snag, however, in that I’m sleep-deprived and having trouble English-ing, so I’ve remedied that in the only way I can think of.

With cake.

This will result in a glorious sugar high that should last for approximately fifteen minutes, after which I’ll crash down to earth and spend the rest of the day in a haze of sugar withdrawal and regret.

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So, yeah, this should be a productive day.

In other news, the gods of art have gifted me with yet another lovely piece of Chosen artwork!

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This sketch, done by my very talented writer/artist friend Emily, is about as perfect an artistic rendering of Silas as I can imagine being done. She’s perfectly captured Silas’ bored rich girl attitude, and even got her hair and school uniform right. (When you spend your off hours terrorizing and attacking young magic users, it’s so important to have a manageable hairstyle. Emily understands this.)

Really, I’m so grateful to the folks who have put their artistic talents to the task of drawing my characters – not only has it brought me a lot of joy, but it’s also gotten me excited about this book again, which is a pretty spiffy place to be as an author.

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So, with the temporary power of cake, I’ll dive back into the writing/editing of Chosen and hopefully get The Scene That Doesn’t Want To End finished today. After which, all I’ll have to do is clean up some things in the last chapter, and then I’ll be done. DONE!

Until the next round of edits and the realization that there are several thousand things I need to change.

But for now, HUZZAH!

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[More on Chosen here. More on having your art featured on this blog here. And here’s Mark Hamill being awesome with his Jedi Beard here. <–One of these things is not like the others, but you should still click on it.]