Feb 14 2017

THE CUBE AT THE BACK OF THE DRAWER Flash Fiction #WEPFF

#WEPFF February Badge Flash Ficton



THE CUBE AT THE BACK OF THE DRAWER

by J Lenni Dorner






I realize now that I made a terrible mistake.

***

Emily, with her strawberry curls that smell like candy and sunshine, bounces into my room. “Hayden,” she says, “you’re gonna improve my life today.”

She doesn’t ask for favors.

Fallux House, which now belongs to Emily, fell into a combination of hoarding and antiquing under the last owner (Emily’s crazy aunt). Room by room, inch by dusty inch, Emily and her appraiser tag everything with sticky notes.

Yellow tags indicate it’s worth money. Pink is for sentimental value. Blue gets donated. The rest will fill the rented dumpster. A second box of black trash bags cracks open an hour before lunch.

Emily asks me to pack a bedside table with a yellow sticky note attached. The bubble wrap on the antique legs is easy to secure. I only sneeze twice while doing it.

“Ems? You up here?” I lean back, using a full-length mirror to peer down the hall. Nada.

“Hey Ems, you want the drawer in or out?” She bubble wrapped the other large dresser drawers separately. I think it was so I could make more trips hauling junk out to my truck. Good thing I love her.

She’s my friend. I love her as a friend. Good buddies. Old pals.

I repeat the mantra, keeping myself in check, as I pull the drawer out to wrap it. A tiny cube waits at the back of the drawer. In a house this full of junk, I’m not surprised. The cube looks like the keychain version of a Rubik’s cube, except the colors are shades of black and the lines between the squares are sparkling silver. I grab it for Emily to sticky note later.

The tiny cube will not move.

I try again. The world goes dark.

Rubbing my eyes, my vision finally returns. A giant me grins the grin of a cat who caught a mouse. Two massive fingers surround the square, silvery cell encasing me.

I scream, kick, and hit, but the walls don’t budge. Giant me shrugs, sarcasm dripping from the gesture. Lime green packing peanuts, each the size of an airplane, crash all around me. Only cracks of light remain. I tumble over and over, suffocating in the stiffening hot air, as giant me bubble wraps the drawer.

In the distance, like the thunder in the cave behind Niagara Falls, Emily calls out to me. I shout for help, but she can’t hear me. I glimpse one bouncing, strawberry curl. Giant me answers her.

“We could earn this mattress a sentimental pink sticky note.”

No! She’s my friend. Why would giant me drop a sexual innuendo?

Why isn’t Emily saying no?

I made a terrible mistake.

Cube_Drawer_WEPFF

WEPFF critique badge
Word Count: 450 FCA

Feb 07 2017

Express Yourself with Ice Cream

Express Yourself weekly blog meme



Feb 6 – 10 What’s your go-to ice cream flavor?



What Flavor Ice Cream are you?
Mint Chip

Mint Chip – ecstatic and full of glory. Adventurous and curious, you always want to be learning something new. Often this gets you into danger, but you take risks no matter what the odds are.

Facebook quizzes, quiz apps & blog quizzes by Quibblo






My favorite flavor of Ice Cream





Breyers Mint cookies and cream ice cream mint chip ice cream cone Blue Bell Mint Cookies and Cream ice cream

Jan 31 2017

Valentine’s Day Giveaway


We’re spreading some Valentine’s Day love with a giveaway full of chocolate, books, and pretty things! 

To enter fill out the Rafflecopter then hit the comments and tell us about something YOU love. Your favorite author, book, or blog. Tell us about your true love, your kids, your best friend or your pets. Anything you love. We want to hear about what makes your heart full or just makes you smile.

Enter the Giveaway!




My favorite authors:

  1. Patrick Rothfuss
  2. Stephen King
  3. J. K. Rowling
  4. Veronica Roth
  5. Crystal Collier
  6. Ned Vizzini
  7. Sahndra Fon Dufe
  8. Ia Uaro
  9. Stephenie Meyer

And, of course, myself!

Some of my favorite blogs:




And because I love books and coffee, here’s another giveaway!


Win 55 Paperback #Books and a #Starbucks Gift Basket in this BOOKS & #COFFEE #Giveaway! PaperBacksAndCoffee
Click to Enter

Giveaway Ends February 25, 2017 12:00 am UTC


ONE MORE? Okay…

reader love giveaway https://wn.nr/wj7tX4



*None of today’s contests are sponsored or brought to you by J Lenni Dorner

Jan 31 2017

Express Yourself with Photos of Your Workspace

Express Yourself weekly blog meme



Jan 30 – Feb 3 Share some photos of your work space.


Winter workspace of @JLenniDorner Copyright J Dorner


Spring workspace of @JLenniDorner Copyright J Dorner

You were probably expecting something more indoorsy… unless you know me, in which case you’re nodding your head and thinking “yup, that looks about right.”

Jan 27 2017

Goals and Book Reviews and Bingo #NewToMe2017 #FlightsOfFantasy #DiversityBingo2017

goals image



My 2017 goal of contributing more to the #atozchallenge is going to be met, as I’ve just been promoted. Keep watch on the A to Z blog next week!
I haven’t made any real progress on my resolution this month. My focus has been on reading 10 books and getting ready for April.



The MAIN LIFE GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 38 years
  • There’s also the Bucket List.



2017 Resolution:

  • This year I resolve to finish at least one of my big writing projects.



2017 Goals:

 


2017 Reading challenges
GenreSF120 #NewToMe2017 image #FlightsOfFantasy image debut author reading challenge 2017 image

2017 Reading Challenge

J. has
read 0 books toward
their goal of
50 books.
hide



Goals for January:

  • Leave a comment on 30 blogs
  • Read and review 3 books
  • Interview 2 more Debut Authors
  • Edit and schedule 10 April posts
  • Have a good Valentine’s Day
  • Reading during the #BecauseDragonsRAT February 20- 26th



#becausedragonsRAT : A dragon-themed readathon for fantasy books



Review of Goals for January:

  • Leave a comment on 50 blogsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Read and review 4 books Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Interview 2 more Debut Authors Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Edit 5 future postsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Rock #BoutOfBooks 18Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal



For those who recall my previous Twitter goals, I’ve hit another milestone:

@JLenniDorner has 7000 Twitter followers as of January 2017


NOW FILLING MAY 2017 SLOTS!

@JLenniDorner is the Interviewer for the Operation Awesome blog Debut Author Spotlight on Wednesdays Would you please take a moment to share the debut author image? It would mean a great deal not only to me, but to any debut author who is interviewed as a result. Thanks so much!



Have goals? Need encouragement? This blog hop is for you!



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PLEASE VOTE!

REVIEWS:




4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Last Minute Customers by Jessica E. Subject @jsubject
#NewToMe2017 – I have not read books by this author before.


A quick and easy erotic read that explores the possibility of a dream-come-true for the main character.



4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Do You Want To Play With My Balls? by Cifaldi Brothers @cifaldibrothers
#NewToMe2017 – I have not read books by this author before.


It’s so wrong… and yet…
There’s innuendo in every sentence. It never directly says anything that isn’t appropriate for children. However, the book is for adults with dirty minds. You know who you are.



5 five star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Moonless (Maiden of Time Book 1)by Crystal Collier @crystalcollier1
#NewToMe2017 – I have not read books by this author before.
#FlightsOfFantasy #SpecFic


OMG! I have a new favorite book in my top 10!
Like every other book that I end up loving the most, I wasn’t instantly hooked. (Confession: I don’t care for Chapter 1 of Harry Potter, or the opening of Divergent, and I can go on and on with this list.) But then something happened in the book when the MC went to a certain place she wasn’t supposed to go and OH.MY.GLORIFICATION. That’s it. I was owned. And then I started to notice something about the Passionate… they remind me of some of my characters. As if Crystal and I maybe heard the same stories growing up or something. I don’t know, but where “a Titan against the dainty parlor” is mentioned, it feels uncanny. This made me love the story all the more.

There is a Pride and Prejudice similarity in the scene where a friend asks another friend to marry him, and soon after someone else says, “Why can you not take up a decent prospect like any normal girl?” It’s an amusing scene.

My heart… all the feels in this scene: “Alexia realized, self-consciously, her mistake. They belonged to the adult world now. They couldn’t interact as freely as they once had.” That got me. Reading it again here, I’m still feeling it.

Here’s my very favorite quote from the book: “That is what I like about you. You have never cared what others think. It is all about what matters to you.” Powerful line!

I’m torn between reading this one again and moving on to the next in the series. I want to do both at the same time! Ha ha. But seriously, this book is fantastic.



3 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers
#NewToMe2017 – I have not read books by this author before.


There is quite a bit of information in this book which I have previously used and been called out by editors for daring to put in a manuscript. On the other hand, this book defines what those methods and such are in a well-done way. Proceed with caution if you are above an eighth grade writing competency level.

Antimetabole, repetition of identical words, is often a frowned upon practice. Antiphrasis is used in every mob-fiction story I’ve ever encountered, as they all have a character named “Tiny” who… isn’t. Chapter 11’s ideas about writing colors, however, is useful and interesting. (Wine red and glittering gold instead of just red and gold.) (*If you want to read some great eye description, see ^ Moonless ^ ) The vivid verbs topic interests me, but the book made it dependent upon sports reporting, and was less helpful than I desired. However, a GREAT tip in the book: “The peppering of to be verbs, and of helping verbs such as do, have, can, may, might, must, ought, could, should, would deadens a paragraph or a scene faster than hail on a tin roof deadens the senses. Action verbs activate a scene every time.” And there’s a good review of show-don’t-tell. There’s a mention of embedding the setting into the action. This hits on a few of the points from my book.

I liked the mention of zeugma. (Though I’ve been advised against using them.) “She must be between engagements at present.” (Engagements meaning an agreement to marry AND plans to attend something.) It’s a fun z word that isn’t used often. #AtoZchallenge inspiration!

The section on titles and using key words is spot on. Then there’s a tip which is contradictory to several other writing how-to reference guides: “Chapter endings cannot all end with a dangler or a lure into the next chapter.

For information and education theory, this is a 5-star book. It would be great for young writers or those interested in learning about the craft. For adult writing in the world of submitting to agents and publishers, it’s a 3-star book.



5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth @VeronicaRoth
#DiversityBingo2017 – MC with chronic pain, displace MC, MC of color in SFF
#FlightsOfFantasy #SpecFic
Speculative Fiction Diagram
What we have here is the ultimate example of Speculative Fiction. There’s plenty of fantasy, of that which feels imagined, and there’s science with spaceships and floating vehicles, and there’s even some horror with all the killing that goes on in this book. Plus, there’s mention of the history of that galaxy, which has multiple interpretations, some of which just feed perfectly into fantasy. As I said, this is Speculative Fiction, this is the gold standard for encompassing the entire genre.

There’s also a grab bag of diversity (though it is set in another galaxy, so take that as you will). There are two main characters, one with “brown skin” (Cyra). Cyra’s chapters are written in first-person, but the chapters belonging to Akos are written in third-person limited. It sounds jarring, but it isn’t. The book is gripping and wonderful. When does the next one come out? The ending has me needing the next book.

Some of my favorite parts:

“The pain I chose, instead of the pain that had chosen me.” This is a line that anyone suffering from chronic pain will appreciate.

The book just came out January 17, 2017, but it feels very current and politically relevant (in the USA, in my opinion).

“Ridiculous, really, but sometimes people just believed what they were told. It was easier to survive that way.
There’s a part (page 196 Hardcover in chapter 16) where the news is not accurately translated, but rather presented with a biased or downright untrue point of view that the leaders dictate. A world of such control that not even the established newscast can be trusted because that’s the only way to keep those in poverty compliant.
“…I had never starved anyone or kept them from adequate medical care…”
“…you are Thuvhesit. You are one of my people, not theirs.” It’s important to remember that a leader must feel this way. A leader must care for and about EVERY person they are meant to lead. No one group or individual can be more important than another. All ages, races, religions, genders, sexual preferences, beliefs, backgrounds, creeds, and ancestral lines must be treated equally by a leader, who must respect, appreciate, and fight for ALL of those, as the leader is a representative for ALL OF THOSE. (Sometimes a leader forgets this and mistakes his/her role for only helping people of his/her own age, race, gender, and sexual preference who happen to associate with the most popular religion of the area and the favored beliefs of that faith. That is NEVER okay for a leader to do, ever, because it leads to oppression, which is the death of culture and the beginning of a decline of education.)

http://www.prettydeadlyblog.com/bookish-bingo-winter-2016-2017/

My Bookish Bingo Winter Card so far:

winter book bingo

Win 55 Paperback #Books and a #Starbucks Gift Basket in this BOOKS & #COFFEE #Giveaway! PaperBacksAndCoffee
Click to Enter

*NOT sponsored or brought to you by J Lenni Dorner



Try the grammarly extension in your browser. Improve your writing!

Did you vote on what book I should read during #BecauseDragonsRAT?
How are your resolutions coming?
Do you like the end of chapters in books to drive you to the next or to just wrap-up what you’ve read?
Have you ever been burdened with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints because you were born “different” or because of who your ancestors were?

Jan 23 2017

Express Yourself with Pie #NationalPieDay #PieDay

Express Yourself weekly blog meme



Jan 23 – 27 Apple, cherry or pumpkin pie?

This Express Yourself prompt makes me wonder if Jackie and Dani have a copy of the obscure holiday calendar I received for Christmas.

#pieday National Pie Day

Apple pie has to have cheese melted on it for me to want it. Muenster or Gruyère, preferably.
Pumpkin pie needs to have whipped cream. Or, you know, just hand me the spray can of whipped cream and I’ll be on my way.
So I am going to pick cherry pie for this question. It’s the only one I’ll eat just as it is.

Tastykake: Cherry Pies

Welcome to my corner of the world. I get one of these pies for 33 to 50 cents. Those of you needing them shipped… well, it gets a bit expensive.

This is eastern Pennsylvania.

Jan 18 2017

Express Yourself #amreading First Sentence @VeronicaRoth @CrystalCollier1

Express Yourself weekly blog meme



Jan 16 – 20 What’s the first sentence of the book you’re currently reading?



“Hushflowers always bloomed when the night was longest.”
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth @VeronicaRoth



“Alexia was reasonably confident that exiting the carriage was the equivalent of stepping into Hell.”
Moonless by Crystal Collier @CrystalCollier1




My hardcover copy of Carve the Mark came last night in the mail. That first sentence is literally as far as I’ve gotten so far.

My e copy of Moonless I had stored on an ereader that broke. Being absentminded about anything not on my Google calendar (seriously, if Google ever dies, I may as well give up living in society and return to life in the forest), I kept forgetting to load this into my new android tablet. (Along with about 50 other ebook files.) BUT I finally managed to remember this, and have gone from 11% to 46% this week. It’s such a good story… more on that when I get around to writing a review.

What are you reading?

Win 55 Paperback #Books and a #Starbucks Gift Basket in this BOOKS & #COFFEE #Giveaway! PaperBacksAndCoffee

Jan 11 2017

Expressing My Favorite Social Media Site

Express Yourself weekly blog meme



Jan 9 – 13 What’s your favorite social media site?

@JLenniDorner on Twitter
Twitter is my favorite social media site. It’s a fast and easy way to connect with people. There are short conversations that get straight to the point.
The direct messages, unlike email, always look the same. Same font, same font size, same color, easy and simple.
If tweeps would just stop using the automated “thanks for following, here’s a generated message to clog up your day with my self-importance” that’d be great.



What’s your favorite social media site?

Jan 09 2017

My #BoutOfBooks 18 Wrap Up and Book Review #NewToMe2017 #FlightsOfFantasy

#BoutOfBooks 18 @JLenniDorner is a #boutofbooks expert




4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Testament: The Trial by Edward V’Kanty @Edward_VKanty
This book has strong and very explicit violence, sexual content, and drinking. It is not for the faint of heart. However, if you want a book that blends historical fiction (1665), fantasy (assuming one counts possible witchcraft and voodoo as fantasy), and erotica (including and especially the more violent types), then this book will quench your thirst. There is a degrading and pain-filled rape scene which is difficult even for the main character to witness. The writing is solid and the grammar seems spot on. It’s partially first person written in a journal, but also contains statements and testimony from other characters. Were the character Tiekka the main character of this book, it would count as diverse fiction. (Indeed, I imagine the story from her point of view would be astounding.)

The book makes it easy to see how mob mentality and a lust for power brought about so many witch trials. Some of it feels like history that needs to be re-learned by society today. Here’s a quote:

“I’d watched this crowd -a group of what I’d assumed had been sensible, civilized, 17th century people- and had seen them grow irate and fearful. They knew next to nothing of the case and even less of the people directly involved, yet they were already demanding blood for the apparent injustices suffered.”

Here’s something that I never heard before and did not know:

“Under English law, witchcraft in itself is not illegal at present, but to practice said arts for the purpose of causing harm or peril is most definitely a crime and will be prosecuted.”

However, it conflicts with other research, such as, “In 1542 Parliament passed the Witchcraft Act which defined witchcraft as a crime punishable by death. It was repealed five years later, but restored by a new Act in 1562.” (http://www.parliament.uk/) I am unsure what to make of this conflict of knowledge.

I disliked that the book concluded in a choose-your-adventure fashion whereby the ending of choice is sold separately. (I can appreciate the marketing tactic, but I personally felt jilted.)




#NewToMe2017 image #FlightsOfFantasy image GenreSF120
I have not read books by this author before. Witchcraft and voodoo make this book fantasy, and Amazon ranking it also as horror certianly qualifies it as speculative fiction.
#38821 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror
#48885 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction

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@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Nanowrimo buddy J Lenni Dorner Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin

Jan 08 2017

My #BoutOfBooks 18 Book Reviews #BoBBookToMovie #BookSpinePoetryBoB #BoBIfYouLikeThis

#BoutOfBooks 18 @JLenniDorner is a #boutofbooks expert

Days 3, 4, 5, 6




Book to Movie



Have a book you think would make an excellent movie? Now’s your chance to share it! Go as big or as simple as you want. Share fanart, casting choices, or just a book or series you think would be OUTSTANDING on the big screen. Use the hashtags #BoBBookToMovie and #boutofbooks to share your picks!




Book Spine Poetry



A perennial favorite is back! Go hunting through your books and unleash your inner poet! Use the titles of your chosen books to create a poem. Snap a picture of your creation and share it with the hashtags #BookSpinePoetryBoB and #boutofbooks.

#BookSpinePoetryBoB @JLenniDorner #BoutofBooks



“It’s like this, Cat. The little Coffee Shop of Kabul is filled with inspiration and motivation. It has a hold on me.”
“Coffee Nerd.”
“50 Uses for your Cat…”

My poem is meant to be read as a back and forth. It’s a bit of humor in prose.


If You Like This, Try This



Since we all love recommending books, here’s your chance to share the love.
Make sure you use the hashtags #BoBIfYouLikeThis and #boutofbooks on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, so we can see your recs.


A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
If you like obscure history, or discovering history through a different point of view; if you are a writer who does world building; if you toss out fun facts at parties or during conversational lull — THIS is the book for you!



The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
If you are ready to try diverse fiction, this is a great book with which to start. It has a wonderful story about friendship, a bit about family, a sprinkle of romance, and deep thoughts about politics that sort of sneak up on you mid-scene. If you like discovering other cultures and seeing how they can successfully blend with cultures you know, read this book.



Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
How to phrase this… If you’re a Liberal Democrat, this book will make arguing most of your points considerably easier, and therefore you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy having political facts backed up by math and science to discuss, read this book.



Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
If you enjoy really beautiful writing with breathtaking imagery, give this book a try.



Books Read and Reviewed

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
The Miniature Golf Course Murders (River Corners Mysteries Book 2) by Sara Penhallow @SaraPenhallow
This book follows Isobel Santini, an editor, as she accidently discovers and solves a murder. The guilty person, the one who did it, made me laugh in an “I see what you did there,” way.
Some quotes I enjoyed from the book:
“Some of us don’t decide that God is irrelevant when he’s inconvenient.”
“But Papi always said his little princess didn’t need to work,” Aunt Rosa said softly, “and you didn’t want to disappoint him.”



#NewToMe2017 image
I have not read books by this author before.


5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth @VeronicaRoth
Fantastic writing. A thrill to read. There’s a line in the book, “How is it possible to live the same story twice, from different vantage points?”, which is ironic and sums up half the book. Reading Divergent first is imperative. If you enjoy getting the other side of a story, this book is ideal.

There is quite a bit about child abuse in this book. (If you know the character Four, you know why.) There’s a part where Four is afraid that Tris would look at him with pity, and make him feel weak, small, and empty. But, of course, she doesn’t, she instead is angry at the abuser. To me, this is a really deep moment. All too often, those who have been abused, those who have experienced horrors without consent, feel they will be blamed — and, disgusting as it is, that does happen. There is hope and brilliance in a book that reinforces putting the blame on the abuser, on the attacker, on the person unable to control their own behavior. I’d give the book a sixth star just for this scene.

A quote that cracked me up:
“uncomfortable and wrong, the way an Erudite feels when she reads a grammatically incorrect sentence.”

A quote that I want as a pin image:
“Dead people can be our heroes because they can’t disappoint us later; they only improve over time, as we forget more and more about them.”

Quote Dead people can be our heroes because they can't disappoint us later; they only improve over time, as we forget more and more about them. Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

#FlightsOfFantasy image GenreSF120
Amazon category: Science Fiction & Dystopian (which I consider to be fantasy and speculative fiction)

(Tell me that you laughed at the fact that I read a book with the word “golf” and a book with the word “four” in the titles.)

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@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Nanowrimo buddy J Lenni Dorner Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin

Jan 04 2017

My #BoutOfBooks 18 Day 2 #BoB2017Goals Visionboard

#BoutOfBooks 18 @JLenniDorner is a #boutofbooks expert



2017 visionboard of @JLenniDorner #BoB2017Goals #boutofbooks

I’ve never made a visionboard before. I used an online method and Photoshop to create this one, which I hope is done correctly. A few books I intend to read and review this year include:

.........

(Carve the Mark, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, Illuminae, Cinder, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Graceling, Gates of Thread and Stone, Dragons Are People Too, The Last Days of Magic)

My reading progress on day 2 got me half way through two different books (one on an ereader, one paperback).

The WINNER of my Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Blog Hop Giveaway is @SweepingMe. Congratulations.

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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Nanowrimo buddy J Lenni Dorner Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin

Jan 03 2017

My #BoutOfBooks 18 Day 1 Book Review and #InSixWords

#BoutOfBooks 18 @JLenniDorner is a #boutofbooks expert







 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community
by Joy Deangdeelert Cho @ohjoy — #DiversityBingo2017
DiversityBookbyPoC


What a fantastic book with which to kick off 2017! I picked this up on a whim during an Amazon sale, and I’m really glad that I did.

I recommend this book to everyone who has a blogged or is thinking about starting a blog. This is a wealth of information. This book was like taking a 101 college class about blogging.

The book suggests thinking about what makes your blog special. It asks if this is your hobby, outlet, or possible career, and then offers tips for each of those choices.

To quote:

“What makes it unique? The best blogs are ones that add their own unique twist or style to a topic. What ideas do you have that will make yours different?” And, “a succinct description of your blog that tells others why you started it, what you blog about, and why it’s fun and different.”

I learned that some of the types of posts I most enjoy making are “Updates: In addition to seeing your newest work, readers often like to see pieces that didn’t make the cut,” and “Updates Similar: behind-the-scenes details from the building of your (novel), special discounts for blog readers,” and Reviews.

It defines Trackbacks, Categories, and Tags. (I knew about Tags, but I never considered using “Google’s Keyword Tool or Wordtracker to find the optimal words or phrasing to use.”) It explains, in detail, how to write your Bio and the function of having one. It mentions trademarking your blog’s name. (Which I never thought about spending money on before.) It talks about a blog’s bounce rate, which I had never heard of before.

The made me wonder if I give enough of myself, if I have enough of a “real person” angle to inspire people.

A great quote from the book:

“Building and maintaining your community is just as important as coming up with a great new post and should be given the same care and attention.”

To me, that part of the book reminded me of the #AtoZChallenge. That feels like the very definition of what we do in April.

#NewToMe2017 image I have not read this book or a book by this author before.

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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Nanowrimo buddy J Lenni Dorner Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin

Dec 31 2016

Goals and New Year’s #Resolutions

goals image



Anyone else feel overly exhausted by the shenanigans of 2016? Well, it’s come to an end. I am proud of myself for accomplishing almost all of the goals I set for the year. Still, it doesn’t feel like I accomplished enough.

I made two resolutions last year:
Resolution 1: I firmly decide to read and review 50 books in 2016.
Resolution 2: I firmly decide to publish something new this year.
Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal


This year I resolve to finish at least one of my big writing projects. I’ve bounced back and forth between three of them for a few years. 2017 must be the year one of them completes.



The MAIN LIFE GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 38 years
  • There’s also the Bucket List.

 
 

2017 Goals:

 


2017 Reading challenges Reading Challenge #NewToMe2017 New To Me 2017 #FlightsOfFantasy Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge 2017 Debut


 

REVIEW OF 2016 Goals:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter

  • Have 6500 Twitter followers ~ currently at 6860 — UP 418 from last month UP 1915 this yearNice List because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

@JLenniDorner reached Twitter follow goal

  • Download the update for my blog themeMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Keep Supporting Diverse BooksMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Be part of 4 blog hops/fests.Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Participate in at least 2 #OABookClub reads Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Rewrite and edit my urban fantasy novel Naughty List because @JLenniDorner failed to accomplish this goal
  • Enter 3 writing contests 1- Entered #WRiTECLUB2016, got in. 2- Entered and won OA Flash Fiction 3- Entered Creative Writing Institute’s Anthology contest Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goalNUMBER 4 Entered the IWSG anthology contest
  • Publish or be published somewhereMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goalx3!
  • Participate in Reading ChallengesMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

 
@JLenniDorner completed the 2016 Goodreads challenge @JLenniDorner completed the 50 Book Pledge challenge 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
J. has
read 0 books toward a goal of 50 books.
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Goals for January:

  • Leave a comment on 50 blogs
  • Read and review 4 books
  • Interview 2 more Debut Authors
  • Edit 5 future posts
  • Rock #BoutOfBooks 18



#BoutOfBooks 18 @JLenniDorner is a #boutofbooks expert

Review of Goals for December:

@JLenniDorner 2016 year in reading books image





^PLEASE RETWEET THAT! HELP 7 PEOPLE SAVE THEIR HOME! ^



NOW FILLING THE 2017 SLOTS!

@JLenniDorner is the Interviewer for the Operation Awesome blog Debut Author Spotlight on Wednesdays Would you please take a moment to share the debut author image? It would mean a great deal not only to me, but to any debut author who is interviewed as a result. Thanks so much!



Have goals? Need encouragement? This blog hop is for you!

Dec 29 2016

Book Reviews from December #NewToYou2016

New To You 2016 reading challenge #NewToYou2016


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Cosmic Seasoning: A Collection of Short Stories
By L.G. Keltner July 29, 2015
This collection of speculative fiction stories was very fun to read. I enjoyed the “Polite Letter of Complaint” with the line: I would never insult such a rotund, mentally-deficient, greedy despot such as yourself. There are some news-relevant, deep stories mixed in with the humor and good times. “Emissary,” for example: How could I help how I was born? I didn’t make the choice to come into the world. And “A Politician Tell the Truth Before Armageddon” has the classic line: So yes, I do in fact believe that you’re all suckers for electing me. I think “Lux in Tenebris, Rendition #7,620” was my favorite story of the bunch.


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


A Spy’s Guide to Thinking
by John Braddock May 31, 2015
This clever book was easy to read and enjoy. It illustrates a short interaction on a subway car that demonstrates a thinking methodology. Lines like, “actions are commitment,” and “writers love nothing more than writing about writing,” caught my eye. But the funniest of all is at the end: “Our relationship is over. Unless you liked this book enough to buy another of my books.”


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


The 27th Letter: an A to Z blog challenge
by Nicki Ivey Jun 7, 2014
A collection of stories from almost every genre. I really enjoyed the magic pencil. Yuengling was a character I want to spend a lot more time with, if that’s possible. Olive and Oren are one of those “it’s complicated” relationship statuses. This is a book to read at least twice.


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
by Al Perkins Nov 30, 2011
Did I read this book? My niece read it to me. But since I could see all the words, I’m going to count it as being read. The most important part was the quality time spent with a child. It’s a good book for making the little princess smile and laugh. I’m grateful for the happy memories.


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


The Shelf Life of Happiness
by David Machado Sep 1, 2016
This story will stay with you. And by that, I mean that you’ll end up thinking about after you read it, possibly unintentionally. (This story is not for anyone suffering from an obsessive compulsion. Fair warning.) How happy are you? Reading this story, this mental letter the main character is aiming at a friend, sucks you in to wondering about your own happiness. (The United States was ranked 7.104 on the 2016 happiness index, by the way.) Early in the story, when the main character debates about his happiness, the line “Any life instead of the right life,” hit me, followed by, “I didn’t know how to live this new version of the future.” That’s where I knew I’d read this whole book. Here’s another one that feels deeper than expected:
“Marta, my job is who I am, and I have no desire to change that.”
“You’re a delivery boy for a pharmacy {}.”
“You know it’s temporary.”

That’s a pivotal moment in the story, though it might not seem like it. It also reminds me of a lot of college Freshmen. And of myself. Am I an author, a Lenni-Lenape, something more, something less? The book gets in your head!
Near the end, there’s a quote-worthy line.
“We shouldn’t need bad days to appreciate the good one; there should always be a joy inside of us, and not just in moments of relief.”




4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


A Garfield Christmas
by Jim Davis Nov 12, 1987
Oh that crazy cat! I enjoyed this humorous book with my nephew at a holiday party.




4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


A History of the World in 6 Glasses
by Tom Standage May 26, 2009
This was a fun book to read. I highly recommend it to my fellow writers who do world-building (fantasy, sci-fi). It’s also a great book that has an interesting take on world history. It goes from the dawn of humans all the way to a discussion about the possibility of colonizing Mars.
In the “High Spirits, High Seas” section, it discusses slavery, and the argument that some people weren’t human, and therefore couldn’t be converted to certain religions. That’s something that’s always fascinated me (since my great-grandfather was, by such logic, the first human in my family). It talks about the important role that coffee played at the birth of “information workers.”
My favorite quote from the book:
“…people are happiest when granted freedom of choice in the political, economic, and personal spheres, in the form of democracy, consumerism, and the rejection of many long-standing forms of discrimination.”
Here’s a part I really found interesting:
“The wealthy aristocracy and clergy, a mere 2 percent of the population, were exempt from taxes, so the burden of taxation fell on everyone else…” It’s about France in about 1789, at the start of the French Revolution.

#quote Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana




3 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


Novelsmithing, The Structural Foundation of Plot, Character, and Narration
by David Sheppard Nov 28, 2009
“You can say your character is in an uncontrollable rage, but if the character punches someone in the mouth, you get your point across better.” That’s a good quote and lesson from this book.
The section on dialogue is perhaps the most useful part of this book.
There’s quite a bit about Greek mythology in this book.
An excerpt that I liked: “We expect a work of fiction to do more than just help us escape our worldly dilemmas. We expect it to have importance and be meaningful. A story is a process of discovery-through-conflict, and that process must result in transcendence for the central character. He must be changed by the experience, thereby allowing the reader to also be changed.”
Here’s a suggested exercise from the book that interests me: “Write a paragraph on why you believe the world will be a better place with the publication of your novel.”
Right or wrong, I have deducted one “star” in my rating because of the text visuals. To quote from the book itself: “The font should be 12 point and have a “clean” appearance on the full page.”
The book is from 2009. I suggest ignoring certain tips, such as using snail-mail (postal system) for query letters. Every reputable agent and publishing house I’ve encountered has email now.


4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


Chasing Christmas Past: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story Prequel
by Melanie Karsak Dec 20, 2014

A book by a fellow Pennsylvanian. I don’t read much steampunk, so I’m not the best judge of the genre. However, I enjoyed this story. It was uplifting and fun to read.



4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Published: What They Don’t Tell You in English Class
Sydney Scrogham


(I was given a copy of this book during the NaNoHop.)

There’s a strong voice in this reference guide, which makes it fun to read. Plus, it’s short, so it’s a good way to spend twenty or so minutes of your life if you’re a writer, or thinking about writing that first book.

“When people think of you, what’s the first thing you want to pop into their minds? Whatever that first thing is will be your brand. So find what you want to be known for and stick with it.”
That’s a great line from the book, and perhaps the best way that I’ve seen author branding explained yet.




Backlist Books Reading Challenge

Dec 21 2016

#WEPFF #FlashFiction Short Story of a Utopian Dream turned Dystopian Nightmare

Utopian Dream challenge image

A Bigly Wish of Will

By: J Lenni Dorner






William turned off his computer. He strolled to the balcony door to shut and lock it, but paused to look up at the night sky. “That’s what I want,” he said to the first star he spotted. “Star of light, oh star so bright, please grant the wish I make tonight! I long for the great idea talked about in that video to happen. I want to experience the dream discussed.”

Will shut his eyes and wished extra hard. He realized that it was a daft way for a grown man to behave, but it might also be considered positive thinking.

The morning came with thunderous boom. Will checked that his wife was all right, then his children, and last his mama. They had all been awoken by the sound, but none were the cause. William headed downstairs. His dog was at the back door, barking up a storm, but was not the cause of the boom.

It was his front door, which was on the floor.

Several human-like beings sauntered in. Will stared at their bio-luminescent skin, which lit up his walls in hues of green, blue, and pink. They walked around in his house, nodding in agreement with each other, generally seeming pleased. He followed two of the pink ones to his kitchen. They sniffed the fruit in the basket on the counter.

His coffee maker clicked on. The pink ones hissed and yelped in a high pitched language Will did not know. Will’s dog threw himself at the back door in a seeming attempt to knock it down.

“What’s going on down there?” Will’s wife called from upstairs. She then screamed. The sound turned to a gurgle and then stopped.

One of the glowing blue men pointed something at Will. He made high pitched sounds and gestured with his arms. When Will gave no response, the blue one motioned to two of the green ones, who grabbed Will and carried him to the back door.

More high pitched noises were made. The dog had never looked so fierce as he beat his paws against the sliding glass door. It had cracked in several places. Will wasn’t sure if he hoped the dog would get in and attack the intruders or if he hoped his dog would run to get help. Another blue one walked from his neighbor’s yard, stepped through the shared vegetable garden, and pointed something at the dog. There was a gurgling sound. Then there was no more dog.

Will’s legs went out from under him. It wasn’t just seeing that happen to his dog. He realized that same sound had just come from his wife.

These glowing beings were upstairs.

His children!

His mama!

Will fought against the green ones that held him. He fought to get to his family.

Gurgling sounds were all around him. His neighbors were being taken out. He didn’t know if he could help them.


~~***~~



Time went by. Months, maybe years. Will lived in the battered remains of the doghouse. He was a slave to the glowing ones. He came to understand some of their gestures and sounds. They had conquered his town. Based on the maps, they intended to conquer much more. Every time a resistance came to fight them, the gurgling sound repeated.

Will saw his daughter from time to time. She belonged to the blue ones that lived down the street. Every time their eyes met, he wished he could kill her. There was no getting around it. Will’s daughter had suffered beyond the point from which a mind could recover. His mama had died, probably from a heart attack. Will saw some of her all the time. The glowing ones decorated with parts of her corpse. It made him sick. Will’s son, … that fate was unknown. He wished on stars every clear night that his son had gotten away and was safe. Will knew this was a daft wish, but it was the only positive thinking he had left.


~~***~~



When Will was a very old man, the glowing beings made him an offer. He could continue to live in the dog house and be a slave, or he could live in the pantry and have a cooking job. The job did not pay much. For the privilege of the job, remaining alive, and the accommodations in the pantry, Will had to give half of his pay back to the blue glowing beings. They assured him that this was for the best, and that all the green and pink beings also gave this amount. It was to thank the blue ones for being rulers. They had to live in the best accommodations and do the least amount of manual labor, and that required funding. The blue ones also had to be thanked for not using the gurgle weapons on them.

The pantry, Will’s new living quarters, was stocked by his neighbor’s descendants, Mary and Balroo117. There wasn’t much that the garden grew anymore since the beings had done terrible things to the land. Balroo117 wanted to take the deal to be an employee. He was half green and could fit in a little. But Mary said she’d sooner be a slave than give a tribute of her earnings. It was hard to understand her reasoning. The beings decided her logic was based on the intention of one day rising up. Even though Mary was weaponless, near blind, and only had one working leg, they decided she was a threat. The beings took another quarter of the pay from all humans. They used it to build a wall three thousand feet high in Will’s yard.

The wall didn’t intersect the street, or the yards behind the houses. It crushed the garden. The blue beings marveled at the magnificent wall.

Will looked to the stars. “I wish I had been more specific about which side of the experience I wanted. This is a dystopian nightmare, not a utopian dream.”

WEPFF critique badge
Word Count: 993 FCA








Sharing this song because it’s the song that most reminds me of a Utopian Dream.

(Be sure to check my previous blog post if you’re interested in the current book Giveaway!)

(Are you a blogger at some stage of a writing journey? Check this out: https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2016/12/were-looking-for-new-blogger.html )

Dec 20 2016

Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Blog Hop #Giveaway


Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop December 21st to 31st
Click the above image for the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop Linky.



THE PRIZE



This ebook contains illustrations of a snowman. The reader makes up the story. Appropriate for all ages and faiths. Will be delivered as an Amazon ebook code, and therefore is International. (Kindle books can be gifted to anyone with an email address.)



a Rafflecopter giveaway



GOOD LUCK!

Dec 16 2016

#deja2016vu MY DEJA VU BLOGFEST 2016


#deja2016vu DEJA VU BLOGFEST - 2016 data-recalc-dims=
http://www.dlhammons.com/2016/12/deja-vu-blogfest-2016.html



I’m torn between the piece I feel is more important or the one others are more likely to enjoy. Sooo… here’s two, because I’m unable to pick.

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http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/2016/02/11/the-highest-award-in-movie-land/



I was reading an article about authors who hate the movie version of their books. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/31001/11-authors-who-hated-movie-versions-their-books) I’ve also read stockpiles of articles where fans (myself included) discuss how good or bad a movie is based on how close it comes to the book. Here’s my BIG IDEA:

Create a new award ceremony

Categories would be similar to the Oscars, but all include “most accurately portrayed.”

Best Actor to have most accurately portrayed a character in a book.
Best Picture that most accurately portrayed a book.
Best Director to have most accurately portrayed a book.

You get the idea. (No, this isn’t just the best screen adaptation award, because they hand that out and sometimes it’s very unclear as to why.) Now, here’s the important part! IT HAS TO BE THE HIGHEST AWARD. You know how people get all excited about someone hitting the EGOT “quadfecta”? Well, there would need to be a new conversation. A bigger one.

“You don’t have a book portrayal win?” Dramatically sucks in air through teeth. “Aww, honey,” exaggerated frown, “I’m so sorry.”

Who wore it and who is it by image

The ceremony might not be held every year. Each award might not be given out every time. It wouldn’t be a “given” that someone is going to win simply by default. Either the crowd is astonished by the accuracy or they aren’t. No gray area. The awards would cover both film and television.

Voting would be weighed 45% by the author of the book, 40% by fans, and 15% by other.

Thoughts?

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http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/2016/03/31/acceptance/


Acceptance

If a society, group, or organization has the primary goal of making everyone feel accepted and treated as an equal, must they also be accepting of, and permit membership to, those who are not accepting and feel they are superior rather than equal?

  • “I accept everyone and believe we are all equal.”

or

  • “I accept everyone who accepts myself and others, so long as we agree we are equal.”

or

  • “I accept almost everyone, except certain criminals and those who do not accept me, because I’m better than those people, but I’m equal to everyone else who accepts this same idea.”

or

  • “I’m superior to anyone who isn’t like me in the way I value most. I accept equality only with those who are like me in the way I most value.”




Is it possible to inadvertently believe you are superior because of a belief that those who think themselves as superior aren’t, and might even be inferior because they fail to understand that all are equal? And, if so, can there ever truly be a society, group, or organization that actually accepts everyone and is able to treat all as equals? Could that only exist if there were no one left to claim superiority?

Should the One-Eyed Man be King?

In the revised story ending, where he sees a rockslide coming, his sight could be considered superior, though the villagers do not treat him as such. In fact, he’s treated as inferior for what he believes makes him a superior.

Obviously, I do not know the best way to remove a plague of hatred. I grew up on stories of equality and acceptance. But the stories shift by the end of the 1500’s. They turn to stories of people who believed in acceptance and equality so strongly that they, inadvertently, became to believe themselves as superior to those who could not grasp the concepts. The ones who could not grasp such concepts eventually took over. A belief in superiority over others allowed them to take over. You see, if you do not believe yourself to be better than another, it is not possible to conquer. Unite, join, ally… these are the words used when equals merge. Conquering is when one believes itself better. That belief cannot be inadvertent, it can’t simply come from thinking those who believe in superiority are wrong. There must be passion in it to conquer.

This is a dilemma. How can those who believe in and adhere to acceptance and equality ever rule, lead, or manage those who firmly believe in inequality? If an accepting, equality believing person tries to persuade by stating, “All are equal and should be accepted,” that is being unaccepting. The inequality belief person will respond as such, “You are not accepting of my belief that I am superior.”

This philosophical conundrum is the basis of political problems that has plagued humankind since the first civilization was settled. It isn’t new. It feels current only because of the abundant amount of attention it is given at the moment.

You Think You're Better Than Me HIMYM gif
My favorite show hinted at this on the Night Train.


Thanks for reading. I had to get this off my chest.

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#deja2016vu DEJA VU BLOGFEST - 2016 data-recalc-dims=
Déjà vu Blogfest

Which post appealed to YOU more?
Is the “philosophical conundrum” or the “most accurately portrayed award” post the one you’d like to read more of here on this blog?

There’s a giveaway on the 21st, as well as my next flash fiction piece. Please consider stopping back!

Dec 07 2016

Four Ways to Follow This Blog

Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin


Or leave a comment and check the box! The email comes Twice Monthly

“Notify me of new posts by email.”

Dec 07 2016

2016 Twitter Goal of 6500 Followers Reached

Over 6500 Twitter followers @JLenniDorner

Dec 01 2016

My Thanksgiving Was Probably Not Like Your Thanksgiving

This post is about American Thanksgiving. There are people in parts of the world that I’ve traveled to who wouldn’t begin to understand this discussion. There are plenty of Americans I know who wouldn’t understand why those people would find it incomprehensible.

This is more personal than my posts tend to be. There are chunks of my past that I do not share because they serve only to illustrate how remarkably unlike the rest of you I am. I’ve come across one blogger in all these years who could somewhat relate to my early childhood– and she wouldn’t communicate with me due to my gender. (That’s how it is among her people, the two genders rarely exchange words. That says something about the blogging community on the whole, doesn’t it? “Tell me, tell me, before I forget, why are there always more Barbies than Kens?” ~Tremendous by Girlfriend)

For Thanksgiving, I went to visit with relatives I haven’t seen in a long time. That sounds normal. Many Americans do that. I did not go because it was Thanksgiving. I went because I had been watching certain patterns and could estimate where they would be at the end of November. These people, my blood, live off the grid.

My great-grandfather was the first in my family to become an American citizen. The ones for ten thousand years (by estimation) lived on the same land. None of them crossed an ocean. They didn’t cross the imaginary lines between the US and Canada (well, probably not, my people aren’t as good with knowing where pretend stuff is). My great-grandfather went to extreme lengths to get citizenship. Our people would call it too far, American people would call it duty and honor. Gray area. But I also have family members who do not call themselves American. They take no money and use no resources from the government. They don’t exist as far as any form is concerned.

It’s funny, because all of those relatives consider my current lifestyle (what most readers of this blog consider almost normal) to be brave going on crazy. To them, I’m the rebel who ventured to the terribly dangerous part of the world. They’re shocked every time I make it back to visit and am still alive. My great-grandfather was able to save a tiny piece of our ancient heritage by becoming a citizen and being able to “own land.” They were amazed that he lived, that he returned from being sent to Europe. (Historically, our people that were sent there did not come back. That’s the difference between slaves and citizens. And yes, slaves were an American export, not just an import.)

Someone said I was brave to go out there. No, my dears, brave is coming back. I return to a world where I do not fit in. Not that I properly fit there anymore, either. Did you ever see those puzzles where there are two sets to solve and both images are cut the same and they share a box? If you solved one of those, then took a single piece out and burned the rest, that would be me. The lone piece. Technically I’d fit into the other puzzle image, since they are cut the same, but I’d never belong.

This is the life I chose. And I am thankful for the many opportunities it affords me. I’m glad I am able to experience the vast cultural differences this world has to offer. I am grateful to have been raised first by people who demonstrated every day what equality means. I was a teen before I discovered how exceedingly rare that is, before I met people who treated me as less. I can imagine the struggle of my ancestors explaining our ways to Thomas Jefferson, as I’ve tried to explain to a few people. (Trust me, explaining colors to someone born blind is a similar task, maybe even an easier one.)

I didn’t spend this year gathered around a table. There was no pie. The people I was with didn’t even know it was a holiday, and certainly would not have celebrated it. But it was a treasured time and I am thankful that I was able to make the trek out into the wild. Out to my childhood.

I hope all of you had a good holiday as well.

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