Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Votes are in #BookCover

 Earlier this month, I asked for votes and thoughts on updating my book cover.


cover votes Fractions of Existence

The original cover has 13 votes.

The second cover has 4 votes.

The third cover has 1 vote.

A mix of covers one and two, and a mix of covers two and three, each also got 1 vote.


Fractions of Existence cover alternativeFractions of Existence cover alternative 100x160 Fractions of Existence


And here's a look at what one mixed with three would look like. 

The font has more of a "fantasy" feel. I do love how the f in "of" matches the spiral. 

It does feel more difficult to read at a smaller size. And my name gets a bit lost. It feels too "busy" to me in comparison with the original. A real problem is that "existence" is a long word at 9 letters. (And it's in the title of EVERY book in the series.)

The swoops and swirls of the font should make it look more like a book in the genres: 

Speculative Fiction. Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance. Myths & Legends.


But should I make this change? The original cover did get the most votes!






UPDATE


Fractions of Existence by @JLenniDorner Fractions of Existence by @JLenniDorner
Dec 31-- Gave it one more shot. Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Book Covers #IWSG and #WEP #WEPFF #BeautifulPrincessπŸ‘Έ πŸ§›‍♂️ Parable

Book covers.




There's a formatting error (which undid some corrections) and two links that need updating in my book. So I'm fixing that this month. And while I'm at it, I considered creating a new cover. The problem is that I like my current cover. The cover is perfectly explained in Chapter 3.14 𝛑, and again later in the book. You can see (with only minor imagination) earth, air, water, fire, flora, and fauna on the cover. It goes with the book. And it shows what two Fibonacci spirals twisting from the same point of origin, inked in a gold hue, looks like. 
tattoo


Unfortunately, one has to read the book to understand that the cover is perfect. So the cover isn't selling the book, which is also a job of a cover. 
I'm never going to put images of people on the cover because that kills the reader's chance to picture the characters as described. But what are others in my genre doing? Here's a look from Amazon:

Myth and Legend top 10
Numbers 3, 4, and 7 could maybe work as inspiration. I could keep the two Fibonacci spirals twisting from the same point of origin, inked in a gold hue. And perhaps create an image of Xavier's ring. Perhaps if I blended in number 9.

Paranormal Romance top 10
Numbers 3, 5, and 6 (all the same book) remind me a lot of the cover I have.
2, 7, 8, and 10 again make me think I should use Xavier's ring.

Urban Fantasy top sellers
Again, I feel like 3 looks like what I have now. I'm not sure I could make 1 work.

But how about this:
1- What I currently have.
2- A blend of what I have and something new.
3- Something new. (A bit like 3 and 9 from the Myth & Legend category seen above.)


 
  

BASED ON THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE OF WHAT SORT OF COVER ART IS ON THE CURRENT BEST-SELLERS OF MY BOOK'S GENRE--
WHICH OF THESE THREE COVERS DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?


(Speculative Fiction. Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance. Myths & Legends. New Adult.)




IWSG


ISWG

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


PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!

Dec 1 question - In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?




Answer: As I'm working on Book Two and Three...

I finally figured out what I didn't like about a few scenes. A stronger reaction to certain events was needed. So I was stressed because I couldn't figure out what I needed to fix.

In a way, what stresses me about this book and the next is that I have to torture my favorite character. But then I get to give him what he wants most (he doesn't even know he wants it yet). And then I'm going to take it away again. (And some character gets punched in the face so freaking hard when it's revealed that it's going to be taken away... πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜„ ) And then the character has to start from scratch to get what he wants back, this time knowing that he absolutely has to have it.

What delights me are inside jokes. I have slipped SO FREAKING MANY tiny jokes in these books. It's just a line here and a line there. Some that no one could catch on the first read. Some that can't be figured out until the slowpoke writer gets the other books published. (Damn him... oh wait, that's me...)

And if you happen to keep on scrolling, you'll see the sense of humor to which I'm referring.  In case you don't "get" it, here's a visual clue of what I did, though mine is much simpler. 


Please also visit: The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club
This month's reads are Falling for the Villain by Kim Elliott and Being Human by Patricia Lynne



Operation Awesome Happening at OperationAwesome6.blogspot.com
Next week at Operation Awesome, we're sharing posts all week about getting ideas for writing. Stop by, maybe pick up a spark!

 



WEP



NARCISSUS
https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/12/wep-2021-continues-artistic-inspiration.html


#BeautifulPrincessπŸ‘Έ πŸ§›‍♂️ Parable 

—  J Lenni Dorner

Once upon a time…
There lived a beautiful princess. It's very important that you know she was beautiful. In fact, if you look in any of the history books, her beauty is the only detail you'll find about her. It was ordered as such. No mention of her political stances, if she read or wrote poetry, how well she could ice-skate, or her preference of cake. No, the only words recorded about her anywhere of note simply state that she was a beautiful princess.

Being a princess, she was obligated to eventually marry someone suitable. A prince came to ask for her hand. His kingdom was very wealthy. His father had ruled for a long time, and the prince was a rather old man. The princess sent him away.

A duke came from another land. He was well-decorated from winning many battles. His strength and skill were a legend across the conquered world. The princess thought he would be worthy, until he entered the great hall. A bright red scar cut across his freckled face. She screamed her rejection as she fled to her quarters. 

There was an earl she had known for years. The beautiful princess went for a visit. The earl was especially fertile, as evidenced by his many pregnant wives and gaggle of offspring. He offered to marry her into his harem. While she respected the poly lifestyle, she didn't feel it was a match for her. She politely declined and left for home. 

Count Alucard heard of the princess and her suitor search. He sent a trusted advisor to discover what she wanted in a husband. Armed with knowledge and an invitation, he came to call one evening.

"Look upon me, Princess. I am the embodiment of youth. I have won battles, yet remain unscarred. I have no other wives, nor children from another to compete for your throne or power." 

And so the beautiful princess agreed to marry the handsome count. They had a quiet ceremony under the full moon. All seemed well at first. 

The princess soon noticed she was weak and cold all the time. The doctor told her to eat more red meat and beans. It made no difference. She was wilting away.

Her husband carried her to his chambers one evening. He pulled a sheet off a large box. The princess's eyes went wide.

"Why do you have a coffin in your chambers?"

"I made it." He pulled the lid open. "See inside? There is a portrait of you, along with a mirror. Ah, you can already see how your looks are fading away!"

She pressed her hand to her mouth.

"To thank you for the nourishment you've been providing during your induced slumbers, I have added this small hole. It will allow air and a tiny ray of light. Do enjoy the view."

He swung at her, breaking her jaw with ease. Once she was bound and muffled, he forced her into the coffin and sealed it. 

The beautiful princess died a slow and painful death, forced to watch her beauty fade as she went. She pictured the name of the Count she married as she looked at the mirror. It was obvious to her now.

Count Alucard, now a king, ruled for many years. The population of the kingdom dwindled. Eventually, he took a new name and another bride who valued beauty and youth above all other qualities. They did, in his opinion, taste the best.


Tagline: A simple story with a lesson about valuing youth and beauty above all else. πŸ§›
FCA 577
#BeautifulPrincessπŸ‘Έ πŸ§›‍♂️ Parable 
By:  J Lenni Dorner


please leave cover feedback


Thursday, November 18, 2021

#giveaway #scavengerhunt Happy Birthday to Patricia Josephine

The Cure #book

 


Head to https://www.patriciajosephine.com/blog for the list of other participants. When you've collected at least five, go back to Patricia's blog and comment on the post Happy Birthday AND Anniversary to be entered in the giveaway. 

To save the world, Erin needs a zombie.

Every human in the world becomes a zombie when they die. But Erin refuses to accept the world as it is now. She’s heard about a cure locked away in a lab in Upper Michigan, and she plans on retrieving it. To do so, she needs a zombie. Not just any zombie, though.

Zee is Erin’s link to the lab. His connection to the living world is her bargaining chip. But only if she can teach him to control his mindless impulses.

Can a zombie be trained? Or will Erin be Zee’s next meal and become a zombie herself? The fate of humanity rests in her hands.

The Cure is a post apocalypse story about redemption and saving the world.
Steam rating: None.

AVAILABLE AT YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER FOR $1.99!
Add to Goodreads.




Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne
Author of paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi novels you can escape into.
◾ Website: patriciajosephine.com
◾Twitter: @pjlauthor
◾Facebook: @pjlauthor
◾Instagram: @pjlauthor
◾Patreon: @pjlauthor




Check out my review: https://amzn.to/3nt9C8m

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Titles, Blubs, the #IWSG, OA, Native American Heritage Month, and WEP winners

ISWG

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!




Nov 3 question -


What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Answer:
For me, writing the blurb.
The blurb requires me to think inside the box. Not even my box, someone else's box. What would make someone else want to read something? What intrigues someone who isn't me? 
Because that which catches my eye and my attention rarely matches what grabs other people. 
I tried to hire people to write my blurb for Fractions of Existence. But it didn't work. And more than one person said that I'd "gain more" from writing it myself. 
I know my book. I know my characters. I could drop spoilers all over the place. 
But I feel like I'm too close to be objective enough to write a proper blurb.
 What do you think of my attempt?

(Also on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36273731-fractions-of-existence )



Operation Awesome Happening at OperationAwesome6.blogspot.com

We have ongoing posts for your NaNoWriMo needs!
O'Abby talked about πŸ‘» ghostwriting.
Brandy will have another installment of the Query Support Group coming soon.
And there are FIVE days left to win one of TWO copies of the enchanted new MG novel The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori Snyder -- so enter now!!!
(Prefer a more adult read? Check out Paulette Stout's debut author spotlight.)


It's Native American Heritage Month here in the United States.
museumofindianculture.org
This is my local Lenni-Lenape museum, which has featured artifacts from other tribes as well for the last fifteen years or so. If you'd like to learn a little about the tribe of my ancestors, that website has several resources.

The Lenni-Lenape Indians NPR -- Here's an article of some interest.
TRUE: "Lenape Indians occupied the Philadelphia area almost 10,000 years before Europeans came to the region"
LESS THAN ACCURATE: "renamed the tribe, calling them the Delaware Indians, because they had trouble pronouncing Lenape (Leh-NAH-pay)"
People still can't pronounce it. I've heard more people say Len-a-pea or Len-ape ... first off, there was no one named Len or Leonard, so stop trying to put the N over there; secondly, the word does not sound like a pea vegetable or the primate known as an ape. 
But the reason they called us Delaware is that we became the property of  Lord Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, as was the state, river, and whatever else the Lord was granted. I do wish people would stop pretending that Native Americans were treated as human right away. We were classified as slaves or animals for a very long time. Some states are still, TO THIS DAY, creating ways to prevent us from voting. 
(Example: Saying Native Americans need to live on a reservation to retain their native rights. But living on a reservation means you may only have a PO Box for an address. And anyone who only has a PO Box as an address is not allowed to register to vote.) 
We've come a long way from being classified as low-valued animals, but we haven't fully achieved equality. I can say I'm doing better than some because I never lived on a reservation. Or I could say I'm doing worse, because I grew up away from the majority of my people. I know less than twenty of my own people. But I am grateful to those who took the time to teach me. I am the better for the knowledge, wisdom, guidance, skills, and stories that were passed on to me. Very few of us remain here, on the original lands, with the ancestors buried beneath our feet. 



Final note:
I'm so proud of my cousin-in-law for getting the Encouragement Award!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Indigenous Peoples' Day and #WEPFF #WEP SCREAM

 


https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/10/08/a-proclamation-indigenous-peoples-day-2021/


Considering my own blood, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that I publish this post TODAY. 

I'd also like to take a moment to remind everyone that the Vikings sailed to North America almost 500 years before an Italian. If you happen to like math:
2021-1492= 529 years ago
2021-1000= 1021 years ago
So the time between the Vikings getting to North America and an Italian getting to North America is roughly the same amount as the Italian getting to North America and our present day. How much more do we know now than we did in 1492? How much more advanced is our travel now? Imagine if our current modes of travel were finally as good as the modes of travel from about five hundred years ago. 
πŸ€”

But never forget that in Europe at the time anywhere that wasn't Christian-ruled was fair game to be "discovered." That was it. That was the baseline for if a place and people existed or not. Anywhere not practicing Christianity was "undiscovered" and meant to be conquered and all non-Christians were non-humans meant to be slaves (though a few were allowed to convert instead, and sometimes Jewish people were exempt). Thus the technology of the Vikings, despite being five hundred years ahead of the curve, didn't count. (That's simplifying the logic.)

Imagine if another religion of sorts comes to power and in five hundred years from now someone invents the computer, the Internet, and bunches of digital media devices. The thing you're using right now to read this doesn't count. It wasn't created by a follower of that religion. Sorry Gates and Jobs, you should have signed up for something you hadn't heard of in your lifetimes! Uncivilized heathens.





The WEP flash fiction I'm offering up is NOT to be considered true or accurate, nor is it meant to reflect anyone who may or may not have existed, and the antagonist certainly isn't Queen Isabella I or King Ferdinand II or Henry VII or any other real royal. And the people the protagonist is talking about are entirely fictional. The images/ memes/ infographics provided are just for fun. The way someone might draw a 🚦 light next to an excerpt of the Great Gatsby. 


#WEP 2021 Artistic Inspiration for October - THE SCREAM! #wepff

Savage Findings


I hold my findings close to my chest as I am marched down the corridor. The guards open the doors and I am announced.

"Well? What news have you?"

I am not given the courtesy of a glance. To them, I am a replaceable servant. I reference my precious findings as I speak, hoping they will understand.

"The land he found was populated. Not by a handful of people, but by a booming population."

They snort. "Booming? Have you sworn your allegiance elsewhere?"

"Of course not, Majesties. I seek only to fulfill the directive to report in detail." I am waved to go on, the amusement dying down.

"Our weapons are superior, far stronger than their own. However, ammunition must be adequate, for they have an endless supply and we will have only what we transport."

"So they are the ones We told you not to speak of to anyone? Is that how they defeated the historic heathens?"

"I feel assured these are the same the others encountered long ago. Or perhaps are a related colony. I believe the peculiar weather and knowledge of the land were larger factors in that defeat."

They look at me. I know I must turn my gaze downward, to show obedience, but I do not.

"Lower your eyes and your voice! What proof have you that they are the same?"

I page through my findings and hold up a drawing of one man I met. "This one spoke our language. The dialect was outdated, but we were able to communicate."

They slam goblets and whisper an argument before I am addressed again.

"It means nothing. We are superior. There are birds that mimic our language, it does not mean they are intelligent."

"Of course, Majesties." They motion for me to go on. 

I tell them about the library with more books than their own. They denounce it as works of the Devil or markings of fools, saying even a child could create something that resembles a book. I tell them about the economy.

"No poverty? No slaves? How do people know how valuable their leaders are if they do not pay tribute? That is a ridiculous economic system. Do the castles run themselves? Can you imagine if I had to clean the floors?" They laugh at this idea. I am foolishly trying to explain a concept beyond their imagination. 

"Your Majesty, they have no castles. All live among each other. Each person does what they are best at doing, each contributes and shares. A collective of the wisest does not just advise a leader who has inherited a position."

"We rule as appointment by The Almighty."

I bow my head lest They order it removed. "Yes, of course. My reference was to other realms you have had me study, of course. How they differ from those places."

After considering this, I am allowed to continue. I detail the infrastructure. How roads have been created to blend with nature, giving them camouflage. I discuss the trade network that exists, even with others who have such a different economic structure from our own. It is difficult to explain that our precious metals, our gold and silver, mean nothing to them.

"They must have mines deeper than the deepest valley! Why else would they pretend to have no interest in the pittance We gave you for trade?" Another concept I cannot convey. 

I talk about the food, how they have mastered farming in ways of which we have yet to dream. I show my drawings of the clothing, how it suits the environment. They laugh at how little is worn in the summer and ask questions mostly about my crude sketches of breasts. 

"Both sexes prance around topless? Such savage impropriety." 

"Your Majesty, they know not of modesty. Also, they believe in more than two sexes."

Long minutes pass as They laugh about that observation. I am implored to show a drawing of this, asked to sketch one now for Them. 

I do something I have never done before. I lie to Royalty. "With regret, Majesties, I did not encounter one nor any artists renderings, so I am unable to do as you request."

As They are already displeased, I opt to talk about the waste systems. How they lack garbage, how they deal with excrement, and about the elaborate bathing. I show drawings of fountains and of bathing areas. "It is like a waterfall, or like a steady rainshower. Yet the water is warm."

"Every savage brought here is starved and stinks. You describe a people that do not exist." 

I bow low. "Forgive me. When I arrived on the dock this morn, I stank. While I was to report to you immediately upon return, I admit to first having a bath and putting on proper attire so as not to offend."

"You bathed and dressed because you are not a savage."

"With respect, I also did so because I could. No chains kept me from such a choice. I walked free from my ship cabin, where I had been afforded a bed and decent meals. They are in the cargo hold and given just enough to survive, sometimes less. How you see what arrives in port is not accurate to those who live on that land."

The Majesties all rise. One approaches me. Instinctively, I drop to my knees. I hope to return to the land, which means staying alive.

"Savages are what We say they are. We say they stink, therefore they offend the nose. We say they have no language, no literature or art, no culture of which to speak. They lack a functional government or economy. Without Our rule, they will not survive. We say the savages are lower than dogs."

My findings, years of work, are gathered and tossed to the fire. I scrabble to the flames, but it is no use. My ash-covered hands slap my cheeks as I scream.

They command, "Be silent or be next."




Savage Findings by


 J Lenni Dorner



#tagline = A fictional 15th-century anthropologist delivers his findings, then screams when ignorant royalty destroys his work.

Word Count = 999 ~ FCA
Feedback https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/10/wep-2021-continues-artistic-inspiration.html





Please also check out the GIVEAWAY on Operation Awesome: https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2021/09/spotlight-on-new-book-debut-author_29.html

You could win a book from your local indie shop or Audible, or a $5 Amazon e-giftcard from me!


Finally, I'd like to share something that I am internally screaming about:




Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#IWSG Language and Other Topics

Update on my world:
😭
I have lost a lot of friends and family during 2020 and 2021.

Last month, one of my cousins died. And then another family died a week later. I wasn't as close with that person, but for whatever reason, I absolutely lost it. Maybe a guy can only take so many deaths before he cracks. I don't know. But I've been mostly offline for over a week because of it. I missed my last blog post at OA, I'm behind on book reviews, etc. I'm mentally and emotionally overloaded and just trying to recover. Please bear with me as I try to deal. 


WEP is coming!

I have a pile of notes that I intend to turn into a short story for WEP later this month.
https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html Please check it out and consider joining the fun. About the October prompt, quoted from the site:
The Scream by Edvard Munch was a shoo-in for October - this challenge is devoted to the horror genre in honour of the Halloween/Samhain/observances of the other world spirits. Go as creepy as you like. But other genres are welcome too, there’s no genre police here, except that non-negotiable no to erotica.




ISWG

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner (THAT'S ME!), Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!


October 6 question -


In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Answer:

What? I don't know that I've ever really thought about this.
I don't write stories that portray my fellow Native Americans in a poor or biased light. (There are hundreds of 🎬🀠➷ Classic Western movies where the "Indians" are default villains.) And I'll never write about child abusers in a positive way. (I've seen some *things* that I wish I could unsee.)
As for language, I prefer to avoid language that marginalizes people. (Then again, sometimes characters say things, and it opens a chance for them to grow or it shows that they're villains.) 



Over at Operation Awesome, Pass or Pages is open. Query letters are given directly to the participating agents. Entries THIS WEEK ONLY! The genre this time is Diverse Voices. 
https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2021/10/october-2021-pass-or-pages-entry-form.html

Please πŸ’— like and share this tweet to help fellow writers!


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pronouns and #IWSG Define Success as a Writer

Pronouns:

There has been a rise of "normalize sharing pronouns" on social media lately. It might not seem important to a cisgender person (a person whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth). "Only transgenders need to tell you their pronouns.

But that is exactly why it's important to normalize sharing pronouns. If the only people who present their identity by including pronouns are trans, then it becomes a label, a spotlight. Not everyone wants or is ready for that. But if allies also present their pronouns, and it becomes just a "normal thing people do," then it isn't a way to seek out trans people (perhaps to target them for cruel reasons, which happens); instead, it just becomes normal. The way saying "hello" became normal instead of "ahoy." 

It's also helpful for people like me, who keep getting misgendered online. (Never in real life. πŸ˜„ No, definitely not offline. Except by coaches, who think all humans are ladies. I still don't understand why that is, do you?) Trying to cross cultural barriers with how names work is actually incredibly difficult. There are, apparently, a great many unwritten rules that people seem to "know," but not well enough to explain.

(For example, Lenni-Lenape is translated to mean "Original People." The vowel at the end of "Lenni" is not a gender or sex indication, it's just how some European decided to translate our Algonquian language using their language and alphabet, and then some other Europeans probably changed it some more to their languages. 🀷 My tribe also recognized/s more than two genders/ sexes.)

- J Lenni Dorner (he/him πŸ‘¨πŸ½ or πŸ§‘πŸ½ they/them)

Useful articles for further reading:
a beginner's guide to being an ally to trans people
A Guide To Pronouns for Allies

Pronouns J Lenni Dorner social media Pinterest Twitter



ISWG

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!




September 1 question -


How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

For me, success as a writer means not giving up. Every time that a writer writes (or edits, brainstorms, reads, promotes, etc), that's the path to success. 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill


That's a good quote. Here's one I like even more:

If I wanted to become a failure, I would seek advice from people who have never succeeded. If I wanted to succeed in all things, I would look around me for those who are succeeding, and do as they have done. -Norman Vincent Peale


Of course, none of this is an answer to the question, it's just vague accuracy. 

In my opinion, to be a success, one needs to set goals and achieve them (or alter them to achieve the most desirable and possible outcome given changing situations). Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound -- SMART goals.

It's also important to know what you can and cannot influence. For example, it's unwise to set the goal of "publishing a novel that everyone will love." Even the best-selling novels of all time are disliked by some people. A goal could be set to get a certain amount of reviews, but you can't control who will or won't review your book. (Okay, there are ways, but they tend to violate rules.) An author can, and certainly should, promote their book everywhere that their target audience of readers might be found. On average, a person needs to see a book title mentioned on three different viewings before they'll look into it. (Three seems to be the magic number for the brain to think, "Oh, everyone is talking about this! I should learn more.") While you can't control sales, you can set yourself up to be noticed multiple times. 

I don't feel that someone is very successful if they have nothing to give back to their community. Stephen King, for example, is successful not only because of his long list of publication credits and bestseller status, but also because he does give back to the community of writers and filmmakers. 

I consider myself a success because I've published a novel, a short story, two reference books for writers, have books in the editing stage, and am active in the writing community via Operation Awesome, IWSG, and the A to Z Challenge. 







OTHER NEWS


I won a handmade bookmark from the "Rise and join the Giveaway (The Cure Release Week Celebration)" at Patricia Josephine's patriciajosephine.com/blog.



Monday, August 23, 2021

#boutofbooks 32 wrap-up and #bookreview Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale @Vampyr14

Bout of Books

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

REVIEW


I found this book to be very enjoyable and packed with emotion. The ending is absolutely beautiful, full of peace and hope. There's a richness in the characters that makes them feel real. Lucy is a teenager, her brother Tony is a young man in college-- the book switches between their point of views with Tony being odd chapters and Lucy even ones. It's interesting within its genre because of what Lucy experiences. Also, while there are LGBTQIA+ books with characters who know themselves, this one has a character who is discovering his preferences and his feelings about them. ("Questioning.") I bought this book on sale at Amazon. I know this author from Operation Awesome. My review is honest with unbiased opinions. I recommend this book to fans of YA and New Adult who are looking for a clean read. (There is drinking and minor drug references, but intimate scenes are "fade to black.") Also a good read if you've been through a loss, are questioning your attraction preferences, love music, or love high-diving. 

I don't read a lot of drama books, but I was drawn in by the "back cover" description of Tony's character. As far as I can tell by Google, Sartre's Suitcase is a fictional band (mentioned in the story-- other bands mentioned are real, and many of the CDs are ones I've listened to also). 

Excerpts I especially enjoyed:
It's music to wrap yourself in during your most vulnerable moments. 

It's a permanent void I can only hope will grow smaller and less painful. (The paragraph is about grief. It's a strong truth and wonderfully well-written.)

There's also a moment in Chapter Nineteen with Tony assuming a doctor to be a he, and Lucy correcting him that the doctor is a she -- that part made me laugh.

The end of chapter four made me cry. I've lost too many people in the last 24 months. So this book, where these two young people are experiencing such grief, it really grabbed those emotions I've been experiencing lately. And chapter nine, gees Kate, I think your book should be bundled with a box of tissues!

I read the whole book because I had a feeling about what Lucy wasn't remembering, and I was mostly right. I would read something from this author again. (Two of her books are on my wishlist, in fact.) 

Tony has dark blue eyes like his father, dark hair like his mother, and is tall. Lucy has blonde hair like her dad, dark coffee-bean eyes like her mother, skim milk skin, and is very thin "all bones." Kim, Lucy's best friend at the start of the book, is Korean. 

Some ways to describe this book are tragedy, realistic fiction, tear-jerker, fast-paced, inspirational, meaningful, and excellent characters.  The title is used in a paragraph (page 26 in my Kindle). It felt well-edited to me. The best setting in the book is the beach. Tony's goals start with his future as a professional diver and getting a degree in medicine, goals that are about him, but evolve to goals about being closer to his sister and Jake, goals that are about his relationships. Lucy's goals revolve around music, and the obstacles in her path reflect that in ways that aren't totally clear until the very end. It reminded me a little of the 90s tv show "Party of Five," but with only two siblings.

Coach McGinley, like all too many real coaches, believes that everyone is a female, as he calls his male dive team "ladies." (I've known such coaches, and have gotten suspended for not answering to the intentional misgender.)

Society could benefit by using this book as a jumping-off point for a discussion about straight, gay/lesbian, bi, pan, etc. Does being in love with just one person (m/m or f/f) automatically make you a gay/lesbian? Or, if also being attracted to others (m/f) mean you're bi? The book only lightly touches on the question. But it would be an excellent way to open a discussion. 

The Bechdel test would note that Lucy does talk to another named female character, and the discussion is focused on music. 

Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale
https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/ZRW0Y5LGHMN9?ref_=wl_share My Amazon wishlist (mentioned in the review).
Amazon actually let me post a review! I must have finally given them enough money again. πŸ™„


Thanks to the 40 or so people who wished me a happy birthday yesterday. Technically, I don't know when my "real" birthday was, other than a hot summer day. August 21 was the day I was added to "the system," so they just used that date, and took an educated guess at the year and my age. It's a dark and complicated story that I'm not getting into here.









That should have been A7. 🀦🏽‍♂️



Book bought during Bout of Books:




Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)
Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale

Goodreads shelf of these three books.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff #flashfiction

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff


SEVEN by J Lenni Dorner

The mighty leader enters to horns and cheers. His golden, bejeweled crown is nested atop his head today. He tucks his dark cloak behind him as he takes his spot on the soft, elevated great-chair. 

"Bring forth the flowers and sweet fruits," he commands. A muffled laugh rolls through the crowd. "And dim the light. There's no need for us to smell or see them this well."

Once the Great Hall is satisfactory, the large doors are opened and seven enter.

The crowd steps back as they hold each other and whisper. The leader waves his hand for silence. "As I am so magnanimous, I have granted Freedom of Speech to our guests today. These seven have been chosen by their own to speak for them. No repercussions shall come from what they say here today."

The tallest of the seven moves forward, a sashay in his step, perhaps because that is his walk, or perhaps because the beatings made him unable to move any other way. Scars make his facial features almost unrecognizable. 

"You grant us the freedom to speak as we please? You're givin' something we always had, until you took it."

The crowd gasps. The leader nods. "It was the only way to assimilate you. And see? You have learned proper language, even if you have yet to master it. You are most welcome."

"I wasn't offerin' thanks. We had language without you."

The leader motions for his cup. "We can cancel this invitation, if you wish. There is no obligation on your part to speak here today."

"We want to know when you're all leaving?"

The leader holds his cup to his lips. "Leaving? We have no such intention. This is our home now."

"This land is our home. Always was. And will be again, when you shuffle off." The other six clap and cheer.

"I have generously given you homes to live in, the food in your bellies, the clothing on your bodies, and the words that fall from your mouths. Remember that."

"Nah. We lived here before you came. We had nicer homes, better food, more suitable clothing, and the words of our own people. You took what isn't yours."

"We have given more than we have taken." The leader drinks his fragrant drink, allowing the nectar to coat his tongue. He knows the fruit, the spices, and even the vessel in which it was made just by a sip. "You had no idea what your land could yield."

"You've no idea about the land. It's ruined for what grew here. Five species are dead. You brought new bugs and there's nothing to fight them."

The leader slams his cup on the arm of his chair. "We save lives with our ways! We've brought knowledge beyond yours."

"How would you know?" The scarred one laughs. "None of you ever asked what we know. Based on how you live here, we know a lot you don't. You bring ways to fight the sick you brought. Our kind and yours both die from our sick now. We didn't back when the cure grew regular. But instead, you make your drink. And you'll drink it to all our graves." 

535 words FCA

Who are the seven for you? Native Americans in the past? Citizens of Afghanistan now? Creatures of a fantasy world? What if it's your people and the mighty leader is a space alien? 

What would you do if you became like one of the seven? 

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/08/wep-2021-continues-artistic-inspiration.html
Check out the other flash fiction entries here. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

#boutofbooks 32 Day 1 and #moviereview

Though I was never given the chance to interview Angie Thomas, several of the debut authors I have interviewed listed The Hate U Give as a favorite book or as a #WeNeedDiverseBooks recommendation.
I haven't read it yet. πŸ˜”
But I was at a friend's house today, and the movie is on Hulu, so we watched it.
I found it to be an incredibly powerful movie. Difficult to watch at some points, but in a good and necessary way. It has a lot to teach everyone. 
I never listened to Tupac's music (well, I probably heard it playing, but I mean I never went out and bought a CD or downloaded an mp3). I never knew that's what THUGLIFE meant. (The Hate U Give Little Infants "Effs" Everybody -- Link to NYT article explaining the occasional substitution for the F word.)
There were several scenes in the movie with which I could identify. 
Hailey not understanding, not getting it... I know a lot of "Hailey" people. 

~

"What are you gonna do, scalp me?" 
Maybe I am a Hailey sometimes? Because I've experienced hate and violence, but not so much the "our skin is a weapon" fear (not in youth, anyway). 🀷🏽‍♂️ I remember bullies assuming I couldn't defeat them (because I was trying not to fight, to not get kicked out again). That does NOT work. Letting them beat you to a three-day hospitalization without fighting back still results in expulsion for fighting. Just taking the beating doesn't grant you a pass. Not in youth. Maybe in adulthood IF it's caught on film and a jury is feeling a certain tolerance that day. So in some ways, I feel like I understand, but maybe there's a bit of Hailey in me that doesn't. I've never seen a protest like the one at the end of the movie for a Native American. Actually, I've never seen that many Native Americans at one place at one time.
(I've never lived on a reservation. The main Lenni-Lenape reservation is in Oklahoma. Population 11,195 as of 2010. My ancestors did not leave with the others. My great-grandfather was the first "human" and thus free person from that part of my bloodline. But freedom is more fickle than you might think.


Onward to books!













Review


Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


A fast-paced informative book. It's aimed mostly at new adult females, though it can benefit anyone who is getting started on basic money management.
A friend of mine got this as a gift, so I thumbed through his copy. It includes the hotline for domestic abuse, because there's such thing as "financial abuse" where a bad partner can use money to prevent someone from becoming safe.
I've read a few books on finance over the years. This is the simplest and most clear, best for most people. It does talk about credit scores, but it does not mention that your score can vary by 20 to 100 points based on who pulls it. (In the same day, you could buy it, a car dealer could pull it, and your bank could pull it -- and all three be vastly different!)
I didn't personally learn anything new, but I have more financial knowledge than the target audience. I will say it would be a good graduation gift, in my opinion. It would also be good for new citizens of the United States, as it explains how many money things work here.

There are some ways to earn money listed, such as compound interest and pet-sitting. There are other books more suited to earning money, this one is more a beginner's guide to how finance works. So the subtitle makes sense, but the main title (Twenties in Your Pocket) is more to catch attention.
It was well-edited. The language is aimed at young people.


Day of the challenge: Day 1
What I read today:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)



Total number of finished books: 2
Titles of finished books:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)