Monday, August 22, 2022

#BoutOfBooks 35 Readathon Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Last Instagram Challenge:

Total number of finished books: 5
Titles of finished books:
Write Better Right Now: The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style by Mary-Kate Mackey
Small! by Hannah Moffatt @MissDePlume
White Lies by Sara de Waard @deWaardSara

Interestingly, a common theme among those books was unjustified self-blame. (Not writing enough, parents divorcing, a death.)

Kristy and the Snobs: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #10) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix) by Ann M. Martin
Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #11) by Ann M. Martin

My GOALS during Bout of Books 35:
  1. Finish reading 3 books ✔
  2. Take part in the IG challenges ✔
  3. Write 3 book reviews ✔
  4. Interact with at least 10 of my fellow BoB participants ✔
  5. Take part in at least one Twitter chat ✔

Story Graph @JLenniDorner

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

#WEP #NativeAmerican #ShortStory and #BoutOfBooks Day 3

WEPFF image

Moon Phase on May 15 1994 image

The following is 😉fictionalized.
This is about a teen reuniting with his biological parents, and discovering the challenges of reproducing. (Tag)
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
If it were real, the reunion would have probably occurred on May 15, 1994.
The Moonlight Sonata is full of ups and downs, as is this piece, which takes place under the moonlight.
999 Words FCA

  • A Dakota fire hole has two holes in the ground connected by a tunnel. 🔥 The fire is in one hole, and smoke filters out the other. This contains the blaze and makes it more difficult to see from a distance.
  • The paperwork person referenced was a social worker.
  • The American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed in August 1978. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in November 1978. Both of those events are after the first pregnancy in the story.

The Reunion

Though he hasn't seen his parents since he was preschool age, over a decade ago, recognition is instantaneous. The three hug and cry from early to late twilight. Father lights the Dakota fire hole. Mother prepares pine tea. He sits on a large, flat stone on the lush forest floor. It feels familiar, as though he had sat on this spot a thousand times before.

"We come this way each year after the flowers start to bloom. Some years, when summer is too disagreeable, we head to the cabin where you were born," Father says as he checks the fire.

The teen boy has millions of questions. How much time will there be to get answers? He looks from the hidden fire to the moonlight. The Waxing Crescent offers some light in the night sky. He scribbles a question in his notebook. 

"Hmm," Father contemplates after reading the question. "We are not concerned with calendars or clocks. Nature cares little for man's time trackers. The moon was brighter than this the night before you were born, though not entirely full. Summer had turned to her hottest days."

"I confess I prayed you would be born to ease my discomfort. Though I also hoped you would wait. An infant that cannot be cooled is difficult to silence."

His mother's remark makes him chuckle, for dysarthria from severely damaged laryngeal muscles has rendered him mute. Hot summer days meant his real birthday probably was in August. The paperwork person might have picked well when she guessed. He writes another question.

Mother tends to the tea brewing on the heated rocks. "Our grandparents were friends. My grandfather brought your father to our family's farm."

"I had traveled with my father's uncle for some time before that. He was the one you encountered last time you searched for us."

The boy smiles. He had been so glad to find an uncle. The elder passed on vast knowledge in the months they spent together. 

"My parents hoped I would marry a different boy. Your father encouraged me to marry another."

"I loved her and wanted the easier life that a pale husband could provide."

Mother reaches for Father's hand and kisses it. "Love is not about an easy life. We wed, and soon I was with child."

Father squeezes her hand. "I was joyful and terrified. There was no guarantee the community would protect our child. I knew there was a better chance they would be safe if I left. While praying on it in the woods, I encountered another from our tribe. He told me the pales were harming our women in childbirth, taking motherhood from them. They take and raise the baby without love or guidance. Born as a villain, raised like a slave, then abandoned to harshness and early graves."

"Terror for our family gripped my soul," Mother says as she pulls a fur around her shoulder. "What were we to do? How could we stay safe?"

"There was time, though not much, before winter set in and her stomach would plump. So I learned all that I could. A midwife gave me lessons, books showed me what to watch for, and her mother imparted wisdom. We carried little with us and moved away from the world." Father opens a pouch filled with dried meat. He passes it around before eating some. 

"Winter was too cruel. And we did not plan early or well enough. It was around this time, when the flowers first bloom, that our child came too soon and without life."

Mother stares at her jerky. The new leaves rustle with the soft breeze. "It took time, but I still wanted a child. We got better at living in the wilderness."

"I negotiated and traded with certain hunters, fishers, and farmers. I helped one build a cabin in exchange for occasional use."

The boy nodded. He remembered the cabin a bit. 

"It was not long after a pumpkin feast that I realized you were inside me." Mother distributes the pine tea. The boy is glad he brought a cup on his journey. "We stayed in the cabin much longer than usual. I was determined that you would live."

"We did all we could to keep you with us. I taught you survival skills from the moment you took your first steps. You learned so fast," Father claps his hands. "You made us proud every day."

Tears roll down the boy's face. He shakes as he writes an apology for wandering off, being taken, and not finding them sooner. His parents embrace him and assure him that the blame is not his. Mother wraps him in her fur as her tears mingle with his.

"We tried to find you. There was very little help," Father stares at the fire.


Sunlight breaks through the lowest branches before the boy asks his biggest question. His parents frown.

"No, son, your mother and I cannot go with you. Our home is here, among the trees. This is the safest place. You are welcome to stay with us. We have helped many in situations such as ours. This is our path in the world."

The boy explains his medical needs and asks how he could survive without modern care. He writes that laws have changed, that it's safe now.

"Nothing we have can do what you ask. How well you would live, I cannot say. Never trust pales to keep their word regarding your safety. They think death is our only use. Pox blankets may change form, but continue to exist."

He pleads for them to come back with him. To not leave him with strangers for years to come. Mother gives him an address and a note. 

"This woman of science lives near the farm our family had. She openly shares knowledge and compassion. The note requests she houses and cares for you. We will return to this spot again. Soon after the flowers bloom each year. Meet us, if you can."

Image of moons of August 1979 image Temperature in the area August 1979

The boy's actual birthday is probably early August. The paperwork person picked August 21 because that was the day she filled out the form and the boy did not give her a different answer.

Feel free to wish the author, me, 🎈 a happy birthday. 🎂 Legally, it's this weekend. 

If you look at my post from Monday, you'll see the book I used to plot this writing offering. I don't normally plot, but this did help me decide how to tell the story.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) helps Native American children stay with their tribe.
The Dad in the story is right. There's a new ""pox blanket"" intent on taking away rights of Native Americans.
The ICWA is in danger of being defeated. Registered US voters can help by signing a petition.
You can also contact your elected officials by other means about the matter.

Today's Instagram Challenge:
Today's prompt is AUTO-BUY AUTHOR. Who's your "auto" author? Whose book do you auto-buy or auto-request from the library?
#boutofbooks #boutofbooks35 #bobigphoto
Victoria Aveyard ~
#Fantasy #SpeculativeFiction #FutureFantasy
image of Victoria Aveyard books image of Victoria Aveyard books

Day of the challenge: Day 3
What I read today:
Small! by Hannah Moffatt @MissDePlume

Total number of finished books: 1
Titles of finished books:
Write Better Right Now: The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style by Mary-Kate Mackey
storygraph image

My GOALS during Bout of Books 35:
  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the IG challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews
  4. Interact with at least 10 of my fellow BoB participants
  5. Take part in at least one Twitter chat ✔

Operation Awesome Happening at
Stacy Stokes answers #13Questions in OA's Debut Author Spotlight #giveaway
Teen & Young Adult Magical Realism Thiller
Your chance to win a signed copy. (USA only)

  • Did you enjoy the short story?
    • Did your parents fear you would be kidnapped by the government at birth?
    • If you are a parent, did you fear your baby would be taken away at birth?
    • Were you born a villain? Hated for your bloodline?
  • Did you consider looking at the ICWA petition to protect Native American families?
  • How do you celebrate your birthday, if you acknowledge it?
  • Have you read any of Victoria Aveyard's books?
  • Ever taken part in a read-a-thon?
  • Have you ever heard of
  • Did you check out the signed-book giveaway?

Monday, August 15, 2022

#BoutOfBooks 35 Day 1 - Writing Reference Book

bout of books 35 image
I'm participating in #BoutOfBooks 35 starting August 15. The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.

Goodreads @JLenniDorner ID 7120981 bookshelf view Bout of Books shelves

How many times have I participated in Bout of Books? 
  1. May 2015
  2. Aug 2015
  3. Jan 2016
  4. May 2016
  5. Aug 2016
  6. Jan 2017
  7. May 2017
  8. Aug 2017
  9. Jan 2018
  10. May 2018
  11. Aug 2018
  12. Jan 2019
  13. May 2019
  14. Aug 2019
  15. May 2020
  16. Aug 2021
  17. Aug 2022 
Please visit me on Goodreads to see what I've read during past BoB readathons!

Write Better Right Now: The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style by Mary-Kate Mackey

I picked this book because I haven't been as focused on my writing goals lately as I'd like to be. In addition to reading and reviewing, this book has activities. So, as personal accountability, here's my "work."

Pg 20: Create an ideal reader. Give them a name and identity. 
clipart rendering of siblings and cat reading and gaming Using my top 15 commenters, I created an anagram and antonym name:
and her brother
(and their cat, Lil 🐈 ).

The Blue-Aridity siblings love reading, blogging, attending stand-up comedy nights, and playing games. Antoinette enjoys hiking and swimming. Braxton likes cooking, learning obscure facts, and caring for his sister and cat. Antoinette has dated a few guys, but none she ever considered to be "mister right." Braxton is pansexual and had a serious relationship with a trans person, but they passed away from a rare disorder. Antoinette has worked some office jobs and is currently employed with a landscaping business where she is sometimes in the office but also helps with flower garden design. Braxton works as a dishwasher at a big restaurant while he attends community college to study culinary arts. Lil likes wet food of the fish varieties and refuses to hunt small animals. She's pretty affectionate, for a cat. 

Antoinette reads books to escape to a world of love and adventure. Braxton enjoys some romance in his books, but especially likes when there's humor included, and absolutely loves when a book teaches him an obscure fact or inspires him to cook something. Both siblings like it when the main characters have a pet (one who lives, preferably) in a novel. 

My writing provides entertainment and often contains bits of romance, obscure facts, and humor. Pets do appear in longer stories. I like to slip in the characters' favorite foods to reveal something about them and appeal to the reader's sense of taste. 

Pages 49-51

It's pretty clear that this book is meant for non-fiction. But I've committed to doing the work, so I'll just do my best here.

In my blog post about bout of books, I am saying that I am committed to making this readathon count.

In my book (Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier) about writing book reviews, I am saying that there is a checklist to make book reviews quick and easy to write, fun to read, and with minimal risk of hurting an author's feelings.

In my book (Fractions of Existence) about urban fantasy characters who appear human, I am saying that they are trying to save human life on Earth from antagonists who believe Earth is a prison for souls, but the protagonist group has no chance of winning while the group is fractured

Page 69, Scar or Tattoo, is an exercise useful to fiction and nonfiction writers. Pick a mark on your body, list facts about it (how and when, etc), and then create an order for the story. Then try the story in a different order.

Pages 84-85

This part is the Hero's Journey story arc, which is useful in fiction. For this exercise, I'm told to plot a story. As my WEP post is due this week, I'm going to use that. As it requires a drawing, I'll be placing an image here.

As WEP is only 1000 words, I may need to cut the story down to just steps 7, 8, and 9. The rest can maybe be flashbacks.


The part about interviews gave me a few new questions to use for the Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight next year. 


Pages 109-110

My WEP as an inverted pyramid, with the information from most important to least.

Parents found a way to keep their baby and protect their family.
It was a time when the law stole babies and sterilized women.
A choice had to be made to risk staying in society or being homeless and off-grid. 
Food and shelter are much more difficult to get when off-grid, especially while evading authorities. 
Pregnancy is scarier and more difficult with no medical care.
Mastering living away from a society that wants you dead makes the idea of returning nearly impossible.

inverted pyramid with words

Page 125 Personal  Essay

(The book discusses sensory details. It leaves out scents or smells, as well as sight or visuals. It does separate touch and feel though. And includes time.)

To include:
A teenager finds his birth parents in the forest under a full moon. 

Sounds: Animals settling in, the wind rustling the new leaves, 
Tastes: Dried meat, pine tea
Touch: Familiar large, flat stones to sit on. 
Scents: Clean air, earth, light smoke, 
Sights: The light from the night sky and the Dakota fire hole
Feelings: Wonderment, gratitude, guilt, worry, love
Time: Night to Morning

Open with Certainty: The teen believes his parents could rejoin society with him. 
Confusion/ Chaos: In telling him about his birth, they reveal why they won't rejoin society. 
Shift: He realizes that, as much as he wants his real family, he must choose between them or the modern medicine and lifestyle.


Page 125 Editing

In my flash "fiction" about this teen and his biological parents, I am saying that it was harder for Native Americans to feel safe reproducing. 
It is being told because enough people don't understand or fully grasp what it means to be so hated by society that even the law once suggested death was the only use for your life. 
“‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian,’ Mr. Scott said.” -- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
It connects the reader to the greater world because most readers probably have never specifically thought about it.
The point is that it's a heartbreaking truth.
In a word, this is about: love. 
The best illustration of that is the parents leaving a more comfortable life, sacrificing basic needs (shelter, stable food sources, a stable water supply, community, etc) to protect their offspring and each other.


Page 152 has a good list of words to search a document for when looking to tighten up verbs to strengthen sentences. 
Page 158 suggests counting the words in each paragraph. can do that for you for free.
Page 165 Put first and last paragraph sentences down, and see if they communicate well enough. 
Page 194 suggests reading the work from the last sentence to the first. Then read it out loud.
Page 206 requires creating a writing group.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

#IWSG Original Story - Plus News about #WriteClubDFW and #AtoZChallenge

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

Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

Aug 3 question -

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

And I have been rejected by dozens of agents because of it. Which is one reason I self-publish.
I've found a few accomplished writers in the speculative fiction world who have read parts or all of certain stories I have (mostly Fractions of Existence), and agreed that it is unique and unlike most other Speculative Fiction or Urban Fantasy novels out there.

Part of why it's killing me that WriteClub2022 was canceled is that I actually entered this year. 

I have a story of Royce, a 21-year-old Incanter who isn't using his magic because it has been predicted he'd destroy millions of lives. Not using magic makes him an outcast. As he's dying, he considers magic, and it not only brings him back to life but sets him on the path of destruction. The real question becomes, in a male-only country that's mostly eradicated diversity, is destruction evil or heroic? 

He learns that his persecuted father worked for the department that handles artificial insemination. There are women in the world, but they're kept in pods in a permanent vegetative state. His father's true crime was waking a woman, learning magic from her, and creating a child without permission. Royce's magic would wake them all, and absolutely destroy the lives of their captors.

Does that sound interesting?
Have you read something similar? 
Is that story something original or something you, as a reader, would want?

#WEP is coming later this month.
But for the Moonlight Sonata prompt, I have something special planned. An origin story of sorts. The inspiration came due to last month's #IWSG posts. I realized that several people wish they could live in a fictional world where I am a villain. That's an ideal world for some people. A world where killing me would be both legal and encouraged. (Obviously, not everyone picked such worlds. Lots of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fans out there.) Eh, that's just how it goes. A little story about two parents fleeing from the world to birth a baby safely is coming later this month.

Please also visit: The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club on Goodreads.

@JLenniDorner Vocabulary award Woo! Celebrating myself.

Tune in later this year to find out if I'm still legally married.
"Respect for Marriage Act will enshrine and protect marriage equality and make sure legal, same-sex and interracial marriages are recognized."
My spouse isn't a Native American. 
🤔 Err... my person to which I share my life and devote my highest love isn't a Native American. "Due to a profound lack of interest...there will be no WRiTE CLUB contest this year. #WRiTECLUBDFW"
I was really hoping to get in this year. I wanted the raw feedback on my latest project. It's hard to imagine, with the success of so many winners, that not enough people entered this year.

bout of books 35 I'm participating in #BoutOfBooks 35 starting August 15. The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.

The A to Z team is hoping for feedback about our possible new graphics. Things are happening at, so please take a moment to check out the latest posts.

Check out Operation Awesome on Thursday, please. We have a question for writers!