In which I am old and TAF gets a new release (probably, eventually)

Taking a brief vacation from the new vlogging obsession, I thought I’d compose a short post that actually pertains to writing – ho ho. I recently realized that my first novel, Talking About Fungus, passed its ten-year publication anniversary last year, and that is both impressive and deeply, deeply unsettling, for it further underscores the fact that I am old.

Old.

Old.

OLD.

So, yes, in sort-of honor of that milestone, I thought I would have another look at Fungus (I’ll take Weird-Sounding Sentences for 400, Alex), give it a little spiff-up, and then re-release it as Version 3. So, that is what I’m in the process of doing.

Unfortunately, Amazon Createspace, the platform I’d previously used to publish Fungus after its initial rights at Torquere Press reverted back to me, is now in the process of being swallowed up by the Amazon Kindle Store, and the Kindle Store – or KDP, as it jovially refers to itself – is giving me a great deal of grief in the republishing of said book. Rather than going into details about that (Cliff’s Notes Version: non-matching ISBNs, cover text, cover image, cover text again – DIDN’T I ALREADY FIX THE COVER TEXT??!!, etc.), I’ll just say that the whole situation is In Progress, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to link to the new and improved print version of Talking About Fungus.

The good news is that the Kindle version was far easier to create, and thus I can in fact share that:

Talking About Fungus, **NEW AND SPARKLY AND IMPROVED** Version

This updated version boasts a new and semi-attractive cover, which will end up being slightly different for the print version since…well, see above re: KDP giving me grief. :P

I fixed a few formatting errors from version 2, deleted some of Jamie’s monologuing (which, as a kind reviewer pointed out in his Amazon review, does tend to go on a bit), and just generally tidied things up.

Another sign of my advancing age, perhaps, is that I now look upon the sex scenes (which multiple reviewers have informed me are quite tame) with an excess of embarrassment, and in general I just feel as if this is 100% the book of a Young Person (TM), which I presumably am no longer. Regardless, it’s still a book I enjoy reading and which I think does some things quite well, so if you’re in the mood for a quick and youthful read, perhaps give it a go. (It’s only 0.99 cents, so hey, why not? WHY NOT INDEED.)

Evidence above re: why writers should not do their own marketing.

Anyway, more on the print edition when information becomes available, and/or when KDP decides to stop tormenting me and just publish the durned thing. And yes, I did just say “durned,” because…

Results of the Chosen giveaway

As promised, the results of the Chosen: Book I giveaway! After compiling all the names of those who entered, I enlisted the help of Benny, my faithful feline companion, and Emily, my faithful friend and punster, to select the winner in the most scientific way possible.

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By putting each name on a little strip of paper and drawing a name out of hat.

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Here you see Benny inspecting the hat to make sure everything is entirely on the up and up, and also, that nothing within the vicinity is edible and/or made of cat food.

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Clad in my finest Empire Strikes Back formal wear, I closed my eyes, turned my head away, and drew out the name of the lucky winner…

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Kim “Pix” Hollon!

Congratulations, Kim! You’ll be receiving your copy of Chosen: Book I shortly after the new year!

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(It will look like this, only bigger and not so 2D.)

Thank you to everyone who participated! Your awesomeness will long be remembered. <3

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As will Mark Hamill’s stirring performance on The Muppet Show.

Goodnight, friends. <3

(More on Chosen here: Chosen Main Page )

Last chance to win a signed copy of Chosen

ATTENTION, PEOPLE OF THE EARTH!

Be advised that tomorrow is the final day to enter to win a signed, advance reader copy of Chosen, your new favorite LGBT fantasy novel! It has magic! It has emotion! It has daring action scenes and not-so-daring scenes where the characters, like, talk together and stuff! IT HAS EVERYTHING!

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ENTER TODAY or regret it forever.


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When a mark on your skin decides whether you live or die…

A knock on the door, a voice in the night, and fifteen-year-old Kaine Ikarra’s world changes forever. His father has disappeared and no one will say what’s happened to him, only that he’s gone and won’t be coming back. Kaine and his mother flee the city in the middle of the night, running from whatever nameless terror has stolen his father away, and Kaine soon finds himself on the other side of the country in a small town called Aurora.

Aurora is quiet, idyllic, and the most dangerous place in the world for Kaine. Kaine has a secret, a glowing mark on his skin that grants him great powers—and could condemn him to death at the hands of his conservative new neighbors. According to the Book of the Gods, he is an abomination who must be put to death, and he knows that the devout people of Aurora won’t hesitate to do just that if they find out what he is.

In this world of danger, Kaine finds unexpected friends, powerful enemies, and a web of secrets that may finally lead him to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance—if he can stay alive long enough to find out.


How to enter: All you have to do is head over to Facebook and like my official author page and BAM, you’re entered.

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http://www.facebook.com/tjbaerofficial

Contest ends tomorrow, Friday, December 19th, so hurry and enter now while you still can! Exclamation exclamation!

Barring an internet apocalypse, the winner will be announced on Saturday, so stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

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A glorious announcement and a chance to bombard my inbox with awkward questions

Friends, I have some truly glorious news. I have accomplished something today that I never dreamed possible, something that I feel is the very pinnacle of human achievement.

I HAVE FINISHED ALL OF MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.

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My Christmas shopping style, it should be noted, generally involves a frenzied rush through the shops two days before Christmas, followed by a sleepless night of wrapping and papercuts and salty holiday tears.

But this year, THIS YEAR, I’ve actually managed to get things done semi-ahead of time, and even spread out my gift-buying so as to avoid my entire bank account being sucked into a black hole at the end of December.

Of course, I’ve still ended up broke, but at least I can take comfort in the fact that I would’ve been even more desperately broke had I not spaced out my holiday shopping throughout the months of October, November, and December.

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It’s the little victories.

Anyway. Despite my aforementioned impoverished status, I allowed myself two small Christmas purchases for myself – namely, season 5 of I Love Lucy and a massively dorky Snoopy shirt which I shall wear with pride until I inevitably spill something on it.

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Yeah, you wish you were cool like me.

In other news, in case you missed it, you can enter to win a signed, advanced reader copy of my upcoming LGBT fantasy novel, Chosen! Wow! Amazing! Stupendous! And other exclamatory words! Just head over to my official author page on Facebook and click “like,” and BAM, you’re entered.

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http://www.facebook.com/tjbaerofficial/

And really, what better way to celebrate the holiday season than by showering your love upon my Facebook page?

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…okay, there are literally thousands of better ways to celebrate, but will any of them potentially win you a copy of a book so glorious that even I, the author herself, cannot look upon it without being momentarily blinded by its sheer, dazzling brilliance?

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Ooooh. Dazzling.

I’m also pleased to announce that I’ve done a few more site renovations. The Books page has been spiffed up (you can now click on the book covers to go to each book’s individual page), and the main Chosen page now has some extra goodies on it as well.

Lastly, an important announcement!

I’m going to be doing a new segment on this blog called Ask Me Anything, which may be the least creative title in the long, sad history of uncreative titles. But it does at least give you a good idea of the general idea of the thing, which is that readers can use this opportunity to ask me questions, whether they be about writing, my books, or my opinions on politics, religion, or cheese. (Important note: I am lactose intolerant.)

So, head on over to my Contact page and send me your questions – I’ll answer them here on the blog (and link to your site as well, should you like me to do so). If you’d like to remain anonymous, that’s also completely fine, provided you agree to wear a mysterious hat and trenchcoat when sending me your questions.

SO. In conclusion. Hey, ask me some questions!

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Win a signed copy of Chosen, Book I

Hey, whoa, it’s giveaway time!

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The prize: A signed, advance reader copy of my upcoming LGBT fantasy novel, Chosen, Book I: The Hayel.

How To Enter: Like my Facebook page.

And? And…that’s it! Just like my Facebook page, and you’re automatically entered.

tjbaer_facebook_dec2014http://www.facebook.com/tjbaerofficial

And if you’ve already liked my page, first of all, congratulate yourself for being awesome, and then sit back and relax, because you’re already entered to win.

More on Chosen here:

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CHOSEN: BOOK I

The contest will run for a week or two, at which point I’ll randomly select a winner from those who’ve proven their unquestionable good taste by liking me on Facebook. I’ll post the announcement on Facebook and here on the blog so all may delight in your victory (and loathe your astounding good fortune).

atla_sokka_library!FLY NOW TO FACEBOOK, MY FRIENDS! FLY!

/yep, still sleep-deprived

Chosen cover reveal!

Despite my lingering headache (and growing certainty that I really shouldn’t have eaten that extra piece of chocolate), I’m pleased to offer you all a first glimpse of the cover of Chosen!

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Long-time readers (and psychics) will recognize Chosen as the LGBT fantasy series I’ve mentioned approximately 75,000 times since starting this blog, and others will not recognize it at all, because the world is a sad, sad place where many people don’t yet know the intimate details of my writing life.

In any case, the first book in the series will be called The Hayel (pronounced hī-yel’), which is a deep and meaningful title that will only have deep meaning if you actually read the book.  Funny how that works.

The full cover, including the back and spine:

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(click for larger version)

The cover art was done by a talented artist named Steven James Catizone, who created six or seven different versions of Kaine standing there holding blue fire – and now has to deal with the fact that the author (read: me) has chosen to use the very first draft version, heartlessly casting aside all the hard work that went into the others.

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Authors are such bastards.

By the way, I’m still looking for bloggers, authors, or book reviewers interested in writing review blurbs for Chosen, so if you are any of the above (or know someone who is), send me a line at tjbaerwrites@gmail.com. Or if you just want to say “hi,” that’s cool, too.

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One last bit of news: I’ve spiffed up the site a bit, changing the banner and the layout so as to give it a slightly more professional, less beige appearance:

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Also, it grieves me to inform you all that the weird little apple in the upper left corner of the page has gone, vanishing back into the fruity ether from whence he came.

craftytheme_apple This guy.

He shall be missed. <3

Self-publishing and the avoidance of cooties

As many of you already know, I’ve recently finished my final draft of Chosen, the first volume of an LGBT fantasy series I’ve been working on since I was a wee gel of fifteen. And while considering agents and publishers as of late, I’ve found myself rather seriously thinking about…

Self-publishing.

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I know, I know. But hear me out.

Now, I know that self-publishing sometimes (read: often) gets a bad rap, and it certainly does carry a “so you couldn’t get any REAL publisher to publish your book, then, eh?” stigma. But I think it’s important to remember that authors and publishers are generally working from vastly different motivations, the author’s motivation being I poured my heart and soul into this novel and I want to share it with other people, while the publisher’s motivation is more along the lines of sell books sell books sell books.

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Which isn’t a bad motivation, of course, when your livelihood (and ability to build that money shower you’ve been longing for) depends entirely on being able to turn authors’ sweat and tears into profit. But when it comes to preserving the author’s vision for the book and keeping the story in line with what the author’s always dreamed it would be, it’s much easier to push these things aside in favor of following well-established formulas for book-selling success.

Example: Both of my previously published novels have love stories in them, and as such, were categorized as “romances.” My second book in particular is not what I would categorize as a straight-up romance, as it’s more about family relationships, self-acceptance, and dealing with all manner of issues – but it does happen to have a nice squishy gay romance at the center of it.

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D’aww, squishy.

Because that “romance” tag was slapped onto it, I was suddenly expected to put in a bunch of additional sexual content, because that’s what fits in with the established idea of a “romance.” There is sex in the book, but it’s sparse and tasteful, there only when it advances the plot (wacky though that may sound). The main focus of the story just isn’t on sex.

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(Wonderful though sex of course is.)

In the end, I was able to hold true to my vision of the story and not put my characters through a pointless series of Olympics-level sexual encounters that did nothing to further the plot, but it wasn’t easy. I had to fight for the right to keep the book as I wanted it, because my vision of it didn’t match the cookie cutter formula for selling and marketing books.

And with Chosen, which is probably the single most important thing I’ve ever written, I guess I’m somewhat wary of putting it into any hands other than my own.

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I mean, other people’s hands could have cooties or something, amirite?

My reason for writing and publishing this book has nothing to do with money or fame (awesome though those things would be); it’s more about getting out a message I feel is important, and sharing these characters with people who might feel that same spark of connection towards them that I feel.

So that, my friends, is why I’m currently considering self-publishing. It involves a hell of a lot more work on my end, but if the end result is getting this book exactly as I want it, then I think it might just be worth it.

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For more on Chosen, head over to the brand new Chosen page, complete with a fancy new blurb and OOH, FIRE.