So I had this big old long blog post ready to go about my favorite shit of 2011. But through the magic that is technology, it somehow got deleted, and the prospect of doing it all over again is making me nauseous. I may have even said "Fuck you, computer!" in a very irate manner. Just know there was shit I liked in 2011, some more than others. The End.
So here instead, are things I learned and things I did on my Xmas vacation.
--When you have 12 straight days of vacation coming up, the work day stretches to infinity. You know what I mean. Those days approaching seem to last forever, and it SUCKS when you look at the clock, sure a few hours have passed only to realize it's been 14 seconds, well... just know that I hate that.
--That dawning sense of freedom you get when the day arrives? When the clock says "Be free, my child! Run like the wind and never look back!" and you can't help but be in a good mood, and even though those around you aren't going on vacation and they are trying to do their best to put you in a bad mood, but it doesn't work because they're all just jealous ass hats? I love moments like that.
--So I said "Good-bye, dear co-workers!" waving at them (and also secretly flipping them off.) I ran from my cubicle and out the door to my car and drove home. Of course, on the way, I stopped at the store and bought hard alcohol. Keep in mind that I'm a lightweight (two beers makes me drunk) so that bottle will be in my freezer forever. What can I say, I'm a cheap date.
--Knowing full well it was Xmas in a couple of days and that I was leaving for Prescott, AZ the next, I immediately proceeded in wrapping the presents. Now, there is something you should know about me. It is my secret shame. I, as a gay man.....cannot wrap presents. Look away, I'm hideous! Seriously. It's awful, the job I do. Take a normal simple box, and when I'm finished "wrapping" it, it'll look like one of those avant-garde pieces that is supposed to be "art" but that people don't really understand. To much tape. The corners folded weird. Paper torn. I was told once that my present wrapping abilitity ruins Xmas. That person doesn't get presents from me anymore. Bastard.
--I had to drive four hours up to Prescott. By myself. I told myself I would use that time to work out some plot kinks for Burn Book II, but instead spent the entire time going through my CD's (Yes, I still use CD's. Yes, I still buy CD's. No, I don't have an iPod. Bite me) picking out ones that I hadn't listened to in forever. What did I learn about myself musically? A few things: first, I have some awesome music (Breaking Benjamin, Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine.) Second, I have some of the gayest music ever (Don't even ask how many Britney albums I have. Okay, fine, eight. Shut up). Third, I may be the best singer in the history of ever. (okay, that last was a lie. I'm sorry I lied. I can't sing at all, but I really like to think I can.)
--I was staying in Prescott for a few days following Xmas because my sister was donating a kidney to another dude and she needed someone to drive her to Phoenix and back for the surgery and also to watch my eight year old nephew Noah, the most supreme badass kid to have ever existed. So I packed a shit load of clothes. Two bags worth. Don't look at me like that. I know I have a disease. But at least I look good.
--Prescott AZ is in the mountains. I fully expected there to be snow. I was not disappointed.
--My favorite part about Xmas? Oh, I could say the time spent with family, the meaning of the holiday season, the joy of giving to others, but that's bullshit. Everyone likes presents, no matter their age. If they say otherwise, they're a liar and a fat mouth. I got an impossible new smart phone that I'll never be able to use (it's called a Droid Razr. No, I didn't mis-type that. Apparently it's way hip to misspell "Razr". Is it so much trouble to add in the extra "o"? Pretty soon, everything will be abbreviated and nobody will know what anyone is talking about. Prepare for the future!) But look what else I got!
--Food coma with the little brother. I still don't think I've fully recovered.
--So after Xmas was over, we drove down to Phoenix so my sister could have her surgery. And of course, that would mean leaving me in charge of an eight year old. What did I learn in the two days I had Noah. HOLY FUCKING CHRIST KIDS ARE FUCKING EXHAUSTING. JEBUS CRISP!!!!! And emotionally manipulative. Case in point:
"Noah, we just ate, how can you be hungry again?"
"Well, there's a Wendy's right there and they have root beer floats which are my favorite."
"Haven't you had enough sugar the past few days?"
"My mom let's me get root beer floats."
"Dammit. One root beer float, please."
But you know what? I love the crap out of that little dude. He is so fucking hysterical. He's so fucking smart. He's so fucking awesome and those two days where it was just me and him were some of the best I've had in long while. How can it not be when, while we were randomly in a Lowe's store, he told me that all the employees working there were really terrorists and we had to avoid them otherwise they'd get us and so we literally played hide and seek with Lowe's employees (even though they didn't know they were playing with us) because had they caught us, we would have been taken back to their base and tortured? How can it not be when he looked me in the eye and said "I'm really glad you and I get to hang out, because I miss you when you're not here."
Ow. My heart.
--My sister pulled through the surgery with flying colors, and the recipient got a new lease on life as apparently his new kidney started working almost right away. How rad is that?
--I drove them back up to Prescott and turned around and drove another four hours home. I was good until the last hour or so and then I was fucking miserable because I had been sitting for so long. So I started thinking about what would happen if the world really ended in 2012. What would I have said I'd wished I'd done? You know my dream to go to Stonehenge. I also want to say I've been to the Amazon River. And stood at the Grand Canyon (I know, I know: I live in Arizona, how the hell could I never have been?). There's so many things I want to do in life, so I hope that the world doesn't end next December. (Apparently it's supposed to end Dec 23rd. Which, if true, means we just celebrated our last Xmas as a human race! PREPARE FOR FIRE!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA)
--I still have four more days until I have to return to work. Little bro and I are going shopping today and then to see the new Mission Impossible movie. Did you know that Tom Cruise is like only 5'8? How adorable is that? It goes to show that even short closeted people can make it in Hollywood.
Here's to 2012! (as long as we don't burn in fire when the world explodes.)
Welcome to the wide crazy world of TJ Klune
As you can see, this is a blog (a blog, you say? You're like the only person in the world that has one!). Here are my promises to you: I promise to up date this as much as I can. I promise that at some point, you will most likely be offended. I promise that I may show naked dudes (but honestly? I've been told that my taste can be a little... strange). I also promise to make this some place where you can see how my mind works.
You've been warned.
You've been warned.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Ah, what a difference a year can make.
2011 was odd: wonderfully, strangely odd. It started with my struggling to finish a story about a guy named Bear, the love of his life (whether he knew it or not) Otter, and a snarky and deeply fragile nine year old. I knew how it was supposed to end, and I knew the end would leave some questions unanswered (the hows and the whys), but I figured it wouldn’t matter because no one was going to read it anyway.
Boy, was I wrong.
I finished the novel sometime in February. (Okay, who am I kidding—I know the exact date and time I typed the last word.) Then I sat on it for a few weeks. Then I reread it. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. I changed a few things around (Mrs. Paquinn got more quirky, the lawyer scene expanded) and I felt better about it. I decided on Dreamspinner as my first stop (first stop isn’t a joke, either). I’ve heard so many horror stories about author’s getting rejection letter after rejection letter before they finally get their book published (if at all). I was under no illusion that I had written the Great American Novel. Far from it. I told myself to steel up my nerves, that it’d hurt if/when it was rejected, and that I’d allow myself a moment or two to wallow in self-pity (after all, what did that stupid publisher know, anyway? I had just written the Great American Novel! Screw them! Won’t they be upset when I’m rich and famous!) I received an email back, saying it had been received and would be 6-8 weeks before I would get a response.
So what to do? Sit and watch the clock and calendar? 6-8 weeks is a really long time, if you think about it. Especially if someone is judging what you had just spent months putting your heart and soul into. It can be agonizing, that wait. (Okay, you can check the calendar again; it has to have been at least two weeks since you last looked. Go ahead. IT’S ONLY BEEN TWENTY MINUTES!?!?!?!) I had a choice then: watch and wait (while reading over the copy of the manuscript I had sent in, seeing repeated, obvious mistakes that I just knew were going to cause the book to be rejected—Sloppy, the notes would say. Don’t you know how to edit? Please don’t ever submit to us again.) Nah, I couldn’t wait and watch. I would have given serious consideration to losing my mind.
Might as well start the story I’d always wanted to tell. It was going to be a huge book, the first part of a trilogy. I’d always had this image of a guy falling off a really tall building. Who was he? Why did he fall? Did he jump? Was he pushed? How could a person survive something like that? Did he survive something like that? My thoughts grew from there until it formed this epic story of black vs white, good vs evil. I even knew the first line: My name is Felix Paracel and when I was nine, I killed my mother with fire that shot from my hands. Felix, I decided, was the guy who fell off the building. And so I starting writing. And writing. And writing.
During the three months it took me to tell the story of Felix and Seven, April 7th, 2011 happened. Email received from Dreamspinner, wanting to publish BOATK. I remember my first thought being bullshit. And then I danced. And then I freaked out. And then I wrote a calm email back saying thank you for the consideration and that I would review the contract and get back to them.
It was a whirlwind from there. Edits. (What the fuck do I know about edits? What do you mean the original ending of BOATK doesn’t make sense? Of course it makes sense! I FUCKING WROTE IT.) Cover. (Do you want to have half naked to mostly naked men on your cover? Uh, no. A nine-year old is a main character and that would just be weird. And gross. Some people won’t read it if you put a child on the cover. Oh. Who cares? His name is already in the title. I’m not gonna have two ripped guys boning on my cover just because some person in Florida hates children in their m/m books. Okay, we’ll do it!) The blurb. (I hate writing about what I wrote.) My bio. (I hate writing about myself.)
During this time, I finished my second novel. I thought if it ever saw the light of day, people were gonna freak the shit out (in a good way), especially given the last 100 pages. I was proud of the way it ended. Probably a bit too proud. But I had finished that damn thing in three months so I figured I was okay with liking it a bit more than I had BOATK. I didn’t know if anyone else would, and I still don’t. After all, it’s M/M and it’s supernatural, but it’s not a shifter story. There’s no vampires. It’s sorta violent. People die. It’s the first part of a trilogy, so things aren’t wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. Fuck. What the hell was I thinking?!?!? But I sent it off for consideration 7/1/11. And waited. And Waited.
And didn’t write a damn thing for over a month.
Two days before BOATK’s release, Burn was accepted for publication for February 2012.
BOATK came out, but if you’re reading this, most likely you knew that already. I’ve already talked about its release way too much in the past, so no need for me to rehash it here. You know what happened, how it’s been received. For that, I’m thankful. But what you may not know is that looking back, there are parts in the book that makes me cringe. I wish I’d done certain things differently. I wish that we hadn’t spent so much time in Bear’s head. I wish I’d been a tad bit clearer on the end (mom’s motives). Why do I wish that? Because I really didn’t plan on writing a sequel. I thought that maybe the boys would ride off into the sunset and that would be that. But after the release happened and people responded the way they did, I knew I could go back to the boys and continue, if only I could think of another story to tell. And the right idea hit me one random day and two months later, it was finished. Now, I’m making plans for the boys and for my other new guys. Big plans.
So BOATK won a few awards, was named one of Amazon.com’s best books of 2011. Apparently it’ll be up for a few more in the coming months (more on that down the road!) People from all over the world have emailed me about it, both good AND bad. I never expected any of that. I never expected it to sell well, never expected it to affect others the way it did. To some, it was a good story. To others, it meant something to them given their own lives. Still others hated it with a glorified passion (one review went so far as to claim all the good reviews on Goodreads and Amazon were plants by people that I knew and wanted people to rate it badly just to counteract all the good ones—LOVE IT!!!). All of that? All of that is way awesome. I don’t want universal acclaim (seriously!) or universal hatred (duh!). If I had either, I would think I had done something wrong, or that I would never be able to live up to that first book. The fact that some people loved it, some people hated it, and a lot of people liked it was the best reaction I could have hoped for. And it’s one I hope to continue to get.
So 2011 started with a tremulous hope and is ending with me seeing three novels published within an eight month period. Holy fuck me sideways. Never thought that would happen.
2012? You’ll get Burn. You’ll get BOATK2. You may also get a surprise or two that shall remain quiet for now. But if my 2012 is anything like my 2011, then I think it’ll be a pretty damn good year.
So thank you. Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve read my first book and have given me such an awesome gift. It means more than you could know.
Oh, and just because we’re getting closer to the release, a couple of remaining characters that I have not yet revealed for Burn, out 2.6.12 are listed below. I should have the cover soon and also details as to when Burn will be available for preorder. In addition, a very limited amount of Burn paperbacks signed by me will be available. That’ll be first come first serve and I’ll have further details as we get closer.
Who you’ve met so far:
Felix Paracel—narrator. An Elemental capable of controlling fire and wind, possibly the only dual Elemental in the world. Called Findo Unum—the Split One.
Seven Fortis—A non-Elemental, or a “Normal,” as they’re referred. Also known as the Luravit Cor to Felix, as revealed in the first excerpt. What does Luravit Cor mean? Sure sounds like Latin, doesn’t it? As a matter of fact, a lot of this world is based in Latin. Strange.
The Clock Twins, Tick and Tock: Seventeen year old Asian twins capable of controlling Water and Earth. Also, they are tech geniuses whose hacking capabilities are unparalleled.
Edna Brunelle: Sixty-seven year old Fire Elemental, one of the more powerful in the world. As a Magister—teacher—to the Split One, she will help Felix with the Fire side of his abilities. Has an affinity for younger men.
Otis Moore: An Elemental capable of controlling fire, who also has an affinity for all things weapon-related. He and Seven grew up together and have been best friends since they first met at the age of six. Years before the story starts, an event led to a vicious attack, partly handicapping Otis’s mind. He’s a functional adult, but given the brain damage he sustained, he is not the same person he used to be. Some consider him now to be an idiot savant.
Jason Taylor: Best friend to Felix Paracel (though, he only knows him by Felix’s cover name, Atticus Vanesco, and does not know that Felix is an Elemental). He is a Normal (a non-elemental) and a cop with the Terra City PD. He’s always considered himself to be Felix’s protector, but he can’t shake the feeling that something is coming that he has no control over.
New Character Reveal:
Thaddeus Paracel: Father to Felix Paracel, husband to Felix's mother, who Felix accidentally killed as a child. After the night of her death, Thaddeus took Felix into hiding, keeping him away from the world and those bent on finding Felix. Felix suspects his father knows more than he's saying about the event's of Felix's life, even down to the point of what Thaddeus does for a living.
Kammy Basileus: Earth Elemental, part of Seven's team of Elementals. Previously was romantically involved with Seven Fortis, she doubts Felix's capabilities which she lets him know on a regular basis.
One last thing: the opening quote for Burn?
I will burn, but this is a mere event.