Questions and Answers Regarding Republishing My Books

Hey!

I’m getting questions that are starting to repeat themselves, so I’m going to try and answer a few of them here so that I can point everyone in one direction.

First things first: Heartsong is up for preorder at Amazon for 5.99 (and available at all Amazon sites worldwide). This is the ebook only for now, and only at Amazon. Other locations to come soon.

Please support this book, and let’s show my former publisher why it’s important to pay their authors.

Heartsong Preorder Amazon

Questions:

Q: You got your rights back, yay! That means you’ve been paid, right?

A: No. I still have not been paid my full royalties from Dreamspinner Press. They paid me 12.8% of what I’m owed, which, ironically, allowed me to be able to get an attorney to pursue the rest. So, thanks Dreamspinner!

Q: I already preordered Heartsong with Dreamspinner at their site or somewhere else. Will I still get the book?

A: No. Every preorder before today (Sept 16 2019) will not go through. You need to cancel it to get refunded and then reorder it. I know it sucks, but I can’t do much about that.

Q: I noticed the paperbacks are still up for sale most everywhere, both the mass market and trade paperbacks. Can I buy those?

A: No. Those are still affiliated with Dreamspinner and will be coming down. I was told it takes up to thirty days for the listing to come down, so it will take time. Once it does, I will post my own paperbacks. It might be a pain the ass, but scroll down to the book info. You know you’re buying the right version if it’s for sale by BOATK Books. Anything else is not mine, and will be taken down shortly.

Q: Will it and your other books be available anywhere else aside from Amazon?

A: Yes, somewhat. The Green Creek series, past and future, will be available at most sellers once I get everything up and going. However, to make this transition easier, I’m considering putting many of my older titles on Kindle Unlimited to give myself some room to breathe. I think it’ll be for a limited time, but trying to republish 20+ books at different sites is too much for me to handle at the moment.

Q: Is the audio still coming out?

A: Yes, it will be released by Tantor on December 3rd. Yes, I am aware Tantor made their own cover for the audio, and it’s terrible, but I have no say in it.

Q: Will Brothersong be released in audio?

A: Yes, but that’s still a ways away. Brothersong isn’t set to come out until next August.

Q: Are there going to be any differences in the books you republish? Are the covers going to change?

A: All the books will essentially be the exact same. The only thing I’m doing with some of my older titles is changing some of the wording. I always hated how I used the word “retarded” in Bear, Otter and the Kid, and that has now been changed. In addition, some of the earlier books used the word “transgendered” when it should have just been “transgender.” Those have been updated as well. The plots, however, won’t change, so you don’t have to rebuy the books if you already own them.

As far as the covers are concerned, all but three of my books will retain the same covers. The ones that will be changed are, unfortunately, Into This River I Drown, Withered+Sere and Crisped+Sere. The covers use photographs by the wonderfully talented Kyle Thompson, and I can’t afford to purchase the rights to the photos on my own at this point. They will be updated with new covers.

Q: Are you going to republish every book?

A: All but one, potentially. I am thinking, possibly, of leaving Burn down. I will not be continuing that series, and I don’t want to get people’s hopes up. There will be no sequel.

Q: Are Olive Juice, Until You, or John & Jackie going to be released in paperback?

A: No. They are novellas, and the cost of printing wouldn’t be worth it to put out. They will be in ebook format only.

Q: I sent you a DM about this, but you haven’t responded. What’s up with that?

A: I wish I could answer every DM I’ve gotten in the recent weeks, but I can’t. My FB messenger inbox is filled with hundreds of messages, and I’m trying to stay on top of republishing my books. If something needs immediate attention and isn’t answered here, please email me at tjklunebooks@yahoo.com and I’ll get to it…hopefully.

Q: Are you happier now?

A: Yes. There is a lot of work ahead, but I’m committed to doing right by my books and myself. I have earned this much, at least.

Q: Does this affect the upcoming The House in the Cerulean Sea or The Extraordinaries?

A: No. Those books are with my new publisher, Tor. They have absolutely nothing to do with Dreamspinner. Thank god.

And that’s it for now! If anything else comes up, I’ll try and answer it, but I ask that you read through this first before asking questions in case it can be answered here. I’m spinning lots of plates right now, and I can’t promise I’ll see every question asked. I ask for your patience while I get all this going.

Thanks!

tj

Update on the Dreamspinner Issue Sept 13 2019

I have taken back the rights to my books, which means they now solely belong to me.

The new release date for Heartsong is October 22 2019.

Brothersong will be released August 18, 2020.

I will post the new pre-order soon for Heartsong.

In the coming weeks, my other books will be put back up as well. It'll take some time, but I hope to have everything up and running again by the time Heartsong comes out.

Thank you SO much for your patience and support while dealing with this difficult time. It's been a pain in the ass but knowing you are all waiting made it that much easier.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

tj

Heartsong: The Soundtrack

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ETA Sept 5, 2019: Hey! Before we get to the post, an update: I am in the process of getting the rights to every book I have with Dreamspinner, including Heartsong. I will be self-publishing this book, though I won’t be able to meet the September 24 release date. The plan is for HS to come out in October, and for Brothersong to come out August 2020. More details when I have them, but Dreamspinner has already pulled down both these books from their site, so if you pre-ordered, you should be getting a refund. Make sure that you do. If you ordered from any other website, cancel your order now so there’s no chance you lose out on your hard-earned money. Thank you so much for your patience on this. The wolves will be back soon. Now, onto the playlist!

*****

Oh, man, this was a hard one. My personal soundtrack for the months I spent writing Heartsong reached almost 200 songs. Trying to whittle that down was like pulling teeth, but I think I’ve managed to create the perfect playlist. As with my other playlists, these songs are in narrative order of the novel, so take from that what you will.

Note: Heartsong is divided into two parts. Part One is 99% of the book. Part Two—the last chapter—is only a few pages long. If you’ve read Ravensong, that should have sent a chill down your spine.

Each song comes complete with a lyric or three that I think goes well with the story. One or two of the songs might even have a note as to who they’re for…

Thanks to Javiera, here is the Spotify playlist for the songs below: Spotify

PART ONE

Home // Solomon Gray

Follow me home
And tell me which way I can let you go

Come Along // Cosmo Sheldrake

We'll be here when the world slows down
and the sunbeams fade away
Keeping time by a pendulum
as the fabric starts to fray

Blood of the Rose // The Dear Hunter

The world burns but still we breathe
The iron chambered heart a seive
That sifts through honest elegance
And suffers from the wrong defense

Conquest of Spaces // Woodkid

I'm ready to start the conquest of spaces
Expanding between you and me
Come with the night the science of fighting
The forces of gravity

Fade Away // Tom Walker

'Cause you betrayed me
You went ahead and played me
Said you'd try and save me
Well, I won't fight for you no more

Things We Lost in the Fire // Bastille

Do you understand that we will never be the same again
The future's in our hands and we will never be the same again

The Mourning Tree // Jessica Curry

I passed the day at the mourning tree,
Where the river's sorrows run deep
And all at once a host of birds
Did settle and nest around me

Louder Than Words // Les Friction

No one could outrun the crash
It was all reduced to rubble
And then again to ash

Fear // Sarah Mclachlan

But I fear, I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose here in this lonely place

What Makes a Man? // City and Color

What makes a man
Walk away from his mind?
I think I know
I think I might know

Silhouette // Aquilo

Stood with our backs to the sun
I can remember being nothing but fearless and young
We've become echoes, but echoes, they fade away
We've fallen to the dark as we dive under the waves

Forever // Fireflight

Oh, tell me you're here
That you will watch over me forever
Oh, take hold of my heart
Show me you'll love me forever

Skin // Rag N Bone Man

When my skin grows old
When my breath runs cold
I'll be thinking about you
About you

I’ll Be Good // Jaymes Young

I'll be good, I'll be good
And I'll love the world, like I should
Yeah, I'll be good, I'll be good
For all of the time
That I never could

Come Little Children // Erutan

Come little children
The time's come to play
Here in my garden of shadows

Legends Never Die // Against the Current

When the world is calling you
Can you hear them screaming out your name?
Legends never die
They become a part of you

Lovely // Billie Eilish ft. Khalid

(Kelly and Robbie’s song)

Isn't it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone
Tear me to pieces, skin to bone
Hello, welcome home

Sanctuary // Inertia

You show me how to see
That nothing is whole and
nothing is broken

Saturn // Sleeping At Last

(Kelly and Carter’s song)

I'd give anything to hear
You say it one more time
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes

PART TWO

Carry you // Ruelle ft. Fleurie

You are not alone
I've been here the whole time singing you a song
I will carry you, I will carry you

Update on Dreamspinner Issues Sept 3 2019

Update on the DSP Issue, but before you read, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CANCELED YOUR PREORDERS FOR HEARTSONG AND/OR BROTHERSONG.

(If you have no idea what’s going on, please refer to the blog post previous to this one which will explain the ongoing issues.)

Tough decision time, and I'm sick because of it: I haven't heard back from Dreamspinner yet on releasing the Green Creek books (office was closed for Labor Day--oh the irony). From what I understand, it takes up to 30 days for titles to come down from where they are currently posted.

Which means that at the earliest, I won't be able to release Heartsong until some time in October. If I were to stick with Brothersong at its December release date, it would only give Heartsong two months to stand on its own.

That's not fair to the book. I worked my ass off on Heartsong. Yes, I know everyone wants to read Carter's book. I get that. But Heartsong is just as important, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the story be overshadowed by a super short release window.

Which brings me to one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my publishing career: I'm pushing Brothersong's release date back until next summer. August, to be specific. I have two books coming out with Tor in March/May, and I *have* to focus on those.

If by some chance Heartsong comes down immediately and I can meet the Sept 24 deadline, then things might change, but it is not looking likely. Please know I don't make this decision lightly. I am tired. I don't have it in me to be *on* all the time.

Publishing two big books within 3 months of each other wrecked me. Trying to do it in a shorter time would make things worse. I know you want Brothersong. But I'm asking you to give me time so I can show you why Heartsong will matter just as much as Carter's book. More news to come when I have it. Thank you for your patience!

tj

Important Info On Rights Reversions From Dreamspinner

Dreamspinner Press owes me nearly thirty thousand dollars. They have not paid me, despite being contractually obligated to do so.

Given that, and a myriad of other issues with the publisher, I have decided to request the rights back for every book I have with them. I will republish them all, but it's going to take time.

What you need to do:

--If you have bought books of mine through the Dreamspinner Press website, go ahead and download/back them up to make sure you retain your copies. If you bought elsewhere--Amazon, for example, your copy will be fine.

--This means the preorders for Heartsong and Brothersong will be canceled. You will get refunded, no matter where you bought it from. Or, (and this might be the better, more proactive option), you can cancel the preorder yourself to get your refund instead of waiting. Once the rights for these books have reverted to me, I will reupload them to order. Given that this will take time, I can't promise the release date for Heartsong will still be September 24. Please don't give me shit over this. I will be working as hard as I can to get it out as soon as I can. I don't expect there to be too long of a delay, but one is possible.

--Audiobooks will stay as they are, given they are under contract (as are foreign translations). Those will not be going away.

I know you'll have questions. I do too! But please give me time to figure this all out, as I have no idea what I'm doing. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

More news when I have it!

thanks,

tj

Heartsong: The End Begins

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Spoilers for Wolfsong and Ravensong. If you haven’t read either, click away. I will not be spoiling anything for Heartsong.

Hi!

It’s been a bit, hasn’t it? But fear not, the wait is almost over. Heartsong is now officially less than a month away, and I can’t wait for you to see what happens to the Bennett Pack. It should be…interesting.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Art by Mavilez

Art by Mavilez

By the end of Ravensong, a few things are fact:

—the ending of Ravensong is set in 2018

—The witch, Dale, is a jerk who deserves to get punched in the spleen

—Mark and Gordo are in lurve

—The people of Green Creek know about werewolves

—The reader knows something the characters do not: the timber wolf is the son of Robert Livingstone, which makes him Gordo’s brother. And he also seems—one might say—protective of a certain Bennett brother for reasons that will become clear at some point.

Twists are fun! So long as they actually make sense and can be organic, twists are a way to shock the reader into seeing something they hadn’t seen before. First, it was always my intention to make the people of Green Creek aware of the wolves. When I first started plotting out Ravensong (and then Heartsong and Brothersong), I knew I wanted the Bennett secret to come out into the open, just to have their insular bubble popped. It creates a new and interesting dynamic that’ll show through these last two books.

The other major twist, that Livingstone has a second son, was one of the first things I thought of when planning Ravensong. In Wolfsong, it’s mentioned Livingstone had a tether, a woman who was not his wife. With this little tidbit, I change the world of the Green Creek series, introducing a new character in the form of the timber wolf. This sort of twist—one where the reader knows something the characters don’t—brings a new form of tension that I adore. You know as well as I do that it’s only a matter of time before this secret comes out, and it brings new meaning to all of the timber wolf’s interactions, both past and present.

Which brings me to where we are now: Heartsong, and Robbie Fontaine.

Look. This book wasn’t meant to be dark. It really wasn’t. I wrote it and thought Huh, this is pretty chill in comparison. And then my beta readers read it and said (I am paraphrasing here) that it was absolutely not chill in any form or fashion. I said, okie doke. We’ll see what others say.

My editors said the same thing. In fact, they went further, saying this book was almost too dark, and that I needed to add quite a bit more levity to it.

I was…perplexed? A writer is often too close to their own work, and we can’t always be the most objective when it comes to what we write. Yes, I can be a bit of a dick in that I actively enjoy breaking hearts, but come on. It couldn’t be that bad, right?

I went back after not having looked at the manuscript for almost six months. Time + Distance = a better sense of perspective. And holy shit, was I a fucking liar. The book was, of course, as others had said: dark.

But in rereading what I’d written, it made sense. It’s the second to last book in a big series. There needs to be the big Darkest Before the Dawn story, one where hope seems lost.

Enter Robbie Fontaine.

This is his story, the first in the series from the perspective of a wolf. And the novel itself wouldn’t work at all if I didn’t have complete trust in him as a character, in being able to carry the weight of this book on his shoulders. Out of all of the pack—say, except for the timber wolf—Robbie is the most enigmatic, in that we don’t know much about him. With Heartsong, I wanted to find out what made him tick, what he was like before he showed up at the Bennett House in Wolfsong, and what his motivations were. It meant going back in time to see where he came from, what he was like, and what—if anything—changed for him when he came to Green Creek and found the pack, and in turn, Kelly Bennett.

What I found broke my heart. I knew some of Robbie’s history in my head, but writing it down allowed me to explore facets of his character I’d never thought before. You’ll get to see Robbie’s relationship with Alpha Michelle Hughes (boo!) evolve, and you’ll be introduced to a gentle old witch who helped to define the man Robbie would become before he came to Green Creek. Robbie had a family of sorts that he made himself. What became of them after he went to Green Creek? What do they think of him now? These are the questions that drive Heartsong, all while Robbie and Kelly grow closer, the threat of war hanging over them and the pack.

I’m not going to tell you much more than that. In fact, aside from this blog post, there are only going to be a couple of others: next week, the soundtrack. The week after that, a post on why I wrote Heartsong and Brothersong back-to-back and how my plans were foiled for a surprise release on the latter book. The last week before release, a small excerpt. This isn’t going to be like the lead up to Ravensong: I’m not going to talk about pack dynamics, who the villain is, what potential changes are in store. I’ve made the very conscious decision to say as little as possible about these last two books in order to preserve the surprises for everyone. When you open Heartsong for the first time, I don’t want you to have any clue about what to expect. Trust me. you’ll thank me for it when you finish.

Just know this: Robbie Fontaine is going to be tested in ways that Ox and Gordo were not, but I have the utmost faith in him that he’ll do what he must in order to ensure those he loves most are safe.

And you won’t believe your eyes.

Heartsong will be released September 24, 2019.

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Tell Me It's Real Comic!

Yesterday, I announced that the comic adaptation of Tell Me It’s Real was coming soon.

Apparently, by soon I meant right now.


The cover:

TMIR Manwha.jpg

Couple of things, first, to hopefully answer your questions.

First, this is an adaptation of my book. I did not write the script. I reviewed the finished work in its entirety, and made some editorial suggestions, but I want to make it clear that not everything in the book could be included in this medium. However, there aren’t any real changes to the narrative, and everything plays out as it did in the novel. That being said, it is wonderful. The art (by a wonderful talented artist who goes by Jakky) is just incredible. They captured the spirit of the novel while still putting their own spin on it (visually, that is). Wait until you see Paul falling down the stairs thanks to Wheels on his way to his first date with Vince. It is a delight.

Secondly, this release is for the physical copy only. The comic (also referred to as a manhwa) will come out for digital download further down the road through Comixology, which is an Amazon company. It will allow you to download it to your ereaders of choice the same with any other book. You do not have to pay for the Comixology service in addition to buying the book, so if you’d like to wait for that to come out (anywhere from 1-2 mos) you can. But there’s just something awesome about holding the artwork in your hands, being able to flip through the pages. For those who want to wait for the digital version, you can take a look at Comixology here, and create an account if you’d like: Comixology. I will, of course, announce when it comes out for digital release.

The physical copy is available now through Amazon and Dreamspinner at the links below:

Amazon

Dreamspinner

This has been a long time in coming, I know. I think I first announced this at the end of 2017/beginning of 2018, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. It brings new life to a happy story, something I think we could all use these days. I hope you love it as much as I do!

tj

Brothersong Reveal

My father was there.

            Sometimes, he was a wolf. White with black on his chest and back.

            Other times, he was a man, a breakable man who watched me with knowing eyes.

            He tried to speak to me. He said, “Carter, I know—”

            “Shut up, shut up, shut up,” I chanted, my hands over my ears. “You’re not real, you’re not real, you’re dead, you died, you let him take you, you let him hurt you, why why why, did you do it? Why did you—”

            When I opened my eyes again, he was further away from me, standing on the other side of the clearing.

            I ran toward him.

            I only made it half-way before I smashed into an unseen barrier. My breath was knocked from my chest as my nose broke and blood poured down onto my lips. I swallowed it down, relishing in the taste as my father watched.

            “Tethers,” he said. “It all comes back to tethers.”

            I screamed for him. I begged him to save me, to love me, to choose me.

            And he looked away.

            I smashed my hands against the barrier, knowing my eyes were Omega violet. I didn’t care. All that mattered was he’d known this could happen, he’d known what his former witch was capable of, and even though he was nothing but a ghost made of swirling motes of dust, I wanted to wrap my hands around his throat and choke the life out of him.

            He said, “You are more than this.”

            I said, “It was always Joe, wasn’t it? He was your favorite. We were your firstborn, but when Joe came, nothing else mattered.”

            He said, “You can beat this. Remember who you are.”

            I said, “I wanted you to love me as much as you loved him. I wanted you to believe in me as much as you did him. Why wasn’t I enough?”

            He said, “This isn’t you. This isn’t you, Carter. There is something inside you, something rotten, and if you don’t fight this, if you don’t rise above it, you will be lost.”

I said, “Pack pack pack. You put the pack above everything else. Pack and Joe. Pack and Joe. Mom didn’t want it. Gordo didn’t want you to leave him behind. Mark didn’t want to be taken from his mate. And then there was Ox. He was a child. He didn’t know what you were asking of him, what you made him into. How could you do that to him? How could you let it happen? His mother died because of you. Because of your war. How could you look him in the eyes? How could you even breathe knowing what you’d done? You’re a monster. A beast. You’re no better than Richard Collins. Or Elijah. Or Robert Livingstone. When Joe was taken, you moved heaven and earth to get to him. But where are you now? Why aren’t you here to save me?


On December 17, 2019, the saga of the Bennett pack comes to an end as the sins of the fathers fall to the shoulders of their sons.


Cover Design by Reese Dante


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Why We Fight is Here!!

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Finally, finally, finally, Corey/Kori is here! This book is a love letter to my queer readers. Remember: the reason we fight is because we deserve a place in this world. We are here, we are queer, get fucking used to it.

And now, I proudly present the final At First Sight book: Why We Fight. Join me on one last trip to Tucson, Arizona with Corey/Kori and Jeremy, Paul and Vince, Sandy and Darren, Daddy Charlie and Robert, Nanna, Matty, Larry, Wheels, Santiago and the ridiculous parrot named Johnny Depp.

I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did writing it!

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Why We Fight: Endings and New Beginnings.

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Next week, on Tuesday, May 14, Why We Fight comes out. It is the culmination of a series that started in 2013 with Tell Me It’s Real and of a character first seen in 2014 in The Art of Breathing. It will be the last book in the series. And like always, it’s bittersweet.

I’ve ended series before. Bear, Otter and the Kid are done. Sam of Wilds is done (at least from his perspective, that is.) Abby, Oregon, with Gus and Casey and Josy and Q-Bert, is done. Though you haven’t read the final two books yet, the Bennett Pack is done.

This year—perhaps more than any other—is a year of goodbyes. Since 2011, I’ve built a career out of telling stories the way I want to tell them, and though I’m going to continue doing that, things are going to be a bit different starting January 1, 2020. I’m not so much as closing a door as I am just opening another one. With the big changes ahead, I wanted to make sure I finished telling the stories I needed to before moving on.

(And no, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop writing queer dudes falling in lurve. That will always be the case, no matter where I publish.)

I’ll have more to say about Green Creek in August and why I’m ending that series too, but it’ll echo what I say here. I’m not an author that wants to write series that go on and on and on. As it stands right now, a series with four books seem to be my sweet spot. I’m able to tell the story I want to tell without overstaying my welcome and becoming stagnant. While I get many people would be quite happy reading more books in series I’ve written, I think it would start to show through later books just how board I would get of my own writing. And that’s not something I ever want to happen.

Corey/Kori is special. They deserve to have a story told that sees me excited to tell it. This series deserves it as well. Tell Me It’s Real was the first time I allowed myself to let my freak-flag fly, embracing absolutely absurd, over the top humor that I love. It’s not for everyone. But because of that first book, it gave me the courage to write a spiritual successor of sorts, in The Lightning-Struck Heart. Honestly, without TMIR, Lightning would not exist, or at least the version you’ve read. Because of Paul and Vince, I was able to say fuck it, and write what was funny to me.

And it’s the same thing I wanted to do with Corey/Kori, knowing there is a different between playing it safe and being respectful.

On top of that, Why We Fight is my last contemporary book for the foreseeable future, so I wanted to go out with a bang.

After Heartsong and Brothersong later this year, I’ll be taking up with a new publisher. Tor, a division of Macmillan, is all about fantasy and sci-fi and the like. I’ll be publishing The House in the Cerulean Sea, a queer romantic fantasy. After that comes my YA debut, The Extraordinaries, next summer. 2021 is The Tremendous Death of Wallace Price, another queer fantasy, which will be followed by The Extraordinaries 2. And in 2022 will be my third adult queer fantasy with Tor, followed by the final Extraordinaries book.

So, an ending, if you will.

That doesn't mean I won’t be publishing other books. My sweet spot, it seems, is three books a year. Early in the year, one in the middle, and one toward the end.

I will be releasing a third book next year, but one I can’t talk about yet. It’s not a contemporary.

I will be releasing a third book in 2021, but it will not be a contemporary.

This will probably be a bummer for some readers, and that’s okay. Corey/Kori and Why We Fight is, at least for now, a bit of farewell gift. I will write contemporary again, I just don’t know when. These days, the stories I want to tell all somehow deal with the fantastic, and I want to follow that thread to see where it goes. I’m excited about it. Big, big things are on the horizon, and they begin next Tuesday, when I invite you back to Tucson one last time.

(Hell, for all I know I’ll crash and burn in the next couple of years and writing more books in series I’ve closed will seem desperately appealing. Let’s hope not, shall we?)

Thank you for following my crazy brain this far. With Why We Fight, I wanted the send off to be just as memorable as the other trips with the Tucson Crew, and I think I’ve succeeded. I hope you’ll join me in watching our old friends get in over their head, snarking at each other sarcastically, and getting that lovely, wonderful thing known as a Happily Ever After.

Eight more days!

love,

tj

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Why We Fight: Let's Talk About Sexxx

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Once upon a time, I wrote a book about a special little girl named Artemis Darth Vader and the men who would do anything to protect her. The book is a romance, though the romance wasn’t all that was on my mind in that story. It’s part of the book. There is a sex scene, though it’s not exactly full on sex. These days, most people consider sex scenes in books as needing full penetration for it to be actual sex. This, in my opinion, is ludicrous. But different strokes for different folks.

I submitted this initially to my usual publisher. They loved it! Hurray!

Except…

They wanted to publish it under a different arm of their publishing umbrella, saying (quotations taken directly from the correspondence) that it’s not a romance because “there’s only one sex scene.”

I was aghast. And infuriated. And a whole bunch of other angry emotions that don’t need to be described here. Later, it was walked back saying it was a “misstatement”, but not before I responded with a line by line description of each of my books, inviting the person on the other end of the email to show me where one of my books had more than one sex scene. In fact, I said, full of self-righteous fury (and probably a little full of myself too), I’ve written asexual books where there is no sex, and were still romances. Just because people don’t have sex, or don’t have full penetration does not mean they cannot (or their stories) be considered romantic. My irritation was clear. An apology was given, which was really great, but the damage had been done.

I pulled the book about aliens and cults and explosions and published it on my own.

Flash forward to Why We Fight.

First (and foremost) sex is not needed for romance.

Let me say that again: sex is not needed for romance.

People like smut. That’s totally cool!

People skip smut. That’s fine too!

I don’t like telling other people how to read. You read what makes you happy, and if you skip a book because there is no sex or skip a book because there is too much, that’s just fine.

However, I think it’s important to remember that sex is not always needed for romance. I don’t say this just as an asexual dude, but as a writer who knows my way around words. I’ve said before that if you don’t believe in a connection between the characters, then a sex scene is pointless. You need to actually feel and see that these two (or three or four) people feel something toward each other. Sex can help, but it’s not the be all and end all.

The At First SIght series is sexual, at least in part. If the Tucson Crew isn’t having sex, they are, at the very least, talking about it probably more than is healthy. Paul and Vince have a very active sex life. Sandy and Darren do too. Going into Corey/Kori’s book, I knew I wanted them to be on the same level.

But looking back at all the sex scenes from my books—and not just from this series—one sticks out above all others as being (at least to me) the most erotic. And it doesn’t actually involve any sex at all.

In The Queen & the Homo Jock King, Darren and Sandy are at each other’s throats for a large portion of the book. Sandy thinks (rightly so) that Darren is an asshole. Darren thinks (and rightly so) that Sandy is a drama queen.

Yet, there comes a scene even before they’ve done the do that I think is more important than the actual sex they end up having. This scene takes place at Jack It, in the Queen’s Layer. Helena Handbasket has finished with her performance, and is coming down from the high of it. Darren appears, and proceeds to undress Helena to help her become Sandy again. There is no kissing. There are no handjobs. There are no blowjobs, no fucking of any kind. It’s not sex.

And yet it’s sexual. It is highly charged and crackles with electricity. It’s pretty damn awesome if I say so myself. I am fucking proud of that scene, knowing what it meant for the characters.

I wanted to do something similar in Why We Fight for Corey/Kori and Jeremy. There is sex, yes, but I wanted something beyond that, something that carried a similar thrill as the undressing scene in Homo Jock.

Once again, there is no kissing (well…that’s not entirely true, but you’ll see what I mean when you get to it). There are no handjobs. There are no blowjobs, no fucking of any kind. It’s not sex.

What it is are two people sitting on either side of a door, with the door between them. It’s two people who care about each other and are trying to fight it (very, very unsuccessfully, as it were). It’s a different kind of coming together (heh, that’s a pun, get it) that I’ve never written before, and ultimately, I’m damn proud of it too. It allows Corey/Kori to have control over the situation, which was important to me. They needed it, given that in the book, the power dynamic is a bit off as Jeremy Olsen is, at least for the summer, their boss.

Yes, they have a bone sesh later on, but I think this is the scene that should be regarded as the sexiest. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I like the idea of Corey/Kori being in control.

Look: I’ve my position on sex in romance clear before, both here and in previous posts. You don’t have to agree with me, obviously. By now you know I usually consider sex to be the least important part of a book. But here, with this story, I wanted to challenge myself (and possibly the reader) with thinking about how sex in its many forms affects us, and what actually constitutes as sex. There are sexual situations in Why We Fight aside from the actual boning. But there is only one actual sex scene. And yet, somehow, it is still a romance.

(Wait until I show you my biggest trick this fall when I set out to convince you that Heartsong is a romance with no sex scene at all in the entire book. Yay for asexual werewolves and the soft boys who love them!)

In fifteen days, Why We Fight releases.

And I can’t wait for you to see what happens when Corey/Kori finds the man he deserves.

Next week, my last blog post before release in which I’ll discuss why I’m ending this series now, and what it means for me writing contemporary stories in the future.

See you then!

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Why We Fight: Cis-Blinders and My White Ass


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Let’s not mince around here.

I am a cis white dude.

Corey/Kori, the star of Why We Fight, is biracial and bigender.

What the hell was I thinking? Why did I think I had the right to tell a story like this with a character like them? I am queer, yes, but that in no way equates my experience and journey to that of a person of color (PoC) or someone who is trans/bigender.

To top it all off, this series is written in a first person POV which means the character is narrating, and uses “I” statements. I did this. I went here. I feel this way.

Fuck me, right?

I knew going in to this book I had to be careful. I needed to make sure this story came across as me writing about a bigender PoC, instead me sounding like I was writing as said character. In addition, this book was the culmination of a series (At First Sight) while also incorporating two other series (BOATK and The How to Be books—you might just find out some little tidbits if you pay attention to that last). At the same time, I wanted this story to belong to Corey/Kori without having the weight of nine (!!) other books upon it.

Yep. Fuck me.

Except I have never been one to back down from a big situation. I might procrastinate a bit, but when I do decide to tackle what’s ahead, I do it with everything I have. Aside from wanting to tell a good story, I have an obligation to get things right for communities that I’m not part of. I discussed in a previous blog post (which you can read here) the lengths my white ass went to in order to get things right. And I still got things wrong, which I was grateful to have people who did live these lives point out to me, and make this a better story while still retaining the ridiculousness of the narrative. And even though this is yet another door being closed, much like I’ve done with the BOATK series and the How to Be series, I think this is a worthy ending to all that has come before. Saying goodbye is never easy, but I can’t imagine a better character to have the honor of doing so.

Corey/Kori is an absolute delight. A lovely, snarky, irritated delight. This isn’t a book about coming to terms with being bigender. They are comfortable in their own skin. Nor is this a book about whether or not they think their love interest can be attracted to all that they are. I wanted to avoid both of those things as well as I could. Why? Because this series started as me wanting to explore people who you didn’t normally see getting their own books.

Paul in Tell Me It’s Real is fat. He doesn’t want to change. He doesn’t need to change. When he meets Vince, he’s bewildered by how much Vince pursues him, but he doesn’t try and slim down for him, nor does Vince ever ask him to.

Sandy (AKA Helena Handbasket) is a drag queen. Sandy/Helena have been together a long time. Darren doesn’t give two shits about that. All he wants is Sandy. Sandy doesn’t want to change. Darren never asks him to.

The same is true with this last book. Corey/Kori is who they are. Jeremy Olsen, the sweet dorky professor who might have another side of his own, appreciates Corey as they are. Corey doesn’t want to change, nor do they have any reason to do so. Jeremy never asks him to.

This is important to me. We come in all shapes, sizes, color, sexuality, gender and anything and everything in between. We all deserve to have stories told about people like us. And those who are telling those stories have a duty to be authentic, especially when, for example, a white dude is telling a story about a kickass PoC.

Two things for full transparency:

—There is a slur used against Corey/Kori in the book that is transphobic. It’s said by a side character first introduced here, and is shut down almost immediately by everyone around them. I worried about this. I know how slurs hurt, having been called a faggot by many, many people, including people I’m related to. I had the book beta read by a trans reader. They didn’t mention the use of the slur. I went back and asked them what they thought about it. Contextually, they replied, it works, given that the character who utters it is an asshole and we the reader know he’s an asshole. Then they said something that has stuck with me: “These insults happen all the time. It’s good to know you didn’t have your cis-blinders on when writing the scene.” Cis-blinders is a phrase I given a lot of thought about. I don’t think for a moment that I’ve done anything revolutionary here in this story, but it made me think for a long time what I’ve said/didn’t say because I have blinders on.

—Secondly, Michael Lesley, who has narrated this series, has withdrawn from the narration of the book, citing that he wasn’t comfortable as a cis white man narrating a character like Corey/Kori, believing that the job should go to a PoC. While disappointed, I agreed he could decline the project. Unfortunately, auditions for narrators are handled by the publisher and Tantor, and there is no option to ask for PoC narrators only. I asked. I was told that they can’t do that. I don’t know what that means for the narration of the book, but the publisher is moving forward with the audiobook, and it will be produced. I am supposed to get a list of people who audition, so I have a new job to do. I wish Michael well on all his future projects.

On May 14, I hope you’ll join me back in Tucson to see what some old friends are up to before we say goodbye. The journey will be happy and bittersweet, as endings usually are, but I promise you that by the end, you’ll see there is a reason the book is called Why We Fight, and why it couldn’t be anything else.

From Paul, Vince, Sandy, Darren, Corey/Kori, Jeremy, Nana, Mattie, Larry, Daddy Charlie, Robert, Wheels, and Johnny Depp, know this: goodbyes are hard. Let’s go out with a bang, shall we?

Next week, sex, sex, sex and why I challenged myself to make this story as sexy as possible (which doesn’t always mean fucking, fyi).

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Why We Fight: I'm a Pissed Off Faggot


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I was angry when I started writing the last At First Sight book.

And I’m angry still.

In my contemporary stories (think the At First Sight Series, the BOATK series), I have the tendency to avoid bigger, real world problems. I try and keep the focus to a single group of people, and the problems they face on a personal level. It’s not that I’m unaware of what goes on on a macrolevel, I just like to focus on the immediacy of a group of characters. But still, even when I’m writing comedy, there’s a bit of an edge to it, an underlying rage to it that while may not be explicit, is still there all the same.

It’s a little different with Why We Fight, and it’s because of Corey/Kori Ellis.

First things first: this book is a comedy. Absurd, ridiculous, over the top. That’s not up for debate. Just because I’m a little full of myself and think I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY doesn’t mean I lost sight of what these books are supposed to be. This is the only post on this book where I’m going to rant a little, but for the book itself, you will laugh until you cry. I promise.

However.

This book is set (more by happenstance than specific planning) in the summer of 2016. Most Americans will know this was a time of great upheaval, where we went from saying that Donald Trump would never get the Republican nomination for presidency to watching him actually win.

For months after, I let my fury get the best of me. How dare people think he was acceptable? How dare people care so little about those of us put in harm’s way because of a man like him. Then, to make matters worse, I saw that I had readers who supported him, something I thought would be so antithetical to people who loved to read about men falling for each other. I was wrong. It turns out that people can still want to read about men falling for each other while supporting someone who named one of the biggest bigots in the United States as his Vice President.

I lashed out. I was a pissed-off faggot. I know for a fact I lost readers over, and I didn’t (and still don’t) care about that. The hypocrisy was astounding to me, especially when people responded with “Just give them a chance! It’s not going to be as bad as you think it is!” Or, my favorite: “You’re overreacting!”

In the end, I just…stopped talking about it at all. It exhausted me. I was yelling into an echo chamber. I wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind, and they weren’t going to change mine. I focused on my books, still watching in horror as a story came out that would have ended any other presidency, but for this one, could just be called Tuesday.

And then this last Friday, Trump’s ban on trans service members in the military went into effect.

So, you know. Here comes that anger again. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, all of you who support this man. You may not agree with everything he does, but you own all of him.

I gave very brief thought to ignoring all of this when it came to Why We Fight. To ignoring the real world and just letting zany shit be zany.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t do that as an author writing this book, and Corey/Kori wouldn’t let me do that to them. They’re not real. I know that. But they are real to me, and they were angry like I was.

The current president of the United States is mentioned only a few times in the book. I didn’t want to browbeat my readers with it. So, for those who look to books for escape from the world, have no fear.

That being said, Corey/Kori (which I will refer to using the pronouns “they/them” so don’t get confused) doesn’t take shit from anyone. They, in turn, are also a hypocrite, as I am. In the book, they begin to work for a LGBTQI youth center in Tucson during the summer before their final year of college. The kids in the youth center are of the mind that if you’re not with us, you’re against us, and most heterosexuals are against us. Corey/Kori tries to dissuade them of this, telling the kids that that line of thinking could be somewhat dangerous, as it could burn bridges that can’t be rebuilt.

Later on in the story, Corey/Kori and Jeremy have dinner with some of Jeremy’s…friends (acquaintances?) who all turn out to be white gay Republicans. Corey/Kori demonstrates his hypocrisy here by chalking them all off as a lost cause because since they’re not with us, they’re against us.

Life is hypocrisy. We say one thing, and we do another. It can be very confusing. But in this specific case, Corey/Kori is not confused, even if they are hypocritical. They see a difference between the kids at the youth center and what Jeremy’s frenemies are all about. I don't hold back. Because of this, Corey/Kori doesn’t either. This book is an indictment of all of our hypocrisies. Am I wrong to want to close ranks? I don’t know. It sometimes can feel wrong, but then I see people still feverishly supporting a man who is, at best, an unintelligent bigot and at worst, a wannabe dictator who wants to destroy everything he can touch.

Even now, I know some of you are reading this and rolling your eyes. He’s not that bad, you’re thinking.

This book isn’t for you.

This book can be read by anyone, yes. But this book is written for queer people with queer anger in mind. This book is for those of us who watch as our rights are getting chipped away, piece by piece. This is for those of us who see a rise in hate crimes against queer people (trans included), against people of color, against anyone who can be viewed as “different.”

Trump is not forever. He will be gone sooner rather than later. But we will remember those who were not with us. And a pissed off faggot is not someone who forgives easily. Trust me on that.

Man, do I feel better. For now. This is all I’m going to say on the matter regarding this book. The rest of the posts in the leadup to the release will be happy stuff and behind-the-scenes stuff.

Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life, of a group of queer people who love each other more than anything. Corey/Kori finally gets to tell their story, and in the end, they turn out to be one of the best characters I’ve written. I cannot wait for you to see what they’ve become.

On May 14, I ask you to return with me to Tucson one last time, to visit old friends and meet some new ones. This final book in the At First Sight Series (began six (!!) years ago in Tell Me It’s Real) has been a long time in coming, but I promise the wait will be worth it.

Next week, I’ll be talking more about my due diligence in writing a story about a trans person of color while still keeping in spirit with the series as what basically amount to dumb sex comedies. God, I love my job.

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Announcement on Leaving Dreamspinner Press

I will be parting ways with Dreamspinner Press. This will not have any bearing on my next three releases: Why We Fight, Heartsong, or Brothersong. I don't know what it means for a series like the Tales from Verania, but the past couple of years have brought issue after issue with DSP, with promises made for fixes that have never materialized. I have done my best to keep this quiet given that readers shouldn’t be subjected to the drama of publishing a book, but it’s now spilled out and is affecting my readers who are not receiving product they have paid for despite repeated requests. This isn’t the only issue, nor is it even the biggest, but it’s the most recent, and for my own wellbeing, I need to walk away. The last couple of years has been more stressful than I care to admit.

Please do not ask for anymore specific details. I know this will most likely cause rampant speculation that I’d rather avoid, but there’s not much I can do about that. All you need to know is this: DSP is a business. I make said business a lot of money. I deserve to be treated better. Transparency is a must in the publishing world, and current practices are not anywhere transparent enough for me to continue comfortably. I am devastated it has to come to this, but I can no longer work in good faith with a company that won’t meet me halfway. Good business practice is being proactive rather than reactive.

It should be noted I’m not using this as any kind of leverage. I don’t want to have to be doing this. My hope is that the publisher will course correct and find ways to make things right so these situations could be avoided in the future. But I am done. I have reached my limit, and I will be moving on.

I wish them well and look forward to my remaining books with them. In no way should this post be read as me giving permission for anyone to attack the publisher by social media or emails or in any other way. Don’t do this. It’s counterproductive and will only make things harder. I am absolutely not calling for any kind of boycott. By all means, continue to support the authors you love to read. Trust me when I say it means more than you could possibly know.

I will continue to tell my stories. Big things are on the horizon! I can’t wait to share them with you.

Thanks,

tj

Heartsong Reveal

they tell you

to be brave

to be strong

they tell you

that you have a home

they say

here little wolf

this is where you belong

they say

here little wolf

this is your pack

and you remember her

the voice in your ear

the way she loved you

she said

little wolf

little wolf

what do you see?

you’re the heart of the forest

the guardian of the trees

then she was gone

and you were alone

but you found your place

you found your home

it was green green green

it was pack and pack and pack

but hold on

little wolf

hold on

with all your might

because your heart is fragile

and in the end

it will shatter like glass

Cover by Reese Dante

Cover by Reese Dante

On September 24, 2019, everything will change:

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home.

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.

Pre-orders coming this summer!

Announcing: TJ Klune Merchandise

I’m so pleased to finally get to make this announcement.

(If you were in the Klunatic FB group, you would have seen this a couple of weeks ago, just FYI.)

For the first time ever, we are launching official merchandise based upon some books of mine! We have some awesome merch from the Green Creek series, the Tales from Verania series with more on the way, so continue to check back.

Even better? A portion of every sale goes to the Trevor Project, a charity near and dear to my heart.

Per their website, “The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”

You can learn more about The Trevor Project and their mission here: The Trevor Project

And now to the merch!

First, I’ll direct you to the lovely people at Lovely Bird—Max and Lea—who have worked very hard to bring you everything from Wolfsong phone cases to trucker hats with the new symbol for Gordo’s Body Shop.

The Green Creek Store

Second, and also at Lovely Bird, merchandise for Tales From Verania!

Tales From Verania Store

Last (and certainly not least), have you ever wanted framed artwork of the Green Creek series by an incredible artist? Lio’s got you covered! Prints from their works on Wolfsong and Ravensong are now for sale. As of today, there are currently ten (!!) different works available. Please check out this amazing artist and support their work!

Green Creek Art Print Series

If you have any questions, or concerns, or want to see merch/art from a different book or series of mine, feel free to contact the owners of each store on their websites. I can’t make any promises, but I know they’ve already got ideas for some of my other books.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

tj

Why We Fight Reveal

I am a cis white man.

Corey/Kori Ellison, the star of Why We Fight, is biracial and bigender.

I will never know what it means to be transgender. I will never know the struggles people of color face. I can have empathy and appreciation, but to say I have a complete understanding would not only be false, but also ignorant.

Which is why it’s taken so long for Corey/Kori’s book to see the light of day.

I’ve written characters of color before: Sam of Wilds, across four books. Olive Juice is built around a black woman and the idea of “missing white woman” syndrome. In the upcoming Heartsong, a new character of color is introduced who will make a mark on the pack through Brothersong. In my big Tor debut, The House in the Cerulean Sea, there are quite a few side characters of color. In my most recently finished book, The Tremendous Death of Wallace Price, the love interest, Hugo, is a black man, and his best friend is a Chinese-American woman who is in most of the book.

I write this not to list off my bona fides, but to show that these books, while important, don’t cover my entire back catalogue. And out of all the books I’ve written, these add up to less than a quarter of that total. Most of my characters have been white or white-passing. I’m striving to do better with inclusivity because I think it’s important while still wanting to make sure I avoid any sort of white-savior trope.

And even though I have written characters of color before, Corey/Kori is someone different. The At First Sight series is not known for it’s political correctness or subtlety. When I introduced the character by way of the BOATK series in The Art of Breathing, I didn’t do so because I wanted to tick some boxes. I was genuinely interested in who Corey could become. I will admit, however, that I didn’t give much thought (at least at first) into the idea of writing a book for them. It wasn’t until The Queen & the Homo Jock King that I realized just how much I wanted to write their book. I think it was one of the big reasons I had the character cross over from the BOATK series to the Tucson Crew: Seafare is angst and drama and blah, blah, blah. Tucson isn’t, and I thought if I could tell their story, I’d want them to be in a happier series where angst isn’t the main focus.

But Queen was three years ago (!!!). I kept pushing it off because I wondered if I would do the book justice. I worried I’d end up fucking it up somehow which could not only leave a sour taste in the mouths of my readers, but potentially cast a shadow on the entire series. I think the Paul/Vince wedding novella, Until You, came about because I was frustrated with myself for not diving in like I should have.

When I finally decided to buckle down and start writing, I knew I would have to do as much (if not more) research than on any other book I’ve written. I had an obligation to get this right. No beta reader or sensitivity reader could take the blame if I got something wrong. My name is on the cover. These are my words. I am completely and 100% responsible.

And I did get things wrong in the initial drafts. I had a trans reader go over it, showing me where I’d fucked up. I had a person of color read through it and school me on black/Hispanic hair. I had a sensitivity reader (who also happens to be one of my editors) ask why, given the climate between people of color and police, would Corey/Kori make a joke about calling the cops at something Nana had said?

The best intentions can still lead to mistakes, and those mistakes could be impactful if I don’t correct them.

This abundance of caution may sound like overkill (trust me, it’s not), but Corey/Kori deserves to have their story done right. Trans authors are the best at telling trans stories. I am not trans, and yet here I am telling a story about a trans character. The onus is on me to get it right. Beginning next month in the lead up to the May 14 release, I’ll talk more about my due-diligence of wanting to get things correct while still maintaining the ridiculousness that is Paul and Sandy, Darren and Vince, Daddy Charlie, Nana, Mattie, Larry, Wheels, and the homophobic parrot Johnny Depp.

And, of course, Corey/Kori and Professor Jeremy Olsen.

Now for the real reason you’re here.

First, Why We Fight comes out May 14th, and it’s up for pre-order.

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And now, the cover, created by Reese Dante:

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Blurb:

Do you believe in love at first sight?

 Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s just hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay.

 Except that this summer, bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House, a LGBTQI youth center that recently hired an interim director. And because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now current boss.

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart, for help.

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own.

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

How to Be a Movie Star is here!

In October of 2015, I released a story about a Grumpy Gus and the asexual stoner hipster who just wanted to love his face as hard as he could.

Now, today, I return to this little world I created. I hope you have as much fun as I did while writing this story. Josy is sunshine, Quincy is in over his head, Gus is…Gus, and Casey is still taking photographs of every single meal to post on Instagram, oh my god, what the hell.

How to Be a Movie Star, the sequel to How to Be a Normal Person, is here!

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