First things first:
New website! New blog!
Honestly? I have no idea what I'm doing. Those that have followed me for any length of time know that I'm not exactly...competent, when it comes to technology. So, forgive me for how shallow this is for right now, and clumsy. It's obviously still a work in progress that I'll probably be tinkering with for a long time to come. But! I am having fun with it. The navigation bar is across the top and you can see some of the stuff I've done so far, including the latest updates on where I'm at with the book I'm currently working on.
(Also, the books page is my least favorite, because so far, I've only found a way to link Amazon links on here and not DSP, and it doesn't even show the blurbs. I got so annoyed with it, that I saved it as is and said "fuck you, stupid fucking fucker." Legit. That's exactly what I said. My cat was not impressed.)
(That last sentence is slightly depressing.)
"This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard," the Kid says, scowling at me and interrupting my epic story. He sits up in his bed, the covers falling down at his sides. "Bears don't have wings!'
"Fat with my love for you?" Otter says incredulously from his spot next to me on the Kid's bed. You made me pregnant and said I was fat with my love for you?"
"What the hell are you guys talking about?" I ask, feeling insulted. "That was getting really good!"
"If by good you mean not good, then, yes, it was getting very good," the Kid retorts.
"You made me a pregnant shifting otter!" Otter yelps
"Whatever," I say as I roll my eyes. "Mrs. Paquinn told me that shifter stories are more popular than any other subgenre and that I should try to cash in on them."
Yeah. That was pretty much how I felt about shifter books. That opening chapter of Who We Are was as close as I ever wanted to get to writing about were-otters and were-bears. Werewolves? I scoffed to myself. Not this author, no sir!
The three most popular email topics I get from readers:
1) When is (fill in the blank sequel) going to be written?
2) Thank you for writing (fill in the blank).
3) Tj, I really like your comedies, but when are you going to write something angsty again?
I am known for my comedies. For the last year, it's pretty much all I've released. There's been some minor angst, but nothing that couldn't be chuckled away with a well placed zinger or two. The exception being, of course, Withered + Sere, which is a mind fuck of a book, but even that wasn't about angst as much as it was the low-down-dirty-grit-under-the-fingernails of a post apocalyptic world.
I am good at funny.
But, if readers are to be believed, I'm good at angst, too.
For the longest time, though, I didn't want to write anything angsty. Too much shit had gone on in my life--none of which needs to be rehashed here--that I only wanted to write happy sunshine crack.
And I did. Lightning, Normal Person, Queen. Withered + Sere and its sequel, Crisped + Sere, were 3/4th of the way finished when shit went cray-cray, so I pushed through the rest of that before going back to the feel goods.
But a funny thing happened. With those stories, I was able to build myself back up again to the point where I thought I could once again consider writing something a little more...soul crushing.
The idea was this: two boys meet when they are young. They become best friends, they grow up together, but everything seems to keep them apart: families, friends, their own stupidity, life, bad decisions, blah blah blah.
So, essentially Ty and Dom from The Art of Breathing.
I had to stop, then, because I had already told that story.
I took a step back and thought, what could I do that's different? Something I've never done before?
I really wanted to tell a story that covered a long span of time, like a decade. And I really liked the idea of childhood friends.
I said fuck it and started writing, conscious of the fact that Ty and Dom exist and not wanting to rehash the same story.
And then something weird happened.
One minute, I was happily typing along (thinking, hahaha, people are going to cry their faces off when they read this HAHAHAHA) and then I accidentally wrote a bad pun involving werewolves that really had no context and--
Tj's Brain: Okay, but what if we--
Tj: Absolutely not.
Tj's Brain: But just think about--
Tj: No. No. That's stupid. I absolutely will not.
Tj's Brain: I just won't let you forget it, then. Or that Katy Perry song you tell everyone you hate but secretly like.
Tj: Fuck you so hard.
Tj's Brain: Werewolves. And baby, you're a fiiiiiiiirework! Come on, let your colors burst--
Tj: WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I told myself I would never do shifters!
Tj's Brain: --as you shoot across the skyyyy--wait what? Why not?
Tj: Because that's stupid. I want to write serious literature.
Tj's Brain: Wow, you sound like an asshole. Also, Gary the gay hornless unicorn exists, so any chances of you writing serious literature is pretty much gone.
Tj: Huh. Well played.
So I went back, read through the 20K or so words I'd written and saw it wouldn't be too hard to switch it up.
Then I went and researched wolves and wolf packs for a week. I told myself if I was going to do this, if I was actually going to write a shifter book, then it was going to be the best goddamn shifter book I could write.
Also, I am an asshole. Because you know what?
I wrote a book about werewolves, and I had a goddamn blast.
Yes, I am going to shred your poor little hearts with this. Ox and Joe are two of the most heartbreaking characters I've ever had the pleasure to write. They will get their happy ending, but my god, are you going to work for it. A comparison? Not as angsty as Into This River I Drown (I doubt anything I write will ever be). Maybe a little more than the BOATK series, specifically The Art of Breathing.
And while werewolves are, you know, werewolves, I went about this as seriously as I could. Because it's not just a story about werewolves. In fact, that's not even the major part. The biggest thing in this story is the idea of self worth. What happens to a person who has been told their whole life that they'll never amount to anything? How does that shape them? And, if they are already beaten down, how would they act when a great secret is bestowed upon them?
And most of all, I wanted to tell an epic love story. Because, dudes and lady dudes, I love love. I do. I really fucking do. And I wanted to show that in this story. I wanted these two boys, Ox and Joe, to grow with each other so that when familial love turns to something more, it just explodes. That it would turn into something truly magical, that anyone could see that Ox and Joe were just meant to be. With werewolf romances, there is usually the idea of mates and the like, and I do touch upon that within Wolfsong, but I wanted it to be more than that. By the time the reader finished, I wanted them to see what I did, that there is no one else for Ox other than Joe. And that Joe would always need his Ox.
Whether or not I succeeded is up to you, of course. But I can't wait for you to read this. Because I might have started with a half-baked story about two boys growing up together that suddenly involved werewolves, but it turned into so much more than that. It's about family, and sacrifice, and what a boy named Ox could become if only he found the strength to believe in himself. It's about brothers and sisters, healing the parts that are broken, and the long reaching sins of a father. It's about standing tall, even if you're bruised and bleeding and the odds seem insurmountable.
It just also happens to have werewolves.
I can't wait for you to read it!