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 you may suffer from the affliction the Klunatics know as Wookie Cry Face. I also promise to make this some place where you can see how my mind works.

You've been warned.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Playlist for Burn

Hey gang.  We are at 16 days and counting until the release for my second novel, Burn!  I can't wait for you to see what's in store.  Below, you'll find the complete playlist for the book.  Each song was carefully picked because of the nature of the music/lyrics/sound.  Some of the lyrics are very important to the course of the story, so if you're looking for clues, these songs are a great place to start.  I will post three videos of the songs I feel are the true essence of Burn. 

And another thing.  I recently downloaded the app for my phone Pandora.  I know, I know, I am way behind the times.  If you don't know what it is, essentially it gives you the capability to create your own radio station with the music you like and then you are able to share it.  I've thought about making a BOATK radio station.  Thoughts?  Do you use Pandora?

Anyhoo, the set list!  I hope you like these songs as much as I do.  I think they are exactly what Burn is all about.  And, as a last note, obviously I do not own the rights to any of these songs. =D


The Burn Set List

Theme song— Puscifer “The Humbling River”
Prologue— Florence + The Machine “Blinding”
Chapter 1— Gary Jules “Mad World”
Chapter 2— Alkaline Trio “Burn”
Chapter 3— Poets of the Fall “War”
Chapter 4— Go Radio covering Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”
Chapter 5— Mumford and Sons “White Blank Page”
Chapter 6— Breaking Benjamin “Breath”
Chapter 7— Never Shout Never “Time Travel”
Chapter 8— Florence + The Machine “No Light, No Light”

Chapter 9— Seether Featuring Amy Lee “Broken”
Chapter 10— Adele “Set Fire To The Rain”
Chapter 11— Nine Inch Nails “Burn”
Epilogue— Evanescense “Bring Me To Life”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The BOATK Short: Word Of The Day

© TJ Klune 2012.  If you want to share this, just ask for permission, capiche?

Hey Gang!  How’re you?  I hope all is well.

Below, you’ll find the last BOATK short before the release of the sequel, Who We Are, in April (don’t have a specific date yet.)  This short was written as a thank you to those who voted for the Kid in the GR M/M Awards and got him named Best Secondary Character of 2011 by quite a large margin (as well as a slew of other awards—you guys are seriously epic, you know that?).  It’s a rad feeling to know that you all love him almost as much as I do.  You should know that he still talks to me, though he’s a bit quieter now that I’m working on the Burn sequel.  But he’s always there, at the back of my head, ever my damnable conscience.  He’s biding his time, for sure, until it’s his turn again.  Then he won’t shut up until the story is told.  Not that I mind, of course, in the slightest.

The short below is a bridge between BOATK and its sequel, Who We Are.  In this story, you will meet a new character who plays an important role in WWA.  This fifteen year old is introduced to Bear part way through the new book, which is the first time you see him in the novel (which I released a few months back as a look into the WIP progress that was WWA--it's somewhere here on my blog, for those wanting to find it). It’s never really explained how the Kid and this new guy meet, only because the story is again told from Bear’s point of view, and by then, the new guy and Ty’s friendship is a few days old.  In prepping to write this short, I got to thinking about this.  Just how did they meet?  What was the Kid doing?  Why would he have felt the need to talk to an older boy who was a stranger, especially when this is only a couple of weeks after his mother had returned?  I decided to go back and show this introduction between the Kid and his new friend, so you can see how they meet, to show how important it is for the Kid, and that while he may be the smartest nine-year-old eco-terrorist in training on the planet, he’s still only nine. He may be the Kid, but he’s still a kid.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.  Only three more months until the sequel!!

You ready to meet Dominic?

Word Of The Day
By TJ Klune

            He’s a big kid, much to my dismay.
            Bear’s always told me that being a vegetarian is stunting my growth, and even if I thought that was true (which it’s not—Bear’s always saying stuff like that because he’s jealous of how awesome I am and nervous about his immortal soul), I still don’t think I could eat a baby cow to become taller.  Try to think of that the next time you stuff your face with a hamburger: that cow was somebody’s mother or father.  It’s easier to not eat meat when you anthropomorphize that which you are putting in your mouth.  Besides, Bear’s short and he’s a carnivore of the highest order.  I love him, but my big brother can be full of crap sometimes.  He’s special that way.
            I’m only a few houses down from the Green Monstrosity, after having followed a line of ants for the last half hour (did you know that some species can carry up to fifty times their body weight? That’s like me picking up a car) when I feel eyes on me from somewhere.  I try to ignore the feeling because I’ve got things to do, big things, and I don’t want to be interrupted by some nosy neighbor we have yet to meet because we’re too busy actually living our lives for once.  But that boring sensation doesn’t go away and I give in, maybe out of curiosity, or maybe to just glare at whoever is interrupting my expedition. For all I know, these ants would have lead me to some secret underground ant colony where I would have made the find of a life time by discovering a new species that would forever be known as Tysonious McKennnicus. That alone would have been my ticket into the Ivy League of my choice and cemented my future as the world’s leading vegetarian authority on this rare find.  But no.  Not going to happen. Now I have to deal with some lookey-loo who’s probably wondering why I’ve been staring at the sidewalk for the last thirty minutes, oblivious to their impending doom at interrupting my scientific endeavor that would have changed the face of myrmecology (the study of ants, duh) forever.  I swear to God if I end up having to go to Arizona State because they’re the only school that’ll accept me, there’s going to be hell to pay.  I refuse to go to a college who’s only milestone is having the world’s longest keg stand at a party thrown by the fraternity Notta Hava Fuchure just because I couldn’t complete my destined quest.
            I’m gonna have to make it rain all up in here.
            (Man.  I really need to stop watching Maury Povich with Bear.  It’s destroying my vocabulary.)
            I look up and for a moment, I don’t see anyone.  I think maybe I’ve made a mistake and can get back to the ants when a movement catches the corner of my eye across the street.  I look over and see him.
He’s huge.  Damn you genetics!
Some older boy is standing on the other side of the street, his shaggy dark hair falling around his face.  He’s got big shoulders hidden under a plaid button down shirt, the sleeves rolled up showing black hair on his arms.  His eyebrows are epic, kinda bushy and I know, I just know, he can do that thing that Otter can and arch one so it makes him look like a dastardly villain.  I can’t do that and it sucks.  He can’t be much more than fourteen or fifteen years old, but he looks like he’s been injected with bovine growth hormone, given his size.  I almost want to run across the street and ask him if he’s been trapped at some secret government animal testing facility that has been administering new serums on cattle to make their cutlets bigger and jucier, only to let him know that I could rescue him and take him to a farm where he can live out the rest of his days with a salt lick and all the grass he can eat.  But Bear said I shouldn’t talk to strangers because they would be scared of me.  I always thought I was supposed to be afraid of them, but Bear said I would just end up talking them to death and that any nefarious purpose they might have had would become moot. 
When Bear McKenna accuses you of talking too much, you know you have a problem.
So I wait and watch.  So does he.  He looks away for a moment, down the road, and then stares at his feet, which he shuffles back and forth, kicking a rock and a leaf.  He’s trying not to look at me but I catch him peeking from the hair that has fallen around his eyes.  What a weirdo.  I’m not going to have a staring contest across the street. I am not even wearing my special Staring Contest Gloves, so… you know.  There’s that.
I sigh and look back down at the sidewalk, trying to collect my thoughts, wondering if Otter or Bear will build me a mantle where I could put my first Pulitzer, next to my Lifetime PETA Awesome Award For Services To The Greater Good Of Our Animal Companions (this may not have been invented yet, but don’t worry; I’ve written PETA like four times asking for such an award to be brought into existence, and to let me be the first recipient of the prestigious LPAAFSTTGGOOAC.  My last letter ended up being fourteen pages. Single spaced.  With size ten Cordia font.  I haven’t heard back yet.  The “P” in PETA doesn’t stand for punctual, after all). I don’t think it would be too presumptuous for me to ask for at least a shelf.  I could start there before eventually asking them to move out of the Green Monstrosity and just letting me use it for a trophy house.  Heck, by then, Otter and Bear will be married and I’ll be super famous and will buy them a house in some country that actually likes gay people.  United States of America?  More like United States of Extraordinary Injustice Against Certain Segments Of the Population All Because Rednecks Are Scared Of Butt Sex..
I let this distract me for a few minutes as I find the specific ant I’ve been following (I’ve named him Helmholtz Watson after my favorite character in Brave New World).  He’s carrying a crumb of something that’s twice as big as he is and it’s cool because it’s like Helmholtz doesn’t have any awareness of anything except moving from point A to point—
I’m still being watched.
“Well, Helmholtz,” I mutter, resigned, “looks like you’re on your own for a bit.  Don’t worry about waiting for me.  I’ll catch up.  Tell the ant queen I’m still going to discover the crap out of her.”
Helmholtz doesn’t respond.  But then I don’t expect him to; he’s an ant, after all.
I look back up as my future scurries away from me and see the strange boy has moved slightly down his side of the street, like he’s following me.  Once he sees me watching him again, he looks at everything but me.  A master of subtlety he is not. But that’s okay; according to the guys in my life, I fall into that same category.  But at least I give it some panache.  This guy couldn’t be more obvious if he had a big neon sign blinking above his head that flashed I’M STALKING YOU, BOY GENIUS.  I feel nervous, if only for a moment, remembering back to a couple of weeks ago, when we sat in the attorney’s office (okay, but for real: how cool is it that I have an attorney? I’ve gone Hollywood!) and Erica asked us if we had seen anyone following us, or noticed anyone we hadn’t seen before.  Well here’s someone following me. Here’s someone I haven’t seen before.  Oh, calm down, I chide myself.  What’s she going to do, jump out and snatch me while I’m distracted by her weirdo accomplice across the street?  Get real. 
Get real. Right?  But no.  No.  Not right.  Real was Mom showing up out of the blue.  Real was the look on her face when I opened the door, like for that one tiny split second, she didn’t recognize me.  Real was that dawning comprehension.  Real was the way my hands started to shake. She didn’t look like I remembered, not like that picture I have of me and her from when I was just a little kid that I hide from Bear in the bottom of my drawer.  Then, she was smiling, or at least as much as she could smile.  Then, she looked happy, or at least as much as she could be happy.  That was real.  Or so I thought.  In the end, it showed how much I didn’t understand how real things could be. Real was the real smile I saw on her face once recognition sunk in.  That was real. I don’t stop myself from looking over my shoulder, and I don’t miss the relief coursing through me when I see Julie McKenna isn’t hiding in the hydrangeas.
Oh crap.  I gotta stop it.  Pretty soon, I’ll starting thinking of oceans and earthquakes and I’ll be forever trapped in my head like some people I know.
Only one way to deal with this: like a man.
“Hey!” I say loudly, trying to make my voice as strong as it can be.  It doesn’t help that puberty is still a pipe dream a few years away (oh, joy, let me tell you how I can’t wait for that; I’ll start growing hair in weird places and probably want to smoke, flip up my collar and put my ball cap on backwards and say things like “Right on, dude. It’s time to par-tay.”  Ugh.  Adolescence is the bane of my existence).  “Hey!” I say again, knowing repetition is needed when dealing with big galoots.
He looks down at his feet.  God, he is so frustrating.
I take a deep breath and square my shoulders.  My head is held high as I step off the curb and cross the street, trying to keep myself from running.  I’m intimidating.  I’m smooth.  I’m a badass.  I trip over my own feet.  I stumble.  I catch myself before I fall.  I blush. I walk a little bit slower. My head is still held high. I’m still a badass.  Kind of.
Bovine Boy hears my approach and glances up at me before looking down at the ground again, his arms behind him like he’s in the military or something.  His shoelace on his left foot is untied, the plastic tip missing on one side, the end frazzled.  It looks like he’s drawn little stars on the whites of his shell tops with a sharpie.  That’s kind of neat, I guess.  If you like that sort of thing.  I wonder if Bear would let me do that.  Is that what big kids do?  Draw on their shoes? I can’t make very good stars, but I can write the Greek alphabet.  From memory.  That’s not something I brag about because people tend to look at me funny when I tell them.  Bear says it’s just because their jealous.  I hope he’s right, otherwise my life is going to be one awkward moment after another.  I know too much about nothing.
I stand in front of the other guy, and I think this may have been a mistake, because he looked a little smaller from all the way across the two lane road.  I wonder if this has to do with faulty depth perception, but before I can even begin to diagnose myself with some ocular disease, the big kid grunts.  Like a gorilla.
I can’t help it: I laugh.
I don’t mean too, it just kinda comes out on its own. I smoosh my hands against my mouth to block the sound, but this causes me to snort, and snot comes out of my nose.  I try to cover it up and jerk my left hand up, but it bounces off my nose and I poke myself in the eye.  My eyes water as I hiss and knuckle my eyeball, but I’ve still got snot on my hand and gets all up in there, making it burn even more.  Ow.  I want to turn and run, but I’m temporarily blinded by my own devices and I know, I just know, that this big kid is probably some popular jock and I am forever going to be stuck with the nick-name Booger Eye Snot Face.  I ask God quietly if he wouldn’t mind opening the ground beneath my feet and allow me to fall down a chasm to save me from myself.  The ground doesn’t open.  I’m still laughing, but it’s that high-pitched thing I do when I find something really funny.  I hate that laugh.  It always sounds like a clan of female hyenas all going into labor at the same time.  Yip! Yip! Ayyyyyyyy!  Yip! Yip! Ayyyyyyyy!
The other kid doesn’t say anything
Right.  Aw. Kward.
He allows me the honor of death by mortification for a few moments more, but then I feel a gigantic hand pull my own away from my eyes, and another hand grips my chin. Something presses gently against my eye lid.  It feels like a shirt.  It rubs softly, getting all my grossness out.  He brings it lower and brushes the tears from my cheek, wipes the snot from my nose.  I crack open my right eye.  My chin is still in his hand.  There’s a look of concentration on his face as he finishes using the tail of his shirt and drops it back down.  He inspects me for a moment more to make sure it’s good, and then he lets me go and takes a step back.  But his blue eyes never leave mine, even as he towers over me, twice my size.
Focus, McKenna.  Remember, he could be a spy.
“Why were you watching me?” I ask him, unsure of what else to say.
He doesn’t do anything for a moment.  Then he shrugs.
Annoying.  “You know,” I tell him, “when someone asks you a question, it’s rude not to answer.”
He shuffles his feet and looks down.
Dammit.  Now I feel bad.  “Okay, I didn’t mean you’re rude.  I’m just saying, societal norms dictate that when a question is asked, a response should be given.”  I try not to think of him as a gorilla again, because he already has a lot of my boogers on his shirt.  A man can only take so many boogers before he walks away.  Wait.  Why do I care if he walks away?  He’s probably a traitor.  One of those lackey red shirts you always seen in stupid movies where the main bad guy needs hired muscle.  Bear doesn’t let me watch too many movies like that, because he says that my maturing brain doesn’t need outside influences of gratuitous violence.  I told him my brain was already more mature than his.  He told me I was grounded.  I told him he was grounded.  Then he gave me soy ice cream and we watched a show on the History channel about World War II.  That was a good day.
I sigh, only because the big kid hasn’t said anything yet.  “I do like hearing myself talk,” I say, “only because I have a lot of neat things to say, but eventually the conversation will run out in like four or five years and then where will we be?”
Wonder of all wonders, he cracks a little smile.  I don’t blame him.  I am pretty funny.  I see the in and I take it.  “My name is Tyson James McKenna.  I live with my brother Bear and his partner Otter.  I know, I know.  Who has names like that, right?  Well, before we go any further, you should know that everyone calls me the Kid.  Kind of like Billy and the.  But without that part.  Just the Kid.  I don’t even really know how that started happening, I guess it just did.  I don’t know if it was Bear, or my mom that started it, but I guess it stuck.  I was the one that started calling Bear “Bear”, ‘cause that’s not his real name.  His real name is Derrick, and when you meet him… well, I guess if you want to meet him, you’ll see he looks nothing like a bear.  It’s something of a misnomer.  I just learned that word yesterday.  Misnomer.  It means “a use of a wrong or inappropriate name.”  I learned it from the word of the day calendar Bear bought me for my Christmas.  I have been just waiting for a chance to use it, so thank you for letting me try it out on you.  It’s a great sounding word, don’t you think?  Mis. No. Mer.  I like words.  Inevitable.  That’s a good one, ‘cause it just rolls off the tongue.  You can say it, if you want.”  I stop.  Nothing.  “Okay, maybe not right now.  Later, though?  You can say it with me.  If you don’t know what it means, I’ll tell you.  You just need to ask.  Do you live around here?  I do.  I live in that green house back there.  We call it the Green Monstrosity because the color makes you want to punch a baby in the face.  Okay, not really.  I would never punch a baby in the face.  That’s just something Otter said once and I just died.  It was sooo funny. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you! Otter’s real name is Oliver.  Another misnomer.  Ha, ha!  Sweet!  I got to use it twice in one day!  Man, that’s awesome. Anyways, Otter’s my brother partner.  Do you know what that means?”
He’s watching me now.  He shrugs again.  Maybe that’s Bovine Boy for “keep talking. You’re way cool.”
“It means that my brother and him love each other and that’s okay, because who really cares if someone is gay, or straight, or whatever Bear is?  I know I sure don’t.  But then I never understood why people are homophobic.  Who cares what two guys or two ladies do in the bedroom, right?  It’s not like anyone wants to see what those jerks do in their bedroom, you know?  But, it’s okay, I guess.  For now.  This whole past summer was this whole big… thing, but we all got over it and now we live together in the Green Monstrosity and it’s the best time ever.  Do you live around here? I already asked you that.  You know, you could jump in here anytime, really.  How old are you? I’m nine, going on forty.  That’s what my brother says.  You should know he thinks he’s hysterical.  Which he’s not.  Do you live with your parents?  It’s okay if you don’t.  I don’t, so we’d have that in common, which would be rad.  I don’t want to talk about my mom right now, though.”  Oh crap.  I should have asked already.  “You don’t know her, do you?” I say quietly, not sure I want the answer.
His eyes widen, but he quickly shakes his head.  I believe him.  I don’t know why.
“Whew!” I say, relieved.  That’s a load off.  Do you eat meat?  I guess it’s okay if you do.  You should know that I’m a staunch vegetarian.  That’s another word I learned: staunch.  It means “faithful” and “loyal.”  That’s another great word, huh?  Loyal.  So if you eat meat, I won’t mind.  Heck, I might even be able to convince you to come back from the Dark Side.  Do you like Star Wars?  I do.  Bear and Otter and me had this marathon one time and we watched all six in one day and Bear made me spicy edamame and it was sooo good and that was another good day.  I wish light sabers were real.  Do you like to read?  What’s your favorite book?  I can’t pick just one, ‘cause I like them all.  Wow, you sure don’t talk much do you?” Oh, crap.  Can you talk?  I feel bad now ‘cause maybe you can’t talk.  Were you in an accident?  Or were you born that way?  I wonder if that’s genetic.  Or is it—
            “I don’t live with my parents,” he says quietly as he watches me.  His voice sounds broken, like he’s gargling gravel, like he’s not use to speaking and it’s hoarse from disuse.  But I am so happy that he can talk and that he’s talking to me, that I don’t give it another thought.  Maybe that’s just how he’s supposed to sound.  “I live with fosters,” he rumbles.
            “Oh.  Oh.  Like not your real parents, but people who watch you anyways?  You don’t have to tell me why, if you don’t want too.  Maybe later, huh?  Then I can tell you about my… mom.”  That word hurts more than I thought they would and my voice catches on it and almost breaks, but I push through it, blinking back the burn in my eyes.  No.  Not here.  Not now.  I don’t want to get in the bathtub today.  There will be no earthquakes.  So what if I’m still scared.  So what if I worry that she’ll come back again and I’ll have to go away with her.  So what if I’m worried that Bear is going to leave me too now that he has Otter, because now that he’s found himself, he won’t need me anymore.  So what.  Who cares.  Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t need the damn bathtub.  I’ve been doing so good, dammit.  I don’t need this.  I don’t want this.
I hope he doesn’t notice my mini freak out, but he does.  Of course he does.  I am a little surprised when he reaches up and drops a hand on my shoulder, patting me twice before dropping his arm.  I feel better almost right way.  Weird.  Whatever.  He’s really cool.
“What were you doing over there?” he grumbles at me, pointing across the street.
I grin.  “Following Helmholtz Watson as he carried a crumb back to the queen where I would have made the discovery of a life time and had my name emblazed in the annals of ant culture.”  I groan inwardly as realize what I’ve just said.  Crap, could I sound like any more of a freak?  I blush and it’s my turn to look down as I shuffle my feet.  “Just watching some ants,” I mutter.
“Can I watch with you?” he asks.
I look up at him, suspicious.  “Are you making fun of me?”
His eyes widen and he shakes his head.  “No.”
He seems sincere.  “You’re not gonna get made fun of for hanging out with some little kid?  Even though I’m not.  I’m practically ten.  Well, in another nine months.”
He shrugs.  “I don’t care.  I’m bigger than everyone.  No one makes fun of me.”
I sigh.  “I wish I could be big.  That would be so cool.” I grab his arm and start pulling him across the street.  I glance back over my shoulder and see he’s watching my hand on his arm.  “Do you like ants?” I ask him.  “I do, because the colonies they make are just fascinating, and I hope that we can find out where….”  I stop and turn around.  He watches me.  Still.  “You never told me your name,” I remind him.
He looks down the road, towards what, I don’t know.  “Dominic,” he says.
“Dominic,” I say.  “That’s a good name.  So, ants!  Have you read Brave New World?  That’s where Helmholtz comes from.  It’s kind of a dense read, but I have it and I can loan it to you, if you want to read it.  Oh!  Or you could get your own copy and we can read it at the same time and I can help you with the parts that confused me at first.  Is that okay?  I don’t want you to have to do anything you don’t want to do.  That’s not how friendships work.  And we’re friends now, right?”  We reach the sidewalk and I look up at him again.
He smiles quietly.  “We’re friends,” he says, his voice soft and broken.  “It’s inevitable.”
I grin.  “I really like that word.”

The End


Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Goodreads Awards And A Promise I Made


Hey.  You gotta minute?

Gonna tell you some stuff.

The Goodreads M/M Group Awards were held yesterday and to be honest, I didn't think BOATK stood a chance.  It's one thing to have people tell you they voted for you, but it's another to actually see the results of that voting.  I mean, come on:  they had something like 1900 responses to the ballots?  And a book that has to do with *dreaded word* CHILDREN?!?!?!?!?  Well bless my stars and garters! There was no way in hell that it was going to work!  I know people liked BOATK, but for the year?  With multiple releases from Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, and a little book called Hot Head by Damon Suede, there was no fucking way it was going to happen.

I am way happy to report I was wrong.

Best Title: Second Place
Best Tear Jerking Scene: First Place
Coming Out (Theme): First Place
Friends To Lovers (Theme): Second Place
Best Debut Book: Second Place
Best Book Of 2011: Second Place (!!!!)
Gay/Out For You (Theme): Second Place
Hurt/Comfort (Theme): Second Place
Contemporary (Genre): Second Place

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd, last (but certainly not least): Best Secondary Character: First Place for the Kid



Still in shock. 

A few things:

Congrats to all the other winners and nominees. I've read alot of them, and I can say that they are all well deserved.

I am impressed by the showing Dreamspinner had. I can honestly say that I am honored to be able to publish with them.  From Damon, and Amy, and Mary, and all the other DSP winners, I am so proud of my publisher.  I can admit that there are times when DSP doesn't put out the best work (but that is the same with ANY publisher) and there are times it feels like I am waiting for something (WHERE IS THE COVER FOR BURN!?!?!?!?!?!) but I wouldn't change a damn thing. I love DSP to pieces.

And thank YOU to all who voted on this. You humble me, good readers!

And that's it!  Have a good--

Sorry?  What was that?

Oh, right.  My bad.  Yes.  I did make a promise, didn't I?  The Kid won his award (by like a 20% margin in the votes!).  So that means I will be writing a new short starring the Kid. I have an idea about what I am going to do, though I won't say what.  I am not going to say when either, only that it should be ready soon.

Oh, and one other thing!  Have you "liked" my author page on Facebook?  Those that have get exclusive content about the Elementally Evolved Trilogy and The BOATK boys before anyone else.  Why, just yesterday I revealed the prologue and first chapter titles of the BOATK sequel!  (I do love me some teases.)  Here's the link if you are on FB: TJ Klune Author Page

Again, thank you for the votes. You guys rock!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

BURN Excerpt 2 and a BOATK Sequel Teaser

Release: 2.6.12 from Dreamspinner Press

Cover: Coming Soon (like REAL soon)


From the author of Bear, Otter, and the Kid comes the beginning of an epic new

Set in a world that closely resembles our own, Burn is a story of redemption and
betrayal, of family and sacrifice, all of which leads to the greatest question
of all: how far would you go to save the ones you love?

Fifteen years ago, Felix Paracel killed his mother with fire that shot from his
hands. Since then, he has hidden from forces bent on exploiting him and his fire
and wind Elemental abilities. But Felix's world is about to change, because he
is Findo Unum—the Split One—and his coming has been foretold for generations.

Though Felix's arrival brings great joy to the Elemental world, it also heralds
a coming darkness. No one knows this better than Seven, the mysterious
man who rescued Felix from that horrible fire years ago and then disappeared;
Seven, who has returned to claim what's rightfully his: Felix's heart. But even
as Felix begins to trust Seven and his feelings about his place in the world,
the darkness reveals itself, bringing consequences no one could have predicted.

Cast list: Felix Paracel: narrator, twenty five years old.. 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.

Dan Evans: A powerful Wind Elemental, the other Magister--teacher--to Felix.
Came to the group after his name came up on a list of Elementals the government
were bent on tracking down.

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.

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.

Trailer for Burn (as made by Jennifer Taylor and Nik Simmons):

(Probably a good idea to pay attention to the lyrics.  The song is "The Humbling River by Pucifier.)

Link to previous excerpt (read this first, as the second excerpt is a continuance of the same scene: Burn Excerpt 1

Excerpt 2:

And wouldn’t you  know, there wasn’t a single taxi out front. I looked left and right and decided to go right. It was more brightly lit and led to other streets that would have cabs. I took off at a quick pace, hoping to put enough distance between me and the bar before the big guy knew I was gone. I rounded a corner and walked faster.
Only then did I allow myself to release the breath I had been holding. My shoulders slumped, and I staggered against the wall of a building that looked a hundred years old. I felt empty and hollow, bright and alive. Thunderstruck. Who was that guy and why do I want to go back to him and apologize for walking out?
Because apparently he’s your Luravit Cor, the voice said, amused.
Whatever that means, I agreed.
I’d never let anyone hold any power over me for good reason: I couldn’t take the risk of being discovered by those who were supposedly hunting me. The conversation with my father from days before still rung through my head. It didn’t seem likely that the big guy knew my mother, as he didn’t appear that much older than me, but what about her former associates? Maybe he was a new hire or something. Maybe everything he’d said was a lie and he was just trying to get me to go with him so he could finally finish what she had started. Whatever that was.
Or maybe he meant everything he said, it countered.
I didn’t know which scared me more. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore, which, to be honest, wasn’t very far. I don’t jog, as I’ve told you. I looked around, trying to gather my bearings, my lungs burning in my chest. I didn’t recognize the street I had turned on, the tall buildings around me unfamiliar. The streets were almost empty. Cars parked on the sides, people here and there. I shivered and pulled the hood of my jacket up and moved forward, determined to find a street sign, a taxi, anything to get me the hell out of there.
Then, a scream.
I jerked my head to the right, toward a dark alley that stretched between the buildings. I could vaguely make out two people, one pressing the other against the side of a building. The one being pressed seemed to be struggling, and a scream came again. I reached down to my pocket to call 911 but came up empty. On my rush to get out and screw, I’d left my phone at home. Jason was right: I needed to control my libido better.
I entered the alley.
I approached quietly, getting closer, the scene before me coming into sharp focus. A man was snarling as he pressed a woman against the brick wall, telling her to shut the fuck up and to just take it, that she was just a fucking whore. And I think she was too: her makeup too thick, running in clumps down her face as her tears wetted her cheeks, her ratty skirt too short, torn leggings and high-heeled shoes. Even if she was a prostitute, she didn’t deserve to be raped in the alley. I got angry very quickly.
“Hey,” I said cordially. “What’s going on, guys?”
The would-be rapist jerked his rat-like eyes toward me. “Get the hell outta here, man,” he snarled. “This don’t concern you.”
“Ma’am?” I asked gently. “Are you okay?”
The bastard still had his hand over her mouth, so what came out was muffled, but her eyes widened, and she frantically shook her head. “I don’t think she’s okay with this,” I told the asshole.
“Kid, I’m warning you,” he hissed. “I’ll mess you up if you don’t leave now.”
“Are you her pimp?” I asked him quietly. If he was, maybe this was how pimps acted. I didn’t know any pimps or whores, so I wasn’t sure.
“Do I look like a pimp to you?”
“No, you look like a fucking loser who can only get what he wants by forcing it,” I said. “I’ve already called the cops.” I hadn’t, but he didn’t know that.
The idiot dropped his hands from the prostitute’s mouth and stepped away from her. She screamed again and took off down the alley. I groaned when she didn’t keep going, but instead hid behind a trash can like ten feet away. Her head peeked over the lid as she watched us. Don’t people run away anymore? Jesus.
“I’m going to fuck you up, kid,” the rat-eyed man promised.
“Well, here’s the thing,” I told him. “I certainly don’t want you to kill me. Why don’t we just call it a day and go our separate ways.”
He shook his head. “You’re a mouthy little thing, aren’t you? Maybe I should get you to suck my cock instead. Would you like that, pretty boy?” He grabbed his crotch and leered at me.
“No, but thank you for offering,” I said. “I don’t like venereal diseases in my mouth.”
“I have a condom,” the prostitute called out helpfully.
“That’s nice, but no thanks,” I told her.
“Okay,” she said.
“You ain’t gonna suck my dick?” the man asked.
“I’ll be honest with you,” I said. “If that thing gets near my mouth, I would probably end up biting it off.”
His eyes narrowed. “You would, huh?”
“Yes,” I promised.
“Well, I guess I’m just going to have to kill you, then,” he said. I knew I was fucked when, instead of rushing me like I expected, he raised his right leg into the air and slammed it down as his hands shot above his head. A four-foot section of concrete rose from the ground in front of him, splitting the ground beneath it, causing the alley to shake. The piece of earth spun wickedly as he grinned at me. The whore screamed. He twisted his upper body to the left and then snapped forward again, pushing his hands toward the spinning boulder in front of him. It flew straight at me, and I dove to the ground, feeling the weight of the concrete as it passed over my head. It shot out of the alley and smashed into a parked SUV on the opposite side of the street. The vehicle flipped onto its side, sliding up the stairs of a brownstone. People began to shout on the street.
“Ah, fuck, you’re an Earthie?” I groaned as I pulled myself to my feet.
“You shoulda just walked away!” he snarled. He raised his foot again, and when it dropped, another section of ground rose through the air, twice the size of the last. Its edges scraped the sides of the alley as it floated in front of its master. I began to get royally pissed off. It was people like this asshole that gave Elementals a bad name.
I heard people gathering at the edge of the alley behind me. I hazarded a quick look over my shoulder. At least ten bystanders. “Get back,” I shouted at them as I turned back to face the Elemental in front of me. Someone noticed the earth in the air and screamed. It didn’t sound like any of the people were leaving.
You should have just gone with the crazy guy in the bar, the voice said.
No shit. Any ideas?
Yeah: don’t die.
There was a moment right before he thrust the wall of rock at me, a split second where I knew I couldn’t dodge it this time. I could either get nailed and spread across this alley in a bloody smear or I could fight back. The spectators at the end of the alley would be squished like bugs on a windshield. I liked being alive. I’m sure they all liked being alive. I decided to fight back.
He snapped forward again and the concrete flew down the alley, scraping and digging into the walls, causing the buildings on either side to shudder. I dropped to my knees a moment before the wall reached me and lay on my back, resting on my heels. As soon as my back hit the ground, I thrust my left hand into the air, and a hurricane burst from my palm as the rock passed over me. The rock shot straight up, rising past the buildings, shattering windows and fire escapes as it flew upward. Glass and metal rained down around me as I rose to my feet, glancing at the man in front of me. His eyes were wide and shocked. Good.
The rock cleared the buildings, and I raised my right hand in the air, fire erupting into the sky, following the path of the concrete. The alleyway lit up brilliantly, incandescent as the swath of fire rocketed upward. The fireball hit the wall of rock right as it reached its apex and began descending. It exploded with a roar and a flash, the shockwave bursting outward, carrying the bits and pieces that remained of the concrete in a wide circle. Little shards began to rain down from the sky, bouncing off the destruction in the alley. I glanced over my shoulder again and saw that even more people had crowded into the alley, and all their mouths hung open. Great.
I turned back to the man in front of me. He gaped.
“So, can you just leave now?” I asked.
“How’d you do that?” he croaked. “I ain’t never known someone who had two Elemental abilities.”
“Don’t worry about it. Just go home, huh?”
He looked confused but nodded and began to walk down the alleyway, away from the crowd at the end. He passed by the crouching whore without so much as a glance. He reached the end of alley and turned right and disappeared. I started toward the woman, but she screamed again and took off running, following her attacker, her arms flailing over her head. Maybe they knew each other after all.
I turned to face the crowd behind me and was unsurprised when my stalker smiled at me from the front of my audience. Funny, I hadn’t seen him standing there before.
“I’m going to my home,” I called to him.
“I know where you live,” he reminded me, his voice highly amused. The people around him suddenly looked at him with newfound respect. They hadn’t expected a second act to this farce.
“I know, but could you just stay away?” I pleaded.
“Do you really want that?” he asked me sharply.
I thought for a moment. “Yes, I do.” My heart hammered in my chest.
“For how long?” he asked.
“You’re not giving up, are you?” I asked him, suddenly feeling very tired. Or resigned. I didn’t know which.
“Never in your life,” he said, his deep voice rough and wonderful. “You belong to me.”
“I don’t belong to anyone,” I told him. The heads of our audience swiveled back and forth like they were watching a tennis match.
He cocked his head. “Oh, you most definitely do. It’ll be easier for both of us if you just stop fighting me on it.” He flexed his arms against his massive body. Bastard was cheating.
I grinned at him. “Where’s the fun in that?”
“Come over here,” he ordered. “Now.”
I didn’t dare disobey. As I walked up to him, our audience turned their heads, watching every step I took. I saw them only out of the corners of my eyes because I was focused on him. I reached him and put my hands on his chest as his arms folded around me, the top of my head barely reaching his chin. His body was hard as a rock, and it felt like hugging human granite. He reached down and rubbed the back of my head through the hood of my sweatshirt. I stared up at him, and he watched me back, and I knew I couldn’t (wouldn’t) fight this again. His face lowered to mine, and his lips brushed against my lips, and I could feel the flash inside me, the flare threatening to rise. But still, our eyes remained open, the ocean looking back at me. I gasped at a thought, a memory—
the giant
—but it was lost as he brushed his lips against mine again, never fully pressing, only promising. Nothing in my life had ever been more erotic than that moment: the ghosting of his mouth over mine, the feel of his body under my hands, the way he held the back of my neck. I shivered in his grip. I wanted to climb up him like the mountain he was and wrap my legs around his waist and let him rub against me in the alley. That’s why I stepped back; it’s why I stepped away.
He looked down at me, a knowing smile on his face.
“You said I was your Luravit Cor,” I breathed at him. “And you were mine in return.”
He nodded.
“What does that mean?”
His eyes flashed. “It’s Latin. It means ‘heart sworn’. You belong to me. And I am yours.”
I turned and ran.
“Soon, Felix,” he called after me. “I’ll see you soon.” His voice was sure, confident.
I ran faster.

BOATK2 Who WE Are Teaser:  Since Seven is a main character in Burn, just know that the seventh chapter in the sequel to BOATK is called Where Bear Goes To A Gay Bar.