Tuesday, September 1, 2020

#IWSG Beta Partner Author


September 2 question - If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

The first thought I had was to define beta partner:

"Beta readers are, first and foremost, readers. They look at your manuscript as if it were a book they just took off the shelf and aim to answer the question “What did you think?” They are big-picture readers, focusing more on the feel of the manuscript than the nitty-gritty of grammar and phrasing."

"A beta reader is usually a test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author."

"A beta reader is a reader, usually one who reads in your genre and is a member of your target audience, who gives you feedback based on a reader's perspective, not a writer's perspective."

My next thought was to look at an Amazon list for books in the same selling category:

Best Sellers in New Adult & College Fantasy

Vampires, werewolf/shifters, witches, detectives, academy -- none of these will match well with what I've written.

David Estes seems promising. Though the Fatemarked series doesn't seem to be an urban fantasy.

Maybe I should look at what other categories Amazon has book 1 of my series in right now?

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: 

Well, that gives me some more options. (Though Fractions of Existence really isn't a Fairy Tale.)

I didn't write about teenage witches.

As usual, I don't feel like my series is similar enough to any other books in my categories.

So I'm going with an author that has a series I like. Though what we've written isn't overly similar, there's enough in common with our characters that I believe she'd "get" what I'm trying to do.

πŸŽ‰Victoria Aveyard is my answer for the September 2020 IWSG question of what author I would choose to be my beta partner. πŸ† (Especially for future books in my Existence series.)

The September Co-Hosts are:

Natalie Aguirre http://www.literaryrambles.com/
Kim Lajevardi http://kimlajevardi.com/
Louise - Fundy Blue http://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com/
Deniz Bevan http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/
PJ Colando https://pjcolandoblog.com/
J Lenni Dorner https://jlennidorner.blogspot.com/ Hey, that's me! 😎

Much love to our leader:
Alex J. Cavanaugh

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club group is reading this book in August/September. I've rarely seen my fellow Native Americans written well, so I'm somewhat curious about the book.

And don't forget that the IWSG Annual Anthology Contest closes today!
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions close on September 2, 2020

And if you have a query letter, check out Operation Awesome for #PassOrPages this month. Last one of 2020.
If you know a 2020 debut author, have them contact me. 10 interview spaces left this year!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Writer Archetype #IWSG

I came across a post about Writer Archetype on the IWSG blog. Having been behind on posting on my blog this summer, I thought it would make a good post.

(Sorry about ghosting. πŸ‘» Between deaths and near-deaths of people I know, and Snookums and I both being off from work for months on end, I've been AFK quite a bit more. Lots of outdoor adventures. Saved a life, prevented a forest fire, freaked out thinking my spouse had the Covid for two days (thankfully it wasn't that), and caught up with some family I normally only see in May. I wanted to post for WEP. I was working on a short story for the long-shadow prompt. It wasn't done in time. Maybe I'll turn it into a novella. We'll see. Hope you are all doing well.)

The first question of the Writer Archetype quiz stumped me. Who do I write for? This was what the elders agreed I am meant to do. But do I write for them? That doesn't feel true. I don't do it for money, that's for certain. Myself, my readers, my muse... I do love writing, so maybe I am doing it for myself. It feels great to have some readers who enjoy my work, but I don't think they're my main motivation. The characters might be my muse. One of them in the Existence series would certainly love that title. I guess that's the nearest to the truth.

I'm ashamed of myself for not being able to answer that I'm more prolific. It disappoints me to know that I don't write as often as I feel I should.

How detailed is my writing? To be honest, I'm not sure that I can be objective. I think I've infused a ton of detail into something, and then from reader feedback, discover that none of my clues came across. So maybe I don't use enough? On the other hand, I had to cut an entire scene from Fractions of Existence because it was weighed down with detail. I worked on that scene for three months with an editor, trying over and over, but no amount of verbs could solve the problem. I was trying to describe something that would stop the reader and make them question how this could exist, and then wonder why the character would do it. But trying to describe it at all took too many words. So there's a lot from the opening of the book that doesn't lock the reader into just how not human Xavier really is. The original was far less subtle.

Am I better at storytelling or research? I have no idea. I love them both. I would never want to be able to do only one.

Writer Archetype @JLenniDorner 50 percent teacher

A Teacher is a writer who, not surprisingly, writes to teach.  That feels true enough.

You are inundated by ideas - your own and other people's.  This makes sense, though it's really more my own ideas, not so much ones from others unless we count prompts. 

You are an outward-facing writer who would most likely not do your work if you didn't have readers.  This I'm not so sure about. 

You are great with starts, but struggle to finish.  You caught me.

If you're a Teacher, then you can stop trying to write highly personal essays that don't feel natural to you. That's not your strong suit.  I didn't think I did this, to be honest.

You are an idea person and sharing those ideas is where you blossom as a writer.  Okay. This explains why I volunteer at Operation Awesome and Blogging from A to Z. 

You need a system for capturing those ideas and sticking with one long enough to finish it. Try keeping an idea notebook and rewarding yourself for finishing one project by allowing yourself to explore another.  Just one notebook? My idea file has over three gigabytes!

There's an option to sign up for the Ninja Writers after taking the quiz. I'm not sure what they mean by the word "call," and I didn't see anything to click on to ask, so I didn't take the opportunity. Plus, it's on the weekends, which is when Snookums and I often have plans. It's unlikely that I'll spend $25 a month (or $250 a year) right now. I'm still kicking myself for the "The Writer's Treasure Chest Bundle" I bought from Scrivener Coach. It turned out to be one of those things that would have dazzled me five years ago, but now didn't give me nearly enough

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

#IWSG Genre Not of Choice


Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Yes. I entered the IWSG mystery anthology contest a few years back. My story didn't make it in. It has a mystery element, but it's not really as much of a mystery far as the genre goes. There is no detective. There is "magic." And there are missing children. (They aren't runaways and aren't hiding.) It's really more of an Urban Fantasy, even though I tried to make it be a mystery.

Anyway, that's why I put it on Smashwords with the option for people to pay whatever they'd like. (Including nothing.)

**Update - September 2020 - This post was scheduled. For whatever reason, it never actually posted. I didn't even notice until the September post rolled around. August really was THAT messed up. Sorry.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Internet Interactions of Interest 3

Internet Interactions of Interest @JLenniDorner

Nothing like a little murder to start the day. πŸ˜‰

Round Three of #PUSHunt called for something seen in the last image of this post:

Have you ever wondered how sex-trafficking happens, how children could become prostitutes, or why so many runaways end up on drugs and doing sex work? There's a lot to learn on this post.

Twitter accounts of those mentioned above (when possible) --


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Centralia PA Fire in the Metaphor for Native Americans

Straub's cartoon (chainsawsuit.com/comic/2014/12/08/all-things-considered/) echoes this point:

"If a house is burning down, you're obviously going to focus on putting out the fire instead of watering a house that's just fine. In this analogy, black lives are the burning house, and everyone else is living much more comfortably in the house that isn't burning down. Clearly, one is a bigger problem."


πŸ€” Everyone else?




I have no desire to start an argument.
I DO agree that Black Lives Matter.
And that house in the metaphor is definitely on fire right now and deserves help.

But I can't pretend that the neighborhood down the block with the Native Americans (let's call it Centralia), hasn't been on fire for 400 years.
We ask for fire trucks. They send gasoline tankers to spray more fuel. πŸ”₯
But I am not going to say "all houses matter," because that doesn't help either.
(There's almost no interest in putting out the Centralia fire.)

Maybe the Black Lives Matter movement will change things for other non-Caucasions.
That isn't the reason I support the movement.
But it'd be a nice side effect. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

#WEP #WEPFF Urban Nightmare #FlashFiction #Covid19 #PUSHunt Round 3


Hi! Please enjoy this flash fiction, which is fictional, meaning it is pretend and not real, just a story from the imagination. No real humans were harmed, or will be harmed, as a result, nor does this story aim to imply readers should take any action similar to that taken in this fictional story. (Even if you really, really, really want to.)

Fangs to Mars

Group Message:

Final three minutes. Everyone in place to reveal and demand, or to end if necessary?

Verifying replies streamed in.

Jordan sent a thumbs up, then shoved the phone away. "Sir, if you plan to issue a presidential pardon, we should act now."

Jordan's boss turned the volume up on the screen. "This execution is just peachy in my book. Get it? That's what I told my K man."

It took all the willpower in the world for Jordan not to end the life of this boss. Though, if no one interfered soon, killing him tonight was a possibility. The clock ticked away. Needles plunged down. Jordan's boss prematurely celebrated the inmate's death.

On the screen, the doctor leaned over, listening with a stethoscope. Jordan took a deep breath while silent rehearsing a final time. The inmate broke the restraints, sat up, and took the stethoscope.

"Refreshing, but not deadly. I haven't killed anyone in centuries. Doc, I suggest you move, as they're about to waste bullets." The prisoner eased off the table, pulling the iv's free as bullets rained down.

Jordan clapped. "Well done. As you can see, immortality is possible. You often refer to our kind as vampires. That's not entirely correct, but it's closer to the truth than most of your dribble."

"Excuse me?" Jordan's boss paled, resembling a melted orange cream pop.

Fangs extended from Jordan's mouth. "Our kind has lived alongside yours since the beginning. We have not revealed ourselves until now for two reasons. One, you have presented too much of a threat to our favorite food source. Covid-19 must be stopped, and we can do that. Which brings me to point two, we are going to colonize Mars."

Jordan's boss blinked several times before opening his eyes wide, no doubt ready to start a rant. Jordan, and much of the world, had seen that enough times.

"You can decline this generous offer." With one hand, Jordan pressed the boss's lips closed. "Just let me check my group message. Ah! The third-in-command has agreed already. You're no longer needed. Care for a forgotten last word?"

"Why come here? You know I don't negotiate with terrorists!"

Jordan laughed. "I have a gun and look like this. My odds of you negotiating were much higher than you claim. Maybe if I had a sign and were peacefully protesting, then you'd ignore me and say I am a terrorist. My kind has been plotting to end you for some time now. Tonight just sped up the date. You're welcome, world."

Group Message:

One is ended. Remove two. Proceed with three.

Annita replied that she received the message.

"Congratulations, Madam Speaker, you will be sworn in as the new leader within hours. Now, as I was saying, your country currently leads the world in Covid-19. We will start curing here. It's likely to cure other ailments as well."

"We will need to test it, to verify."

"Yes, of course. Now then, the trade-off for ending your urban nightmare because, let's be honest, the larger cities are being hit the hardest. We will require regular donations of A-negative blood. The prisoner who just survived gives you a plausible reason to tell people our kind exists. Or you can say it's used for the cure, which is also true. Say it's used as fuel to get to Mars if you want, we don't care. As long as our numbers are met."

"If they aren't met?"

"We are offering to save the lives of your species. Our cure ends this virus. It's just a matter of getting A-negative volunteers to become our food source. Their blood will keep us fed on the long journey to other worlds. Donated blood is only useful to humans for forty-two days, then the nitric oxide is too low for you. We're only asking for A-negative that's thirty days old. It's nearly expired anyway."

Annita's boss nodded. "Type O blood is more common. It would be easier to meet your needs."

"No." Annita slammed her fist on the desk, breaking the solid wood as easily as an eggshell. "Type A blood carriers are generally kind and compassionate. You'll see, they'll put the lives of others before their desire not to donate occasionally. And you'll compensate them. You want to have this deal in place within hours of taking office."

Annita had toed the line about the reason for the blood preference. The true reason was to prevent racist leaders from forcing people to donate. Unlike other types, the majority of people with A-negative blood were Caucasians. The last time Annita and her kind made a deal with human leaders, slavery happened. They had been trying to eradicate that ever since. An unending war spanning millenniums. Though, knowing who Jordan killed tonight, Annita felt that a battle to save many was about to be won.

"Sending you to Mars will take longer, you realize. Even if I'm sworn in tomorrow, as you say I will be, the space program will need a much higher budget."

Annita waved her hand. "We have a plan. We even have our kind training as astronauts. Don't worry, it's as simple as agreeing when we ask, and knowing that we do have your best interests in mind. We could have let Covid-19 end all of you."

"Yes. You mentioned our Armageddon. But not how you know, exactly."

"Madam, your kind based vampire lore around us. It's not entirely accurate. We don't mind the title though. We're also where psychics come from, though in our case, it's perfectly accurate. I can show you the end of your country, if you like. We've avoided it already, but I still have the memory." Annita reached to touch her boss's head.

The door burst open. "Madam Secretary, please come with us. We need to swear you in."

Annita smiled, moving her hand to her boss's shoulder instead and giving a reassuring squeeze. "Best of luck."


FCA: 990 words


HINT for Round Three:
There is a type of challenge mentioned at this address: https://buff.ly/3dawWQ2
"Here's my ___ of books."

On THIS post, comment if you've done ROUND TWO.
Round Four will be on uniquelymaladjustedbutfun next week.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Dude, Cat, and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

I have never watched Tiger King. The phrase, "Hey all you crazy cats and kittens," I know from a DJ in the 80s. "Dude," I heard in the 90s as a reference to everyone. Also as an expression of extreme emotion. (An intense thing would happen, someone would say, "Duuuudddeeeeee." And others would nod in agreement. It was the equivalent of 'wow.')

Offline, I have never been accidentally misgendered. (Though I cannot explain gym teachers who believe all students are female. I had detention more than once for inquiring about that.) Online, several people have misgendered me, or changed my name to a feminine sounding one. I always ask how the conclusion was drawn, seeking to learn what is so vastly different about my offline /online person. (Other than my physical appearance.)

Today I watched a YouTube video. IllWillPress is often adult, and frequently straight to the point. This time there was a small side-step in the video to get to the intrigue.

I have used the word dude in my writing.

As you can see, one character likes the word more than the other does. (Fractions of Existence is set mostly in 2005.)

What does that word mean and is it gender-neutral?

The Internet seems torn on the issue. bustle.com/p/7-gender-neutral-terms-we-should-all-be-using-9565996 This article didn't clear it up, but was interesting.

Is dude gender-neutral now? Would cats be a better term? Is there another one-syllable word gaining popularity? What are your thoughts?

It's Pride month, and to honor that we should all make an effort to be better to each other.