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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Random Thoughts on Review Sites and How Str8 Sex = !!!ZOMG!!!

Warning: This post is completely my opinion and also contains minor spoilers from Bear, Otter, and the Kid.  Again, this is MY opinion.  This will be a long post.

A situation arose yesterday that caused me slight anger that quickly gave way to bemused befuddlement (I don’t like being angry at anything, so usually I get over it as quickly as I can).  But I felt the need to share this, not because I am trying to call anyone out nor am I trying to accuse anyone about anything.  I felt it should be discussed.  Be forwarned, I am not looking to have my ego stroked, so if you leave a comment, don’t worry about saying things like “Sorry to hear that!” or “They don’t deserve to read BOATK!”, because, while appreciated, it’s not the point of this post.  This is meant to open a dialogue that is smart and free from any vitriolic name calling or back patting.  So keep it cool, yeah?


A well known and respected m/m review website (not to be named here—if you’re DYING to know, you can find the discussion on my FB page from yesterday; really, though, it doesn’t matter in the end) listed last Sunday in their post for the upcoming week that they were to do a review of BOATK.  I was excited/nervous/happy that my book would get getting another review from a site, and I was thankful for it.  One thing I’ve noticed is that I have been extraordinarily lucky when it has come to BOATK because of the reviews I’ve gotten, both from review sites and readers.  I never expected to get the reaction I’ve gotten and still pinch myself, not really believing it is true.

But then life happened and I totally forgot that this was to occur.  As you may know, I recently got a house and that has been sucking up ALL of my time and between that, working 40-50 hours/week and trying to meet my daily 2K word minimum that I do for my WIP, I’m sure you can see I don’t have a lot of time.  For ANYTHING.  So I’d forgotten that I was to be reviewed on this site.  Until yesterday afternoon, when a reader emailed me, stating that BOATK was NOT going to be reviewed on this site for one simple reason, the following sentences from BOATK towards the beginning of the book:

I needed to feel close to someone right then, feel them old me, feel their heart against mine.  For just a few moments, I needed to forget the aches, forget about the future, forget about the past.  As I entered her, I saw stars exploding all around me, and they were bright, and they were loud.

Yup.  They chose not to do a review of BOATK because it contained three sentences of straight sex which, by my opinion, is not explicit in any way shape or form, nor is it of any real consequence to the plot.  BOATK is, after all, a gay love story and ends as such.  Unbeknownst to me, apparently this site has a policy about reviewing books that include ANY mention of straight sex.  While that seemed odd to me, hell, it’s their website, they can do whatever they want, right?  Yeah, it’ll obviously limit what they choose to review, especially since a significantly used trope of m/m fiction is a guy who was once straight/curious/bi suddenly finds himself wanting a man when, at one point, he had a girlfriend.  Are we to assume that while he was dating said woman, that he was celibate?  Or are we to assume that of course they had sex, but that it doesn’t need to be mentioned? How much fiction will this site allow their viewers to miss, just because it has an ounce of straight-ness in it? 

I was angry, as I’ve said, if only for a moment.  How stupid is that?  I thought.  Whatever, I don’t need them!  But then that led to embarrassment on my part, thinking just who the hell am I to believe I deserve a review from this website?  I’ve written ONE book and who knows, maybe that one book was a fluke and I’ll never match its success.  So what if this website reviews pretty much the same authors over and over (and over) again?  Maybe if I build up my catalogue, I can have the same.  I wouldn’t be complaining then, I’m sure!  I told myself to get over myself and move on.

But then something happened within a half hour of posting this on FB.  Once. Twice. Three times. Four Times. FIVE TIMES.  I received private emails from five different authors who have had their books review at this site who indicate they had the same amount of “straight” content in their books as in BOATK, if not more, and their books were review on the site.  As a matter of fact, there was one prolific writer who the website indicated that they were “making an exception for” and warned at the beginning of their review that it contained not just m/m content, but other content as well. 

I got up this morning and to find that even more authors had responded to my FB post, saying the same thing, that their m/m books had straight sex, but that they were reviewed still at this site.

That, ladies and gents, is what bugs the crap out of me.  Not that they chose not to review BOATK, because again, I’ve had some great reviews already and I appreciate that more than I could say.  What bugs the crap out of me, is that this policy seems to be dependent on who authored the book.  I’m not saying that those reviewed did not deserve to be reviewed (and believe me, they did; I’ve read some of the authors that wrote to me and I can say with ease that they are fantastic books), but why do you make an “exception” for certain authors, who by their own admission had more explicit hetero-content, but choose to not review others?  It seems to me that it causes a great disservice to readers who may not get to hear about titles that the site refuses to review, because isn’t that what it’s all about?  Helping readers find new titles to read? 

My new book out in February, This Is How We Burn the World, has a somewhat similar scene in it.  I was asked by someone on FB if I was going to change that now.  I laughed hysterically, to the point where I was sure I was going to go into apoplectic shock.  Hell no I’m not going to change it.  Why the hell would I consider changing something just so I can get a review somewhere?  If you begin to write to please specific people, or to make sure your book falls under a site’s qualifications for review, then you may as well just give up.  So no.  I’m not going to make any changes to it, nor will I allow that site’s policy to affect my future writing.  If something fits into the story, I am going to put it in, consequences be damned (or, at least, until my editor tells me I’m nuts).

Do I think they need to change their policy?  Definitely.  Who knows why they have this to begin with (especially given how fluid it seems to be) but in the end, it really doesn’t matter.  And if you find out what the site is, don’t go writing them nasty comments on their message boards, because that’s not the point of this post, nor will it get anyone anywhere.  I myself will not be visiting the site again, not just because of their decision not to post a review of BOATK (apparently, according to a note under the site’s upcoming reviews for this week, the person who was to review it “really liked” BOATK.  Hurray!  And that’s not me being facetious, I’m happy she liked it), but because I think their policy is whack and I’d rather get reviews of books I want to read from sites that don’t seem to carry this prejudice and bias.  That is my choice, much like it was their choice not to review BOATK. 

A comment made yesterday on the matter made me laugh, saying while we knew there were straight bigots in the world, who knew there were gay bigots?  While I definitely don’t think that’s the case, it still made me chuckle and helped me to get over it and myself.  Another comment made was how, in the end, word of mouth is what sells a book, not “official” reviews.  I agree with that 100%.  Word of mouth is everything in this business, and you all have been the best reviewers I could have hoped for.

Now, I turn it over to you.  What do you think?  Is the site’s policy fair and do you agree with it?  Or do you think it needs to be changed?  One possibility, obviously, is to have a disclaimer on each review of a book with “hetero” content.  I mean, how hard would that be, really?  DISCLAIMER: BOATK HAS A TWO SENTENCE PARAGRAPH OF IMPLIED STRAIGHT SEX.  ZOMG! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!!  Sound off below!

Friday, September 9, 2011





10 + 8 = 18


18 - 11 = 7


Septem Sewe Zazpi Siete Siedem Yedi Setti Seacht

Ventus.  Ignis. Aqua. Terram.



Monday, September 5, 2011

Random Thoughts: Things I Hate (and One Thing I Love)

I am not writing this post because I am in a bad mood, or because I am trying to call anyone out on anything.  It really stems from the guy who lives in the apartment below me and was playing his guitar out on his balcony late into the night, apparently unaware that he has no business playing a guitar or singing.  Damn you, wannabe John Mayer!  Damn you to hell!
You may not agree with everything I write, but that’s okay.  I forgive you.  And be sure to sound off below if there’s things that piss you off (and no, you can’t say this blog post pisses you off.  That’s just redundant).

 Things That Piss Me Off:
--You know when you open a bottle of ketchup or mustard and you don’t shake it first and what comes out is that gross watery stuff that soaks into the hamburger bun?  I HATE THAT.
--I hate that I can’t tell yet if the new house I’m moving into is haunted or not.  Part of me wants it to be haunted so I can call Ghost Hunters and make them send Steve Gonsalves out to my house and save me (if you don’t know who that is, google him.  But remember, my tastes are different).  But part of me doesn’t want it to be haunted because I don’t have time to deal with a ghost.
--Deadlines.  I hate deadlines so much.  Work stuff.  Book stuff.  I’m lazy.  I procrastinate.  Don’t give me a fucking deadline.
--Tic Tacs.  Don’t ask.
--When in a M/M book the heroes start telling they love each other by the second date.  Really?  Really?  Unless it’s a supernatural story with some version of the idea of “mates” please don’t have your characters say I love you by the second date.  When I’m on a second date, I’m probably still trying to remember your last name.
--Shopping carts.  I walked into one when a hot guy was checking me out.  Shopping carts are evil and I hate them with every fiber of my being.
--the word “lave”.  I don’t want to “lave” anything.  Not balls, not a Jolly Rancher.  Stop using that word.
--Excessively negative people (natch).
--People who are always rude.  Get over yourself and fall into a volcano.
--The use of the word “babe or baby” in an affectionate way in m/m books.  Not that I’m against it as a whole, but when characters start calling each other that and then that’s ALL they call each other?  In EVERY OTHER SENTENCE?  Stop it.  Just please, stop it.  (oh, and this also applies to the word “cutie.”  Please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t use that word more than once and only if you are being facetious.  I’d even take “baby” over “cutie” any day.
--How much dialogue there seems to be between two main characters in sex scenes these days.  Do people really talk that much during sex?  I know that it’s romance and maybe people want to hear it, but I know when I have sex, I don’t say things like “I want to feel you come apart around me,” or “I am going to make you mine,” or “Your penis is gargantuan.”  Really?  I know that if it’s good, I’m lucky if I am able to think coherently, much less actually have conversation. 
--How, now that I have my house, I’m starting to notice things I don’t like about it.  Where were these things when I was looking at it like 8 different times? 
--Books that have sad, but realistic endings.  Apparently, I have the emotional maturity of a teenage girl.  I have an ugly cry face.  I look like a Wookie.
--The song “Iris” by the Goo-Goo Dolls.  But only because I can’t stop listening to it.
--That there seems to be almost a snobby divide between what is considered "gay fiction" and what is considered to be "m/m fiction."  I write about gay men.  Therefore, it is m/m and gay fiction. 
--That I want to decorate for Christmas already and it’s only September. 
--That my new book won’t write itself for me.  That would be rad.
--The fact that this is the end. 
Things I love:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Thoughts On My (Current) Favorite M/M and Non M/M Books

***Before this post beings, know that I'll be chatting at the Love Romance Cafe Yahoo Group this weekend.  Come stop on by and ask my anything! (Within reason, ya pervs.)  Maybe you could win a signed copy of BOATK ;)  Make sure you check in on my blog and at LRC!***

For some reason, people are asking me what my favorite books are.  I’m flattered, but really, my opinion doesn’t matter that much.  But then I got asked it again this morning (twice!) and figured I’d put together this list.  I’ve divided it between M/M and non M/M.  The order of the books is of no particular significance, except for the first books which are probably my favorites (granted “favorites” can change every so often, depending on my mood.)  Comments on some may be longer than others, but that doesn’t mean anything.  Some are most likely familiar to you, others may not be.  Check out the ones you haven’t read!


Raised By Wolves Series by W.A. Hoffman—Probably my favorite M/M books of all time.  Will and Gaston are one of the greatest couples ever, their devotion to each breathtaking.  Taking place in the 1600’s, primarily in Jamaica, it follows Will and Gaston (who are essentially pirates, or rather “buccaneers”) over four huge books (easily 600 pages each) as they meet, fall in love, fight for survival from their enemies (which include members of their own family) and their own sanity.  In the end, (and I worried about this greatly because it seemed it could only end in tragedy) there is a wonderful HEA.  Word of caution, while these books definitely have action, the biggest gripe I’ve read is that the books are very “talky”, and they are, but the dialogue is so fantastic that it doesn’t matter.  Love, love, LOVE these books.

Woke Up In A Strange Place by Eric Arvin—I’m still shocked when I look on Amazon and Goodreads to see the minimal amount of reviews.  Everyone should read this book, which is, hands down, the most romantic novel I’ve ever read.  Why did a lot of people miss this one? I DON’T GET IT.  From the gorgeous cover by Paul Richmond (who did the cover for BOATK, natch) to a uniquely risky story by Arvin, I am now officially making it my mission to make sure all my readers read this book.

Metes and Bounds by Jay Quinn—I can’t really explain to you why this novel means as much to me as it does.  There’s just something beautiful about this coming of age story about a teen named Matt who reconnects with his uncle named Tiger.  Surfing, soul, and a guy named Jeep?  What more could you ask for?

Zero At the Bone by Jane Seville—I love the crap out of D, accent and all.  I don’t even know how many times I’ve re-read this book.

The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren—The first M/M book I ever read.  I was 14 at the time.  To say it had a profound effect on me is an understatement.  A classic in the truest sense of the word.

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy—Probably the funniest M/M book I’ve read.  Simon is by far one of my favorite narrators with his snark and self-deprecation.

Dash and Dingo by Sean Kennedy and Catt Ford—I am STILL waiting for the sequel.  Any day now, Sean and Catt.  Any day.

Almost Like Being In Love by Steve Kluger—How can you not love this book? It’s so awesomely unique with such an eclectic cast of characters. (The Bronco is named Robert Mitchum!!!!!)

The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cardenas—My favorite M/M/M book.  Ms. Cardenas pulls off the ménage better than anyone else I’ve read. Such sweet, sweet angst.

Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada by Keith Hale—A wonderfully sad tale about growing up and loving a straight boy.  One of the greatest character names ever in “Trotsky.”

Non M/M:

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon—To me, one of the greatest pieces of pop-fiction ever written.  The book follows a 12 year old boy who lives in Alabama in 1964 who is out one morning on a milk delivery run with his father when he sees a car crash through a barrier and discovers a body inside, the person having been long dead before the accident.  Who is it? How did he get there?  Why does it have a damning effect on the boy’s father?  It’s almost episodic with each chapter showing a different side of growing up with stories from the mundane to the extraordinary.  One of my all-time favorites.

It by Stephen King—This story is more than just about a killer clown who stalks children.  At over a thousand pages, it’s really about what it means to grow up during a single summer surrounded by friends you think you’ll know forever.  And then meeting these same characters as adults, you realize that the things and people we loved as children can’t possibly be around forever, as it’s not the way the world works.  And, yes, there is a killer clown, so of course it’s scary.

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls—The sentimentalist in me will never be able to let this book go.  I still cry to this day at the ending. 

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz—I’m not really a fan of Koontz anymore because his writing style in the last ten years has undergone such a weird and drastic change that it makes the majority of his newer books unreadable to me.  However, this book, about a fry cook who can see ghosts, is such a charming read that I forgive Koontz for his two sentence paragraphs and three page chapters that he does now.  And the twist at the end?  Blew me away.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann—A true life adventure story about a reporter who goes into the Amazon to attempt to track down a famed explorer named Percy Fawcett who disappeared in 1925 while attempting to find a city of gold.  It’s remarkable in its detail and research. A very harrowing read and probably the closest that any one has ever come to finding out what exactly happened to Fawcett.

The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson—another non-fiction read about the 1893 World’s Fair and one of the  most notorious serial killers in history, H.H. Holmes, who built a true house of horrors that coincided with the opening of the Fair.  Such a strange and wonderfully dark read.  I hear they are making a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio as H.H. Holmes.  That would be interesting to see.

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding—Chances are you’ve read this book at some point during the latter part of your schooling.  If you haven’t picked it up in a few years, I would recommend reading it again.  It has not lost any of its chilling effect, and I think that as we grow older the obvious disconnect between us as adults vs. us as children allows the message in the book to grow infinitely darker.

 Obviously there are many, many more books that I enjoy, but this is a list of the ones that stick out in my mind.  Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?    (And remember, if you haven’t read Woke Up In A Strange Place, READ IT NOW!  I promise I’m a good book pimp and you’ll thank me for it.) Based upon my picks above, do you have any suggestions for me?  I’m always interested in giving a new author or a new book a chance.  Sound off below!