Friday, December 15, 2023

Movie Inspired Flash Fiction #WEP #WEPFF

 I'm absolutely devastated that this is the final WEP flash fiction challenge! I love doing these. Given my own volunteering experience in the writing world though, I can see how it must have been a great deal of work for the team. I am very grateful to have found them and to have enjoyed so many of their challenges over the years. I feel like I've grown as an author by working on flash fiction because of WEP. I learned many lessons that blew my mind. (Such as, even with a strong male name from an Egyptian god, readers still need more context clues to know the gender of a character. It was relevant to the story, but every commenter thought the character was female. Whoops.)

Given that this is the final WEPFF, this is likely the final whole-scene sneak-peek installment of my forthcoming high fantasy story. I could post the drawing of character sizes again. Instead... there's been a commercial playing for a resort near me, and I feel like this ad does a great job showing sizes. Please imagine one brown wolf to be slightly larger and older-looking. 

Origin Story of the Seven

By J Lenni Dorner

Word count: 627 Full Critique Acceptable and VERY WELCOME ๐Ÿ˜Š

Movie Inspiration: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist PG-13 2008 ‧ Comedy/Romance

"How did you become one of the Seven?" Phin Fynn asked between bites.

Monoghan licked his lips. "The free woman who sings the song of happiness went missing. Humans blamed my pack. They were preparing to enter our territory, to cut and burn the forest in search of her or her remains. I went to find her, knowing she was not with us. That was when I met Ellanorah."

"The rogue?" Candra asked as she moved closer.

Monoghan nodded. "I didn't know her. We bonded over a maze that requires specialized movements to traverse. She was on a quest for a certain fluffy bunny. Sounded tasty to me." 
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Where's Fluffy band logo

Candra gasped.

Monoghan laughed. "It had unique properties. Magic that brought harmony to those who found it. Those who failed, who found the wrong one, were fated to break societal norms and destroy all of their relationships."

Phin Fynn stomped his feet. "Get back to the good parts!"

"Impatient one. Both the fluffy bunny and the singer were thought to be in a secret keep. Ellanorah walked right in. I could have never gained access without her. We learned there was another keep. Clues were given to get there. When we arrived, Ellanorah left me to fend for myself. She knew someone there, the man to whom she was once betrothed." 

"What?" Candra grabbed Monoghan. "Ellanorah? Bethrothed? Ellanorah the rogue?"

"How is it that you know her name, yet had no idea who I was?" Monoghan asked as he freed himself from her grip.

"Most of the Seven are considered myths. Especially you. Stories parents tell to teach lessons or instill fear. But Ellanorah? She's a hero to the repressed everywhere. A symbol of hope. To suggest she isn't real is to say the world could never be better. Who needs such darkness in their heart and mind?" Candra crossed her arms.

"Right. Well, your symbol of hope was kissing the man. He promised her a blade or something, I wasn't paying much attention. As I was leaving, Ellanorah asked to join my search for the singer."

"Why?" Phin Fynn asked, bouncing on the log where he sat.

Monoghan chewed a piece of meat. "I didn't ask. I was just glad of the company. We found the singer, not in a keep, but in a needle tree. She had been run off by a villager. Learning that the people actually missed her and wanted her back, she agreed to go home. Except now Ellanorah had told her about the fluffy bunny, so she wanted to find it. Bringing harmony to her people, well, that's what the free woman who sings the song of happiness is all about. Instead of going home, she followed our clues, figuring them out for herself after chewing on the riddles alone." 
Caroline name definition

"You weren't with her?" Candra asked as she poked the fire.

"Not at that moment. Ellanorah wanted to show me the cave where wolves are thought to have originated. A very special place." Monoghan rubbed his cheeks. "Very special."

Candra's eyes widened. Monoghan looked away, staring at the sky with a grin he could not hide.

"What?" Phin Fynn looked back and forth between them. 

They both replied, "Nothing."

"Anyway," Monoghan cleared his throat. "We eventually found her path. She was easy for me to track by then. And sure enough, that led us to the fluffy bunny."

Phin Fynn clapped. "Yay, you both completed your quests. Then what?"

"Ellanorah showed me that the villagers I knew were using me. That I deserved more life than they 
allowed me to have. The quests, I wouldn't miss them. I was missing journeys, trips more important than destinations and goals. Together, we set off to learn more about the world. The other five joined us later." 

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist poster

It wasn't easy to combine my high-fantasy story with a modern-day romance set in NYC and parts of New Jersey. Honestly, this would have been easier with Existence character Jezebel taking on Norah's role. If you haven't seen this fun film, here's a quick SPOILER HEAVY summary. Nick is heartbroken and trying to get back with his ex. Norah is really into music. Nick is in a (very crappy) band who plays a show, and both Norah and his ex are there. Norah's friend Caroline goes missing. Nick is hoping to find a secret show by the band "Where's Fluffy?" rumored to be in NYC that night. (The band keeps locations a secret, fans have to follow bunny signs and use clues to see them.) Norah also wants to see the show, but Caroline has to be found. They locate her in a Christmas tree ๐ŸŽ„ costume. Nick and Norah eventually hook up at a famous recording studio her dad owns. (Her dad is why she's able to get into every club they search.) She breaks up with a guy who is using her. He gets over his ex. They find "Where's Fluffy?" but decide the real journey is each other. 

I hope you enjoyed this flash fiction based on a movie that is based on a book. ๐Ÿ˜„
Please check out the WEP site and visit all the others in the hop.

WEP WEPFF Flash fiction Dec 2023 badge

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Who is a Book Review for according to #IWSG members

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

Dec 6 question -

When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

I wrote "Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier" because I feel book reviews are absolutely critical for an author.
In this reference book, I suggest starting reviews with the following:
  • Was the book good?
  • Include the fundamentals, such as the book title and name of the author (be sure gender terms ๐Ÿšน๐Ÿšบ๐Ÿšป๐Ÿณ‍๐ŸŒˆ are correct).
  • How is the book interesting within its genre?
  • How did you get this book? You want to write an honest and unbiased review, so it's important to mention if you were given the book for free.
  • Would you recommend it, or not, and to who? The review might mention if you feel the book appeals to sci-fi fans, cancer survivors, sporty teens, etc.
  • Is this the sort of book you usually enjoy reading? If you don't like horror books, and you're reviewing one, how much you like or dislike the book has a different weight than someone who frequently reads that genre. People who read reviews will appreciate knowing this.
  • Including a short excerpt that was especially powerful, funny, moving, or meaningful to you is a great way to hook a reader and boost an author's confidence. Or the excerpt might be an example of why you hated the book, in which case the inclusion gives review readers a chance to see if their feelings would match yours.
  • Stimulating. What about the book held your interest? Or why didn't you finish reading it?
  • Author Supporter ๐Ÿ“ฃ Would you read something from this author again?

There are many more tips in the book. I've been using this method to write reviews for years and it really streamlines the process for me. I feel that my method creates reviews that help readers and authors alike.

Some authors shy away from writing reviews because they worry about hurting the feelings of fellow authors by giving less than 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  Which might be why less than 10% of buyers tend to leave a review. There was a time when it was said that hitting a certain amount of reviews (10, 50, 200...) would result in more promotion from the Amazon algorithm. This has now been denied by the company. However, surveys suggest that book buyers are more inclined to buy a book if it has some reviews. 

Please visit author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords Writing Book Reviews As An Author


Could you please give me your opinion -- based on the above summary of part of my book about writing reviews, does it seem like I review for readers, authors, or both?

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
John, on December 25, will present: A'phabet Day or No "L" Day, a day to skip the 'L' in all your correspondences and communications - written or otherwise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

#IWSG #Nanowrimo

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Nov 1 question - November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated?

There's the link. Buddy if you'd like.
Dealing with multiple family traumas and dramas right now. 

I'd really rather you read and comment on my previous post. It's an excerpt from the short story I'll work on during NaNoWriMo, if I get to write at all. We'll see.

I'll try to catch up on blogging when family problems are more under control. 

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
It is November so Arlee, on Nov 15, will bring you a post for "I Love to Write Day #ILovetoWriteDay"

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Phantom Wolves #WEPFF #wep #flashfiction #excerpt #RPG #fantasy

#WEP October Challenge The Phantom of the Opera 

I'm using another excerpt from my high-fantasy story that uses the roleplaying characters Xavier and Wend play in my Existence book series.

Some of you may recall excerpts in WEP's June & August posts. There's background information there. I'll copy the size chart here as a quick reminder. 
Great Wolf size @JLenniDorner

A great wolf is huge, as you can see. Monoghan is a wolfwere (a wolfwere is a wolf that transforms into a man or a hybrid form). 
This excerpt has the trio near the end of the journey. 
881 words and Full Critiques are most welcome!
Tagline: Phantom wolves battle our heroes.

Phantom Wolves

By J Lenni Dorner

Phantom of the Opera WEPFF Oct 2023 image

"Shh," Monoghan whispered as he crouched down, hiding both of them under his body. Another growl came from the bush. Monoghan snarled in response.
The bush split apart, dead leaves flying in every direction, as the monster shot from its hiding spot. Teeth snapped from a skinless muzzle that lacked a snout. A single vacant, dull blue eye rolled around the socket. The creature growled and howled as it pawed a hole in the ground.
Candra wrapped her arms around Phin Fynn, rocked back and forth, and chanted a spell that would hide her from animals. The creature pounced in their direction.
Monoghan grabbed its neck with his mouth, his teeth tearing into the thin layer of flesh. It howled until its neck snapped off its body. "Next time I tell you to be quiet, be quiet!"
"It was a spell to hide us," Candra whispered.
"I know what it was. Do you think I can't recognize a beginner's level spell when I hear one? It would have only worked on you, not him. And, judging by the taste, it wouldn't have worked at all."
Phin Fynn shoved his way free from Candra's hold. "You can tell just by the taste?"
"I can tell when I've bitten an unnatural being, yes."
"Unnatural?" Candra peered out from under Monoghan to look at the shredded body.
"It wasn't born. That creature was made. Someone used forbidden magic. That creature was a conjured phantom wolf but enlarged to be the same size as I am."
"Weren't you made, too?" Phin Fynn asked as he moved in front of Monoghan and tapped the corpse with his foot.
"No. I was born."
"Great wolves were made once though, weren't they? Just like this one." Phin Fynn poked the ears on the torn-off head.
"How would you know anything about the history of my kind?" Monoghan nudged Candra to her feet with his muzzle.
"I heard stories. It is true, isn't it?"
"No, we were never conjured. We were normal wolves once. The spell turned the first ones to human form, but only in part. And we were never phantoms." The corpse dissipated into a black cloud.
"Then what happened?" Phin Fynn tilted his head and watched Monoghan.
"The human forms were forced to mate. They had wolf pups. The mothers died giving birth. The fathers and pups, fueled with rage, broke free of the spell that caged them and killed the witch. Why do you want to know this? It won't help you sleep at night." Monoghan's stomach churned as he recalled his parents, who were two of those pups, telling him the story.
"It might," Phin Fynn turned and walked away.
"He is the strangest child I have ever known," Candra whispered before following him.
Beyond the destroyed bush, they encountered a clearing littered with fallen trees. Monoghan padded around, examining them, as Phin Fynn strutted along a log, showing off his balance. The trees had long claw marks in the bark.
"Did that Great Wolf you killed do all of this?" Candra asked as she struggled to move closer to Monoghan.
"That was not a Great Wolf. The conjured magic made the phantom my size, but it wasn't what I am. And no, it did not do all of this. There are more."
"Lots!" Phin Fynn exclaimed with glee rather than terror.
All around them, there was movement. Tree branches snapped. Leaves fell. The ground shook. A chorus of growls filled the air with a sickening hum that vibrated to the bone. Monoghan and Candra moved cautiously toward Phin Fynn, who was jumping on a fallen tree, seemingly unaware of the pointy teeth and sharp claws getting nearer.
A howl rang out. A conjured phantom wolf leaped out from a tree. Monoghan concentrated his defense with his mouth and front paws, as he tried to stay near Candra and Phin Fynn. It felt like a lifetime ago since he fought multiple opponents, particularly ones that he didn't know well.

He bit at the leg of the nearest attacker. No blood seeped from the wound. It made no howl of pain. Fear pheromones did not fill the air. Monoghan's eyes widened as the massive phantom wolf fought as though no damage was done.

Weight slammed into his back legs. Pain shot through them as he fell, his whimper echoing. A moment later, he was weighed down by multiple enemies. He flailed around, clawing and biting blindly. 

Monoghan howled for help, a howl meant to be heard by Great Wolves. They would not come, for they had died out long ago. As he caught one of the attackers and tore its head from his body, he was struck with the horrible realization that these phantom beasts were the nearest family he had left. He let out a whimper, not from the pain of the claws that sunk into his back, but from the vision of scattered wolf parts before him. Dead. Every beast dissipating into a black cloud was by his own doing. A howl of heartbreak rang out from deep within him.

"Be better than they are! Prove you are still the hero of legend." Phin Fynn cried as he grabbed Monoghan's muzzle. "Fight, or watch us die." His visage of youth slipped away.

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog
#WEP - October #FlashFiction Challenge - The Phantom of the Opera - Post October 18 - 20
The fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Two life updates.
One, my aunt-in-law is reaching the end of her life. If I am away and late to respond, that is likely why. Thanks in advance for understanding.
Operation Awesome Happening at

Since May 2016, I have been joyfully interviewing debut authors at Operation Awesome. I absolutely loved doing this. It is one of the great honors of my life. However, since Twitter has been taken over, finding my debut authors has been too difficult. I've been failing week after week. The stress is too much. I am leaving the role and possibly the team. Brandy is also leaving. And Kate is hoping to take on a role other than Dear O'Abby. So we need to search for new operatives We're looking for new team members!
If you would be so kind as to share the link, and/or this tweet (X post), and/or the Facebook post that would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Artificial Writing #IWSG, Operation Awesome Operative, and #WEP Flash Fiction Coming Soon

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

Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

Oct 4 question -

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

Answer: Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and writer, said it well in this video. It's about using AI to write a paper or help with school work (or cheat on it), but that could apply to life. Are you learning? Improving your craft?

Adam Conover writer's strike Adam discusses how important getting protections against AI was as a point in ending the writer's strike in Hollywood. I prefer to stand with my fellow writers, even though I am not in a guild. (Maybe one day.)

And then there's the ChatGPT class action lawsuit. Imagine using AI to write a book, and then it being taken down because of a lawsuit. Or worse, being sued yourself. No thanks.

There's another video (I lost the link) I was discussing with my friend yesterday. 
AI wrote something. It was flagged for plagiarism. The original source material was located and it was verified that the AI had, indeed, copied and reused the material. They then confronted the AI about this. It lied and said it did not plagiarize the material. 
Our robots learned to lie.
How long until the AI steals something you wrote? And then lies about it. Who do you think will be believed? 
By the way, AI has also learned how to impersonate lawyers and create fictional cases to support itself in lawsuits. (That's impressive fibbing.) 

I can see how it may be useful for writing a book description, as I tested that in a previous blog post. I do not feel that I would use it much beyond that. 

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog #WEP - October #FlashFiction Challenge - The Phantom of the Opera - Post October 18 - 20
The fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Operation Awesome Happening at

Since May 2016, I have been joyfully interviewing debut authors at Operation Awesome. I absolutely loved doing this. It is one of the great honors of my life. However, since Twitter has been taken over, finding my debut authors has been too difficult. I've been failing week after week. The stress is too much. I am leaving the role and possibly the team. Brandy is also leaving. And Kate is hoping to take on a role other than Dear O'Abby. So we need to search for new operatives We're looking for new team members!
If you would be so kind as to share the link and/or this tweet (X post), that would be greatly appreciated.

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
Zalka Csenge Virรกg and I both wanted this one! 
Oct 11: Myths and Legends Day
Be sure to check out the awesome post our Amazing Dr. Z has planned. 

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Writing a Werewolf Story by L. Diane Wolfe Guest Post #writing #writetip #author

Writing a Werewolf Story

There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to spin a werewolf story. From all out horror to romance, any narrative is possible.

Crafting a werewolf tale isn’t much different from creating any story. There are still the basics to cover.

Characters – I’m a firm believer that characters always come first. It’s easier to create a believable, interesting character and then drop him into any setting than vice versa. With a werewolf story, you have to consider the main characters, at least one of whom will be the wolf. What is their past, their personality, their goals? How did they become a wolf, what do they do in that form, what do they ultimately want?

Setting – Where is the story set? What is the time period, the location? Werewolf stories can be set in the present or the past. (Or even space if you like!) Think of the world you will create and how it affects those who are werewolves and how they will interact.

Plot – This is what moves the story forward. The plot needs to be a cause-and-effect of the characters’ actions. It can begin with an event out of their control, but the rest of the story needs to focus on what they do. Also consider the character arc and how the characters grow and change. Do they become more aggressive? Less? Do they overcome their wolfen challenges?

Conflict – This is what drives a story harder and faster. The stakes need to increase or there is no tension. Is the character trapped and trying to escape? Is he desperate to find a way to change his wolf form? Is he after a mate? And what comes in between him and his goals?

Theme – This is a story’s central idea and can be created during the earlier phases. Themes should be based on the human condition so readers can relate. It can be very simple or complex—redemption, revenge, taking control, etc.

POV – What point-of-view is best? First person single? Dual? Will third person be better? Which one will draw the reader in best? A werewolf POV will add some mystery and possibly unease.

Style – This final element is all on the writer. What is your unique voice? This is something that needs to be developed over time and there is no wrong style. It’s all about what makes you the writer shine brightest.

For more in-depth details on writing a werewolf story, visit these sites:

Whether you decide to write a werewolf story or not, I hope I’ve given you a good template for getting started.

L. Diane Wolfe

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur
Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - Insecure Writer’s Support Group

In Darkness: The Werewolf by L. Diane Wolfe

In Darkness: The Werewolf

By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…
On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive.
Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is shattered by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges?

Romance/Paranormal/Shifters, Romance/Paranormal, Fantasy/Paranormal
eBook ISBN 9781939844927 $3.99


Amazon -
iTunes -
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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Twelve Year Anniversary of the #IWSG

12 years of #IWSG
Silk, pearls, and peony flower - symbols for the 12 anniversary

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

Me! J Lenni Dorner

Sonia Dogra 

Pat Garcia 

Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen  

Meka James

September 6 question -

The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

I found the IWSG via Alex, thanks to the A to Z Challenge. The communities shared ties for a few years. I didn't really identify as "insecure" back then, so I didn't join at first. I really got into it when I took part in a contest.

IWSG in corn husk still on loom IWSG in corn husk IWSG in corn husk brighterIWSG in corn husk highlighted
cornSim @JLenniDorner

In 2017-- I made an IWSG logo by weaving corn husks on a makeshift loom. Ideally, I needed another element to keep the letters held in place. Weaving is not my strongest skill. (Yeah, I'm a Lenni-Lenape Native American, but I only studied weaving for about a year.) Despite this, it turned out that the IWSG really liked my hard work.
My spot on the list dropped down because, ha ha ha, I didn't realize the sign-up page refreshed with a new question every month. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️ Idiot. So I'd keep forgetting to post because I didn't plan the post ahead as I didn't know the prompt. (It is right there, on the sign-up page. OMG, I felt so dumb when I finally figured that out.)
My older posts are gone because the original blog host site I used shut down, and then I ditched my WordPress one. I have some images (as seen above) saved to Dropbox (and Flikr, plus there were many on PhotoBucket before they revoked my courtesy membership paid via another platform to which I was subscribed). I also made a Sim version of myself that year, so I've added it just to be fun.

Coming soon:

Darkness: The Werewolf on its virtual tour

Fantasy feature on Sept 7

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Insecure Writer’s Support Group

A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge
John is planning a post for Sept 8 about International Literacy Day. #LiteracyDay
"International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, ‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’." -

Operation Awesome Happening at
There's a post about #ReadABookDay for you to check out. Especially if you know any debut authors.

Sharing the above Tweet would be appreciated!

Monday, August 28, 2023

Bout of Books 38 #boutofbooks End #readathon #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookreview Christian Garcia Is Fu*king Obsessed

Bout of Books 38! Day 7
On Goodreads, I have bookshelves dedicated to reviews I've written about books I've read during previous BoutOfBooks events. Here's the current one:

Today's Bout of Books prompt is Shelfie

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Christian Garcia Is Fu*king Obsessed by Dori Aleman-Medina

I enjoyed this book because the characters each face a multitude of problems. The time flow from present to past did increase the pace, but it also took away a little something for me. This book is definitely ADULT, but it is also excellent for adults who enjoy YA because there are chapters from a teen POV. It's fascinating how these characters deal with life, but also how they each feel about the situations and solutions. I loved the references to the previous book. The new worker at the bakery made me laugh, but I love the idea. 

My cousin and I opted to share books during a readathon, which is why I read this book. I don't read many books like this or of this genre (romantic suspense), but I enjoyed it. My cousin is friends with the author, I've interviewed the author previously. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Here's an excerpt I enjoyed (some names removed to avoid spoilers) :
"He protected me, Holly, from another person. He kept her from fighting with me. People respected him. He was my boyfriend and kept me safe. That's what he did for me." Throw my paper cup on the floor, I start stamping my feet. {Name} told me that he didn't want to be my boyfriend anymore, but I could be with {name} instead. He was going to just give me away. Who gives people away? 

I read the whole book because I cared about the characters and wanted to know what would happen. There's a dramatic scene at the beginning, and I wanted to know how or if it would ripple changes through all the relationships in the book. I would read another book in this series. 

The book has tragedies, it is realistic fiction, has a happily-enough-for-now ending, multiple erotic scenes, some romance, can be a tear-jerker, and is certainly controversial. It is sometimes haunting, feels action-packed and fast-paced, is full of plot twists, and can be inspirational. It's meaningful, fun, and entertaining. The author feels like an authority on the subject of mental health. The book is diverse in LGBTQIA, Latino people, and people with disabilities- especially mental differences.

Triggers such as strong language, sexual content (including coerced between teens), discussions on suicide, death of a relative, self-harm, violence, drinking, drugs, panic, and anxiety should be noted. I found some minor typos and grammatical errors. 

Power struggles, family, and fitting in are the main themes in the book. It's easily relatable for anyone who has experienced being an outsider or feeling different, has friends who are "found family," or who a parent who put career before family. It can be very emotionally powerful for any reader who can relate. The school Christian works at sounds like a fantasy ideal for many children who need such an amazing support system. Otherwise, it totally holds up a mirror to society because so much of what these characters deal with are real problems. Mental health, ADHD, autism (ASD), behavioral and emotional difficulties, and neurodivergence are obstacles in this book. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Bout of Books 38 #boutofbooks Day 3 #readathon #bookreview Binti by Nnedi Okorafor #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Bout of Books 38! Day 3
On Goodreads, I have bookshelves dedicated to reviews I've written about books I've read during previous BoutOfBooks events. Here's the current one:

My Book Reviews can be found on:
Please follow @JLenniDorner on BookBub Follow and friend author J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads please J Lenni Dorner on Storygraph

Today's Bout of Books prompt is Celebrating Diversity

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

This short fiction was highly enjoyable and very fast-paced. It wove real culture and science fiction together perfectly. The main character is easy to root for because she's such an outsider and so deeply devoted to her love of learning. I got this book on June 15, 2022, and I am so glad I took an hour to finally read it. This is my honest and unbiased review.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves to learn, enjoys science fiction, and wants a great read with a Himba main character from Namibia (Namib) in Southern Africa. In the book, her people have many brilliant advancements and a strong connection to the earth. There is a passage about her hair that feels so deeply meaningful to me and is an excellent summary of her values:

{Heru touches her hair} "You have exactly twenty-one," he said. "And they're braided in tessellating triangles. Is it some sort of code?"
I wanted to tell him that there was a code, that the pattern spoke my family's bloodline, culture, and history. That my father had designed the code and my mother and aunties had shown me how to braid it into my hair.

It's that beautiful? I would give this book five stars on that passage alone. This is what a good diverse book should do, show how even something as easily overlooked as hair can hold such a deep meaning and reveal a great deal about someone. Binti describes herself as having dark skin and extra-bushy hair because her father's side has the blood of the Desert People. 

The best science fiction description in this book, to me, was the ship. "Third Fish was a Miri 12, a type of ship closely related to a shrimp." Space travel inside a living creature that had been genetically enhanced for travel. The ship, being a living beast, makes sounds and quakes because it has functional bowels. A living ship is a beautiful concept. I do not read a lot of scifi, but this really caught my attention.

This opens with immediate action. Then, just as the story seems to settle for a moment, there's an unexpected twist full of heart-pounding action. Eventually, Binti has to make a choice. I do wish it had been a more well-informed decision, that she knew what she'd actually sacrifice, that the Meduse were more forthcoming. They believe humans only understand violence. 

A mirror to society, to a real-life issue, is presented in a discussion as to whether a museum or university should keep a prestigious and high-valued piece or return it to the people to whom it belongs. 

This feels like it could be realistic fiction in the future. Math lovers will really enjoy parts of this story. As all goals are met, there is a happily-ever-after (or happy for now). There is a chilling scene with violence.  It's action-packed, fast-paced, and has many plot twists. The story felt mostly unpredictable. It was very fun, entertaining, and informative to me. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Bout of Books 38 #boutofbooks Day 1 #readathon #bookreview Shattered by C Lee McKenzie

Bout of Books 38!
I've done this readathon a few times.
On Goodreads, I have bookshelves dedicated to reviews I've written about books I've read during previous BoutOfBooks events. How many times have I taken part?
May 2015, Aug 2015, Jan 2016, May 2016, Aug 2016, Jan 2017, May 2017, Aug 2017, Jan 2018, May 2018, Aug 2018, Jan 2019, May 2019, Aug 2019, May 2020, Aug 2021, Aug 2022, May 2023, Aug 2023
= 19 times

My Book Reviews can be found on:
Please follow @JLenniDorner on BookBub Follow and friend author J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads please J Lenni Dorner on Storygraph

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Shattered: A Story of Betrayal and Courage by C. Lee McKenzie

This book was an emotional powerhouse.  I've followed this author for years, have read four other books by her, and share membership in several online communities with C. Lee McKenzie. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion. I won a paperback copy of this book in November 2021. 

This is listed as a Teen and YA book in the disabilities category. I can imagine recommending this to former coworkers and friends, such as physical therapists who would pass it along to teen patients struggling to adapt to their new reality. 

A bright, sunshiny character who is recovering from a life-altering injury, one of those optimistic types who joyfully tackles every challenge life offers, plays the mentor and new best friend. The main character is Libby, who experiences pain, devastation, heartbreak, and hopelessness. Her dreams and goals are taken away, her boyfriend dumps her, and her friends fade away. There's about a fifth of the book where everyone wants her to be strong, overcome, and buck up. But she's not made of sunshine and hope, she's devastated and afraid. It's the more frequent reaction to such trauma. However, the first third of the book is hard, it packs an emotional punch (more so if the feelings are identifiable). In the next chunk of the book, Libby grows and gradually gets adjusted. It isn't until nearly the end that she isn't weighed down and held back. There's a happy enough ending full of hope and possibilities. The ending chapter really ties everything together and is kind of a "where are they now" type of ending.

It also has a mystery woven in, the whodunit of the on-purpose accident which puts her in a wheelchair. Those chapters, each called "The Arrangement," are in third-person so as to not give away who did it. I honestly thought I knew, and I was "right-adjacent," but there was one aspect I hadn't considered. The guilty party not only makes sense, but serves as a wonderful reflection of the growth and change of another character.

This does feel like realistic fiction. There are some romantic parts, but it isn't central to the plot. Libby is more focused on her sporting goals and regaining control of her life than on romance. It is complex and somewhat inspirational. The author feels like an authority on rowing. 

Sit-ski was a new term I learned from this book. I live near a few ski resorts (Pocono Mountains in PA) and confess I never knew about any such options. 

The title is definitely used in the book, and twice around the end the title really clicks. The cover is very artistic. I like the skier who is sort of blurred on the upper left. (I have the cover with dark blue hues with white accents and words.) Shattered may upset some readers in the first third as Libby is very depressed. There's a pet cat who lives well through the whole book. Some readers may have strong feelings about the various parenting styles in this book. The only possible typos I found were "Then his eyes met nine," {mine} and "She knew what the next three words were" {I knew}, so I would say this book is well-edited. 

I believe the theme is one of perseverance, with a sprinkling of patriotism, a heap of friendship and family, and a dash of love. Some of the settings did come alive, mainly the outdoors. The mystery element does hold a mirror up to society in a way I cannot explain without spoiling the book. The Bechdel-Wallace test is certainly passed, as there are named female characters with whom Libby speaks to about subjects that are not men. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Flash Fiction Excerpt #WEP #WEPFF #CHOCOLAT #chocolate #wolf ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿบ

#WEP August Challenge #CHOCOLAT 

I'm using another excerpt from my high-fantasy story that uses the roleplaying characters Xavier and Wend play in my Existence book series.

Some of you may recall my excerpt in WEP's June post. There's background information there. I'll copy the size chart here as a quick reminder. 
Great Wolf size @JLenniDorner

A great wolf is huge, as you can see. 
This excerpt has the trio at the end of Day 1 of the journey. From dinner to foreshadowing, this is 838 words and Full Critiques are most welcome!
Tagline: Elves trade with chocolate, but that's poison to wolves. 

*Note= Please do not feed chocolate or caffeinated products to canines! ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿบ

#WEPFF Chocolat Aug 2023

By J Lenni Dorner

"How are we supposed to have dinner?"


The great wolf leaped into the air, landed on a branch, and leaped again. There was a snapping sound and a crunch, and then he was back on the ground with something dangling from his mouth. He dropped it on a flat rock. "Fangscrideptor. Dig in."


Candra's face turned as green as the fangscrideptor's body. "I am an elf from the people of the Isle. I cannot eat that! I don't even know what that is! And poor Phin Fynn can't eat it, either."


"Why can't I? I've had their young before. It was yummy."


"How did you get to taste their young?" Monoghan asked.


"You ate children!" Candra's mouth fell open and her posture turned stiff.


Phin Fynn toed the ground. "Someone didn't want them, I guess."


"Maybe because they found out what they were," Candra said.


"The young are a delicacy in certain areas. Most of them don't survive childhood, so they may as well be eaten. Do you two want to split that one?"


"I am not eating another living being! And neither are you two."


"Candra, I'm a wolf. I eat smaller prey. Sometimes I even eat larger prey."


"You are also a man. Be civilized."


Monoghan shook his head. "I am a wolf first and foremost. I was born a wolf, I was raised a wolf, and I eat like a wolf."


"Well, I am an elf and a lady. I will not eat that poor creature. And neither will Phin Fynn."


Monoghan shook his muzzle. "I wouldn't be so sure."


Phin Fynn looked up and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. The frog-like head of the fangscrideptor was already devoured, as were the six boneless rear and middle legs. "Did you want the tail and the front paws and legs? They're both covered in fur. I don't eat fur."


Candra spun around and braced herself against a tree. "I'm going to be ill."


"So I'll have to feed you twice as much?" Monoghan inquired before leaping into the air to catch another fangscrideptor. He tore off the head, spit out the fangs, and then offered it to the boy, who took it gladly.


"You two are monsters."


"No, we're just higher up the food chain and proud of it." Monoghan chewed off the cat-like tail. "These creatures eat birds, which Isle elves practically worship and think of as family. And they'd eat your baby elves growing on trees if they ever made it to the Isles. Monsters like me are keeping your people alive." He bit off the front cat-like legs, chewed, and muttered, "You're welcome," with his mouth full.


"There has to be fruit somewhere!" Candra stormed off.


Monoghan shook his head. "I've seen her kind eat worse than this. She's from one of those high-up families," he said to Phin Fynn. "Here, have the boneless legs."


"Thanks! Those are the best part."


"Not for me," Monoghan's paw snatched the tail and two furry front legs the boy had left uneaten from the first catch. "I prefer these. Stay here and eat, I'm going after her before she becomes dinner." Monoghan rubbed his head along Phin Fynn's back and marked a nearby tree before running off.

He found her trapped in a pink thorny bramble bush.

"You know, there are better ways to have your dress ripped off."

"I thought there would be berries. Pink means the bush is ready for harvest." One of her sleeve embellishments ripped off, lost to the thorns. 

"Something every forest creature knows. The bush was plucked clean before midday. Hold still, I'll get you out." He snapped at the bramble, careful not to damage the plant while freeing the elf. 

Candra examined her ruined dress. Her chin quivered. "I am not equipped for this journey. My place is in civilized towns practicing diplomacy and translating scrolls."

Monoghan nuzzled her. "We need to get back to the pup. Climb on."

They returned to find Phin Fynn curled up on the forest floor using a rock for a pillow, a smile on his sleeping face. 

"I imagine a full tummy was helpful in getting him to nod off peacefully. That would be nice." Candra sat beside the child.

"You didn't bring any rations?"

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a pouch. "I brought these. We call it chocolate. These pods grow and are opened, then beans are taken out and roasted, and then they grind and mix and, well, I don't know the whole process. But it is sweet and difficult to come by, so they make for a valuable trade."

"I know what chocolate is. One of my cousins died from that poison."

Candra put the treat away. "Sorry. It isn't poison to elves or humans. I wouldn't use it to harm you."

He laughed. "My dear elf, nothing you or the pup there could ever do would harm me. At most, your pack of chocolate would be a mild irritant, no worse than a bug bite."

My plans for next week:

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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Conflict in the Writer #IWSG

Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Kate Larkindale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn, and Shannon Lawrence!

Aug 2 question -

Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

Frost quote
Conflict in the writer!
I wrote about this topic in April, in a way. I was conflicted in book one, Fractions of Existence, where I mentioned the fictional band "Bikinis for Eskimos" because that word is offensive, and book one doesn't explain why I would use it for the fictional band name.
I knew it would get cleared up in the second book. That the band used the name to bring awareness that the word is not appropriate, because too many people are unaware that they shouldn't be using that word. (Which, yes, is my own way of raising awareness, since I'm the author.) It also demonstrates that The Existence (or Jun, at least), is aware of social and language changes. 

Existence series.
๐Ÿ“š Proof of Existence - Publication April 4, 2023

Trigger warning: Content about prejudice and racism 

Excerpt from Proof of Existence by @JLenniDorner
Excerpt from Proof of Existence by @JLenniDorner

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

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog-

Please check out this page on the WEP site.

And then get ready for the next challenge!

"Chocolat – ooh la la - base your flash/poem on the confection, chocolate shop, cafรฉ, 1950's setting, France/French cuisine... Or you could use a suspected witch, a character with magical powers/recipes. Or a romance between two disparate people. As always, over to you!"
#WEP August Challenge "#CHOCOLAT" - post August 16 - 18
Chocolat Chocolate

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A to Z Challenge Happening at the A to Z Challenge - We celebrated๐ŸŽ‰ World Emoji day on July 17.

Aug 9 is National Book Lovers Day! 

Take Proof of Existence to the beach