Welcome to our third week of celebrating the unique and amazing
Today we have a special treat for you. How To Be A Normal Person, Tj's latest book, will be released on October 16th, 2015, and we have an exclusive excerpt for you, plus a chance to win an e-copy of the book.
Wookie Cry Face is also included in this book. Yes, we've read it already. And soon, so can you!
Also, we (Sandra, Dani, Heather, and Todd) are at GRL2015 in San Diego this week, where Tj is also, so shenanigans are likely happening.
But on to the book, shall we?
How To Be A Normal Person:
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.
Gus is not normal. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.
Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
At 11:54, the We Three Queens entered the Emporium and immediately knew something was off.
Because of course they did.
To be honest, though, it really wasn’t that hard to figure out.
“Your face is extra twitchy today,” Bertha said.
“And your upper lip is sweaty,” Bernice said.
“And you also look like you’re about to punch a baby goat,” Betty said.
“I’m fine,” Gus said. It was almost believable. “And I’m not going to punch a baby goat. God. What the hell. Who does that?”
They stared at him.
“I’m fine,” he insisted. “Absolutely nothing is different and everything is the same and I’m fine.”
“Hmm,” Bernice said.
“Indeed,” Bertha said.
“Cadet!” Betty said. “Inspirational message for the day!”
And that was normal. That he could do. “A simple hello could lead to a million things.”
He waited too, but mostly because he was thinking about tattoos on forearms and beards—
“Oh my goodness,” Bertha breathed. “Something is definitely different.”
“What?” Gus said, flushing furiously. “Shut up. No it’s not. What are you talking about? Shut up.”
“Hmm,” Bernice said again.
“You didn’t snark,” Betty said, narrowing her eyes. “You snark and today there was no snark. You always snark, especially when it comes to the inspirational messages. Where’s the snark?”
“That’s not even a real word,” Gus said. “Don’t you dare bring your slang into my place of business. This isn’t a YMCA basketball court. We’re not shooting hoops. No slang.”
“There’s the snark,” Betty told her lesbian lovers (sisters?).
“But it seemed so delayed,” Bertha said.
“Hmm,” Bernice said.
Gus tried to salvage what he could. “And a simple hello?” he said. “What’s that even supposed to mean? What if you said hello to someone who then turned out to be worse than Hitler or Michael Bay and unleashed another holocaust or another overstuffed, CGI-heavy excuse for a film starring Shia LaBeouf. Could you live with that on your conscience? Because I couldn’t.”
“Weak sauce,” Bertha said, flipping up the collar on her pink leather jacket, looking very cool, though Gus would never say so.
“Definite weak sauce,” Betty agreed, standing at parade rest. “Possibly the weakest sauce to have ever been sauced.”
“Hmm,” Bernice said, leaning across the counter until her face was inches from Gus’s.
He didn’t flinch. Not even a little bit.
“Tell me your secrets,” Bernice whispered and reached out to touch his eyebrows.
Now he flinched.
The door to the Emporium opened.
Lottie said, “It looks like you’re all about to rumble,” as she entered the store. “Don’t do it. The bloodshed would be terrifying.”
Gus narrowed his eyes. “You,” he said. “I’ve got some words for you.” Because yes, he was about to rumble so hard. And there would be bloodshed.
“Here we go,” Bernice said. “Reveal to me your secrets.”
“And what words would those be?” Lottie asked. “I brought you egg salad today. No pickles or onions.”
Well, that was good. Pickles and onions were things of the devil and should never be anywhere near egg salad, so.
But that was beside the point. “You!” Gus said. “You had a hipster in your store! He—he—he Instagrammed me. I have never felt so violated in my—”
The door opened again.
In walked the hipster. He grinned when he saw Gus.
“Meep,” Gus squeaked.
The We Three Queens turned their heads slowly and gaped at Gus.
“That,” Bertha said, “is not a sound I would have ever expected you to make.”
Gus coughed roughly. “Yes. Well, something in my throat. Allergy season. Quite bad this year. The pollen count is high. It’s global warming.”
“I bet there’s something warming in your throat,” Bertha said, her grin a bit smug.
“Things make much more sense now,” Bernice said. “Secrets revealed.”
“Hey, Aunt Lottie,” the man said as he approached the counter. “Hope you don’t mind that I tagged along. Had to see who our neighbors were. And would you look who it is.” He hopped up onto the counter like be belonged there, like he’d done it a million times before.
“Aunt Lottie?” Gus echoed, feeling something akin to betrayal even as he resisted the urge to punch the hipster in the back of the head to get him off the counter.
“I don’t mind at all,” Lottie said rather innocently, like she wasn’t some kind of diabolical villainess whose sole reason for existing was to bring Gus pain. “The more the merrier. Ladies, this is my nephew Casey Richards. Casey, these are the We Three Queens. Oh, and from what I understand, you already know Gus over there.”
Casey Richards. It had a name.
This was quite possibly the worst day of Gustavo’s life.
Okay. Maybe not the absolute worst, but it was close. Gus wasn’t typically prone to hyperbole, but it seemed to fit the situation. Worst. Day. Ever.
“Whoa,” Casey said, looking the We Three Queens up and down. “You have to be the fiercest things to have ever existed. You have matching jackets. That’s… man, I don’t even know what that is. Your level of awesomeness literally just blew my mind. I’m speechless. Speechless.”
Gus thought he was speaking quite a bit for someone who claimed speechlessness, but he kept that opinion to himself and remained motionless in hopes that Jurassic Park had been right and that Casey was like a dinosaur and his vision was based upon movement.
“We tend to do that wherever we go,” Bertha said. “It’s kind of our thing.” She looked off into the distance as if reminiscing on all the minds she’d blown.
“And you call yourselves the We Three Queens?” Casey asked. “The fact that you exist and are standing in front of me is seriously a highlight of my life.”
Gus thought that maybe Casey’s bar was set a little low if that was a highlight, but he said nothing because he didn’t just blurt everything out like a commoner would.
“Why thank you, young man,” Bernice said, beaming, and Gus considered her to now be a traitor to the cause.
“We have to do a selfie,” Casey said. “All of us. I have to have a picture of us. Like, you have no idea.”
Gus blurted out, “Oh my god, selfies, fuck my life,” and immediately clapped his hand over his mouth and stood stock-still because they would see him.
“You too, Gustavo Tiberius,” Casey said, glancing back at him. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you.”
And because he’d been spotted and the cat was out of the bag, Gus scowled in response and said, “I can’t do selfies. It’s against my religion.”
Casey cocked his head. “The whole Bleeding Jesus folk bongo band thing?”
“What? No. Just. Shut up. I don’t even know you.”
“Oh,” Casey said. “You will.”
“Don’t you threaten me!”
Casey shook his head. “There are a few things we need to discuss.”
That didn’t sound good. “I have nothing to discuss with you,” Gus said.
“Uh, yeah you do,” Casey said. “How about the fact that you work at a video rental store and it’s 2014? That’s… that’s, like. Retro. And shit.”
“Retro and shit,” Gus said. “Wow. Is that your professional opinion? Are you going to go blog about it?”
“Snark,” Betty said. “So much snark.”
“A tragic comedy,” Bertha agreed.
“Indeed,” Casey said to Gus. “Because Netflix and Redbox aren’t actual things that exist in this day and age.”
“People want brick and mortar,” Gus said. “And I give them what they want. I carry high-quality films—”
“Is that a Sharknado display?” Casey asked, pointing at a Sharknado display.
“—for the discerning public who want to come and look at a selection face to face instead of sitting in front of a computer screen to pick out healthy film choices—”
“Wow, that’s a very big Sharknado display,” Casey said.
“It’s supposed to be ironic!”
“Such a hipster,” Casey said, sounding fonder than anyone ever had when speaking to Gus, except for maybe Pastor Tommy. “Doing things ironically.”
Gus gaped because he doubted he’d ever been called anything more offensive in his life.
Get the book:
Watch this site for our reviews of How To Be A Normal Person, coming soon!
Tj Klune’s List of Stuff and Things: Story Time Edition
Bear, Otter and the Kid came out at midnight on a Thursday night/Friday morning in August 2011. I was a fucking nervous wreck over it, sure no one was going to read it, sure it was terrible, sure I was making the biggest mistake of my life by releasing this book. I wasn’t a writer! Who the hell did I think I was trying to write a book? It was an embarrassment. That whole Thursday night/Friday morning I spent tossing and turning, not even really sleeping, thinking about how implausible the story was, how the plot had so many holes, and the Kid was far too precocious to ever be believable.
I finally rolled myself out of bed at 530 that morning and vowed to not even get online that day. I wouldn’t even think about the book. It was done, it was out there, there was nothing I could do.
I lasted about four minutes before I got on the computer.
Not wanting to look at reviews or anything right away, I checked my email.
There was a message from an email that I didn’t recognize.
The subject heading said BEAR OTER AND KID GOOD JOB.
I said, “Whaaat is this.”
It was my first ever reader mail, the day the book had come out. The reader was located outside the US and had read the book already and wanted to tell me she liked it. The email was short and sweet, really only a few lines long.
I bawled over it.
And I am looking at it right now, because I have kept every single email a reader has ever sent to me, the good, the bad (because certain people don’t seem to have any qualms emailing me to tell me they don’t like me or my books) and everything in between. I have a folder in my email titled from the readers =D and as of today, it has 5,636 emails in it, from all over the world. I consider it to be one of my greatest treasures.
More about Tj:
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn't think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.
He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.
Thanks for joining us again today! We hope you love this new Tj Klune book as much as we did. Come back next week for Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and Sam Haversford from The Lightning-Struck Heart, Paul Auster and Vince Taylor, and the homophobic parrot, from Tell Me It's Real, and a super-exclusive first look at The Queen And The Homo Jock King, where Helena Handbasket aka Sandy Stewart and Darren Mayne battle it out. Figuratively speaking. Mostly. We think.
Until then, happy reading!!