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.

In which tea is necessary (on your shirt).

You know what’s absolutely necessary?

tea

Tea.

And you know who needs to know that?

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Everyone.

“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.

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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!

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http://www.cafepress.com/tjbaershop

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:

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The back:

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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.

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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.

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/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…

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http://www.cafepress.com/tjbaershop

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.

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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New: Not A Love Story

Greetings, friends. Now that the holiday madness and accompanying food coma have subsided, I’ve returned to post about my latest short story ebook release, on the off chance that anyone is actually reading this sad, neglected little blog. <3

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notalovestory_coverNot A Love Story
by T.J. Baer

Devastated over his latest break-up, Jason hides out in his apartment while the take-out boxes and empty bags of cheese curls pile up around him. When Bea stops by to cheer him up, they embark on an afternoon of board games, psychoanalysis, Star Wars references, and cockroach eviction, and Jason learns the value of a good friend and a well-placed lava pit.

A witty, surprisingly touching look at love, relationships, and what it means to be complete.

Now available at the Amazon Kindle Store for $2.99.

Purchase: Amazon Kindle Store
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Not sure where this story came from, actually. It was written while suffering from sleep deprivation and stomach woes over Thanksgiving, and was my attempt at writing about two people who miraculously do NOT discover that they are desperately in love with each other by the end of the story. :O I know. Madness.

Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a read, as I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I’m putting a free download of it down below, but if you have the means to buy it on Amazon, please do. The life of a self-employed teacher/writer/editor, sadly, is not as lucrative as you might imagine, and every penny helps. XD;

Not A Love Story – T.J. Baer (pdf)

I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of writing lately, mainly on my Gay Fantasy Epic (TM), though the writing of it has been stalled somewhat by the release of new Sherlock episodes. And if you aren’t watching that show, you really should be. *_*

In other news, we’re currently experiencing record cold here in Chicago, along with  quite a lot of blizzardy snowy awfulness. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I hate winter with the burning passion of a thousand suns (or some equally fiery thing), and one of these days I fully intend to pack up my stuff and my cat and move to a more tropical location. For now, however, I’ll stick around good ole Chi-Town for a bit longer, and try to remember that in a few months, I’ll be bitching about how hot it is.

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Until next time, dear friends~~<3

PS: There is a small typo in the Amazon version of Not A Love Story. Ten points to Gryffindor if you can find it. (The fact that it exists vastly offends my OCD need for spelling perfection, but I’m dealing with it. Somewhat. *twitches*)

/never a good idea to update blog before breakfast