On Chosen, Writing, and Doing What I Please

Kaine’s kickass mother Hema, pictured here instead of Kaine because she’s far easier to draw in doodle form. :P

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 during my teen years as a cookie-cutter White Dudes Doing Cool Stuff In A Fantasy Setting book, but it’s since evolved into a series that features mostly LGBT people of color doing even cooler stuff in a fantasy setting. Since this is a fantasy world entirely of my imagining, I can do what I want with it, such as making the dominant religion a pantheon of gods and goddesses, many of whom are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc., and this thus makes LGBT folks entirely normal and unstigmatized in this world. Likewise, the inclusion of a female chief goddess (and various other awesome females in the pantheon) encourages more gender equality, which means that gender roles in this society are far more equal, and that gives me the opportunity to have kickass ladies all over the place and not have that be at all weird.

The latest I Can Do What I Want aspect of the story has involved my going through the book and subtly altering what everyone is eating so they subscribe to a more plant-based diet. It’s not something you see often in fantasy books, I’m willing to bet, but given my own commitment to avoiding meat and animal products, I figured…why not? WHY NOT HAVE THEM ALL BE VEGAN. MUWAHAHAHAHA I’m drunk with godly writing power.

So. Chosen now features a transgender, pansexual, vegan person-of-color as its main character, and I am quite pleased about that. :D

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!

chosen-frontcover_dec2014

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:

chosen_cover_dec2014_full-sm

(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.

doctorwho_sorry

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.

cm_chang_allowit

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:

tjbaer_newlayout_dec2014

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

In which Kaine searches for peanut butter.

chosen-logo

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

peanut-butter

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:

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