Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pronouns and #IWSG Define Success as a Writer


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. ๐Ÿ˜„ 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. ๐Ÿคท My tribe also recognized/s more than two genders/ sexes.)

- J Lenni Dorner (he/him ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ or ๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿฝ 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


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. 


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

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


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 My Amazon wishlist (mentioned in the review).
Amazon actually let me post a review! I must have finally given them enough money again. ๐Ÿ™„

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. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️

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?
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. ๐Ÿ˜”
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). ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฝ‍♂️ 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!


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)

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Books for Authors on the Craft of Writing and #WritingCommunity #IWSG

 Before I dive into this IWSG post, I'm going to leave a quick remark about my previous post. 
On the subject of teens trick-or-treating. Not every teenager has good parents or a good home or food on the table. There is exactly ONE night a year where they can go door to door to ask for food without being frowned upon. 

Well, that's not true, because some people do frown upon it. Look, everyone is going to feel how they're going to feel. But what if people who hand out candy to children opted to hand out raisins or those McDonald's coupons for a free small fry to the teens? ๐ŸŸ Something like that. Because maybe some of those young adults aren't trying to pull a goof or take advantage, maybe they've just found a one-night loophole to get some free food. There is historical evidence of poor children using that night to get free food. ๐ŸŽƒ Just something to consider.


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

You gonna make Daddy pick between two of his children? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Okay, beyond tooting my own horn ๐ŸŽบ, here's a list of writing craft books I'm into:

Of those, and ones that aren't my own, my favorite is "Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance" by Rosanne Bane.
If you haven't been writing for bit, or have been struggling, this book is very helpful.

Only a couple more days until the next WEP! writeeditpublishnow

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Thanks to Jamie for this award nomination. She's got strong opinions, wisdom, and is a fun writer. She's also married to my cousin.

uniquelymaladjustedbutfun logo

Rules for the Award

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  2. Answer their questions.
  3. Nominate up to 9 other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions.
  4. Notify the nominees through their blog by visiting and commenting on their blog.
  5. List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award” logo.

Jamie's five questions and my answers:

  1. If an employee under extreme stress says (verbally or written) something that is construed as insensitive to a group of people (age, gender, religion, orientation, etc), should that employee be terminated/ not have their contract renewed, or should they be given one more chance if they agree to some sort of approved sensitivity training reeducation program? 
    • There are certainly some situations where it's unforgivable. But, on the whole, educating someone like that is the best chance to create change. If they're just fired, they might get angrier and become more prejudiced. A little compassion and learning could potentially create another ally instead, which is certainly more valuable. 
  2. At what age is it no longer appropriate to Trick-or-Treat for yourself? (Meaning exceptions are in place if accompanying a younger child, such as taking a younger sibling ToT so parents can stay at the house and give out candy.) 
    • After graduation from high school, maybe college. Once you can legit afford to go buy your own bags of candy with your own money, it's time to stop taking and start giving.
  3. Would you support or oppose a mandate that 75% of the human population be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2 including variants and mutations)? Would your answer change if this mandate were global, your country only, or your local area only? Is there a number or percent of deaths that would influence your support or opposition of such as mandate?
    • Support. I don't know if there is enough vaccine for it to be global, but we need it to be, or else this is just going to keep mutating.
      My country needs to educate people, needs to reach out to the community leaders who are holding people back.
      My local area needs about half of our state legislature to accept the reality of the virus and fight for the health of the people of our commonwealth. (So far, of the 1,230,000 cases here, 27,838 have died.)
      I feel like I know more people who were infected, and some who died. My personal experience of pain and loss is above the curve (more than 1 of every 100 people I know), so I'm biased. 
      I'm also worried for the vaccinated people who are potentially back in danger due to the eligible-but-unvaccinated-by-choice people and the de-masking suggestion that came too soon. 
  4. Should celebrities be given exceptions to laws, rules, and terms of service? If so, how famous does one have to be to get that exception?
    • No. And fines shouldn't be flat fees. Yes, it would be more difficult to figure out how much money an ultra-rich person is actually worth and fine accordingly by percent. But a $200 fine is half a paycheck to some people and an absolute joke to others. One person could lose their home and the other spends more on nail care every week. That isn't a crime deterrent. Plus, many of those famous people become leaders, so they set behavioral examples. If anything, they need to be held to a higher level of accountability. 
  5. What is your favorite recipe to use with leftover cooked turkey? Or, what is your favorite summer pasta salad recipe? 

My five questions:

  1. ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ’‰ How seriously are you taking the pandemic? On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 means you have done nothing and don't even really believe in it, 10 means you've masked, vaccinated, and reached out to your political leaders and such to ask them to help you and your people.
  2. What are your thoughts, opinions, and feelings in regard to the Kindle Vella?
  3. In the United States, voting rights are changing. Do you feel that it should be more difficult to vote in elections and that there shouldn't be as many eligible Americans permitted to vote? Or do you feel that it should be easier to vote in elections and every person of sound mind living in the United States and territories should be permitted to vote and have their vote count equally? 
  4. "Jeopardy!' was hosted by Alex Trebek, who has passed away. Who do you hope the new host will be, or do you think they should just continue with celebrity guests?
  5. If you had 200 billion dollars, what are some things you might do with your money, and would one of them be sending yourself into space? ๐Ÿš€

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

#IWSG Quit Writing Over My Dead Body


Kind of quiet around this blog and social media...
My spouse is a chef. A guy wanted to "audition" (or whatever) for a job and wanted a reference from my Snookums. The guy made food at his place and brought it to us. (We're now guessing his place wasn't very clean.) Soon after eating the blah food, Snookums and I were sharing a ๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿคฎ horrible experience. Eventually, we landed in the hospital because it was that bad.

And that is what the majority of June looked like.

I couldn't even sit upright most days. And let me tell you, I'm a very in-shape guy. And I've eaten foods that would freak most of you out. I can only imagine the amount of bacteria that must have been in/ on this food for it to defeat my immune system so spectacularly.
yikes just yikes Clerks cartoon quote
I am especially deeply sorry for falling short on my co-host duties last month. ๐Ÿ˜ž


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, Chemist Ken, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

July 7 question - What would make you quit writing?


Death. I never want to quit. 
I did put actual physical writing on hold last month. But I thought about my characters. 
So death is what would make me quit. 

A worldwide disaster could take down the publishing industry. (Anyone else watch "The Tomorrow War"? That could stop me from publishing, but not from writing. I just wouldn't be able to share my work. (Though if I keep revising, I'm not sharing my work either... so I guess the aliens are winning... ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜…)

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

#IWSG Let the Draft Sit


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria, and myself!

June 2 question - For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Fractions of Existence sat in the proverbial drawer for several months. It came out for editing multiple times. I rewrote the opening dozens of times. (Ultimately scraping what I consider to be a paragraph that would tie the whole series together.) Eventually, I self-published because I had an Urban Fantasy that wasn't like the other Urban Fantasy books. (There's no detective, for example.) It's also sort of a Paranormal Romance, though it isn't about shifters and the romance isn't actually the primary focus of the book and certainly not of the series. It fell into the New Adult category because a main character is in college -- but, unlike other New Adult books, it isn't full of smut or focused on lusty scenes. (And no matter what Amazon says, it isn't a fairy tale.) I hired a professional editor, a university English professor, and two friends to help me get the book as perfect as possible.

The sequel, Proof of Existence, I started writing in 2017. I've been rewriting since 2018. I used a different writing method to start the book, and the result was a stall in my process and holes I couldn't figure out how to fix. I think I've finally figured out what's been bugging me so much. So I'm going to try again. ๐Ÿคž My summer plan is to work on that.

Lumber Of The Kuweakunks originally only sat for a week. I entered it into a contest, but it didn't exactly fit the type of story they wanted. A few months later, I added a little to it and published soon after. 

Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters went straight to the editing service I used for FoE, but a different person got the project. She found exactly one typo and thus gave me a discount on the service. Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier sat for a week and then had two beta readers before being published. Both of those books were on my previous blog, broken down for the A to Z Challenge. Meaning I had a deadline.  

I guess nonfiction/ reference and short stories I write and edit much faster and with far more confidence. But the big fiction stories that are part of a series, those I let sit longer because I'm trying to be more of a perfectionist. (Not that people actually agree on the English language enough for there to ever be perfection in publication.) 

TL;DR = A week to several years.

Also going on in my world right now:

I can't get pictures to upload to Blogger while using Chrome. I found a very annoying and time consuming work-around, but I'd much prefer a fix. A solution that doesn't include deleting 546 images on this blog, 711 images on the Operation Awesome blog, and 217 images from the A to Z Challenge blog. (I deleted a handful, just to see if that would free up space. No, it changed nothing.) My cache and history are clear. Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?

On Facebook, a friend shared a cute comic that reminded her of a scene in my Fractions of Existence book. ๐Ÿ’— If we're Facebook friends, you can check it out. ๐ŸŒผ

WEP has the "Great Wave" flash fiction coming up this month, so there's that to look forward to.

Over at Operation Awesome

The June PassOrPages query contest annoucement is posted! Adult Fantasy. It'd be great if you'd like / share to spread the word:

Finally there are GIVEAWAYS!
Wednesday, June 2 (today) is the last day to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of a new book! (USA only.)
And a giveaway for a fantasy book just started. ๐Ÿณ‍๐ŸŒˆ  

Thank you for visiting my blog today. ๐Ÿ˜Š I appreciate your time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

#NewBook A Quick Spell by @pjlauthor Fantasy Anthology


We are bewitched by what we can't see.

Conjure delight with a fantastical collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to delight your imagination no matter how busy your day is.

Will you believe? 

What made you decide to write short fiction?

A: It started with Twitter. Jocelyn Rish created a hashtag called #15tt (15 Minute Tweet Tales.) You were to use 140 characters to tell a story. You had 15 minutes to write it. I had been doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge every April and I wanted a theme, but 140 characters seemed too short for it, so I used Jocelyn’s prompts to write 100 word flash fiction for the challenge. When it was over, I kept doing them because they were great writing exercises. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a collection of 100 word flash fiction at MIParaCon that I got the idea to expand those stories to 200 words and put them into a collection. By then I had a ton of them so it was easy to pick out 45 and expand them.

About the Author 
Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 

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

#fantasy #amreading #fantasybook #shortstories #flashfiction #magic #myths #angels #vampires #mythicalcreatures #amreadingfantasy #ilovefantasy
#shortstoriesofinstagram #shortstoriescollection #shortstoriesbywomen #shortstoriesoninstagram #booknerd #ilovereading #bookseries #readersofinstagram #readersofig #amreadingnow #newbook #newrelease #Bookishpost #patricialynne #patriciajopsehine #kindleunlimited

Short on time, but still craving a good story? Grab A Quick Spell and delight your imagination in as little as five minutes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

#IWSG Readers Responses Can Be Funny


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

MAY 5 question -

Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

It's gone now. But, once upon a time on Goodreads, someone reviewed "Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters" and said it did not educate them on how to write a setting or outline a book. 


Well... that's true. 
It also doesn't teach you how to clean a fish, change the oil in your car, or do advanced calculus. 

I mean... was I surprised that someone didn't actually read the title of the book? Well, I guess I didn't expect it. But some people just want to complain. 
Anyway, the review vanished. Maybe someone at Goodreads took it down? Maybe the reviewer realized the book wasn't called "how to write settings and outline books" so they took it down themselves? I don't know. 
I didn't take the review personally. I mean, if you can't even get through reading the title, how useful could anything I wrote actually be to you? 

The A to Z Challenge is done for 2021. The survey is still open for a few days -- 112 people answered so far. 
I'm sending caring thoughts to co-host John Holton because storms and tornados are ripping through his hometown right now. Hope you're staying safe, John! 

Monday, May 3, 2021

#atozchallenge Reflection 2021, Scavenger Hunt results, and Bout of Books

Reflections 2021 #atozchallenge

winner #atozchallenge 2021 Another challenge down. I had visits from 28 countries in April.Map of J's visitors 2021 #atozchallenge
(United States, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Hungary, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Bahrain, Nigeria, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Myanmar, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan.)

I enjoyed the challenge. (I didn't enjoy the days this month where I didn't have power or wifi, thanks to the new neighbors who ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿš’๐Ÿš“๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ‍๐Ÿš’๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ‍๐Ÿš’ shook up the lives of everyone in the area. It's fine, we made do.

I absolutely plan to host again next year. 

Considering that two people tried to sign up Instagram as a blog, yes, I think we need to add Instagram as a social media follow option (like we offer for Twitter and Facebook) on the Master List. 

I feel the option of an email verification on the Master List so people would have the option of fixing their own mistakes or even removing their blogs if they drop out before A. Having the sign-up open closer to April 1 this year meant not as many people dropped out before the first day. (See image below. This year, only 6% of people never posted for the challenge despite signing up.) Also, when the Theme Reveal and Master List were open at the same time, a lot of people didn't understand they had to sign up for both to be on both lists. I saw a reduction in complaints this year by not opening the Master List sign-up until the Theme Reveal closed.

"Are you interested in writing a guest post for the A to Z blog in the next few months (June thru February)? If so, please answer with a way to contact you (such as email or Twitter), the month you are interested in (if applicable), and your alphabet-themed post idea."
If you haven't taken the survey yet, please READ that whole thing. Two people said yes, but left no contact information, month, or idea. Six people left contact info, but no month or idea. ๐Ÿคท

Speaking of the survey, currently 39 people remember being visited by me. ๐Ÿ˜
Actually, if you read onward, you'll see that I visited every blog on the Master List this year.
๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜ Right now, I'm the most visited co-host! Aww, thanks!

๐Ÿ˜ฒ Unexpected! My blog views actually dropped during the challenge. That is the first time I've experienced this. This was my tenth year doing the challenge. My theme reveal was popular. But my February and March IWSG posts both had more views than even my most popular A to Z. ๐Ÿคฏ

Which Double Down on the #AtoZChallenge 2021 with these Bonus Challenges did I do?

  • Ask the audience in March to give you prompts/ ideas for April - interaction challenge
  • More comments on your blog - marketing challenge
    • Check how many comments you've previously gotten during the A to Z Challenge
    • I received 237 comments this year! 191 last year. 
  • Take a gamble on lesser-known authors - marketing philanthropy challenge
    • Mention one debut author for each letter day  -- I did this on my posts at Operation Awesome in April.
  • Mix a second blog hop in during the A to Z Challenge - time management challenge

The A to Z Challenge 2021 Scavenger Hunt! Here's how I did:

No "Eye of the Tiger," or tiger fish, tiger biscuits, tiger fabric, or all these memory posts on the horrors of 2020 but no one mentioned "Tiger King"? 
I saw one T post with Tigger. Did anyone find a Tiger post?

Sometimes the posts I found mention the word, and sometimes it is just visible in a picture that day. And I used a Nutella post for nuts because none of the food bloggers used nuts on N day! (Am I alone in liking Nut Tossies?)

I finished visiting everyone at 6:35 AM · May 2, 2021 -- If you are on the Master List and didn't get a comment from me, please let me know. Be sure to check your spam folder.

Thank you to Lisa (scroll to comments). She found a TIGER on T day! And thanks to Tamy for posting a tiger painted on train cars. 

"But J, what was wrong with my entry on the Master List? How can I avoid this mistake?"
There were fewer problems this year. But let us take a moment to REFLECT and learn from mistakes. Maybe even find a way to help the team prevent these issues in the future.
#atozchallenge 2021 blog fails

  • The biggest problem is if there are no A to Z blog posts to comment on. (Or no posts from 2021 at all.)
  • In one case, the comment area was closed.
  • Instagram is a social media site, not a blog.
  • —
  • — Blogs do not start with wordpress. " is a platform for self-publishing that is popular for blogging and other works. It is owned and operated by Automattic, Inc." It's a company, not a blog. This is a link to a link that opens a dashboard for the blogger. It isn't the right link.
  • — I couldn't comment without having an account on that platform. Nope.

GIVEAWAY: Win the Ultimate Literary Bundle from Storiarts! "Where style meets literature. Every Storiarts purchase helps kids worldwide learn to read, write, & create." And small-batch coffee in three genres-- Fantasy, Romance, and Gothic.

QUESTIONS:  Bout of Books
  • How far did you get in the challenge?
  • Are you doing Bout of Books 31?
  • Did you do the scavenger hunt? Should I create another for 2022?
  • Did you take the survey?


#AtoZChallenge 2021 badge
Please consider getting a shirt.

Follow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey is the Facebook fan page of @JLenniDorner — Please click Like and Follow! Follow @JLenniDorner on Pinterest please Instagram of @JLenniDornerCheck out Operation Awesome please
J Lenni Dorner (he/him ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ or ๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿฝ they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

Friday, April 30, 2021

#atozchallenge Z is for Zombie Flamingoes, Zoo, Zoltack, Zalka, Zero, Zombie-in-Chief

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z

An alphabet of J's favorite blogs

Z is for
I love THIS blog because:
  • a blog about nothing, and anything
  • The letter Z is used in the name 

#atozchallenge Usborne books for Children

“Peek Inside the Zoo” is from the fantastic ‘Peek Inside’ board book series, which is a great non-fiction introduction for older toddlers thru elementary age. In this book, they will ‘peek’ under leaves and behind doors to discover noisy parrots, crazy monkeys, tall giraffes and more. This series has many other themes as well, like sea, dinosaurs, farm, animal homes, bug homes, snowy places, and more!

USA flag "Shipping only available to USA and  military bases from the provided Usborne link." - Kathryn Mowers (Consultant for the Dorner family)

J's TBR pile #atozchallenge

Z is for these books on my TBR:

  • Black Hellebore (Heroes of Falledge Book 1) by Nicole Zoltack
    • "brings him back to life, but he’s a, well, a superhero now"
    •  Action & Adventure Fantasy
  • Tales of Superhuman Powers: 55 Traditional Stories from Around the World by Csenge Virรกg Zalka
    • Written by a fellow A to Z team member
    • less well-known stories
  • Zero Sum Game (Cas Russell Book 1) by S. L. Huang
    • "math-genius mercenary"
    • "someone possessing unimaginable power"
    • eccentric mathematical superhero fiction
  • Zombie-in-Chief: Eater of the Free World: A Novel Take on a Brain-Dead Election by Scott Kenemore 
    • "Political satire with bite—and braaaains."
    • This might offend some people. USA flag 
    • a proud "Zombie American" ๐ŸงŸ

Giveaway: Win the Ultimate Literary Bundle from Storiarts! "Where style meets literature. Every Storiarts purchase helps kids worldwide learn to read, write, & create." And small-batch coffee in three genres-- Fantasy, Romance, and Gothic. 

  • Have you been to this favorite blog of mine?
  • Have you read any of these books?
  • Please remember to take the A to Z after survey tomorrow!
  • How do you feel about zombies?

#AtoZChallenge 2021 badge
Please consider getting a shirt.

Thanks to:
Amazon, for feeding my TBR habit this month. ๐Ÿ˜…
(Image of the offer to select accounts, mine being one.)
The A to Z team, especially Jayden for the chats. And @iZombieJMH for the graphics!
Thanks to C. Lee McKenzie and Jemima Pett for answering the last-minute email, Kathryn Mowers for coming up with another set of books, Olga Godim for the offer of X, and Denise Covey for forwarding the message.
And to everyone who commented on this blog this month!