Jan 20 2019

Sunday Stealing for Ravenclaws

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop

Host Bev Sykes of sundaystealing.blogspot.com and the blog “Funny the World”.
Welcome to Sunday Stealing.
This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first – Judd Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud) Cheers to all of us thieves!

Questions from the Ravenclaw Ask Game

1. Do you have a passion project? What is it?

Right now, my passion is all wrapped up on the book I have up for pre-sale, and the upcoming A to Z Challenge!

Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier
Writing Book Reviews As An Author by @JLenniDorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge #AtoZChallenge 2019 First Book Tour badge

2. How many languages can you speak?

Technically none. I can understand a some, read a few more, and use basic French Belgian Sign Language (French: Langue des signes de Belgique francophone; LSFB). I’m a mute.

3. What was the last book you read?

I need to write a review yet, but I just finished The Fae Realm by Ronel Janse van Vuuren. It was good.

4. Where in the world would you most like to visit?

I want to have dinner at Armando al Pantheon in Rome. (Italy) It’s on my bucket list.

5. Top 5 fictional characters?

  • Heath (My character, from Fractions of Existence)
  • Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle
  • Mark Watney from The Martian
  • Mary Anne from the Baby-Sitters Club (I know, I know. Shut up.)
  • Dani Finklemeier from Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family

6. Something you miss from your childhood?

The simpleness and ease, not knowing how much I wasn’t responsible for and didn’t have to care about.

7. What skill do you wish you had?

The ability to “MacGyver” a pile of scrap into a useful tool.

8. Tell us an interesting fact

There’s an algorithm on a site where sales don’t define promotion opportunities, the number of reviews does.

9. What was your favourite subject in school?


10. Favourite planet?

Well, I’ve only been to Earth, so… Uranus, which was once called George. (Hey, that’s fun fact number two.)

11. Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

I don’t know that any of them do, because they turn out to be real people with flaws and let you down.

12. Favourite mythical creature?


13. Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

You could say that. Others just call it a more accurate version of history. But, hey, burn enough proof and kill enough people who disagree, and you really can write history any way you see fit.

14. What is your favourite word?


15. Do you have any obsessions right now?

I had a thing for Google Tasks last month. But I find I need more than one to-do list at a time. Today, this weekend, this week, this month, this quarter, this year… So that obsession is already waining. I think I’m looking for a new obsession.

16. Do you play any instruments?

Not very well.

17. What’s your worst habit?

Forgetting to charge electronics.

18. Do you have a collection of anything?

rocks and sticks

19. What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

Remember the movie Avatar? What if the Native Americans were never conqured?

20. What is your favourite fairy tale?

The Ugly Duckling

21. Have you ever dyed your hair? Is there a colour you’d like to dye it?

Not my thing.

22. If you could learn one language overnight, which would you choose?

ASL, or maybe some dead language that no one knows and museums and such would pay me piles of money to translate their artifacts.

23. What’s the most useless thing you know how to do?

Hitch a horse to a buggy.

24. What’s the most important change that should be made to your country’s education system?

I’m torn between wanting the current secretary to be tossed out or answering that it should be funded as if it is as important as the military. Only one of those changes might happen in my lifetime, to be honest. ‘Merica.

Jan 13 2019

#BoutOfBooks Reaching Goals and Gasping Reads

Today’s challenge:

Stretch Goal

It’s the last day of the readathon, so today’s challenge is to take a look at the goals you set for the week (if you have them) and decide a) how you can stretch yourself to complete them or b) how you can revise them so you can meet them. Because yes, you can revise your goals! If you didn’t set goals for the week, set a small one for yourself today!

Actually… I met my goals so far.

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

Day of the challenge: Day 7
What I read today:
The Fae Realm by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
They Called Me Wyatt by Natasha Tynes

Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Kristy’s Big Day by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Jan 13 2019

Twelve Sunday Stealing Questions

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop

Host Bev Sykes of sundaystealing.blogspot.com and the blog “Funny the World”.
Welcome to Sunday Stealing.
This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first – Judd Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud) Cheers to all of us thieves!

Questions from a set of “Storywise” cards

  1. The strangest place you’ve ever been.
  2. Cargo hold of an ocean liner.

  3. Unusual food combinations you enjoy.
  4. Scrapple and maple syrup.

  5. Your best cure for hiccups.
  6. Pressing on collarbone.

  7. Something you have never done but would like to try.
  8. Skydiving.

  9. A routine you do every day without fail.
  10. Drink water.

  11. Something new you’ve recently learned.
  12. I read “The Alchemist,” and one of the characters talks about his goal and such. During that, he talks about the Koran, and the five obligations written there. So I just learned that those exist, and what they are. (One God, pray 5x a day, fast during Ramadan, charity, Mecca pilgrimage)

  13. Your keenest sense.
  14. Hearing.

  15. Whether you prefer cooking or cleaning up.
  16. Cooking if it’s outdoors, cleaning if indoors.

  17. Where were you the last time you saw the sun rise?
  18. In the forest.

  19. A recent time you were embarrassed.
  20. A potluck. Apparently there are only *certain* dead forest animals that can be put on a grill in the suburbs. I don’t know where this magic list is. Honestly, I thought people ate rabbit and such.

  21. An everyday sound that delights you.
  22. The wind blowing through the leaves.

  23. The last conversation you had with a stranger.
  24. Well, I’m a mute. So the conversation on my end was a head nod and a hand wave gesture.

Jan 12 2019

Book Reviews and Day 6 of #BoutOfBooks has a Dreamcast (Not the Video Game System)

Today’s challenge:

Dream cast

Share your dream cast for a book that hasn’t been adapted yet

I read that as Dreamcast…

Perhaps that is why I decided to go with a book that has a videogame system as a big part of the plot twist/ meet cute:
Strangely, Incredibly Good by Heather Grace Stewart (my review)

Cat Glamour= B.K. Cannon or Margo Martindale
(I don’t know how ages are factored in Hollywood where it takes either a few months or many years to go from book to movie.)

Gene= Jason Momoa or Oded Fehr

Grandmother character= Ann Morgan Guilbert died, so I can’t pick her. Cloris Leachman

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

Day of the challenge: Day 6
What I read today:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Kristy’s Big Day (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #6): A Graphix Book by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan

Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Kristy’s Big Day by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Book Review:

Drawing from The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Try Something New: Author I Haven’t Previously Read, #BeatTheBacklist, #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Men’s Personal Growth
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Mysticism
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Philosophy
Fiction 11,743 users
Classics 4,559 users (Even though it was first published in 1988/ 30 years ago.)
Fantasy 2,753 users
Philosophy 2,352 users

I read the 25th Anniversary Edition. The above image was one of the many illustrations in the book.

This fantastic book is “just fiction,” just an allegory, but it’s filled with the wisdom and philosophy of a self-help book. It mentions more than one religion, and it sort of shares the “point” of having religions (my opinion). The boy who didn’t want to become a priest chatting with “The Hand that wrote all” seems like such a powerful way to link the near beginning and the near end of the book.

A pearl of wisdom that really struck me:
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Fans of The Name of the Wind novel by Patrick Rothfuss will love when the alchemist says the boy will turn into the wind in three days. “Well, you’ll have to learn; your life depends on it.” That same part of the book reminds me of my own characters from Fractions of Existence, especially how matter and the spirit are connected.

I’d also recommend it to people who are deciding the next phase of their life. Not everyone does this. Some people just follow the motions (school, job, marriage, offspring, retire, die). But some people wonder if they should break from the path. If they should travel. If they should give up all they have to perhaps find something more, or something different. And wondering how long they should prepare before embarking… the book has some lessons about that, too.

I like the 25th Anniversary Edition cover. The hand-drawn map, the hawks, and the pyramids all belong with the story. I got a copy on sale after hearing good things about it, that people enjoyed it. Yet everyone said it was about something different. Now that I’ve read it, I know why. This book brings out what you have in you. I imagine it to be the sort of read that changes if you pick it up every decade or two. Same words on the page, but never the same reader.

The characters are revealed slowly, one at a time, each having a chance to be memorable if they matter. The boy wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not a very thick book, it wouldn’t make for a good pillow, but it is a very good book. The title doesn’t make sense until nearly halfway through, and then makes more sense, I think, toward the end.

I kept reading because the boy kept working toward various goals. I wanted to see how it would turn out. Honestly, I think the boy got the treasure without digging, but that’s because of my own values. “Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

While I do enjoy Philosophy, I don’t read many books in the genre. Or many allegories. Mysticism, this is the only book in the current top 100 sales I’ve read. Yet this seemed like it’s exactly the kind of book I would read. As if it were a book that people would expect me to have. I suspect I will read more works by this author. I gave this book five stars because I would probably keep reading it during a plane crash. (The book might tell me how to survive.) Most readers who dislike this book are probably the most like the Englishman character.

All the named characters of the book had goals. Sometimes not working toward them, or knowing they weren’t working toward them, was part of the point of the book. The theme of the book is about knowing your biggest goal, your purpose, and doing what it takes to accomplish that goal, and the side quests that happen along the way to teach you everything that matters. It has a very natural plot flow.

It seems to be well translated. It’s easy to read, even middle-grade students (pre-teens/ tweens) should be able to comprehend this book, though it will mean more as one enters adulthood and perhaps again as one nears middle age.

It’s realistic fiction. It’s predictable if you expect it to go a certain way, because there’s a Happily-Ever-After. Definitely inspirational. It’s a Diverse Book in that the shepherd boy, Santiago, is from southern Spain and travels across northern Africa, meeting people of different religions and cultures. Though the date isn’t referenced, it’s probably between 1830-1880 (there’s a revolver but no cars). And yet it mirrors the same society we see all around us today. There are still some people doing everything and risking it all for their dream, and others who only talk about it, and a few who hope to find someone to pass wisdom onto.

I didn’t care for the boy’s feelings for the Andalusia girl with the raven hair. It seemed he mostly liked her because she couldn’t read and thus he thought he could impress her. She seemed very much like an object, like lead that would never be gold for him.

Otherwise, I could relate to the boy. I’ve been at that crossroads, the moment of deciding between the known path or the adventure. (Except a king didn’t show up to chat with me.) The setting is very important to the story, though it isn’t very detailed overall.

Kristy’s Big Day (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #6): A Graphix Book by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan
Aug 28, 2018

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Another fun trip to my past, to the days in my youth when most of my friends were girls. (I’m waiting eagerly for the Logan character to appear.) The memories are why I read it, and while I’ll keep getting books from this series as they come out in the new Graphix versions.

This one gets four stars from me because the Kristy character suddenly cares so much about dresses and wedding things, and no one even remarks how out-of-character that seems to be for her. Maybe it’s just something I don’t understand. But in the other books, she seems to hate dresses, and in this one, she’s overjoyed about it. My feelings are reflected on the cover, where she’s wearing her baseball cap (which she isn’t seen with during the wedding scene in the actual book, as she has braids and flowers and stuff). Plus, it’s hard for me to handle her “big problem” of having to move into a mansion.

I think young people can still enjoy these books, though they may wonder about the phones and lack of laptops. The characters work toward their goals, which are mostly just being the best baby-sitters they can be to earn some money.

My favorite line from this book, the laugh-out-loud line, was when Claudia said, “That’s a lot of gummy bears.”

It’s a Happily-Ever-After (HEA), fun book. A good book for young people who are nervous about their parent getting remarried, especially about the wedding day itself. It can stand alone from the series.

Jan 11 2019

Book Recommendations on Day 5 of #BoutOfBooks 24

Today’s challenge:

If you like this, try that

Put your recommendations hat on, #boutofbooks-ers. For this challenge, pick a book, author, or trope (or whatever!) from your TBR and suggest similar books.

Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Trust Me, I’m Lying

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

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#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks book recommendation

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Day of the challenge: Day 5
What I read today: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Total number of finished books: 1
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Jan 10 2019

Rave #BookReview During #Boutofbooks 24

Today’s challenge:

Synopsis Rewrite

Take a favorite book and re-write the synopsis (book description) from the point of view of the non-main character

It was difficult to pick which book I wanted to use for this. I’m going with this one because I think I can do the challenge well using the Nick character.
Please note that this is how I imagine the Nick character thinks. These are not the sort of thoughts I personally would have, but rather the thoughts I believe this villain has.

Olivia has turned into a cunning young lady. Sneaky sneaky, she thinks she has me over a barrel because her little plan to slip off to college worked. I allowed it to work. Sometimes you have to give slack on the leash. That doesn’t mean the choker chain has come off. Oh no. A fact I remind her of again and again. Still, it isn’t enough. I need to retrain her. Olivia isn’t as obedient as she was when I first took our relationship to the next level. Somehow, crossing into the age of legal adulthood has made her brazen and disrespectful. It’s possible she thinks her body is her own. Maybe she’s even considering sharing that body with someone else. As if I’d allow her to share my property! Her body, and her trust fund, will always be mine.

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

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#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks #orange

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Day of the challenge: Day 4
What I read today:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Total number of finished books: 1
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Book Review:

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Try Something New
Author I Haven’t Previously Read
Debut Book #DebutAuthor

Trope Challenge
MC returns to hometown Trope


This was an amazing read, an emotionally powerful autobiography. Year of Yes is about what Shonda did, about how saying yes improved her life (which was already an incredibly successful and enviable life, but there was still room for improvement). It’s not a self-help book, yet it would be so simple to apply what she did to one’s own life and, probably, result in self-helping. This is the first book like this Shonda Rhimes has written. (Seems funny that she’s a debut author, considering that she writes all time and has won many awards for doing so. But this is her first of this kind of book.)

When she wrote that she is more comfortable with books than new situations, I felt I could relate. The part about F.O.D. — I’ve lived that. When she wrote “I make stuff up for living,” man, that’s a version of what I’ve been expressing for years. That I don’t write for this reason or that reason, I write because that’s living, that’s why I’m here, that’s the reason this soul is in this body. (Maybe the soul would have had an easier go in a different body, but perhaps it’s all just fuel for the pages.)

When Shonda equates writing to running five miles, I’ve never heard it put that way before. That really makes a lot of sense to me. And how interruptions drive a writer nuts, wow, that’s so accurate and true. “We can try to cohabitate, but if you lure me away from writing, intentionally or not, it won’t go well.” Yeah. I’ve had that conversation. I get what she meant.

There’s a part in Chapter 12 about finding your tribe, about the fear of being alone, about wanting to feel less marginalized by “peers;” I really understand what she’s talking about here. Being introverted and wanting to be alone, yet needing to feel like you aren’t alone. I seriously relate to that on such a deep level.

And then, right on the next page, she talks about NORMALIZING. How that’s what the movement should be called instead of diversifying/ needing diverse characters, books, shows, etc. I don’t know how I never thought about it this way before. She’s so right! It is about making our fictional worlds better reflections of our real ones. I really love that. I hope that, in our lifetimes, we see diversity exist so much in fiction that it does become normal, the standard.

Chapter 9, “Yes to Joining the Club,” I suggest that everyone drop what they’re doing, run out to a bookstore or library, and read this chapter right now. Maybe stop along the way to get tissues. I cried. I’m rarely ever hit that hard emotionally. Reading about the group effort of those women, I don’t know, maybe it made my heart swell until tears came out. Perhaps it is because reading that gave me hope for myself and my fellow Native Americans. Speeches like that are why I’m part of the #HeForShe movement. Bravo. I actually had to set this book down because it moved me so emotionally that I “needed a minute” to process.

“Say yes to staying conscious.” That line had me laughing so hard that my spouse thought something was wrong with me. (“J’s finally flipped, gone round the bend. Time for the whitecoats to haul him away.”) Maybe it’s extra funny because I needed a laugh. Seriously, this book is an emotional journey.

I love that, near the end of the book, she goes back to Chicago to give a voice to a statue. There’s something really deep about that, something amazing about different art forms coming together.

There’s a section (in the paperback edition I read) with color photos. They’re great and I highly recommend viewing them. There’s even one of Jenny McCarthy (Shonda’s, not the other one; this one is pro-vaccination). Even the copyright page of this book has a line of humor.

I enjoyed the book far more than I expected. I mean, it’s Shonda Rhimes, I’m already a fan, so I figured it would be good. But this was so much better than I thought. I’d suggest it to all the fans of her shows, to anyone who is “diverse” and hopes to one day be “normal” or wants someone else like you to look up to. And to anyone who has shut themselves away for any non-medical-life-and-death reason. I do like the cover. The gold silhouette of a woman jumping for joy is pretty accurate (as this book is aimed more at women, but I liked it anyway). I got this book as a gift a year ago. I thought I’d have to wait until January to read it, that it would give me step by step instructions for a year… I was wrong. Read it any time. Waiting is dumb. Waiting is an excuse. Waiting is blowing up perfectly good train tracks.

I have read other autobiographies. I’ve read other self-help type books. I’ve never read anything quite like this though. This is more. This is like when people talk about the difference between American .89 cent sliced white bread versus some other country’s small village bread baked by the elders and served fresh. And yeah, you might think “eh, bread is bread,” but then you taste it and your tongue relays to your brain “OH, THIS IS WHAT TASTEBUDS ARE FOR.” That’s the experience of reading this book. I would absolutely read another book by Shonda, if she writes one.

“My happy ending is not the same as your happy ending.” Those words of wisdom should be quoted all the time. Dozens of memes. There should be tee-shirts and mugs and other such paraphernalia. Honestly, I think she may have cracked the code to the path to world peace with that line.

Finally, I want to wish Shonda Rhimes a happy birthday on January 13.

Jan 09 2019

Helpful Readathon Day 3 #boutofbooks 24 Six Degrees of Separation

Today’s challenge:

Six degrees of separation from Bout to Books

Find an original way to connect the two words (Bout and Books) through six books

1. 2. 3.
4. 5. 6.

  1. Bouts of Mania – Uses the word Bout
  2. Chat ‘Bout: An Anthology of Jamaican Conversations – Uses bout short for about
  3. Yalla!: A Wandering Jew Survives Palestine, Cuba, Jamaica and America – Jamaican to Jamaica
  4. Secret Jews – From a Wandering Jew to the Secret Jews
  5. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Secret and Secrets
  6. The Book of Books – From a Little Book to the Book of Books

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

This was a screenshot from my Amazon wishlist.

Day of the challenge: Day 3
What I read today:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
(I am SO CLOSE to the end!)

Total number of finished books: 0
Titles of finished books: 0

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Jan 08 2019

#BoutOfBooks 24 Readathon Character Dinner Party

Today’s challenge:

Character dinner party

You are hosting an intimate dinner party for five of your favorite characters. Who do you invite and what food do you serve?

The food I’d serve is how I’m going to pick the characters.
Because I don’t cook indoors. Disasters happen.
So we’ll be dining in the forest and the food is going to be served over an open fire. It might be fish, or rabbit, or squirrel, maybe deer if you’re lucky and I’ve got time. If it is deer, guests will be going home with gifts. Shoes, pants, vest, antler decor… you never know. But I use all parts of any animal I take. So the five guests are going to need to be willing to eat whatever I hunt, gather, and prepare.

  1. Katniss Everdeen – Likely to help me hunt.
  2. Hagrid – Most likely to “accidently” sell me something cool… like a dragon.
  3. Chris McCandless – Most likely to ask if the berries are safe. Really safe? Am I sure?
  4. Mowgli – Least likely to judge me for perferring the forest.
  5. Heath – It’s my party and I’ll invite my own character if I want to and you CANNOT stop me.

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

Day of the challenge: Day 2
What I read today:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
(I’m at Chapter 9.)

Total number of finished books: 0
Titles of finished books: 0

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

What’s on your TBR?

Jan 08 2019

Flash Fiction #FlashFiction The Sunrise Alarm

Found this flash fiction prompt at: fictioncanbefun.wordpress.com

The Sunrise Alarm

The birds call to each other. Jenny Wren is especially loud about informing everyone in the forest that morning has come. Leaves rustle around me as rabbits hop and squirrels gather. A deer moves a twig as it heads to the stream. I inhale the clean air and crisp smells as I rouse. Breakfast options are all around me. It will be served once I acquire and prepare it. Moving silently is the key. After that’s done, I’ll wash up in the stream.

BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP!!! The machine blares a warning. Is it just morning, or has something come to kill me? My other half smacks around with closed eyes until the nightmarish sound stops. I would trade my pillow for a rock so I could smash that thing. There isn’t time to enjoy smells. Breakfast needs to be ready soon. More machines. Labels on food that comes from machine places. Another machine heats the water for the shower I’ll take. Not to feel refreshed, not to equalize my scent with my surroundings, but so as to not stand out, to not become prey for mean people.

Which world is really mine? Can I belong to both? How can a person live in one and not the other?

Could I ever be happy now that I know both?

Those questions might never be answered.

Will I ever destroy the alarm clock?

Some piles of remains at a junkyard may offer a clue.

Accidents happen.

Sometimes accidents involve a Bowie knife when I’ve been left alone for the night.


~ By J Lenni Dorner

(Fiction… yeah… fiction. Ha ha ha.)

Jan 07 2019

Day 1 #boutofbooks 24 Readathon #Reading #insixwords

Today’s challenge:

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

Day of the challenge: Day 1
What I read today:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Total number of finished books: 0
Titles of finished books: 0

My GOALS during Bout of Books 23:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Jan 06 2019

Sunday Stealing has 15 Interesting Questions

I “stole” this blog hop from 2Gators.

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop

Host Bev Sykes of sundaystealing.blogspot.com and the blog “Funny the World”.
Welcome to Sunday Stealing.
This feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first – Judd Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud) Cheers to all of us thieves!

Questions from Sleepy Rambles

1. Are you filled with joy today?

Some joy (mostly thanks to Jeremy), some pressure to get things done in a time crunch, and mostly nervousness about a new event.

2. Has it been a rough week?

Not as bad as other weeks, but not exactly a walk in the woods.

3. If given the opportunity, would you like to star in a musical?


4. Name one person you’d take a bullet for.


5. Did you trip over anything today?

Physically, no. Metaphorically… someone who couldn’t paste a link and had me “trip over” a string of errors before I got where I was headed.

6. Last time you painted a picture?

Actual paint… that has been a few years.

7. Is your favorite color yellow?

No, my favorite color is not yellow.

8. Were you born in a hospital? Do you know the name of the person that delivered you?

No, I was not born in a hospital. My dad delivered me. My Lenni Lenape people share our true name (given by the Name Giver) with only one, maybe two, other people. So, while I do know who my father is, no, I don’t know his true name. Nor does he know mine. Yes, we get along quite well. Names have power.

9. Have you ever had a friend or relative that’s incarcerated?


10. Do you enjoy romantic movies, even when they’re cliche?

Not my go-to genre.

11. Would you rather watch a movie or listen to music?

Generally a movie.

12. Ever been to Rhode Island?


13. Can you tell the difference between a Scottish & an Irish accent?

Not with great accuracy.

14. Can you read music?


15. Have you been to McDonald’s in the past month?

No. Why? Was there an Eggnog shake or something? Eh, I could make my own.

Dec 31 2018

Goals for 2019 #HappyNewYear

Got Goals Bloghop

Time to be accountable for 2018, and check in on my December progress, and also set goals for next year.

My lovely A to Z cohost, J R Vincente, made a spreadsheet to track progress for the year. I inserted my own meaning for the 1 to 5 code of “progress.” Hopefully it’ll help me stay on track.
2019 Productivity JLenniDorner image

Hang on to your farmer hats, because this is gonna be a potato of a post.


  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 35 years


  1. Publish a book and sell 2,000 copies of it in one week or 8,000 copies of it in one month.
  2. Watch a meteor shower while in the Cranberry Lake area of New York or Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. (USA)
  3. Visit Mount Sinai.
  4. Skydive
  5. Learn how to play checkers.
  6. Take a hot-air balloon ride over Maine.
  7. Have dinner at Armando al Pantheon in Rome.

Current Writing Goals

  • Self-publish + Blog the reference book on Writing Book Reviews #BookishResolutions
  • Self-publish Anah’s story (ANAH ON TENTERHOOKS) #BookishResolutions
  • Complete the high fantasy short story
  • Self-publish the WIGS tribal story
  • Finish and publish the next Existence book
  • Finish and publish the Alison Fantasy book

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2019 Resolution:


  • This year I resolve to publish two books and write at least 25% of the year.

2018 Resolution:


  • This year I resolve to be more engaged in my online writing community by regularly commenting on fellow writers blogs every month, leaving book reviews, and publishing another book.half credit because @JLenniDorner accomplished part of this goal

Seven Focus Topics

Posting about these topics monthly will keep my author brand strong:

  1. Lenni Lenape (Native American) — 2 posts
  2. storytelling –1 posts
  3. writing –1 post
  4. legends — 1 posts
  5. characters — 0 posts
  6. urban fantasy/ speculative fiction — 3 posts
  7. read –2 posts

2019 Goals:

  • 12 Blog All About It posts
  • Keep rocking the Debut Author Spotlight at Operation Awesome
  • 91 days of writing is my big #BookishResolutions (others are hashtagged)
    • Update on May 1
    • September 1
  • Take part in NaNoWriMo
    • July Camp #BookishResolutions
    • November 50k words #BookishResolutions
  • Publish two books #BookishResolutions
    1. One:
    2. Two:
  • Be part of 3 blog hops/fests
    1. One: #AtoZChallenge First A to Z Book Tour
    2. Two: #AtoZChallenge TENTH anniversary of the April blogging challenge
    3. Three:
  • Enter 7 writing contests #BookishResolutions
    1. One: WEPFF 28 days
    2. Two:
    3. Three:
    4. Four:
    5. Five:
    6. Six:
    7. Seven:
  • Add 200 books to the spreadsheet organizing my TBR by page length
    • 419 as of Jan 1
  • Complete Reading challenges:

blog all about it challenge 2019 try something new square 2019 book reading challenge all about the trope 2019 book reading challengeCreativity Reading Challenge 2019 Back to the Classics 2019 reading challenge2019 Diversity Reading Challenge #BeatTheBacklist2019 Ravenclaw The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club #IWSG Of Wonderland Book Club #OWBookClub #BeatTheBacklist #amreading #books 2019 #BookishResolutions

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
J. has
read 0 books toward
their goal of
50 books.

2018 Goals:

blog about it challenge 2018 try something new square 2018 book reading challenge all about the trope 2018 book reading challenge <#BeatTheBacklist #amreading #books

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
J. has
read 0 books toward
their goal of
50 books.

Winter book bingo - dec

From NaNoProMo July catch-up:


  • Inhale by Kendall Grey
  • Envisioned by Nikki Sparxx
  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

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Goals just for January:

  • Finish the Book Review book
  • First #AtoZ Challenge Book Tour
  • Read and review 5 books
  • Bout of Books

Goals for December:

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

Dec 31 2018

Blogging All About These Sparkling Last Book Reviews of 2018

This is it! The last post of book reviews this year.

I had planned to read and review 50 books this year. I only managed 32. (That’s a 64%.)

#WeNeedDiverseBooks #SpecFic #DebutAuthor #BeatTheBacklist (TBR before 2018)

review-thon image #BeatTheBacklist Reading Challenge Book Bard Team 2018 try something new square 2018 book reading challenge all about the trope 2018 book reading challenge= weather

Winter Book Bingo 2019

Some reading goals from 2018, updated for the last time:

Read 8 Speculative Fiction books — 10 down
Read 8 Debut Author books — 7 down
Read 10 Diverse books — 10 down
Read 20 books from my TBR pile #BeatTheBacklist — 15 down
Read 2 books selected by The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (Book Club) — 2 down

This is also my “Shine/Sparkle” post. It’s especially important to me this month that each of these reviews shines and sparkles. See, I’m planning to write a reference book about book reviews. So I’m hoping to use my own guideline here (such that it is in the very rough draft stage of being mostly two Google doc files of notes and ideas). Fingers crossed!

blog about it challenge 2018

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Keeper by Robyn Roze
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Publication Date: January 10, 2013

Torture! You know who does that? The character Nick (to a degree), but also author Robyn Roze. That’s sort of a compliment… because this Suspense Mistress has left me wanting to know about Olivia’s past even more than Jake desires to know about it. And also, what exactly her future plan is.

The erotic scenes were good. Nice level of foreplay new-adult-courting. But it’s the suspense between those scenes that held my attention.

I also like that Olivia wasn’t an outright “Tomboy,” didn’t feel like part of that cliche. She is a “hot girl” who has varied interests, including ones that older generations consider masculine. Cars, air hockey, fishing, etc. I really enjoyed the character, and how she was revealed throughout the book. She could have been more of a victim, or more childlike, but she isn’t and that serves to make her more entertaining and unique as a character. And she has well-defined internal and external goals.

I believe the theme of the book is about standing on your own, being brave enough to do what it takes to turn your life around, but while also leaving room for opportunities, like love, to come in.

I enjoyed Jake’s character. I’m dying to find out if his car has the connection I’m thinking it might have to another character. Jake reminded me of my own characters and some of my favorite actual people. He could have been more of a rich hot boy cliche, but he wasn’t, and for that I’m glad. Romance seems to be his biggest goal, which is useful to this book. I have a feeling that Jake is a favorite character of the author, based on how he is described. (Though I suspect his brother might have pulled a few writer heartstrings as well.)

Nick needs therapy. Twenty minus six is fourteen last I checked. That’s a pedophile trigger alert. His goals make him the villain of the story, even if he doesn’t see it.

Keeper (Keeper Series, #1) by Robyn Roze was well edited. I read this book cover to cover because the suspense was fantastic. I rarely read “Women’s Fiction,” which is one genre this book is listed under. There are fun sports metaphors, a good amount of car talk for motorheads, and a description of air hockey– I don’t know how often such things appear in “Women’s Fiction,” but for me, it made the book more gender neutral and enjoyable. It’s also listed as “New Adult,” which I do read and enjoy, “Romance,” which I occasionally read and feel mostly neutral about, and “Suspense,” which I enjoy reading. The cover is okay– the characters could be Olivia and Jake. I feel the book could probably stand alone, except the unanswered questions about Olivia’s “Greek-like tragedy” past make reading more of the series imperative. What I liked most about the setting was the lake at Jake’s parents’ house mirroring the other mentioned lake.

There is some underage drinking. There’s also a line which suggests that dogs do not mind being kicked around in a physically violent way, and that bothered me. There was some minor head hopping/ point of view shifts; such as in the scene in Chapter 16 when Jake meets Kyle, or in Chapter 21 when Olivia wakes up as they’re headed to Jake’s parents’ place. The title works for the book. I bought a free copy of this book on Amazon. I only set the book down a few times to attend to other life-matters. The plot flow of the book was very well done. I enjoyed this book and plan to read the next in the series.

As far as I can tell, this is Robyn Roze’s first book. #DebutAuthor

Kindle Reviews: How to Get More Reviews for Your Kindle Book by Alex Foster
– OR –
Book Reviews: How to get reviews quickly with the methods used by publishers and professional writers GOODREADS
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Practice Management
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Reference
#4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Criticism > Books & Reading
Publication Date: February 28, 2016

I read this book mostly because it was free and short. I found it while looking for something else. This book is called “Kindle Reviews: How to Get More Reviews for Your Kindle Book” on Amazon, but called “Book Reviews: How to get reviews quickly with the methods used by publishers and professional writers” on Goodreads. As I don’t think the methods are “quick,” I think the first title makes more sense. I can imagine, though, that some places wouldn’t sell books with the words “Amazon” or “Kindle” in the title.

I liked the book far more than I expected I would. I would recommend it to fellow indie authors. I read several books a year on the craft of writing, so this book is in my wheelhouse. Also, I am a published indie author. I can actually use some of the information in this book.

The book cover on Amazon, the orange one with all the stars and the person in flannel giving two thumbs up, that cover caught my eye. The very plain blue cover on Goodreads with the “clip-art” star and open book, I don’t really care for that cover.

It seemed to be edited well enough. I picked up a few more books by this author after reading this one. The book was informative, entertaining, and a fast-paced read. It was clearly written and easy to follow. I believe this author is passionate about helping fellow writers. The research includes what not to do, including not buying or trading for reviews that are likely to get deleted and might get you banned. I was honestly impressed by this little book. I do feel the author achieved the purpose of the book and gave a good amount of information.

Something I found interesting in the book is the order it claims people use to decide if they’ll buy a book. (Cover, then title, then reviews under 3 stars, then the description.) I wonder how true that is, how big of a focus group was used to figure that out.

It makes an excellent point about how even bad reviews can sometimes lead to sales.

My favorite tip from the book is to always ask readers, “Will you leave a review?” Just like that, a direct yes or no. The book says that it gets the yes-people motivated to write a review. That makes sense to me.

Let me say about the Amazon categories for this book that it has, as far as I can tell, nothing at all to do with “Health, Fitness & Dieting,” and just barely anything to do with “Counseling & Psychology” or whatever “Practice Management” might be.

#BeatTheBacklist This book is from 2016. I have not read it, or this author, before.

Coloring DC: Harley Quinn in Batman Adventures: Mad Love by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Published: March 22, 2016

I liked this book slightly more than I thought it would. It has pretty much the same backstory for Harley Quinn as the one in the Suicide Squad film, but there’s a bit more here painting her a touch more nefarious early on. (Plus, there were two bonus short stories with the copy that I read.) If you like these characters, then you’d probably like this. The cover image, of the Joker failing to seduce Harley with flowers and a dip-kiss, isn’t the one I’d have selected. In fact, in the story, the Joker treats her horribly most of the time. There are scenes with abuse. Mad Love is an apt title. I read this book because my friend bought it as a gift for someone and I figured I’d read it while my friend was wrapping other presents.

Graphic novels are a rare indulgence for me. But Coloring DC: Harley Quinn in Batman Adventures: Mad Love was well-written, well-edited, and well-drawn. I would read more by Paul Dini. It was entertaining with a good amount of action.

In the story, Harley has the goal of getting more love and affection from the Joker. He’s busy with his plan to take down Batman. So she takes down Batman. The Joker can’t stand that someone else, especially his girlfriend, could be the one who takes down Batman, especially since she mostly used his plan to do it. Well-defined goals, and the usual comic book ending. I believe the theme is that, in an abusive relationship, the abused individual is never going to change the abuser. The story slightly exaggerates crime and bad relationships, so it’s holding a fun-house mirror up to society, I’d say.

Harley’s mental state makes this a diverse read. I have not read this story before. The sci-fi/ fantasy/ horror elements make it Speculative Fiction. It’s from 2016, so it’s a backlist read.
#WeNeedDiverseBooks #SpecFic #BeatTheBacklist

Sam and the Dragon by Eric B. Thomasma, Lanin D. Thomasma
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

#1389 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s eBooks > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > Dragons
#4239 in Books > Children’s Books > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > Dragons
#134698 in Books > Children’s Books > Animals

Publication Date: May 28, 2010

My niece and I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I got her a copy in early December, and we read it at least a dozen times. Then we wrapped it up to be given as a gift to another child for Christmas. (Fun tradition.) We both recommend it to other children who enjoy funny stories, especially with dragons and fantasy explanations for ordinary things. It’s also good for any children who are afraid of the basement furnace or radiator sounds.

I’ve actually been following this author for years on Twitter. For whatever reason, I didn’t realize until just now that he wrote children’s books. (Maybe because I wasn’t shopping for them before.) I will likely get more of these books later.

The book is an entertaining, Happily-Ever-After story. The child in the book does intentionally separate from his parents. (I’m not sure if the word “runaway” works for nomadic cultures.) I believe the theme, or lesson, is that there is often a simpler way to solve a problem. It might also be just that the basement furnace isn’t scary.

This is the author’s first children’s book.
#SpecFic #DebutAuthor #BeatTheBacklist
It’s from 2010.
And this is a fantasy.
This is New To Me because I have not read this book or author before.
Weather is very important in this book, so it meets my “all about the trope challenge” requirement.
( #WeNeedDiverseBooks This could be considered a diverse book due to the nomadic culture of the characters. However, note that by the end, the dragon and child resolve the need for the people to be nomads, thus negating that. I’m not personally counting it, but you might. )

I Saw Santa in Pennsylvania by JD Green
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Published: October 1, 2018
#834 in Books > Children’s Books > Holidays & Celebrations > Christmas

PA foods in the book I Saw Santa in Pennsylvania by JD Green

A combination of “Where’s Waldo” type books with a story that is likely similar for every location it was printed in, though the drawings seemed to match fairly well. (Several states, cities, and providences have a version.) Santa comes here to eat scrapple, hoagies, and shoo-fly pie. Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and a reindeer, make stops at the Carnegie Science Center, Dorney Park (that’s in my neck of the woods), Wissahickon Valley Park, Harrisburg, the Crawford County Fair, and Fairmount Park.

I liked it about as much as I expected. It’s a decent novelty item. The children I read it with seemed to like it. I think the food choices were good. It was an entertaining, funny story. Santa seemed to have fun on his little vacation, though he’s not very good at disguises. I do wonder if the “children” in the book who “wrote to Santa” are real or fictional, and if they are real, how they were chosen.

I have not read this book or author before.

Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Publication Date: October 21, 2014
#1601 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s eBooks > Animals > Cats
#2473 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s eBooks > Holidays & Celebrations > Christmas
#6224 in Books > Children’s Books > Animals > Cats

My niece and I enjoyed this story. After reading it a bunch of times, we gifted it to a friend who loves cats and books. It has a very cute cover. It was well-written. We might check out other books by this author.

Poor Cat has a tough time at Christmas, but it turns out Happily-Ever-After. The theme is about being nice, not naughty, especially by giving and sharing. Cat’s failure at decorating the tree got the most laughs in my home.

I have not read this book or author before.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Publication Date: September 22, 2015
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Personal Success
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Women’s Personal Growth
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Creativity & Genius

I didn’t really know what this book was going to be about. It was the book club’s choice for this month, so I decided to have a go. I liked it far more than I expected to. I would recommend it to anyone who regularly pursues a creative interest. In fact, when I got a copy and read it, I liked it so much that I bought a copy for a friend, who also enjoyed it so much that she too bought a copy for her friend.

I’m not sure I understand the cover, which just looks like splashing various paint to me. The title does make sense after reading the book, but based on just “big magic,” I don’t know that I would have picked it up if not for the club picking it. I do enjoy reading books about writing motivation though. The book was well edited. Interestingly, the book talks about editing something so that it’s “good enough,” and figuring out when to stop hunting for every possible error. (*cough* Not that I’ve ever done that. *cough*) One of the greatest lessons in the book though is the hard truth of living a creative life: That you should quit, unless you can’t.

This book does have me interested in the other works by this author. It did inspire me to keep writing. Some of the observations of the book impressed me because I’ve never thought about them before. It’s very informative and entertaining, and it’s clear that Elizabeth is an authority on the subject. The lessons absolutely apply to my own life as a writer. I’m sure my fellow writers would also enjoy reading this. The entire book was clear and easy to follow. The author’s passion for writing and staying creative absolutely came through. I feel that I benefited from reading this book.

In the “Courage” section, the list of fears, I nodded along several times. “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them,” was a powerful quote included in this book (also in the “Courage” section). I don’t know how, exactly, it might apply with chronic illness or family matters, but there it is. The book mentions that projects that don’t turn out well can be thought of as just creative experiments — what a freeing idea that is! The story in the book about the novel that really wanted to be written, the one that Ann ends up doing, that’s some serious motivation to write when the Muse comes to call. Very powerful.

Good enough and out there now is better than probably perfect but never out there… that’s a lesson I should make my mantra and say daily or something. Pretty good books can sell and be read. Books that are never published aren’t selling or giving themselves to the world.

The lesson about needing to love writing (or whatever) with your whole heart, the good and the bad parts, that’s an important one. I think that’s what weeds out most people. For example, during the #AtoZChallenge in April or NaNoWriMo in November, a lot of people start and make it for the first week. But, by the end of those months, it’s only the people who loved doing it enough to keep at it despite the time consumption and dozens of things that inevitably go wrong for anyone who makes plans.

In a post-apocalyptic world, are writers useful? The book suggests that the fact that creativity exists is a gift, proof we are doing well. But I think the worse things are, the more people need the distraction of entertainment. (And if there’s no more power or Internet, books and storytellers would go up in value.) That’s the one part of the book I disagreed with. Perhaps my ego just wants to feel valuable so I have a fun reason to go on that isn’t wholly reliant on another individual?

Being loved by nature and having a place in the world, mentioned in the “Trust” section, perhaps that’s a more natural concept for me because of my Lenni-Lenape upbringing. It does seem to be one of the things that separated, or exiled, me from the more “civilized” children. Also in the “Trust” section was the bit about the Martyr and Trickster, which made me think of Batman and the Joker. As for the story of the Court Lobster, that’s sort of why I decided to self-publish my first novel. (It was never going to wear the right costume, and I wasn’t going to change the mythology just because others didn’t know the legends I do. So I went “Court Lobster.”)

I’d like to see Amazon add a category for this being a writing inspiration book. Perhaps instead of “Women’s Personal Growth” (since that doesn’t apply to me).

This is the December IWSG Goodreads bookclub choice.
I have not read this book or author before.

Dec 30 2018

The Definition of Honor and a Book Review

The noun HONOR is defined as strong admiration for someone for a distinct reason.

I submit to you that the definition of HONOR is actually the ability to crush those under you because your peers and superiors consider it your right to do and believe that you would crush them the same way they would crush their inferiors, making it acceptable. This does not always mean one is obligated to crush others, just that the ability and authority exists.

It is said that a slave has no honor. Slaves exist only to obey, and to do anything else is punishable, usually by death. This goes to my point, as a slave can only obey, not give orders. A slave has no inferiors, and thus no one to crush, and thus no honor. Any slave who manages to become superior to another slave gets regarded as having some honor. How does that happen? Usually by doing some crushing.

The same hierarchy applies in prisons, schools, politics, and the entertainment industry. What’s the advice you are most likely to hear if you’re going to be incarcerated? To beat up the biggest inmate. Biggest isn’t really a size reference, it’s an honor reference. The inmate with the most connections, the one who can best crush the others. All the peers, the fellow inmates, know it, and the superiors, the guards, probably know it too. In school, honor and popularity could be interchanged, as far as peers go. Just have someone under you who you could crush. But as far as superiors, the administration and teachers, view it, the students with the most honor are the ones who do not cheat and get good grades. They are rewarded with special privileges, something their “crushed” classmates are not granted. The most powerful politicians are known for crushing those who stand in the way of their goals. And anyone honored with an award in the entertainment industry gets a bump in honor, a means to crush a few more people who were once peers and are now a little more inferior. Maybe that means getting better roles, higher pay, or more attention.

A judge has “Honorable” added to their name. Why? Their job is to crush wrong-doing. Their peers and superiors believe the judge will do it the same way they would. Only if a judge doesn’t follow that are they removed from the job.

Mulan dishonors her father image on giphy

In the Disney film, what did it mean when Mulan’s father said Mulan dishonored him? He seemed like a pretty good guy, one who wouldn’t crush his family members. But, ah, I said the definition is about ability and authority, not about doing it. Mulan basically pointed out that her father couldn’t crush enemies anymore. But, by pointing it out, she was no longer being crushed (by keeping silent) by her father. She was one more person that wasn’t his inferior. This turns around when she saves China, making her whole family more superior, and thus increasing the honor.

This definition shouldn’t work. You might well be wishing I was wrong and drafting a reply to poke holes in this. It’s natural to want a word like “honor” to mean something that sounds, well, good.

“Honor your parents.” By this definition, it means to treat your parents as if they could crush you (ground you, cut you out of the will, whatever way it might mean in your family). “Love, honor, and cherish your husband.” Just when they finally replaced obey with cherish, I’m here telling you that honor isn’t much better or very different. Mind you, it could be changed to a promise to love and cherish your spouse, and keep your union honorable. In that case, it would imply a promise to always be the “it” couple. The one other couples are crushed by, probably because they envy what you two have. Showing a united front to the world. Not so bad.

How about the idea of defending someone’s honor? How would that fit this definition? Well, if one has honor, one can “crush” the person making advances or threats, meaning one can say no and have it mean no. The moment that “no” is thrown out, the attacker has taken the honor. The ability to crush the attacker’s intentions is gone, meaning the attacker gets to claim to be the honorable one. You’d think that’d be the bottom of the crap bucket, but not if the victim tries to get that honor back. There’s then a debate as to if it was a crime. And you know how that goes? The Honorable judge hears some lawyers argue as to if the attacker had a reason to assume it was okay to crush the victim’s honor. Who was better dressed? Which one had better schooling? Had either of them ever indulged in an alcoholic beverage in public? What’s the standing in the community? And really, the lawyers each try to argue that it would be a bigger detriment to society for their client to be the one not honored. A judge then picks who gets the honor. See, possession is only nine-tenths of the law. If someone steals a physical object and is caught, a judge usually doesn’t decide the thief can keep it. But with honor, it can go either way. (Some people, like me, find that appalling, ridiculous, and consider it the downfall of society because when those who are meant to uphold and enforce the law think a crime is just a gray-area debate, the world is doomed.)

What could have prompted this approximately 900-word discussion? I mentioned my feelings on the definitions of “civilized” and “savage” before, which tied to my birthday. So what is it this time? A book.


This book had been on my TBR for a very long time. Honor comes up in the book. It’s honorable, in this book and according to the laws of some places, to let your child be married long before puberty, even if that means the sexual relations of such a union will lead to the child’s death. Some of us think that sounds pretty dishonorable, which is sort of the point of the book. The current law, their “honor code,” allows the male head of household to treat others as inferiors. Crushing your own child via a marriage is acceptable in some places. Then crushing a child-bride via marital relations is also acceptable, is honorable. And complaining about such things is a dishonor. Nujood did it anyway, to a judge. And that is how she became the youngest divorcee in the world. In doing so though, she publically proved that her father and husband could not crush her, which means she took their honor.

That probably would have worked out better if she were able to stay among the people who agree that little children are not for having sex with. I wanted to know how things were going since the book. I turned to Google. Based on what I found, the father took his honor back, because it seems Nujood (who changed her name from Nujood, which means “hidden,” to Nojoom, which means “stars in the sky”) did not get the money from the book. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/12/child-bride-father-cash-spend There’s an article that made me facepalm so hard. And here’s the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nujood_Ali

If that’s not enough for you, the book mentions what had happened to someone else in the story. Minor spoiler alert — the setting is one of those places where raping a virgin gets you an instant bride. Stealing a goat is a crime. Rape? Eh, that’s just an aggressive negotiation tactic. Only some people have a right to their own bodies.

That’s something that needs to change. And frankly, if you think there’s a situation where rape is okay, especially in the case of child molestation, you can block me and my online presence right now because I assure you that I’m your enemy and proud of it.

In fact, the only way I might find my definition of the word “honor” to be different is if this sort of thing changes. If slavery ends everywhere. (I’m not talking about you BDSM folks who are consenting adults with proper access to mental health care and have been deemed competent.) There are actual humans who are abducted by other humans and have their rights and honor taken away and live a life of unimaginable horror. And sometimes there isn’t even a law to help them. In fact, until the early 1980s, it was still legal in America to abduct a Native American child from their biological parents. And that’s coming back around again. -Native American children less protected news article- We know there are some judges who have broken laws and are still judges. We know that not all parents or spouses are worthy of being honored because there are abuse cases all around us. And really, saying a rapist or child molester has any honor whatsoever is more ridiculous than three monkeys with typewriters running the world. But, here we are. And as long as all of this is still real and true, I’ll be sticking with my definition. Basically, I’m using whatever honor I might have to crush the people who are using the word “honor” in a way of with which I disagree, a way I consider bad, ways that hinder equity.

equality equity fence meme

I AM NUJOOD, AGE 10 AND DIVORCED by Nujood (Nojoom) Ali, Delphine Minoui
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (March 2, 2010)
#14 in Books > Law > Family Law > Domestic Relations
#144 in Books > Parenting & Relationships > Family Relationships > Abuse > Child Abuse
#151 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Marriage & Family

This is a profound true story. And while the book ends on as good a note as it can, researching the “after” a decade later is heart-breaking. Due to the laws of the country (the same one that let the marriage happen in the first place, and still allows this horrible practice of child molestation and rape to be, essentially, legal), the royalties from the book, money ear-marked for Nojoom’s (Nujood changed her name) education had to be given to her father, who squandered it while the world watched helplessly. The same country won’t allow her to leave, so there’s almost no chance she’ll ever be legally entitled to the money from the book. Delphine Minoui, who helped write it (literacy being important when writing a book), is probably still getting her royalties though at least. Credit for trying? At least some difference was made? Maybe enough time hasn’t passed for the wave of change to be evident. So, while yes I would recommend that everyone read it so as to understand the need for change, I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone buy it. (Because some of your money will go to one of the “villains” of the story.) I borrowed this from a friend who got it as a gift when it was on sale.

The cover is good and does go with the story. The title sums the book up perfectly. I wanted to read this book because I remembered hearing about it when it first came out. It sounded compelling and heart-breaking, which it is. And learning about how and why these things still go on in the world, educating oneself, is the path to stopping it. (Stopping eager child molesters from claiming children for spouses. Granting divorces in these cases is good. Though, apparently, not nearly enough protection.) I read the whole book in one sitting because I wanted to know as much as possible about the situation. I don’t read many books like this. But I care about ending child-trafficking, child abuse, child molestation, and pretty much anything that allows children to suffer great horrors.

That’s really the lesson, or theme, of this book; that there are people who need help and there are several reasons why getting them help is so difficult. There’s red-tape from the religion, culture, lack of education, current laws, lack of public safety, and economics. Which means it’s not just a little help, it’s an entire upheaval, and those are hard to come by and even harder to get people to agree upon. (What does it say about the world when we can’t even unanimously agree that sexual relations with pre-pubescent children is wrong?) The book filled me with anger that these things happen, sorrow for those who suffer such horrors, rage toward those who advocate in favor of such evil atrocities, and resentment that there’s so little I can personally do about any of it. Had I not done a Google search for updates, perhaps I would have been left with a tiny glimmer of hope. Still, I think this story is a beneficial read as more people should think about these situations.

It is well edited and translated. There were, however, parts where I believe the translation may have caused parts of the story to fall a bit flat. Perhaps this is because it’s non-fiction. Or perhaps it’s because this is by a ten-year-old. (With a literate adult obviously helping. I mean, it’s in first-person, but the book mentions more than once that the author can only read and write a few words. So it’s clearly more of a dictation situation. It’s still marvelously well-done, overall.) But, for example, when she talks about having been upset with Hamed in chapter seven, it’s telling not showing. There isn’t much of this though. For reasons I am unaware of, the translation of “P” becomes “B,” as she eats “bizza” and drinks “bebsi” soda. And if Nojoom writes another book in a few years, if something changes and her life gets a new and better direction, I’d want to read it. It’s clear the author, at the time of the book, was passionate about education. It was heart-warming and uplifting to hear her talk about her love of school.

Mona’s story in the book is just about as bad as Nojoom’s. I’m glad it was included. It shows yet another problem that too many people face when “marriage” is little more than a slave sale.

It’s a chilling, inspiring, haunting, educational story. And yes, she does talk about the pain, fear, and disgust of the monster who believes molesting a child is fine if the child is your spouse. The mother-in-law is also written as an antagonist, though one has to wonder if she went through the same thing and just doesn’t have pity because none was shown to her? Or if she has to fear that showing pity for a molested child will get her beaten? Perhaps she just isn’t as brave as Nojoom? (Considering how life went after the book, maybe it isn’t about bravery, but resignation that a bad situation isn’t likely to get better but could easily be worse?)

The setting descriptions were fantastic. Bab al-Yemen, in chapter four, is especially well painted. All of the people were brought to life on the page. In chapter nine, when Mona is recounting what happened to her and Monira is “watering a bush,” I was a little lost as to how Mona could wear a niqab, which hides all but her eyes, yet a smile could be seen around her lips? The order the book was told makes sense, as it seemed to be organized for suspense and page-turning.

I’m not sure why Amazon doesn’t have this book in the biography category, where it most naturally belongs.

This book is diverse, filled with a culture different from my own. It is the first book by this ten-year-old. The first publication was a few years ago.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks #DebutAuthor #BeatTheBacklist
try something new square 2018 book reading challenge

Dec 26 2018

#NewASH #Books New Adult Scavenger Hunt

Winter 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt

The Winter 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt is here!

Winter 2018 #NewASH team:

Winter 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt #NewASH team

The New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins at Noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 26th and runs through Sunday, December 30th. For more information, visit newadultscavengerhunt.com. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors! Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form before the deadline.


Traditionally published by The Parliament House.

M. Dalto

M. Dalto is a New Adult fiction writer of adventurous romantic fantasy stories, and her debut, TWO THOUSAND YEARS, won one of Wattpad.com’s coveted Watty Awards in 2016. She continues to volunteer her time as a Wattpad Ambassador, where she engages and hopes to inspire new writers. She spends her days as a full-time residential real estate paralegal, using her evenings to hone her craft. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently lives in Braintree, MA, with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named Loki.


The moon is fourteen days in waxing and waning. (Words that define which “side” of the moon is lit between New and Full phases.) Seems pretty LUCKY, doesn’t it?


“Two thousand years ago, the Prophecy of Fire and Light foretold the coming of the Queen Empress who would lead the Empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a prosperous world, a forbidden love for the Empress waged a war that ravaged the land, creating a chasm between the factions, raising the death toll of innocent lives until the final, bloody battle.

Centuries later, Alexandra, a twenty-two-year-old barista living in Boston, is taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened by Reylor, its banished Lord Steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the arrogant and seductive Crown Prince of the Empire, and together they discover how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a Prophecy set in motion so many years ago.

Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold by the Annals of the Empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages between the Crown Prince and Lord Steward. Either choice could tear her world apart as she attempts to keep the Empire’s torrid history from repeating itself. In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice – or her fate – that determines how she survives the Empire’s rising conflicts.”


Makar Sankranti is on January Fourteenth.
It’s a festival day in reference to deity Surya, the Sun god, in the Hindu calendar.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated throughout India.
Kite flying is popular during this celebration.
If this blog had a kite, it’d paint the number 14 on it. That would be one LUCKY kite.


“This cannot be right,” a voice crackled within the darkness.

“Time is not wrong,” a softer voice responded.

“But she’s too small. Too frail. Too….”

“Feminine?” a third voice chided.

“She will be fine,” the second voice reassured the first. “She will be perfect.”

“She will have to be. She’s the only chance we have…”

“At least for the next two thousand years.”

The voices around the projection orb quieted then, taking in the scene before them.

Within the sphere, images of an infant, wrinkled, pink and newborn, refracted into the void. No sound could be heard, but the scene was known well enough as the baby was placed into the arms of a faceless mother. Blankets were wrapped around the child, nurses and doctors hurried back and forth checking vital signs, and adoring family members looked on proudly as their new addition.

Soon, this moment would be a shade of the past.

Soon, she would be forgotten, like all those before her.

In time, their memories will fade like worn photographs in a misplaced album.

For her place was not with them.

She was not for their world.

She belonged where she was truly needed.

For with every beginning, there needs to be an end.

Check out these great links to connect with M. Dalto:
@MDalto421 Twitter
The Parliament House
Wattpad: wattpad.com/user/druidrose


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author over on the blog of Kelsey Ketch! Find Kelsey Ketch’s blog at: kelseyketch.com

Dec 20 2018

#NewASH New Adult Scavenger Hunt for #books is next week!

newash winter 2018

Hello Everyone! Hope you are excited as I am, because we have less than a week until the Winter 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins!

Here is the Winter 2018 #NewASH team:

newash team

The New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins at Noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 26th and runs through Sunday, December 30th. For more information, visit newadultscavengerhunt.com.

Dec 11 2018

The Red Box with the Black Ribbon #FF #WEPFF #WEP

The Red Box with the Black Ribbon Flash Fiction image


The Red Box with the Black Ribbon

By J Lenni Dorner

The black ribbon sways with each oscillation of the fan Evelyn never turns off. Under it, the candle flickers. It seems like common knowledge that fire should be kept away from ribbons. But what is common knowledge? The theory that humans have their own sort of internal Internet has never been proven. Even if it were to exist, at what age would people gain access to it? A toddler is not expected to know that fire and decorative trim do not mix.

Evelyn is not a toddler though. Her stretchmarks strain as her body extends, her muscles tightening as far as they’ll go. Not nearly as limber as others in this apartment complex. One day, she knows, she’ll likely be carted away from her home. The idea that the place she’d be put is nicknamed “a home” angers her. Final facility, the big box before the pine box, an orphanage for the abandoned old — these are what she calls such places. It’s a hate that runs deep, one she will not discuss. There are only two ways she knows to avoid that fate.

The edge of the ribbon singes. Were her sense of smell not destroyed from too many years at a job that OSHA has since shut down, she might notice. If her loyal beagle were still alive, he would howl at the danger. Her husband hated that dog.

Another rotation of the fan. The flame rises as the ribbon teases it. Chared edges dance with the fire. A relationship that is beautiful for a moment, but ultimately destructive. Not unlike the contents of the red box to which the ribbon is affixed.

The doorbell signals Evelyn. She stops stretching, wipes her hands on a towel with red stains, and goes to her home’s only entrance. A woman walks in, faking pleasantries as she hauls in two gift bags. They cringe with every glance at the other.

“Where is my brother?” The woman looks about the room. Both bags are set near the neatly wrapped, huge box. The big gift bag is sparkling gold, filled to the brim with barely enough space for the tissue paper. The small one is a silver shade so dull it would better to call it gray. An item rolls around in it, despite the crinkle cut filler and multiple layers of tissue paper.

The fan’s breeze has two new obstacles. Airflow changes direction, blowing the ribbon closer to its deadly, dancing flame. Neither of the women takes note as the ribbon swings just out of fire’s reach.

“He is here. I never took him from you. But, as you requested at Thanksgiving last month, I am giving him back.”

“It wasn’t what you think. Not that I’d expect you to understand.”

Evelyn rolls her eyes. “I’ve known since we first met. The same dress to go with our nearly identical faces. You are my living mirror. It’s common knowledge that you and your brother are too close, isn’t it? But last month, when you got the same dentures I have, that was the last straw.”

“The last straw? Are you leaving him? I’ll pay for the divorce lawyers.”

As the fan turns again, the ribbon and candle mate. Evelyn doesn’t notice, she’s too busy laughing.

“No need for that. Just take your gift box and go. This is our final holiday together.”

Evelyn’s sister-in-law looks to the gift box just as the flame moves from the ribbon to the lid. It spreads, enjoying the taste of destruction. The box burns quickly. Evelyn’s husband’s remains peek out.

Before a horror-struck scream can escape, Evelyn strikes. Blood speckles the drops of wax which were once a candle. A stray piece of burning ribbon floats onto the body. “You’re together now.”

Evelyn barricades the door as leaves. She watches from the parking lot as her apartment complex burns. A twinge of guilt hits her. Not all the children living there deserved to have their holiday burned. She hopes they’ll understand when they’re as old as she is now.

Two ways to avoid the nursing home: prison or suicide. Evelyn wasn’t ready to die.

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WEPFF critique badge
688 words FCA


Oscillating Fan –

Nursing home – Also called Geriatric care. A health care facility that becomes a residence, mostly for the elderly, which has around-the-clock nursing care.

OSHA – https://www.osha.gov The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor.

Crinkle Cut Filler and Tissue Paper –

More ribbons and candles! From Fractions of Existence:

ribbon quote from Fractions of Existence #book by @JLenniDorner #UrbanFantasy

candlelit quote from Fractions of Existence #book by @JLenniDorner #UrbanFantasy

Share the images, if you would be so kind.

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The inspiration behind this twisted tale: http://s.lehighvalleylive.com/6xEWTNW A nearby apartment fire.

Nov 30 2018

Goals Brought In By Einstein the Camel in the Snow

Got Goals Bloghop

I made a post yesterday of what’s been going on in my life lately. Here’s the good highlight:
I won NaNoWriMo!

Nanowrimo 2018 winner

On the downside, Roundteam has gone down. Which was a big part of the way I supported Diverse Books and Debut Authors. (Lots of Retweets.) I will need to create a new goal in relation to those.

And now, here’s Einstein:


  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 36 35Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal for 2018!

There’s also the Bucket List:

  1. Publish a book and sell 2,000 copies of it in one week or 8,000 copies of it in one month.
  2. Watch a meteor shower while in the Cranberry Lake area of New York or Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. (USA)
  3. Visit Mount Sinai.
  4. Skydive
  5. Learn how to play checkers.
  6. Take a hot-air balloon ride over Maine.
  7. Have dinner at Armando al Pantheon in Rome.

Current Writing End Goals

From the End Goals of an Author post.

  • Self-publish Anah’s Story by March 20Naughty List because @JLenniDorner failed to accomplish this goal
  • Find a way (emotionally, mentally) to complete the high fantasy short story.
  • Redo the longer version of the tribal story, then self-publish it in 2018.

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2018 Resolution:


  • This year I resolve to be more engaged in my online writing community by regularly commenting on fellow writers blogs every month, leaving book reviews, and publishing another book.

Seven Focus Topics

I need to verify that I’m posting about these topics on a regular basis to keep my author brand strong.
I only have 2 other blog posts this month.

  1. Lenni Lenape (Native American) — 1 post
  2. storytelling –0 posts
  3. writing –1 post
  4. legends — 0 posts
  5. characters — 0 posts
  6. urban fantasy/ speculative fiction — 0 posts
  7. read –0 posts

2018 Goals:

blog about it challenge 2018 try something new square 2018 book reading challenge all about the trope 2018 book reading challenge <#BeatTheBacklist #amreading #books

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
J. has
read 0 books toward
their goal of
50 books.

Winter Book Bingo 2019

From NaNoProMo July catch-up:


  • Inhale by Kendall Grey
  • Envisioned by Nikki Sparxx
  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

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Goals for December:


Review of Goals for November:

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@JLenniDorner is the Interviewer for the Operation Awesome blog Debut Author Spotlight on Wednesdays


Please share the debut author image. Thank you!

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

Nov 29 2018


blog about it challenge
November Prompt: Truth

A few truths from this month. Some of which will show up in the goal post tomorrow.

  1. I spent the beginning of October planning to do NaNoWriMo with a certain story. Then I thought I’d work on another story. And THEN I started reading a book (Story Genius by Lisa Cron) which gave me an idea for a different book! Except it was super hard to write before making a character sheet. I kept picturing the story happening to potatoes. Not even Mr. Potatohead, just… regular old russets hoping around having emotions and doing things. Which is as bad as you might be imagining, and worse if you aren’t grabbing your head and begging for it to stop. So then I ended up working on two stories in tandem to get to my goal. But guess what? Nailed it. So there we are.
  2. We tried to do another Pass or Pages at Operation Awesome. But only one of the fifteen agents contacted replied. Which is just freaking weird. It’s like all the agents went on holiday. I mean, I guess they might have. Which brings me to my next truth.
  3. Thanksgiving. I made a post about it. This is one of those holidays I wasn’t aware for the first years of my life. And when I did become aware of it, the holiday didn’t go well. Especially in my brief public school experience. “Hey, since you’re an in-jen, we get to take your food.” Which went “so well” both because A) I have little to no tolerance for people who are clearly aware that this land is not India, and ought to know that it was never actually mistaken for India, so there’s no reason to call us Indians other than to make yourself look uninformed and B) I was labeled a problem child/ disruption because I was willing to fight for my sandwich, and yes, I did value my peanut butter and jelly over a bully’s nose, and NO, I actually was NOT sorry for defending my right to food and survival. All these years later, I’m still resentful of the misuse of what an apology is that I was meant to learn from that lesson, because I do not believe one should offer a “sorry” when one does not mean it. You don’t have to like that truth. I’m sure it’s not going to win me any fans, which is why I shouldn’t share it. But that guy runs a car dealership now, and every time I see an ad for it I wonder how much he rips people off just because he can. After all, he learned that he can take from those who have less and the higher powers will stand up for his right to do so if he meets resistance. And I learned to offer a sorry even when I feel like I’m owed one rather than ought to give one.
  4. Despite those flashback feelings, Snookums and I put together a little Thanksgiving meal this year. (No, I didn’t cook. Yes, that means everyone lived. Haha.) Because we’ve been taking care of our niece, as her dad is still… “missing.” (Abducted, kidnapped, stolen… I have even stronger feelings on this matter, but I’m holding my tongue. Why? Because one second-generation American citizen being… “missing” is enough for this family. I own a mirror. Thousands of years of ancestors below my feet are not enough if they decide to make me “missing” too. I’m not delusional enough to believe otherwise.) So Snookums and I had a nice, oversized meal for us, our niece, and our sister-in-law. We won’t mention it to my bio parents when next we see them.
  5. I still really want to publish a book this year.
  6. I am SO BEHIND on my reading. #Guilt
  7. AND I’m behind on my blog commenting.
  8. I know I’m behind because of the changing family dynamic, a sickness that ran through here not long ago, and a general feeling of utter exhaustion that has been like an extra cart full of stones hitched to my backside. But I don’t like that I haven’t been able to stay on top of everything. I know it’s a mathematical rationality that there are still only 24 hours in the day, and since additional hours cannot be granted, something must be cut in order to make time for something else. And that’s why we have priorities. It’s the things that I didn’t decide should be a priority (someone getting sick), but then have to become one (because it’s not like I’m monster who is going to let a sick family member suffer so I can read a damn book) because that’s how life works, those are what get me. Because I can’t regret the choice, but do feel responsible for the outcome. And I can blame someone, a high-ranked person who made a choice that has directly impacted my life. But, other than sitting here and fantasizing about drowning that person in the tears his choice has caused, there really isn’t anything more I can do to fix it. Accepting that is the hardest truth of all to swallow. I don’t feel very wise right now. Anger, pain, defeatist attitude — these are obstructions in the path to wisdom. And the TRUTH is that I am failing to overcome those obstacles right now.

Nanowrimo 2018 winner

Nov 22 2018

Thanksgiving Neighbors

If you saw your new neighbors were hungry, would you feed them?

What if those neighbors were very strange and didn’t fit in your neighborhood?

Suppose they seemed unaware of how to do even the simplest task. If you don’t feed them, they will probably die in the next few months.

What if you do decide to bring them food, and find their house is full of weapons. Not even a crumb for a mouse, but plenty of weapons. And on the wall is a map. Not a very good map, mind you, but it’s obviously a sketch of your neighborhood. Except they’ve renamed everything and have crossed out the houses of your friends, the buildings where you relax or pray, and your workplace. But they tell you not to worry about that.

Those neighbors ask you to stay, to enjoy with them the food you brought. And, though they seem unaware of basic customs, they’re nice enough. Over the meal, they ask you about where you keep something you’ve never heard of. They are quite instant that you do know about it. When they describe it, it sounds worthless to you, but it is their most prized item. It isn’t food, can’t be used for shelter, and isn’t clothing that would keep one warm over the winter.

Next, they tell you that everything you know about lore is wrong. And that makes you a bad person. Well, not exactly a person. Something lower than a good animal. These people have some very odd ideas. Getting to know them may prove interesting. How could they exist as long as they have? They don’t even know what a potato is, much less how to grow one.

What if I told you that one day those neighbors would kill you, your family, and everyone you’ve ever known. They’d wipe your neighborhood off the map.

But don’t be bitter. They will have a holiday to remember the time you brought them food. It will be more about the food than your gesture, but still. And the next day will be about spending gold, the prized thing. They will remember you and thank you for all you did.

Today, are you the hungry neighbor or the one who feeds the neighbor?

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