Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zero Lies #atozchallenge

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Thursdays this month are going to be about me. If you use Facebook, you've probably seen survey posts where people get to know each other. I'm going to fill out one a week for April.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z

This one is called Zero Lies.

1. Have you had a zero-calorie soda? I don't think so 🀷
2. Last time you went to the zoo? It's been a few years
3. What would you do if you had a zillion dollars? That's not a real amount, but I'd really mess things up for those who oppress people, and almost certainly would get assassinated for my world-changes. Worth it.
4. Favorite zesty food? I am not a good cook, especially indoors. But here are two zesty recipes that Snookums (a chef) said sounded fine.

  • Zesty Duck - Duck, lemon, orange, thyme. Zest fruit and add thyme, slide mix under duck skin. Put more on skin. Marinate in fridge overnight. bring to room temperature before grilling for about ten minutes. (Duck is red meat, especially for cooking purposes, so medium to medium-well is done.)
  • Zesty Peaches and Cream Tart - Thinly slice peaches. Add zest and juice of a lime and 2 spoonfuls of sugar. Cover and chill for up to two hours. Heat oven 400℉. Create an 11x9 inch puff pastry, score the edge, poke holes, put on a baking sheet. Brush with some heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar. Bake until puffy and brown (15 mins). Beat 3oz of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of sugar together. Add ½ cup heavy cream and beat until thickened. Spread on puff tart. Top with the peaches and a little more lime zest.

5. Zero pineapple on pizza or lots of it? πŸπŸ• Bring on the pineapple pizza.
6. Have you ever pretend a zucchini was a phallus? 😳 Well, it'd make more sense than an eggplant. πŸ†
7. How would you handle a zombie apocalypse? I'd move back into the woods and survive just fine. #DarylDixon
8. Did you ever get a zero on a test? Yes. The teacher hated me. I knew all the answers, as was later proven, but was being given zeroes as punishments for alleged infractions.
9. Do you know anyone who has been zapped by lightning? Yes.
10. For Ziplock-type plastic sandwich bags, do you prefer a slider, two-colors mix, clear press-n-seal, or fold over? I don't care. Slider, I guess.

*Note: Never answer questions that lead to your password or SECURITY QUESTIONS.

And that's it! Another year of the challenge is complete. Thanks for hopping to my blog. Now... what should I do for May?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

May Read-a-thons #MyBookPledge #BoutOfBooks

May 4 to 10, 2020 #readathon #MyBookPledge

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

A Year Of Author Blogging #atozchallenge #bookreview

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Wednesdays' posts are book reviews.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y

A Year Of Author Blogging: How To Write Engaging Blog Posts That Win You Readers And Boost Book Sales by Sophie Wainwright 

This book, which is from 2015, suggests many topics for creating blog posts. Unfortunately, if you're an author who has been blogging for years (like me), you've probably done all the ones that interest you. I came up with three posts ideas from this book, two that I'm not sure I like.

One idea was a Blogaround. In my online travels, I've visited thousands of blogs, and never once came across this term. ( Google sent me to this blog, where I found it in use!) Unlike a blog hop, where bloggers connect with each other by visiting one another blog, this is just a simple post on your own blog highlighting your current favorite blogs or posts from others. That's something I could get into. In fact, I like the idea so much that I'm giving the book FOUR stars instead of three- an entire star just for this idea.

Blogaround blog post idea - A Year Of Author Blogging: How To Write Engaging Blog Posts That Win You Readers And Boost Book Sales

While I did find other books by Sophie Wainwright for sale, this one seems to be out of print now. I picked it up on Amazon years ago. I do enjoy reference books like this. Anything to spice up a weekly pastime of mine is always welcome!

Another suggestion of the book was to check my site metrics for the keywords used to find my blog this month. The book does not give instructions on how to do this. Google was not especially helpful, either. I spent four times as many minutes figuring this out as I did reading the book. (The answer, in my case, was that no one used a keyword to find my blog this month.) It was fun to look at my other stats for April though.

April 2020 Pageviews @Jlennidorner

April 2020 post stats @jlennidorner

The title makes sense. (Though, having done almost everything listed in this book on my previous version of this blog, I can't say that it does much for book sales.) The cover looks like a 2015 cover normally would.

A Year Of Author Blogging: How To Write Engaging Blog Posts That Win You Readers And Boost Book Sales (Kindle Edition) by Sophie Wainwright

The book suggests writing a blog post on HOW to write a good book review. Not only did I do this, but I made an entire month of posts on the topic, and then compiled it into a book which is for sale. So, as far as a tip on blog post ideas, I'd say that's a fairly good one.

Honestly, I've been to hundreds of blogs of authors, and pretty much everyone is using most of the ideas in A Year Of Author Blogging. So, if you can't get a copy of this book, you could always follow a bunch of author blogs and make posts based on what they're doing that you enjoy. Give those bloggers a shoutout!

I have no relationship with Sophie Wainwright. In fact, I went five-pages deep on a Google search for her-- no blog, no social media, not even a Goodreads profile as far as I can tell.

I saved this book for my Y post hoping it would at least get me through May's posts. If I were new to blogging, it would have; but unless I want to repeat things I've already done, I'm afraid there's not much here to use.

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The stats made me want to learn more about Hong Kong. Can you recommend some fun fiction from there or set there?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

X-story #atozchallenge #flashfiction #speculativefiction #specfic

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Tuesdays' posts are on Speculative Fiction.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter X


xylocarphard and woody fruit
xerophthalmia dryness and soreness of the eyes
xenomenia  menstruation from abnormal orifices
xystus covered walkway for exercises
xeme fork-tailed gull
xylopyrography engraving designs on wood with hot poker

My xylocarp crop came in too well last year. "It's just like a coconut, right?" πŸ₯₯ That's what people asked before buying.
It wasn't. The look was much the same, and the textures were on par, but the taste was a little sweeter. The scent was more floral than powdery.
But it was the mind control that made it special. Anyone who ate my xylocarps became hypnotized by my voice. Just a few advertisements and I had my own army. The only indication they were under my spell was some xerophthalmia, and an occasional bout of xenomenia. Honestly, what's the big deal about a few bloody fingernails?
"Prisoner 23719564. Let's go."
I should be ruling these people. I'm smarter! I could have ended world hunger. I would have ended the wars and power struggles. That's easy since I would be the only leader. And they were all obedient! As long as they ate one of my xylocarps a month. The plan was perfect. Well, almost.
I step onto the xystus and have my chains removed. Fifteen minutes a day of fresh air and sunshine on this small, covered walkway. There's a xeme flying overhead. If not for those meddling birds, I'd be the ruler of the world right now! They destroyed my crops. Once the scientists started wondering why the birds were attacking everyone's new favorite food, well, my plan came to light.
I examine the xylopyrography work near the door to the xystus. It shows a xeme flying over raised hands. The birds are the ones getting all the thanks and adoration. I was trying to save the world! For that, I'm jailed forever.


(Author's note: This was not the original story planned for today. The one I wrote before had a disease in it. Frankly, we have enough of that in real life. Hopefully, this substitution is adequate for your enjoyment.)

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How do you feel about flash fiction challenges?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Monday, April 27, 2020

W Questions for Characters #AtoZChallenge

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Mondays' posts are on Characters or Settings.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W

W Questions for Characters

Here are some questions to use when creating a character:

What are my strengths?
What are my short-term goals?
What are my long-term goals?
What is my proudest accomplishment?
What is my biggest failure?

Who matters most to me?
Who are my support people?
Of what am I ashamed?
What am I worried about?
Where do I feel the safest?
What or who gives me comfort?
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ___________
What does my inner critic tell me?
What do I do to show myself self-compassion and self-care?
Am I an introvert or an extrovert? Am I energized being around others or being by myself? What proves this in the story?

What do I like to do for fun?
What new activities am I interested in or willing to try?
What do I like about my job? What do I dislike?
What is my biggest passion?
What is my happiest memory?
What do my dreams tell me?

What are my values? What do I believe in? (consider politics, religion, social issues)
If I could have one wish, it would be ___________
Am I a night owl or an early bird, and in what ways can I arrange my life to better suit this part of my nature?

What is my favorite:

  • Book? 
  • Movie? 
  • Band? 
  • Food? 
  • Color? 
  • Animal?

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How much time do you spend on character creation?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Voyage of Columbus #AtoZChallenge #NativeAmerican

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Saturdays' posts are Native American (or Lenni Lenape) interests.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter V

Voyage of Columbus

This post isn't about my tribe. The Lenni Lenape, when they're remembered, generally get called the Delaware (as if being the property of Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr is a choice) and are known as the ones who traded Manhattan and had Pennsylvania land ripped off in the famous cheat of the "Walking Purchase."

But that's still better than the raw deal the TaΓ­no people got, which is to be almost entirely forgotten. So here are some links to educate yourself, and a pin in case you are in too much of a rush to learn today.

In 1492
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

The TaΓ­no people he did accrue.
Don't you think it's time you knew?

What tribe did Columbus encounter when he reached the Americas?

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Did you know the name of the tribe before today?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Friday, April 24, 2020

Under the Trees #atozchallenge #story

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Fridays are a story told in parts. This story fluctuates between modern times and centuries ago.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter U


The lieutenant governor leaned against the fence that marked the dividing line between civilization and the territory of the Kuweakunks. Jonathan stood beside him, a bandage covering the lump on his head and a cane helping his balance.
"Look at them. Lazy!" The lieutenant governor gnawed on a raw carrot. "Just lounging about under the trees. Have you ever seen one of them put in a day of work?"
"No, Sir," Jonathan held up a paper. "This one also needs your signature."
"Talk, talk, talk. What could they possibly have to say? You have heard them speak. Barely manage to string together a sentence."
Jonathan motioned with the paper. "A most ineloquent vocabulary. No command of our language whatsoever. If this could be signed, I can have the noon rider take it to the docks."
"Yes, yes! The docks. She will be here soon. Arriving on our first ship." The lieutenant governor spit bits of carrot as he spoke. "The King himself sanctioned our marriage. Did you know that? Sending her along with a proper priest to be sure it is all in order." He rubbed his stomach. "I am certainly good enough for her now. What say you, Jonathan?"
"There can be no question." He tried again to get the paper in his hand noticed. "More than good enough by now. Your rank and station are above her father."
The lieutenant governor let out a robust laugh. His fat mitt clapped Jonathan on the back, causing him to drop his cane. "It will stay that way. My next shipment will elevate my name. High value, Jonathan, high value indeed."


The former sheriff relied heavily on his cane as he approached. "I heard a child went missing from the school again."
"We have the situation handled, Mr. Long. You did not need to have someone bring you down here." The current sheriff said through gritted teeth.
"That so? Did you even glance at the old case file?" He pulled it from his sweater. The smell of his vintage orange and cinnamon musk wafted off the folder. Clorinda stormed over, demanding to know why the retired sheriff was at the scene.
"Mr. Long wants me to examine a thirty-year-old case." The sheriff grinned and turned away, leaving the old man to the rhinoceros. He watched a tree full of birds empty. The winged creatures fled the shouts. Lilia Turner, on the other hand, ran toward the noise.
"Is there word about my boy?" Her face was covered in tears.
"No, ma’am. You should sit and have some water. I’ve seen ships come in from hurricanes that looked in better shape."
Lilia waved the sheriff off. She moved closer to the argument.
"And where was the child thirty years ago? You do at least know that, don’t you? So we can look there. I daresay you didn’t come down just to waste time and be in the way."
The former sheriff shook his head. "Lilia Lion. I always loved how your name rolls off the tongue." He extended his hand.
"It’s Turner now. Has been for a long time." She shook the man’s hand.
"Ahh, but it was Lion." He pointed to the folder Clorinda had snatched away.
The two women were wide-eyed as they flipped it open.
"You were a missing person?" Clorinda rubbed Lilia’s arm. "I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Was it," she bit her lip, "was it very terrible?" Tears spilled out.
Lilia rubbed the bridge of her nose. "No. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t remember any of this." She gagged and choked as Clorinda’s hands tightened around her neck, the rare moment of kindness dissolved.

"Where is my daughter?" She shoved Lilia against Mr. Long, knocking him over. "You know! Tell me what happened to you. Tell me where you were thirty years ago."

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Have you figured out what happened to the children?

The rest of the story is the ebook version on Smashwords!
Set your own price!
(Including free.)
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ten T Questions #atozchallenge

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Thursdays this month are going to be about me. If you use Facebook, you've probably seen survey posts where people get to know each other. I'm going to fill out one a week for April.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter T

This one is Ten T questions.

1. The person you're named after? No one, actually. I picked the name J Lenni Dorner because I didn't understand how names worked. I didn't know J is meant to have a superfluous"ay" after it. I didn't understand what "middle name" meant, and the explanation made me think they were asking about my tribe. The hyphenated part was dropped. The last name was the final family I was with, who it turned out I was distantly related to, so it felt right. (My true name is known only to me, the Name Giver, and my Snookums. I was in my twenties when I got that name. As per custom, no one else will ever know it.)
2. Time you last cried? After another child died.
3. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
4. Try bungee jumping? I probably would.
5. Tastiest breakfast cereal? Wheaties or Corn Pops
6. Do you untie your shoes before you take them off? If they have laces, yes.
7. Last thing you ate? An orange. 🍊
8. The color crayon you would be, if you were a crayon? Burnt Sienna #CrayolaRocks
9. T-shirt (or other shirts), what color are you wearing right now? I'm not wearing one.
10. How do you like your tea? Hot green tea with some honey.

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Twitter - Do you take part in #FollowFriday or #WriterWednesday connection recommendations?

*Note: Never answer questions that lead to your password or SECURITY QUESTIONS.
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Shameless Little Con #atozchallenge #bookreview

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Tuesdays' posts are on Speculative Fiction.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S

A Shameless Little Con

This was an okay book. I enjoyed some parts more than others. It wasn't exactly what I expected. There were some twists, but they were set up in such a way that I saw every one of them coming. (Or maybe it's because I'm a writer, so I know the setup?)

The book is listed as political fiction, which is a genre I don't often read. I would say it's more of a thriller or mystery. Except the mystery is not really solved by the end of the book. It leaves more questions than answers.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a mystery where they aren't sure how guilty or innocent anyone in the story is, and those who are okay with some adult content. (It mostly alludes to it.) But please know that it isn't wrapped up by the end of the first book. There is a tribulation in the book that includes a kidnapping and violent sexual encounter, which is referenced throughout the story in bits and pieces. That's a potential trigger for some readers. There are some romantic scenes that border on erotic. There are some fast-paced scenes. Mostly the book is just entertaining.

"Now you tar and feather people with a Share button and a Like." A Shameless Little Con

The book takes place in modern times and mentions the impact that social media has on our lives. One quote that I loved was "Now you tar and feather people with a Share button and a Like."

living in isolation - A Shameless Little Con #quote

long stretches without touching another human - A Shameless Little Con #quote

Then there are passages about living in isolation, going for long stretches without touching another human being. At the time I read this book, I knew what the author meant. But now, in today's world, a lot more of us can understand the feeling as well. (Thanks, Covid. 😟) I purchased this book on August 18, 2018, but started reading it in January, 2020.

The explanation of the words "shame" and "shameless," how they're insults to make someone seem less human, were really impressive. It also gave meaning to the title. The part about not being able to pee when stressed was very insightful. Descriptions of a rotary phone and cursive handwriting were funny, but also evidence that this story is aimed for a much younger audience than myself. (I'm Gen X. Not as old as a Boomer, not as young as a Millenial or Gen Z.)

I read this whole book hoping to find answers to the mystery (mostly why it happened, partly what exactly actually happened). I haven't decided if I'll read the other two books to figure it out. (There are quite a few books on my TBR that I want to read more.)

I'm not sure what byzantine details are, but suspect it's supposed to be bizarre details. I believe that Alice is the author's favorite character. She's certainly the most enjoyable one to read about.  Alice's home was the only setting that really came alive for me. The book did have plenty of obstacles for the main character.

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Has your age (or generation) ever had an impact on the enjoyment of a book you were reading?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

#atozchallenge Recommendations for Speculative Fiction

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Tuesdays are posts on Speculative Fiction.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter R

Recommendations for Speculative Fiction

Other than my own book, my favorite Speculative Fiction story is Carve the Mark. That's what I recommend.

Goodreads has many lists with other choices:

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Do you have a favorite Speculative Fiction book?

#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quotes #AtoZchallenge #writetip

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My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Mondays' posts are on character tips.

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Q


There are billions of characters in fiction. What's one way we remember them?

The Catcher in the Rye - Holden Caulfield thinks you're a phony #quote Bart Simpson Eat My Shorts #quote
Die Hard John McClane #quote Yippee Ki Yay
John McClane - Die Hard

We remember quotes and catchphrases. That's why giving them to your main character can be useful. It can also reveal something about your character.

From Fractions of Existence, I have one pretty good example to share and one sort-of-okay example.

This is a pretty good example because Heath's use of the word magma reveals something about his character and makes him memorable. (It's an Urban Fantasy and not all readers figure out what this reveals in the first book, but it becomes more clear in book two.)

This is a sort-of-okay example because Xavier uses the word "reunite" fairly often. It's a reference to his main external and internal goals in the book. But it isn't used in such a way as to be catchy for the audience. It's not likely that "we must reunite our kind" would appear on a t-shirt, for example.

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Can you think of a quote or catchphrase of a fictional character?
#atozchallenge 2020 @JLenniDorner Blogging my Author Brand