On summer, Andy Griffith, and my emphatic availability

arthur-fingerdrummingGreetings, friends. As I have by now run out of ways to describe how very long it’s been since I last updated, I’ll just say that seasons have passed, babies have been born, aged, and turned into cranky old wrinkled people, and still this blog has been left to gather dust in its sad little corner of the interwebs. But never fear, for I am here now to update you on all the many, many fascinating things that have occurred since my last post.

Fascinating Things That Have Occurred Since My Last Post:

  1. I started watching The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix, then almost immediately stopped watching it as the sheer amount of quaint ole southern charm threatened to drown me in a syrupy, Yankee-eating river. Boredom led me back to Mayberry shortly thereafter, however, and I ended up watching five seasons in about as many days. No regrets, though I now find myself with the strangest urge to sit out on the porch I don’t have and sip sweet tea while strumming a gee-tar and sangin’.
  2. Work on Book I of Chosen (AKA, my frequently mentioned and inexplicably still unfinished gay fantasy epic) has been coming along decently well. I had a particularly impressive spurt of writing a little while back and was finally able to finish up a section I’ve been struggling with for months, which was nice. Of course, I’m now struggling with the next section, but at least the story’s moved forward a bit. I’ve also added another LGBTQ character of color, and my quest to diversify and gay-ify the Chosen world is progressing most satisfactorily. I hope to actually finish the bloody thing at some point in the nearish future, though it would probably be easier to do that if I’d stop binge-watching Andy Griffith and get down to work.
  3. Summer has come~~~~! And with it, unfortunately, has come the realization that my little shoebox apartment heats up to approximately 9,000 degrees when the sun hits it in the morning. Benny’s taken to napping in the bathtub to keep cool, and I myself have been doing a lot of lying on the floor with the fan trained on me and my pant legs rolled up high enough to scandalize all of Mayberry.

I’ve also, as it happens, resigned from my job and returned to the glamorous life of a poverty-stricken ESL Teacher and freelance editor. Nine months of a 4:30 AM wake-up time and four hour daily commute turned out to be too much for my fragile human frame, and I decided to choose life and health over the allure of sitting at a desk all day earning just barely enough to scrape by.  It’s been exactly one week since my last day at my previous job, and I’m pleased to say that I no longer feel like death warmed over, and I’ve actually even experienced some positive emotions here and there instead of being in a constant state of exhaustion and misery.

Of course, I’m also shopping at The Dollar Store and washing clothes in the bathtub instead of going to the laundromat, but that seems a small price to pay for feeling vaguely human again. And allow me to mention, also, that if anyone needs any editing or proofreading work done, I am extremely available.

Extremely.

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Here I come, ready to edit the crap out of anything you might have.

Anyway, my brain’s turned to early evening mush, so I think I’ll get back to the business of lying on the floor and watching the people of Mayberry chuckle good-naturedly as Barney Fife miraculously neglects to murder anyone in his immediate vicinity.

Laterz~<3

Star Trek, sexism, and my time travel wife

After another lengthy, unplanned hiatus, I have returned~~~!

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To the millions upon millions of clamoring fans demanding to know what I’ve been doing with myself these last two months, I offer the following:

1. I’ve been spending much of my time working, performing my duties as a Financially Challenged ESL Teacher by teaching my students valuable lessons about life in America, drawing stick figures to illustrate grammatical points, and answering questions like, “What does ‘be’ mean?” “What’s the difference between ‘underway,’ ‘ongoing,’ and ‘in progress?'” and “What is circumcision?”

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Continue reading

In which the dreadful consequences are revealed

It would seem that my six-hour journey yesterday was not without consequences.

Yes. For you see, the sad truth of the matter is…

I’m sick.

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On the plus side, at the moment it’s just a bit of a sore throat plus a general overwhelming feeling of you’re sick you’re sick you’re sick just in case you forgot for a minute HEY you’re sick…but as I just took three sick days last week due to a stubborn bastard of a migraine, this is less than good.

Teaching, alas, is one of those professions where the ability to speak is somewhat integral, and in my current state, I can only talk for three or four minutes before my throat turns into a gritty stretch of desert highway and I suddenly start sounding like a pack-a-day blues singer on his death bed.

In addition, being self-employed, I’m perpetually only one paycheck away from financial ruin, particularly around the holidays. So, naturally, my body decided that now would be a hilarious time to come down with a nasty cold, because my body is kind of an asshole sometimes.

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Seen above: My body, being an asshole. Or Vader-somebody. I’m always getting those two mixed up.

On the plus side, I had the whole day today to rest and recuperate, so perhaps a Glorious Miracle will occur and I’ll wake up tomorrow 100% healed, HALLELUJAH!

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Or, more likely, I’ll wake up tomorrow and still feel like death, but I shall keep an optimistic attitude and trust in the power of positivity – as well as the gallons of Emergen-C I’ve been drowning myself in since my symptoms began this morning.

Think fondly of me, my friends, and should you have any spare healing vibes, do send them in my direction. If anyone needs me, I’ll be wrapped up in a sweaty cocoon of blankets, watching I Love Lucy and dreaming of a day when I no longer feel crappy, world peace is achieved, no one goes hungry, universal equality is the way of things, and each and every one of you goes and likes my Facebook page.

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For more on why doing so is in your best interest, check here. And then go like my Facebook page, because why not?

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Why not indeed.

/questions for the ages

Sleep deprivation, take #578093248234

Massively sleep-deprived, wheeeee!

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Second night in a row that I’ve been kept awake by a nasty headache, then awakened later when Benny decided to practice his feline yodeling in the wee hours of the morning.

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On the plus side, being up early means I have a nice long period of time in which to get over my headache before work, so…that’s good, right? RIGHT?

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It does, Arthur. It really does.

In less obnoxious news, the work on getting Chosen publish-ready is moving along nicely. The cover of the book is nearly done, which means that there’ll be a terribly exciting Cover Reveal post at some point in the future, because what’s the point of having a cover if you can’t do a terribly exciting cover reveal post?

In other-other news, due to the unfortunate demise of my laptop, I’m currently in possession of a Shiny New Laptop and – due to said laptop not having anywhere for me to plug in my modem – a similarly shiny and new router. Which means that, for the first time in my impoverished teacher/writer life, I am in possession of WiFi, and can thus access the internet ANYWHERE IN MY APARTMENT.

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At the table by the windows? INTERNET. On my bed? INTERNET. Perched on top of the refrigerator for some reason? INTERNET.

Amazing.

(I realize that everyone else has had wifi for approximately six thousand years, but I shall bask in the shiny newness of it nonetheless.)

Anyway. Not much else going on. Thanksgiving was lovely and taught me the  valuable life lesson that giblets are pretty freaking gross. Also, ya know, love and family and gratitude and such, but man, those giblets.

Anyway, as I seem to be losing my tenuous grip on coherence, let me bid you adieu for now, hopefully to return at a later time when I’m less sleep-deprived (or have a bit more caffeine in my system).

Best wishes to all for a non-sucky day~~~!

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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.

Spring! Or not.

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So, spring has finally come, meaning lovely sunny days, warm weather, flowers and birds and plants and happy, sparkling rainbows!

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Ha ha, just kidding. It’s actually miserable and cold and stupid, because it’s Chicago.

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But on the plus side, we do seem to be slowly moving in a spring-like direction, and I’m confident that I will, at some point before June, be able to walk outside without needing to wear my hat, scarf, and giant puffy coat of unsexy doom.

Anyway, on other topics, I’m still hard at work on Chosen, and in time not spent writing, I’ve been rereading books from my youth, watching episodes of The Moomins on YouTube (don’t  judge me >_>), and quietly freaking out over the somewhat precarious financial situation that occurs when all of one’s students go on vacation at the same time. *_*;

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So, with that in mind, I thought I would offer a friendly reminder to the internet at large that HEY, aside from being an author of books and short stories (which you can buy – did you know that? :O ), I’m also a freelance editor of novels, stories, essays, and anything else you may have that needs a critical eye run over it. (Not literally, as that would be messy.)

So yes, if you have anything you’d like edited or proofread, head on over to my Proofing Services page for more information. My rates are based on what you can afford, so don’t worry if you don’t have a huge budget.

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Hey, I’m a link to the Proofing Services page and you should click on me.

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Listen to the link. It loves you and it would never lie to you.

Anyway, on that note, I’d better get off the computer and get dressed, as it may harm my professional teachery image if I attempt to teach my lessons in my Snoopy pajamas.

This is a blog post! Wow! Amazing!

So, I’m going to try this interesting new thing called “updating my blog on a semi-regular basis.”

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I know. Shocking.

We’ll see how it goes.

So, for my first Updating My Blog On A Semi-Regular Basis (UMBOASRB?) entry:

Ummmm. Hm.

Ah, got it. Things I’ve been doing recently!

1. Watching a great deal of Sherlock

2. Thinking a great deal about Sherlock

3. Cursing winter and its unholy grip over the land

4. Writing a bit here and there, mostly my Gay Fantasy Epic (TM) and a teeny tiny bit of Sherlock fanfiction

5. Not cleaning my apartment or washing clothes or washing dishes (i.e., living in squalor)

6. Teaching as many lessons as possible to replenish the money lost over the holidays (plane tickets, cat sitter, lost revenue, gifts for everyone in the world, shipping, etc.)

7. Cursing whoever’s idea it was to put a button on my phone’s keypad that automatically opens the internet browser when I accidentally bump it while typing.

8. Sleeping, or trying to sleep, despite the screeching noise my radiator makes at varying intervals during the night and the woman next door who insists on giving loud, manic sermons to the wall behind my head at 6 AM nearly every morning. To-ho-ho, apartment living. Good times.

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(I may also be developing a slight addiction to gifs, for which I am sorry. But not sorry enough to stop using them.)

Annnnnd that’s about it, I suppose. Another thrilling entry.

Oh, and a reminder: I have books and you can buy them! So, if you find yourself with a little extra cash and a tragic lack of my fiction in your life, head on over to my Books page and start-a-spending. Why waste money on food or rent when you could be using it to buy books?

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…yeah. I may need an intervention of some kind.

Until next time~!