Thursday, February 1, 2024

WEP Get Together and IWSG Author Website Turn-offs


There's not much to report writing-wise. My aunt-in-law passed (as expected, cancer), and my spouse and I have been dealing with her estate. (Draaaaama.) Hope to be back to a normal routine again soon.

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine

Feb 7 question -

What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog?

  1. When there is a logo or link thing to social media (Facebook, etc), but clicking it goes to Facebook or whatever main site. Instead of to the author's social media site. Or it's a broken link. I know stuff happens, but especially if you're in a hop and expecting an influx of guests, check your stuff. Ask a friend to check your site. Heck, ask me beforehand. Goodreads is a big one where authors put a link to the main site but not to their own author page. Why? Unless you are getting paid, that is a waste of your time and mine. Link to places where there is more YOU. Your books, your social, you, you, you. 
  2. A dead blog. No posts for half a year. Why am I on the site?
  3. If I have to log in and/or sign up to leave you a comment-- BYE. ✋
  4. The WordPress or Blogger dashboard. I can't get to your blog from that. You need to know your own website URL. We have discussed this at A to Z, so I know there are resources to teach noobs how to figure this out. 
  5. Difficult navigation. If I can't find what I came for in 45 seconds, I'm gone and won't be back. 
  6. Mocking reviewers, readers, etc. I don't want any part of it. 
  7. If I can't see it. Black text on a black background. I'm not highlighting everything. I don't have all day. Yellow text on white. What? Is this an eye test or a blog? 
I know links break, sites go down, servers time-out, THINGS HAPPEN. But on a regular day, your site should be easy to access, navigate, and use. I consider myself an expert in this area, having been to thousands of blogs and author sites. I know I am not alone on this list. I am the #AtoZChallenge captain, and in April, people message me with complaints about blogs that make those errors. PLEASE avoid the easy mistakes. 

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
February- Jayden's post-- Fall in love with your blog and blog hops again
March- J -Post to Announce the April challenge is coming (post during the first week of March)

Friday, December 15, 2023

Movie Inspired Flash Fiction #WEP #WEPFF

 I'm absolutely devastated that this is the final WEP flash fiction challenge! I love doing these. Given my own volunteering experience in the writing world though, I can see how it must have been a great deal of work for the team. I am very grateful to have found them and to have enjoyed so many of their challenges over the years. I feel like I've grown as an author by working on flash fiction because of WEP. I learned many lessons that blew my mind. (Such as, even with a strong male name from an Egyptian god, readers still need more context clues to know the gender of a character. It was relevant to the story, but every commenter thought the character was female. Whoops.)

Given that this is the final WEPFF, this is likely the final whole-scene sneak-peek installment of my forthcoming high fantasy story. I could post the drawing of character sizes again. Instead... there's been a commercial playing for a resort near me, and I feel like this ad does a great job showing sizes. Please imagine one brown wolf to be slightly larger and older-looking. 

Origin Story of the Seven

By J Lenni Dorner

Word count: 627 Full Critique Acceptable and VERY WELCOME 😊

Movie Inspiration: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist PG-13 2008 ‧ Comedy/Romance

"How did you become one of the Seven?" Phin Fynn asked between bites.

Monoghan licked his lips. "The free woman who sings the song of happiness went missing. Humans blamed my pack. They were preparing to enter our territory, to cut and burn the forest in search of her or her remains. I went to find her, knowing she was not with us. That was when I met Ellanorah."

"The rogue?" Candra asked as she moved closer.

Monoghan nodded. "I didn't know her. We bonded over a maze that requires specialized movements to traverse. She was on a quest for a certain fluffy bunny. Sounded tasty to me." 
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Where's Fluffy band logo

Candra gasped.

Monoghan laughed. "It had unique properties. Magic that brought harmony to those who found it. Those who failed, who found the wrong one, were fated to break societal norms and destroy all of their relationships."

Phin Fynn stomped his feet. "Get back to the good parts!"

"Impatient one. Both the fluffy bunny and the singer were thought to be in a secret keep. Ellanorah walked right in. I could have never gained access without her. We learned there was another keep. Clues were given to get there. When we arrived, Ellanorah left me to fend for myself. She knew someone there, the man to whom she was once betrothed." 

"What?" Candra grabbed Monoghan. "Ellanorah? Bethrothed? Ellanorah the rogue?"

"How is it that you know her name, yet had no idea who I was?" Monoghan asked as he freed himself from her grip.

"Most of the Seven are considered myths. Especially you. Stories parents tell to teach lessons or instill fear. But Ellanorah? She's a hero to the repressed everywhere. A symbol of hope. To suggest she isn't real is to say the world could never be better. Who needs such darkness in their heart and mind?" Candra crossed her arms.

"Right. Well, your symbol of hope was kissing the man. He promised her a blade or something, I wasn't paying much attention. As I was leaving, Ellanorah asked to join my search for the singer."

"Why?" Phin Fynn asked, bouncing on the log where he sat.

Monoghan chewed a piece of meat. "I didn't ask. I was just glad of the company. We found the singer, not in a keep, but in a needle tree. She had been run off by a villager. Learning that the people actually missed her and wanted her back, she agreed to go home. Except now Ellanorah had told her about the fluffy bunny, so she wanted to find it. Bringing harmony to her people, well, that's what the free woman who sings the song of happiness is all about. Instead of going home, she followed our clues, figuring them out for herself after chewing on the riddles alone." 
Caroline name definition

"You weren't with her?" Candra asked as she poked the fire.

"Not at that moment. Ellanorah wanted to show me the cave where wolves are thought to have originated. A very special place." Monoghan rubbed his cheeks. "Very special."

Candra's eyes widened. Monoghan looked away, staring at the sky with a grin he could not hide.

"What?" Phin Fynn looked back and forth between them. 

They both replied, "Nothing."

"Anyway," Monoghan cleared his throat. "We eventually found her path. She was easy for me to track by then. And sure enough, that led us to the fluffy bunny."

Phin Fynn clapped. "Yay, you both completed your quests. Then what?"

"Ellanorah showed me that the villagers I knew were using me. That I deserved more life than they 
allowed me to have. The quests, I wouldn't miss them. I was missing journeys, trips more important than destinations and goals. Together, we set off to learn more about the world. The other five joined us later." 

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist poster

It wasn't easy to combine my high-fantasy story with a modern-day romance set in NYC and parts of New Jersey. Honestly, this would have been easier with Existence character Jezebel taking on Norah's role. If you haven't seen this fun film, here's a quick SPOILER HEAVY summary. Nick is heartbroken and trying to get back with his ex. Norah is really into music. Nick is in a (very crappy) band who plays a show, and both Norah and his ex are there. Norah's friend Caroline goes missing. Nick is hoping to find a secret show by the band "Where's Fluffy?" rumored to be in NYC that night. (The band keeps locations a secret, fans have to follow bunny signs and use clues to see them.) Norah also wants to see the show, but Caroline has to be found. They locate her in a Christmas tree πŸŽ„ costume. Nick and Norah eventually hook up at a famous recording studio her dad owns. (Her dad is why she's able to get into every club they search.) She breaks up with a guy who is using her. He gets over his ex. They find "Where's Fluffy?" but decide the real journey is each other. 

I hope you enjoyed this flash fiction based on a movie that is based on a book. πŸ˜„
Please check out the WEP site and visit all the others in the hop.

WEP WEPFF Flash fiction Dec 2023 badge

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Who is a Book Review for according to #IWSG members

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

Dec 6 question -

When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

I wrote "Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier" because I feel book reviews are absolutely critical for an author.
In this reference book, I suggest starting reviews with the following:
  • Was the book good?
  • Include the fundamentals, such as the book title and name of the author (be sure gender terms 🚹🚺🚻🏳‍🌈 are correct).
  • How is the book interesting within its genre?
  • How did you get this book? You want to write an honest and unbiased review, so it's important to mention if you were given the book for free.
  • Would you recommend it, or not, and to who? The review might mention if you feel the book appeals to sci-fi fans, cancer survivors, sporty teens, etc.
  • Is this the sort of book you usually enjoy reading? If you don't like horror books, and you're reviewing one, how much you like or dislike the book has a different weight than someone who frequently reads that genre. People who read reviews will appreciate knowing this.
  • Including a short excerpt that was especially powerful, funny, moving, or meaningful to you is a great way to hook a reader and boost an author's confidence. Or the excerpt might be an example of why you hated the book, in which case the inclusion gives review readers a chance to see if their feelings would match yours.
  • Stimulating. What about the book held your interest? Or why didn't you finish reading it?
  • Author Supporter πŸ“£ Would you read something from this author again?

There are many more tips in the book. I've been using this method to write reviews for years and it really streamlines the process for me. I feel that my method creates reviews that help readers and authors alike.

Some authors shy away from writing reviews because they worry about hurting the feelings of fellow authors by giving less than 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  Which might be why less than 10% of buyers tend to leave a review. There was a time when it was said that hitting a certain amount of reviews (10, 50, 200...) would result in more promotion from the Amazon algorithm. This has now been denied by the company. However, surveys suggest that book buyers are more inclined to buy a book if it has some reviews. 

Please visit author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords Writing Book Reviews As An Author


Could you please give me your opinion -- based on the above summary of part of my book about writing reviews, does it seem like I review for readers, authors, or both?

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
John, on December 25, will present: A'phabet Day or No "L" Day, a day to skip the 'L' in all your correspondences and communications - written or otherwise. πŸ˜‰

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

#IWSG #Nanowrimo

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Nov 1 question - November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated?

There's the link. Buddy if you'd like.
Dealing with multiple family traumas and dramas right now. 

I'd really rather you read and comment on my previous post. It's an excerpt from the short story I'll work on during NaNoWriMo, if I get to write at all. We'll see.

I'll try to catch up on blogging when family problems are more under control. 

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
It is November so Arlee, on Nov 15, will bring you a post for "I Love to Write Day #ILovetoWriteDay"

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Phantom Wolves #WEPFF #wep #flashfiction #excerpt #RPG #fantasy

#WEP October Challenge The Phantom of the Opera 

I'm using another excerpt from my high-fantasy story that uses the roleplaying characters Xavier and Wend play in my Existence book series.

Some of you may recall excerpts in WEP's June & August posts. There's background information there. I'll copy the size chart here as a quick reminder. 
Great Wolf size @JLenniDorner

A great wolf is huge, as you can see. Monoghan is a wolfwere (a wolfwere is a wolf that transforms into a man or a hybrid form). 
This excerpt has the trio near the end of the journey. 
881 words and Full Critiques are most welcome!
Tagline: Phantom wolves battle our heroes.

Phantom Wolves

By J Lenni Dorner

Phantom of the Opera WEPFF Oct 2023 image

"Shh," Monoghan whispered as he crouched down, hiding both of them under his body. Another growl came from the bush. Monoghan snarled in response.
The bush split apart, dead leaves flying in every direction, as the monster shot from its hiding spot. Teeth snapped from a skinless muzzle that lacked a snout. A single vacant, dull blue eye rolled around the socket. The creature growled and howled as it pawed a hole in the ground.
Candra wrapped her arms around Phin Fynn, rocked back and forth, and chanted a spell that would hide her from animals. The creature pounced in their direction.
Monoghan grabbed its neck with his mouth, his teeth tearing into the thin layer of flesh. It howled until its neck snapped off its body. "Next time I tell you to be quiet, be quiet!"
"It was a spell to hide us," Candra whispered.
"I know what it was. Do you think I can't recognize a beginner's level spell when I hear one? It would have only worked on you, not him. And, judging by the taste, it wouldn't have worked at all."
Phin Fynn shoved his way free from Candra's hold. "You can tell just by the taste?"
"I can tell when I've bitten an unnatural being, yes."
"Unnatural?" Candra peered out from under Monoghan to look at the shredded body.
"It wasn't born. That creature was made. Someone used forbidden magic. That creature was a conjured phantom wolf but enlarged to be the same size as I am."
"Weren't you made, too?" Phin Fynn asked as he moved in front of Monoghan and tapped the corpse with his foot.
"No. I was born."
"Great wolves were made once though, weren't they? Just like this one." Phin Fynn poked the ears on the torn-off head.
"How would you know anything about the history of my kind?" Monoghan nudged Candra to her feet with his muzzle.
"I heard stories. It is true, isn't it?"
"No, we were never conjured. We were normal wolves once. The spell turned the first ones to human form, but only in part. And we were never phantoms." The corpse dissipated into a black cloud.
"Then what happened?" Phin Fynn tilted his head and watched Monoghan.
"The human forms were forced to mate. They had wolf pups. The mothers died giving birth. The fathers and pups, fueled with rage, broke free of the spell that caged them and killed the witch. Why do you want to know this? It won't help you sleep at night." Monoghan's stomach churned as he recalled his parents, who were two of those pups, telling him the story.
"It might," Phin Fynn turned and walked away.
"He is the strangest child I have ever known," Candra whispered before following him.
Beyond the destroyed bush, they encountered a clearing littered with fallen trees. Monoghan padded around, examining them, as Phin Fynn strutted along a log, showing off his balance. The trees had long claw marks in the bark.
"Did that Great Wolf you killed do all of this?" Candra asked as she struggled to move closer to Monoghan.
"That was not a Great Wolf. The conjured magic made the phantom my size, but it wasn't what I am. And no, it did not do all of this. There are more."
"Lots!" Phin Fynn exclaimed with glee rather than terror.
All around them, there was movement. Tree branches snapped. Leaves fell. The ground shook. A chorus of growls filled the air with a sickening hum that vibrated to the bone. Monoghan and Candra moved cautiously toward Phin Fynn, who was jumping on a fallen tree, seemingly unaware of the pointy teeth and sharp claws getting nearer.
A howl rang out. A conjured phantom wolf leaped out from a tree. Monoghan concentrated his defense with his mouth and front paws, as he tried to stay near Candra and Phin Fynn. It felt like a lifetime ago since he fought multiple opponents, particularly ones that he didn't know well.

He bit at the leg of the nearest attacker. No blood seeped from the wound. It made no howl of pain. Fear pheromones did not fill the air. Monoghan's eyes widened as the massive phantom wolf fought as though no damage was done.

Weight slammed into his back legs. Pain shot through them as he fell, his whimper echoing. A moment later, he was weighed down by multiple enemies. He flailed around, clawing and biting blindly. 

Monoghan howled for help, a howl meant to be heard by Great Wolves. They would not come, for they had died out long ago. As he caught one of the attackers and tore its head from his body, he was struck with the horrible realization that these phantom beasts were the nearest family he had left. He let out a whimper, not from the pain of the claws that sunk into his back, but from the vision of scattered wolf parts before him. Dead. Every beast dissipating into a black cloud was by his own doing. A howl of heartbreak rang out from deep within him.

"Be better than they are! Prove you are still the hero of legend." Phin Fynn cried as he grabbed Monoghan's muzzle. "Fight, or watch us die." His visage of youth slipped away.

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog
#WEP - October #FlashFiction Challenge - The Phantom of the Opera - Post October 18 - 20
The fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Two life updates.
One, my aunt-in-law is reaching the end of her life. If I am away and late to respond, that is likely why. Thanks in advance for understanding.
Operation Awesome Happening at

Since May 2016, I have been joyfully interviewing debut authors at Operation Awesome. I absolutely loved doing this. It is one of the great honors of my life. However, since Twitter has been taken over, finding my debut authors has been too difficult. I've been failing week after week. The stress is too much. I am leaving the role and possibly the team. Brandy is also leaving. And Kate is hoping to take on a role other than Dear O'Abby. So we need to search for new operatives We're looking for new team members!
If you would be so kind as to share the link, and/or this tweet (X post), and/or the Facebook post that would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Artificial Writing #IWSG, Operation Awesome Operative, and #WEP Flash Fiction Coming Soon

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today:

Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

Oct 4 question -

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

Answer: Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and writer, said it well in this video. It's about using AI to write a paper or help with school work (or cheat on it), but that could apply to life. Are you learning? Improving your craft?

Adam Conover writer's strike Adam discusses how important getting protections against AI was as a point in ending the writer's strike in Hollywood. I prefer to stand with my fellow writers, even though I am not in a guild. (Maybe one day.)

And then there's the ChatGPT class action lawsuit. Imagine using AI to write a book, and then it being taken down because of a lawsuit. Or worse, being sued yourself. No thanks.

There's another video (I lost the link) I was discussing with my friend yesterday. 
AI wrote something. It was flagged for plagiarism. The original source material was located and it was verified that the AI had, indeed, copied and reused the material. They then confronted the AI about this. It lied and said it did not plagiarize the material. 
Our robots learned to lie.
How long until the AI steals something you wrote? And then lies about it. Who do you think will be believed? 
By the way, AI has also learned how to impersonate lawyers and create fictional cases to support itself in lawsuits. (That's impressive fibbing.) 

I can see how it may be useful for writing a book description, as I tested that in a previous blog post. I do not feel that I would use it much beyond that. 

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog #WEP - October #FlashFiction Challenge - The Phantom of the Opera - Post October 18 - 20
The fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Operation Awesome Happening at

Since May 2016, I have been joyfully interviewing debut authors at Operation Awesome. I absolutely loved doing this. It is one of the great honors of my life. However, since Twitter has been taken over, finding my debut authors has been too difficult. I've been failing week after week. The stress is too much. I am leaving the role and possibly the team. Brandy is also leaving. And Kate is hoping to take on a role other than Dear O'Abby. So we need to search for new operatives We're looking for new team members!
If you would be so kind as to share the link and/or this tweet (X post), that would be greatly appreciated.

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
Zalka Csenge VirΓ‘g and I both wanted this one! 
Oct 11: Myths and Legends Day
Be sure to check out the awesome post our Amazing Dr. Z has planned.