Wednesday, December 2, 2020

#IWSG Productive Writing Months

ISWG

Shout-out to the awesome co-hosts for today: Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!



December 2 question - Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?


Yes!

J Lenni Dorner winner nanowrimo 2020

November is my most productive writing month, thanks to NaNoWriMo
April is my most productive blog-writing month, thanks to the A to Z Challenge. 

J Lenni Dorner Nano badges 2020

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/j-lenni-dorner Wordcount

I've written almost half a million words during NaNoWriMo. (Don't look too closely at how many I've chucked out, especially from Proof of Existence. The third book is easy, the second book is freaking difficult! Arggh.) 

Do you take part in either of those?




Are you in the IWSG book club on Goodreads? I'm honored to have written the writing craft book that's being read for Dec/Jan/Feb.

#IWSG #bookclub on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/214387-the-insecure-writer-s-support-group-book-club




Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters on Smashwords

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

If You Love Books Check Out the New Adult Scavenger Hunt #NewASH #ebook #love #giveaway Nov 25- 29

 

#NewAsh New Adult Scavenger Hunt for books

Greetings! I'm J, the host of this location on your scavenger hunt for books. I hope you'll visit all the stops (especially Kelsey Ketch, where you'll learn more about me and my book), and that you'll enter the GIVEAWAY on this post. Be fast, because this only lasts from November 25-29. Now, on to a bit of business:

Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors and a chance to win some awesome prizes! During this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one Kindle book from each author! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.


***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***


Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my lucky book number. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by November 29th, at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


LET THE HUNT BEGIN!

Please welcome: Elle Beaumont

#NewASH Elle Beaumont

Elle was born and raised in Southeastern, Massachusetts in a little farm town by the harbor. She grew up fascinated with all things whimsical and a strong love for animals. As she grew so did her passion for reading and writing. Although she prefers devouring all genres she largely enjoys dark fantasy.



Something in the Shadows: A Halloween Anthology


You’ve heard their folktales–saw the carnage they left behind–those creatures, the things lurking deep in the shadows, watching and waiting until the right moment to ensnare its prey. Four authors dared to tell their stories in this unique collection of wonderfully haunting and frightful thrillers, and even dark romance. Inside, you'll discover tales of vampires, demons, and humans encountering spirits in these short stories that are sure to keep you up at night! For fans of Moon Called, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries.



https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F4JV4HF

[EXCLUSIVE CONTENT]

Die From A Broken Heart Something in the Shadows Anthology Elle Beaumont Sneak Peek Exclusive -- REMOVED AFTER HUNT ENDED


14

A roll of the dice shows my lucky number to be 14.


GIVEAWAY

~***********~

a Rafflecopter giveaway


***CONTINUE THE HUNT***


Add up all the lucky numbers of the authors and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize! To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Raven C. Eckman at https://anewlookonbooks.com!

GOOD LUCK!!

If You Love Books Check Out the New Adult Scavenger Hunt #NewASH #ebook #love #giveaway Nov 25- 29 2020




Friday, November 20, 2020

2020 #NewASH team New Adult Scavenger Hunt #win #ebooks

2020 #NewASH team  New Adult Scavenger Hunt


Get ready to be excited! The 2020 New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins soon. You can win 9 amazing e-books to add to your Kindle library!

Here is the 2020 #NewASH team:

2020 #NewASH team  New Adult Scavenger Hunt #win #books


The New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins at Noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 25th and runs through Sunday, November 29th. For more information, visit newadultscavengerhunt.com.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

#IWSG Why I Write Speculative Fiction

ISWG

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write.

Why do you write what you write?



I write to honor the ancestors. I was told that this is what the purpose of my soul is in this life, to share our stories in a new way. 

But sometimes I also write just for fun or to hone the craft. 

I like the Speculative Fiction umbrella because gives me a good amount of room to write all the types of stories that interest me.

Speculative Fiction diagram


It doesn't list myths and legends on that diagram directly, but it's in there. (πŸ€” Fictional stories about characters that are probably fictional, or at least that can't be proven to be non-fictional.) 

I'm working on Book Two in my Existence series right now as part of NaNoWriMo. I might have to work on Book Three as well, since I already have a bunch of chapters done. We'll see.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? https://nanowrimo.org/participants/j-lenni-dorner Buddies welcome!

If you haven't yet read about the latest Twitter scam aimed at writers, of which I was targeted, be sure to check out this article: https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-cautionary-tale.html

Friday, October 23, 2020

Grave Mistake #WEP #FlashFiction #2020 #TimeTravel




2020 Twice


Pink neon lights buzz nearby as I regain consciousness. The smell of sweat and french fries assures me that this is not the sterile lab we were in moments ago. 

"Dan?"

I sit up and call to my partner again. Finally, I hear a grunt.

"That hurt more than expected," he says.

"But we made it, didn't we? This is the eighties?" 

Dan helps me to my feet. "Yeah. This decor is distinctive. We've escaped."

I look around the room, admiring the pictures. A door clicks behind me.

"Dan?"

He's gone. I run out after him. 

There are people everywhere. No one in a mask. A few wearing leather jackets and only one glove. Hair defying gravity everywhere I turn. People are looking at each other, looking at me. No one is staring at a handheld screen. A man walks by me, music blasting from a large silver box he's hauling on his shoulder. No earbuds. A few people dance as he goes by, sharing in the joy of the song. Some roll their eyes at him. I'm so caught up in this music man that I almost don't spot Dan in a cafe.

"Amazon, Google, Netflix..."

"What are you doing?" I hiss as I grab his arm. The woman at the cafe table stares at me.

Dan smiles. "Fran, this is Ingrid. Ingrid, Fran. I'm telling Fran what stocks are going to exist in the next two decades so she can invest wisely."

Dan points to the newspaper Fran has laid out before her. She'd been looking at the stock exchange. 

"Is he making it up?" she asks me.

I fake a laugh as I pull Dan away from her. 

"What were you thinking? We can't tell people about the future! The timeline would change. We'd never be able to get back."

Dan grabs my shoulders. "I know. We aren't going back. When we don't show up, they'll think it failed. We can live out our days here, in this time. I've only got ten months left at most. And it's not like better cancer treatments exist now than in the time we came from, right?"

"That doesn't explain why you were giving out stock tips."

Dan smiles that devious smile of his, the one that talked me into this experiment. "I figured it out. Two-hundred thirty-seven changes need to be made for 2020 to not happen, to not go down as it did. Fran is one. She'll invest early in five major companies. Her daughter will inherit those. That will keep her from going through something that causes her to run for office. I have a whole chart, plotted it out. Just knock down the dominoes and what happened in 2020 will never come to pass."

~~~~~~~~~~

Dan lived long enough to see the first one hundred eighty-seven changes. We made so many ripples in the pond of time. I watched in shock as President Dukakis lost to Bush. Operation Desert Shield became Desert Storm. Every day I found one more change to the world I remembered. I believed Dan was on to something, so I carried on with his work. 

We shouldn't have meddled. It was a grave mistake. The Amery Ice Shelf broke. That's when I knew the timeline was reverting. Covid still happened. The murder hornets were born, though did less damage this time, so far. The US Presidential debate disaster was different from the one I knew, but one candidate was a different person. In many ways, this new 2020 was worse than the one from which Dan and I escaped. 

"I have to go. I need to be somewhere by October 31."

My nurse shakes her head. "Yeah, yeah. Gots trick-or-treatin' to do, aye? Think you be a child, gonna get candy? What costume you gonna wear?"

"I don't have dementia. I'm a time traveler. I get things mixed up occasionally because I remember two different timelines. It's not easy!" I can't believe I've been remanded to this place by the state. "I have to get to my lab. If I could just make a phone call."

"Oh aye, fate of the world depends on you makin' calls, does it? Now look, you've soiled yer'self again. Great time-travelin' scientist, can't even master usin' a toilet on time."

Behind her mask, she coughs. I've watched her out the window. As soon as she leaves work, the mask comes off. Probably infected. I have only days to get to my lab to save the world. First, I need to break out. Actually, first, I need a clean pair of pants. 


764 words FCA




Want some real horror from a grave mistake? Stop by Operation Awesome for a true cautionary tale for writers. I took the chance so you don't have to.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

#IWSG Working Writer

ISWG

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?





It looks like there's a book about this subject, but it seems to be out of print and not in ebook form. 

There's a website article about it.
"The best piece of advice I can give you is to train your brain to think about whatever your day job is as being in service to your writing career. ...
I will always be a writer.
Everything else is just part of the portfolio."

While researching what "working writer" means, I found one way some people define it is having landed an agent and getting advances for their books. So here's a brief "commercial break" :




That's going on right now, so if you know a YA writer looking for an agent, please send them over!

Back to the question.

I'm guessing that a working writer is a writer who no longer needs a second source of income to support their survival. And many people, especially Americans, have a standard living goal of over 50k a year.


50,000! That's the word-count goal in traditional NaNoWriMo. (← click if looking to buddy πŸ‘₯)

Is $50,000 enough per year in America to live? It's considered the door to middle-class in many areas.
Universal Basic Income might come into play in figuring out how much a person should need a year.
(We don't have that in America. But who knows what 2021 will bring. πŸ€”)
One plan suggests $2000 a month (for households making under 100k/yr). That's 24k a year. So if that existed, and writing generated the other 26k a year, there you go.
Biden has been quoted saying, "Getting an annual wage, you sit home and do nothing. You strip people of their dignity."
Trump's plans use income tax cuts instead, which results in more savings for the rich than poor, and nothing for those without an income.
Richard Nixon almost introduced UBI in 1969.
In 1797, Thomas Paine suggested something very similar to UBI.
There's a debate as to if UBI is mentioned in the Bible, and if it is pro or con.

I've forgotten the question.

I only have four books for sale right now. The two reference books are less than a dollar and the short story allows people to set their own price. Which leaves my speculative fiction book. 

Lumber Of The Kuweakunks on Smashwords

You can conclude that I am not presently making 50k from this blip in the publishing world.
Or even $2000 a month from it.
So no, in answer to the question, I cannot call myself a working writer. 
Then again, my day job does not presently exist (thanks, Covid). 🍞 Snookums is the breadwinner, and even that income stream is more creek than mighty Mississippi. But we're doing okay. I've actually lived on less than this in my life.

Does that mean I'm calling myself a hobbyist?
No.
One day I might make far more. 
I do believe I'm going to need to publish more than four books for that to happen. 
I'll also need to work harder at promoting. 

(The Operation Awesome Team and I are working on a story about a certain book promotion opportunity right now. Is it worth it? Is it a scam? Find out in the coming weeks! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THAT!!!)


How much per month do you feel someone would need to earn to call themselves a "working writer"? 

Do you feel it's better to earn income to support one's writing, or to use writing income to support one's life?



Regular followers might know that I spent the weekend doing the last ever Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (#YASH). Guess what? I WON the purple round! Okay, good news shared. I hope you'll have some good news to share too.



I have half a dozen book reviews to write this month, so please drop by to check those out. Also, #WEP October Challenge for 2020 - GRAVE MISTAKE - on the 21st.

Follow

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

#IWSG Beta Partner Author

ISWG

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
http://alexjcavanaugh.com/
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

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

ISWG


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


http://murderousimaginings.blogspot.com/2020/06/wep-urban-nightmare.html
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:
http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/2020/06/write-edit-publish-bloghopiwsg-hop.html

https://www.freedomandhope.de/her-urban-nightmare-wep-challenge-june-2020f81f36fc
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) --

@YolandaRenee

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."

https://roadtrippers.com/magazine/centralia-graffiti-highway-pennsylvania/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia,_Pennsylvania

πŸ€” Everyone else?

https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/06/22/montana-native-american-police-brutality-george-floyd-protest-lives-matter/5334187002/

https://www.invw.org/2019/12/20/how-can-police-minimize-racial-profiling-of-native-americans-others/

https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/10/us/native-lives-matter/index.html

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


https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/06/wep-june-challenge-urban-nightmare-sign.html


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."




ourworldindata.org/covid-cases


FCA: 990 words




#PUSHunt


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.
πŸ€”


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.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Internet Interactions of Interest 2

Intriguing stuff from around the Internet I've encountered lately:

It'd be crazy to start off with a link to something I wrote, right? So I'm gonna do that.
operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2020/06/authors-and-videos-of-support.html #BlackLivesMatter If you're looking for a few debut authors of color to read and support, there you go.

My ego isn't going back in the box. So here's a link to a blog post where I'm mentioned!
cleemckenziebooks.com/a-summer-1st-wednesday-2020/


Here's an excerpt I enjoyed. 
"What keeps me interested in reading other people’s blogs?
Well, for me, I like reality. I like people who are being real and honest. They admit when they have a bad day. They celebrate the good days." - https://jrvincente.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/thinky-thoughts/



That was awesome. I can't explain it, but the humor got me.

It's great around 2:15 when the cats win.




dlhammons.com/ WriteClub is in the Cage Bout rounds!


Twitter of some of those listed above:
@OpAwesome6,@cleemckenzie, @JRVincente, @nivixious @JosephJMiccolis, @DL_H

Thursday, June 4, 2020

PUSH - Prompts Unity Scavenger Hunt #PUSHunt - For Creative People Who Like to Play

We want to play PUSH.

PUSH - Prompts Unity Scavenger Hunt #PUSHunt for creative people who like to play


https://uniquelymaladjustedbutfun.blogspot.com/p/we-want-to-play-game-of-push.html


This blog post is for people who have signed up! 

No clue what I mean? Click the link above!


How often do you want prompts? Daily? Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Twice a week? Once a week? (The co-hosts will consider the votes when determining how often new rounds will begin.) State that you have signed up on the form and are ready to play. Then state your name, whatever one you used on the form.



  • How many rounds you want per week & any preferred days.
  • I have signed up on the form and am ready to play.
  • The name you used on the form.
Don't forget to finish filling out the form! 

ROUND ONE:
Your first hint is the favorite color found at this link = https://www.instagram.com/p/CAMDCd_gOfS/

Remember, you won't verify that you've used the Scavenger Hunt hint on this post. 
Jamie will have Round Two on her blog on Monday, June 8, 2020. 
(Depending on when you read this, you've got several days to come up with something!)

Hints will not always be colors, nor will they always be this easy. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Writer Secrets #IWSG

ISWG

June 3 question - Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?




I doubt that anyone reading my books would know that I learned weaving at an early age. Granted, the image above doesn't look that impressive. But I did this with some very crappy string and used corn husks for the letters. Have you ever tried to weave with corn husks? It'd look better if I had some yarn or something to hold it all in place. But I worked with what I found.

Readers may or may not know that I was actually born in the Virginville area of Pennsylvania. That's a roadsign for the exit because some of you think I made the place name up. "Come on, J! Next you'll tell me that Virginville is near Intercourse."

Pennsylvania Amish Country has some interesting names for places

I certainly wouldn't want you to think that all the names of places in this area sound like innuendos... πŸ˜†

I was born in a very hot month, so it probably was August. My birth parents aren't so great with calendars. And now that you've all been living the quarantine life and don't know what day it is, maybe that finally doesn't sound so weird. (Normally people look at me like 🀨 this. "How would anyone NOT know what day it is?") The birthday written on an official form (years later) was just that day's date and the year was an educated guess.

*Update- It has since been proven that many of the violent forms of protest were started by white supremacist groups and people paid to make the peaceful protestors look unsympathetic. So it's even more messed up.


How did May treat you? Did you manage to avoid getting the virus? Have you, like me, lost anyone to Covid-19? Are there any innuendo place names in your area? Do any campaigning against violence and systemic racism?

Saturday, May 30, 2020

#BookReview Van Helsing Academy by @StaceyONeale #SFF #Vampires #Shifters #Witches #YA

Review of:
Van Helsing Academy (YA Supernatural Rehab Book 1) by Stacey O'Neale

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

It's so nice to take a break from the world and enjoy a good book. Of course, the world has been pushing back - HARD- so it took me longer than usual to get to finish reading this book, and then my attempts to write the review were delayed by over a week. πŸ˜– 2020 man... I've known actual bears who were nicer.
emoji humor
Okay. Now that I've had a good laugh, on with the review!


This book was fun to read. I was a little confused at first as to what the Van Helsing Academy was, but I'm pretty sure it's like a juvenile detention facility for vampires, shifters, witches, and the occasional human teenager who works as a Protector of the Covenant (or Reaper). I'm not positive of the exact ages of those serving there, but it seems to be teenagers or teen-equivalent. A pleasant educational experience instead of more traditional punishment. That might seem lenient until you find out that most of the students there are innocent. (It's a place one is "sentenced to" rather than a place you "apply for the opportunity to attend." Though, 20% in, the main character states that the place is not a prison, so that point has been driven home.)

I would recommend this book who enjoy Young Adult speculative fiction/ urban fantasy with a bit of mystery and a touch of paranormal romance. I enjoy reading these types of books, especially as I am a speculative fiction author. The Oglala Lakota tribe is mentioned in the story in a fairly positive light, and I appreciate that.

The main character has her ankles shackled and hands cuffed behind her back, a practice outlawed in some real-world areas, which showed me how harshly they treat even juvenile offenders prior to a hearing.

One of my favorite parts in the book reminds me of a scene in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. (The roommate jokingly asks if the MC has killed anyone today. The MC says she hasn't but that there's still time. In the 10 Things movie, the dad asks if Kat made anyone cry today, and Kat responds that she hasn't but it's only 4:30.)


At 74% in, I honestly thought someone else would turn out to be the villain, based mostly on who mentions the use of wall chains the most, but I was wrong. I kept turning the pages because there are two mysteries at play- the one that's obvious from the start and one that comes out later. (I'm excited for book two because of that second mystery.)

I love how the book included a discussion of the different types of attraction. The book has a really great cover that certainly matches the story. The title obviously works well. Some nudity and intimacy is woven into the book, but it's on par with other YA novels. I didn't find any editing mishaps.

Not judging others without getting to know them feels like the theme of this book. I imagine Kiera was the most fun character for the author. The order of everything in the story makes sense, and each scene had a good cause and effect to roll to the next. I could relate to being punished when I hadn't broken a rule. The setting sounds like such a beautiful place, which is such a contrast to real-life juvenile rehabilitation detention centers, it really cemented how different the academy is meant to be.


Characters who love pink = Van Helsing Academy by @StaceyONeale and Fractions of Existence by @JLenniDorner * Pepto Bismol

The character Kiera reminded me of my spouse, based on the enthusiasm for helping a relationship bloom; but also reminded me of my Existence character Jez thanks to a mutual love of pink decor. The descriptions of Sacha remind me of my descriptions of my Existence character Heath. (Our books don't have much in common beyond supernatural characters. Yet somehow, it reminds me of my fictional people! This is part of why I loved the book so much.)

It holds a mirror up to society in that there are real-life people who have been punished for crimes they didn't commit, for wrongs that aren't really their fault. I bet this flame will be fanned in the second book, and I'm looking forward to that.

I've been on Stacey's Squad for several years, and love that her newsletter comes to me on Goodreads. That is how I received a free copy to read and review honestly.

Book Two is coming August 25! It's on my Amazon Wishlist.