In which tea is necessary (on your shirt).

You know what’s absolutely necessary?



And you know who needs to know that?



“But T.J.,” you may say. “I am but one person. How can I possibly spread the holy word of tea unto the ignorant masses all by myself?”

Well, random internet person, I am here today to answer just that question.


Visitors with Sherlock-levels of observation may have noticed that there’s a new tab at the top of the site now, with the mysterious moniker of “Store.” Whatever could that mean?

Allow me to enlighten you. Today, I’m pleased to announce the official opening of the T.J. Baer Shop over on CafePress, for all your merchandise-related-to-my-books needs!


What’s available at present is a line of T-shirts featuring a quote from Mr. Defrin in Chosen, regarding the vital importance of tea in all human endeavors. A tea-tee, if you will. (Or even if you won’t.)

The front:



The back:



Show your support for tea, me, and Chosen (as well as the wise and wonderful Mr. Defrin) with your very own “Tea is always necessary” T-shirt. Because if we don’t tell the world of the true and mighty awesomeness of tea, how are they ever to know? (Also, if you don’t walk around with the URL to my blog on the back of your shirt, they may never find their way here to this mad little block of gif-filled cyberspace, and that would be a tragedy indeed.)

So, yes. In conclusion: Buy my shirts. And my books. Or just send me a wad of cash in the mail; whatever would be most convenient.


In other news:

The weather in Chicago has taken a turn for the dismal as of late, going quite suddenly from sunny, eighty degree days to gray, cold, depressing weather that makes me wonder if there even is such a thing as the sun. I’m bearing it as best I can, though the fact that two days of gray weather has put me into such a major funk is probably not a good sign for the winter to come.



/autumn angst

On the plus side, my apartment is warm and has a cat in it, as well as an impressive supply of tea. And tea, as I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned before, is pretty great.

If only there were some sort of T-shirt available to express to the world my true feelings about tea, while at the same time shamelessly pimping my upcoming novel and this site…


TAF on A Blog Abroad

So, the supremely awesome Rebecca B. has made me a very happy author by pimping my book on her blog, “A Blog Abroad.”

A Blog Abroad | Book Pimping: Talking About Fungus <–Here.



So, yes, this pleases me.


If you’re into K-Pop, sarcasm, or good, intelligent writing on a number of topics, you should absolutely check out the rest of her blog. And click on some ads while you’re there, so she can get paid. Because getting paid is pretty great.

Also, buy my book.



Chosen, Pride Month, and a girl named Silas

Hello, friends. I’m back with an update, because it’s Sunday again and there are no lengths to which I won’t go to put off doing housework.


Over the last few days, I’ve been writingwritingwriting, working hard on Chosen, A.K.A. my Gay Fantasy Epic (TM).


It’s been going surprisingly well, to the extent that I’m now at the midpoint of the book, and A Very Dramatic Occurrence has just Occurred. I’m now actually reaching the point where I have to try to connect the beginning chapters of the story (which I wrote within the last few months) with the latter half of the story (which I wrote quite a long time ago) and see if they actually fit together, or if I’ll have to redo the whole bloody rest of the book.


Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to rewrite the whole thing.

But hey, if it ends with me having written an awesome book of awesomeness, it’ll all have been worth it.

In other Chosen news, I’ve gender-switched one of the characters from a vicious boy bully named Silas…to a vicious girl bully named Silas. And I have to confess that I kind of like the idea of a girl named Silas, so the name may end up staying through to the final draft.

In non-Chosen news, June is Pride Month (insert explosion of rainbows here), so I shall offer up some pride in the girl-loving side of my bisexual self and say that Gwen from Merlin is pretty smokin’ in this gif:


Do you deny it? CAN you deny it?

Didn’t think so.

So, on that note, I’ll be on my way, back to writing and listening to music and wishing fervently that my laundry would head on down to the laundry room and wash itself. I’m sure if I stare at it for long enough and continue to make shooing motions, it’ll get the idea.


Yeah, I may be a tiny bit sleep-deprived.

Queer Investigations, or possibly another title altogether.

So, you know that thing I said about updating more frequently?


Yeah, not so much.

Anyway, since I’m sure you’re all absolutely burning to know what I’ve been up to, I’ll tell you. First off, I’ve been studying a great deal of Japanese, because I have a deep masochistic streak and want my brain to shrivel up and die, apparently. I’ve also been doing a bit of writing on Chosen (see prior entries re: my Gay Fantasy Epic), which is clipping along at a tortoise-like slow-and-steady pace, but is at least moving in the right direction. (Yay.)

I’ve also been working on a (semi-) new story, one which I’d like to introduce to you today for lack of anything better to talk about. And that story shall henceforth be known as…

The Paranormal Lesbians Story.


…eh, I’ll work on it.

The sad truth is, I don’t have a title for it yet, though one of the working titles is Queer Investigations. Because, as one character puts it, “Two lesbians and a charming gay man who investigate weird – or queer – things for a reasonable fee. It’s perfect, right?”


Our main character is Lila Matsumoto, a half-Japanese Chicago girl of the lesbian persuasion who’s abandoned her dull 9-to-5 job in favor of running a Paranormal Consulting business.

It was a pretty good gig, overall—interesting, reasonably lucrative, let me set my own hours—but it did have some downsides, such as having to keep track of all my business expenses for taxes, and those occasional times when unholy creatures of the night decided they wanted to kill me and feast on my innards. But it was pretty decent for the most part, and allowed me the added bonus of sharing my working hours with my two  best friends, bat-shit insane though they both were.

It’s a fun story to write, and a nice departure from Chosen, which is more on the serious side and all written in third person. It’s nice to drop back into something closer to my own “voice,” and I’m having a great time exploring these characters. Lila is tough and confident, but has major trust issues and can’t seem to let go of the memory of her Aunt Harry, who was killed Quite Mysteriously when Lila was just a kid. Nadine is dreamy and good-natured, obsessed with movies and science fiction, while Miranda keeps herself immersed in books as a guard against reality and social interaction. Lila’s had a bit of a thing for Miranda for years, but Miranda’s never shown any interest in anyone, male or female, so the whole thing seems pretty hopeless. BUT IS IT REALLY??



Anyway. I did some work on it today (including doing a random Google search for actresses to fit my image of the main characters, because that was totally necessary >_>), and I’m hoping to get some more work done on it and maybe someday actually – gasp – finish the durned thing. Which, I swear, is a more interesting story than it probably sounds from this sleep-deprived, overly caffeinated description.

And now, because I need to get to bed, I leave you with this profound thought:


Goodnight, friends~~<3


Edit: So, it would seem that in my somewhat less than coherent state last night, I typed in the wrong working title. It’s supposed to be “Queer Investigations,” not “Queer Consulting,” but as the latter was typed first, it is now and forever part of the URL for this entry. I could change it, yes, but that would take too much of my precious energy, which I could be putting to other, better uses – like cleaning my apartment (unlikely) or rewatching eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender (more likely).

So, yes. Just wanted to put that out there. :P

On location-challenged bananas and nasal psychics

Greetings, internet. As usual, it’s been awhile.


One of these days I’ll get the hang of updating my blog in a timely manner, but alas, probably not anytime soon. I have high hopes for my retirement, however.

Anyway, I come to you today with an Important Message! (Which you know is important due to the expert use of capitalization.)

As you know, I have books and you can buy them. But do you know who else has books you can buy?



Yes, indeed, friends. Me dear ole Mum’s just recently released three kids’ books of the Extremely Awesome variety, and if you head on over to Amazon and order them now, for a limited time only, you can receive my undying love and gratitude. WHAT A DEAL.

But yes, a quick primer on my mom’s work:


bananasThe Nasal Psychic: Big-nosed, tuba-playing Jeremy Farklesworth used to lead a perfectly ordinary life—until his voice changed. Now he’s smelling things no one else can smell, like dog poop, cigarette smoke, and sweaty gym socks. Three days after he smells funeral flowers, old Mrs. Munzer from down the street dies. Jeremy is stunned to realize the truth: his nose is psychic!

Sparkle: When the mildly dysfunctional Buxford family takes a working vacation to renovate Great Aunt Dot’s run-down mansion, the last thing twelve-year-old Brandy expects is a summer of adventure and intrigue. But that’s exactly what she gets as she unravels a cold-case mystery dating back to Dot’s girlhood days. In her search for the truth, Brandy stumbles onto a wondrous place that just might hold the key to solving the mystery. But something terrible happened there long ago—and when history decides to repeat itself, Brandy finds herself facing horrors that threaten her very life.

Bananas in Strange Places: (My personal favorite.) Dorothy’s house may have landed in Oz, but Chloe Lamont’s is someplace just as weird: halfway down the Sears wing in the Oasis Mall. Chloe hates living at the mall—and things only get worse when somebody starts vandalizing stores, using materials from the Lamonts’ house. While searching for clues to catch the real vandal, Chloe and her friends make a shocking discovery. And that’s when things get really crazy…



Sound good, right? (The correct answer is: “Right.”) You want to rush right over to Amazon RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT and buy them, don’t you? (The correct answer is: “Yes.”) You’re forever indebted to me for alerting you to their existence, aren’t you? (The correct answer is: “Yes, we love you. We will never forsake you and will spend the rest of our lives attempting to pay you back for this kindness with a wealth of expensive gifts and various kinds of chocolate.”)

So, now that you’ve decided without question to go buy multiple copies of these books (no backsies allowed), here’s my dear mother’s Official Site:



Aside from Amazon links, you can find a variety of other nifty stuff on her site, particularly geared towards nurturing creativity in kids. And really, what better use of your childhood is there than being awesomely creative?


News and Benedict Cumberbatch

So, as you may have noticed from the deafening silence over the last few weeks, this business of updating my blog regularly is not going quite as well as expected. After a long day of teaching, I tend to want to spend my evening melting into a comfy chair and either watching Benedict Cumberbatch videos random videos starring no one in particular or stalking tumblr. The idea of using my brain for anything beyond deciding what to have for dinner is less than appealing, and thus, no new entries have appeared.

So, yes, score 1 for breaking New Year’s resolutions in record time.


Today is Saturday, however, and as Chicago is in the midst of yet another snowstorm of doom, I have a moment to turn my attention to blogging.

So! Onto some actual news:

1. First off, I now have an official Facebook page on, funnily enough, Facebook:


T.J. Baer: Official Facebook Page

Head on over and give it a like so I may look more popular than I actually am. <3

2. Second, my short story, Not A Love Story, now has its own page over on Goodreads:


Goodreads | Not A Love Story by T.J. Baer

As it’s only just been added, it’s sadly without rating or review, so if anyone would like to go give it a bit of love, that would be greatly appreciated. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can pick up a copy (though not literally, as it’s an ebook and thus very difficult to get a grip on) on Amazon.

3. And…I don’t actually have any other news, but it seems wrong to only have two points, so here is a third one. Enjoy.

I’m hoping to get some writing done on Chosen today (more on that story here if you missed it), though that will probably only happen if I unplug my modem and ignore the existence of the internet for a few hours.

benedict-mrdefrinRe: Chosen, I had a minor epiphany moment the other day when I noticed that I was unconsciously reading one character’s lines in Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice – and this made me realize that, in the imaginary casting for the imaginary movie of my as-of-yet-unfinished novel, he would be pretty much perfect for the role of Mr. Defrin, the kind, dry-witted mentor/father figure of the main character.

(He would actually be perfect for nearly ALL the roles in the story, as he can play just about any role convincingly, but never mind that.)

I used to have all the main characters cast, actually (James Marsters as sarcastic, cheekboney Kaine, Jamie Bamber as nice-guy Nicholas, and Ioan Gruffudd as Darek, the prissiest priss who ever prissed), but as that was about ten years ago, they’re all a bit too old now. Damn.

So, I suppose I’d better get cracking on this story before another era of actors get too old for it.  (Because clearly the only obstacle to having my little fantasy novel turned into a Hollywood blockbuster is aging actors.)

And on that note, I’ll be on my way. I have a very important decision to make now, namely whether to have ramen or leftover pizza for lunch.