May 01 2019

Behind the Curtain of a Flash Fiction Story #WEP #IWSG

IWSG

May 1 question – What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

My answer gets really dark, as it’s about using words to break the spirit of a child (me). And I’m not going there. So here’s something about language and writing, with an IWSG tie in, that ends with a genuine question. Sorry it’s long, here’s a giveaway and a potato.

~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~

Let the potato rest

Behind the Curtain of a Flash Fiction Story

THE PROCESS

Sometimes, as an author, it’s fun to play with words. To create a whole scenario in one’s head. Last month, I looked at the WEP prompt of Jewel Box.


What is in your Jewel Box? Join @TheIWSG @DeniseCCovey for 2019's second challenge #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction

Visually, on the prompt image, there is a picture of a jewelry box. I asked myself if I’ve ever heard someone call a jewelry box a jewel box before. No, I hadn’t. Which meant one of two possibilities: Either it’s a regional dialect difference, or the term has an alternative meaning.

I thought about the second possibility. Where had I heard that term before? Jewel box. Jewel box? Jewel box!

Baseball! Of course. Jewel box was an architectural term for a kind of baseball park. Fenway being my favorite one. (I lived, “crashed with a friend,” in Boston for a while some years ago.)

There’s an ongoing bit of humor among folks who know Fenway. A massive left field wall, once plastered with ads, was painted green back in 1947. It’s called the Green Monster. Obviously, this kind of monster isn’t the usual scary type. It’s more of a monstrosity than a monster. Who wouldn’t get that play on words?

Who indeed.

Which made me think about artificial intelligence.

Depending on your sci-fi preference, there are robots that don’t quite “get” certain human expressions. This is one of the factors that holds actual scientists back when working on AI. You can take a young child to Fenway and say the wall is called the Green Monster, and they’ll either laugh or roll their eyes. I doubt many youngsters have woke up screaming, “There’s a 37-foot wall under my bed! It’s threatening to not let me cover it with advertisements!” But what if an artificial intelligence didn’t get that?

What might an AI be afraid of, if it were programmed with fear? Better yet, what if the creator made the robot to play baseball, something that the person couldn’t do.

Because she’s a girl and thus can’t play for the Red Sox? That sent me down a transgender path with a F to M character who has gender reassignment for the love of the game. But I didn’t like where that was going. “I feel like a MLB player, but my gender is holding me back.” I don’t think that’s fair to the trans community on the whole. Plus, it might start a comment avalanche about locker rooms and trans people and I just didn’t want that. I also didn’t like that it left out the robot.

So maybe the creator, who I now called Skip, is a guy in a wheelchair. Skip, who ironically cannot skip and that’s how he got the nickname which he hated at first but made it his own so the bullies couldn’t use it, loves baseball. It’s possible that an accident during little league is why Skip is paralyzed from the waist down. (I didn’t research that, so I don’t know if it’s possible.) What if Skip was “encouraged” to focus on science because sports were “too dangerous” now. (Insert helicopter parent here. Instead of a wise-old-sage character who suggests Special Olympics Baseball. Because, again, the goal was to work Fenway into the story.)

Skip builds a robot. “What’s the difference between a robot and an android?” Google…

Android is either a Robot or a Cyborg which is Humanoid in appearance. In general there is no reason a Robot or Cyborg must appear Human, but an Android, by definition, appears similar to a Humanoid.

Define android:
Google results for android

That’s a twist on a certain logo we know well, isn’t it? That an android must have a humanoid appearance.

Okay, so Skip builds an android with the intention that it will play for the Boston Red Sox. That’s his proxy. This is how Skip will achieve his dream.

But what kind of story would it be if that went well? Stories are all about conflict. Obviously, something has to go wrong.

Things that could go wrong:

  • The android feels like it is cheating.
  • The android fears the Green Monster, and smashes the wall.
  • The android doesn’t make the team because someone rules that it is cheating…

… so it gets a job working security at Fenway…
…and it goes crazy, creating a hostile situation.

(You see how brainstorming works here.)

But the android eludes capture, because it’s an android and thus is freaking smart. It changes appearance to look elderly, because it’s an android and that is just a matter of swapping some parts. In fact, maybe that’s how someone figured out it is an android to start with? The lack of functional male genitals. (Yup, my brain circled back to the F to M trans character, and that locker room debate. And how sports people are often known for placing a high value on inconsequential genital appearance, which is why teams have segregation.) But I didn’t want to write that scene because I had a flashback to locker rooms and bullies. And then I stopped working on the story.

Yup.

Didn’t see that twist coming, did you? That I hit a point where I hated everything I had come up with so far, and thus quit.

A week later, I wrote a story about an award-winning jewel box cake made by someone on one of those baking shows. Who then finds out he’s allergic to gluten. So, even though he just won a huge baking show, and has offers from Duff and Buddy, as well as celebrities calling to make their cakes, now he can’t make those traditional cakes. And ends up starting a gluten-free bakery in the Village. (Greenwich Village.)

Jewel box cake? Jewelry box cake? Which is the wording?

And I put that story away.

Because I really wanted to use the phrase Jewel Box exactly as it is. Someone made that prompt. (I was thinking about the prompt contest, and forgot that was only for February, not all of 2019.) I wanted to interpret it right.

That’s when I went back to the story. I thought about how an android could exist forever. And how it could figure out how to cover-up what it has done. Redact files. Easy enough to hack anything when you are a robot. Except, what if there were print books? It would have to find those copies and destroy them.

What happens after Skip dies? What if the android was afraid of the Green Monster? And then Skip got sick and died, so now it’s also afraid of germs? It doesn’t realize that it can’t get sick. (Spoiler Alert for the movie Unbreakable: Just like David Dunn in Unbreakable didn’t realize he couldn’t get sick until Mr. Glass pointed it out. End spoiler.)

Slack conversation screenshot

All that was swimming in my head, but not on the page. Then I saw an ad for Mayfair. It’s a local event. Pretty sure it used to be a carnival in the hospital parking lot, though that might have been something else. It’s possible my brain has blurred several events together. Anyway, that got me thinking about carnival games. Especially ones where someone has to throw a ball to knock down milk bottles. For some reason, even high school jocks who throw balls around every chance they get, tend to miss. And then freak out and stomp around, and get into a fight with the Carny. But the Carny, despite being dressed like a peace-loving hippie, kicks the jock’s … (Memories.)

You know who could tell if a game was rigged? An android with super robotic eyes. One who has been living as a shut-in. One who probably made a boatload of money by way of technology. But is still plagued by what it did one day at Fenway. The un-caught scourge, who has basically been living in a prison of fear. And somehow (maybe barcodes are more advanced, I don’t know), it senses a copy of the book it thought it destroyed. It has to have it! And that means playing ball at this booth.

It wasn’t about baseball

Despite all of that thinking, the comments about the story were largely focused on the audience not knowing enough about baseball to appreciate the story. I don’t know much about sports, so I didn’t think I used any references that were especially difficult or jock-only. But I’m not in the habit of arguing with readers!

You know… WEP partnered with the IWSG.

AND HERE I WAS, FEELING LIKE AN INSECURE WRITER

So I put a second version of the story in the comments. Same story, same word count, but this time with a baker of a jewel box cake. (This is why we never delete ideas.)

I do wonder if only males can be called Old Timers? I’m quite sure I’ve heard older females use the wording about themselves. “I’m an old timer, you wouldn’t remember how it was in my day.” Or if “A League of Their Own” was wrong about women being able to use a baseball? Is The USA Baseball Women’s National Team defunct?

What made the android a male? I’d love to know!

Genders image meme

Especially because there’s a lot about gender I seem to not know. I actually wrote another story for WEP where the main character was actually a guy. Osiris, a gay man who falls for a skydiving instructor after a break-up. Despite the name Osiris, commenters thought the character was a woman. (In Egyptian mythology, Osiris is the god of life, death, the flooding of the Nile, and the afterlife. He was the brother and husband of Isis.) I figured that was a manly name. I’m horrible at figuring out gender or ethnicity based on names.

Frankly, this is the Internet, the only place where people sometimes think I’m a female. And I have no idea why. What makes me come off as a female? What made Osiris seem female? And what caused a genderless android to be a male?

I ask this as a writer. There must be something, other than genitals, that gives gender to someone. I want to know what it is. This is my “quest for the holy grail.” It matters to me because, in one of the Existence books, there’s a character with an ambiguous gender that some of the main characters try to figure out after the person gets engaged to another main character. So I’m curious as to what I might include to make the gender more difficult to determine. Unisex name (though, apparently, names have nothing to do with it), genderless-looks, font-like handwriting, a vocal pitch that could go either way… but there’s more. Because I used none of those things here. And yes, for flash fiction posts, I could include a note telling the readers flat out which pronouns to use. But I don’t know if that will help me grow as a writer???

genders image

I want to learn. How do readers decide on a gender when there is no pronoun to go by? Please “encourage” me by suggesting answers to that. Thanks for the research help!

THE ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD FOR THE 2019 WEP APRIL CHALLENGE JEWEL BOX goes to @JLenniDorner #WEP #WEPFF

To read the story (original in post, baking one in comments), go here:
Occurrences #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and #WEPFF Jewel Box

Thanks for reading this!

Apr 30 2019

The Lovely Fickleness of April Goals #BookishResolutions #BoutofBooks #AtoZChallenge

Quote on The Lovely Fickleness of April Goals post



Got Goals Bloghop
https://gotgoalsbloghop.blogspot.com
#GotGoalsBlogHop

I am utterly exhausted from the A to Z Challenge. If I didn’t have a two-day breakdown in the middle of the month, I’d have made it to my 300 blogs visited goal. So close!

I’ll be heading off to the woods later this month for much-needed Rest and Relaxation.

There’s a Giveaway link at the end, so you have that as my thanks as you scroll.


SPREADSHEET CHECK-IN

My lovely A to Z cohost, J R Vincente, made a spreadsheet to track progress for the year.
I’m counting blogging as “social media.”
key 2019 Productivity JLenniDorner image


April 2019
As you can see, my month was all about blog commenting and running social media. I took three days off and one day was just writing. But for most of April, I gave myself to the A to Z Challenge.


#BookishResolutions May 1 Check-in:

  • Self-publish Anah’s story (ANAH ON TENTERHOOKS)
  • 91 days of writing in 2019
    • 44 so far.
  • July NaNoWriMow Camp
    • (not yet applicable)
  • November 50k words
    • (not yet applicable)!
  • Publish two books this year.
    • I’m half-way.
  • Enter 7 writing contests
    • Two down.
  • Read 12 books by Authors I Haven’t Previously Read
    • 10 down.
  • Read 8 Debut Author Books
    • 5 down.
  • Read 2 first book in a series books.
    • 1 down.
  • Read 2 “MC returns to hometown Trope” books.
    • 1 down.
  • Read 20 books from my Backlist.
    • 6 down
  • Read 3 books picked by the #IWSG Book Club
    • None yet.
  • Read 3 books picked by the Of Wonderland Book Club
    • None yet.
  • Read 7 Speculative Fiction books
    • 4 down.
  • Read 3 Classic books
    • none yet
  • Read 4 Writing Craft books
    • 3 down.
  • Read 3 Diverse books
    • –ACCOMPLISHED! 5 read!
  • Read 2 A to Z Challenge books
    • –ACCOMPLISHED! Read 5.
  • Self-publish + Blog the reference book on Writing Book Reviews
    • –ACCOMPLISHED! See links below.

Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image






MAIN LIFE GOALS:

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

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 Goals

  • Self-publish + Blog the reference book on Writing Book Reviews #BookishResolutions Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • 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:

#NewYearsResolution

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




Seven Focus Topics

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

  1. Lenni Lenape (Native American) — 2 posts
  2. storytelling –2 posts
  3. writing –32 post
  4. legends — 0 posts
  5. characters — 3 posts
  6. urban fantasy/ speculative fiction — 2 posts
  7. read –0 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 (I’m told the update check-in is next week.)
    • September 1
  • Take part in NaNoWriMo
    • July Camp #BookishResolutions
    • November 50k words #BookishResolutions
  • Publish two books #BookishResolutions
    1. One: Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
    2. Two:
  • Be part of 3 blog hops/fests
    1. One: #AtoZChallenge First A to Z Book Tour Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
    2. Two: #AtoZChallenge TENTH anniversary of the April blogging challenge
    3. Three:
  • Enter 7 writing contests #BookishResolutions
    1. One: Check!
    2. Two: WEP April
    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
    • 430 as of Feb 23
    • 432 as of Mar 29
    • 441 as of April 30
  • 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.
hide


EVERY MONTH:



The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 25 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Goals just for May:

  • Read and review 4 books
  • Do the Bout of Books Challenges
  • Take the #AtoZChallenge after survey
  • Post my #AtoZChallenge Reflection post
  • Sign up for the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip
  • Help with the Pass or Pages Query Contest at Operation Awesome
  • May the Fourth be with me 😉
  • Get away for a weekend
  • Vote at WRiTECLUB


Review of Goals just for April:

  • ROCK the #AtoZChallenge Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Comment on 300 #AtoZChallenge blogs 230half credit because @JLenniDorner accomplished part of this goal
  • Take part in the WEP Jewel post Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Read and review 2 booksNaughty List because @JLenniDorner failed to accomplish this goal



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Have goals? Need encouragement? This blog hop is for you!
gotgoalsbloghop.blogspot.com

~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~

Apr 30 2019

Zero Lines Crossed #Writing One-Star #BookReviews as an #Author #AtoZChallenge

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Tenth Anniversary of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. And an extra big thanks to those who commented on my blog, or at least read these tips. Stay tuned next week for the REFLECTIONS post.





#AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author ~ meme from Pinterest

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter Z
is for Zero Lines Crossed

While it is okay to write a negative book review, there are lines that should not be crossed. Avoid putting any of the following into a review:

  • Obscenities
  • Privacy violations
  • Threats
  • Libelous allegations (something damaging to a reputation)
  • Harassment
  • Inflammatory or violent comments

Why would you even consider taking the time to write a one-star review? Because it will help you grow as an author.

Improve your writing meme ~ Zero lines crossed #Writing One-Star #BookReviews as an #Author #AtoZChallenge

Even if you opt to keep it to yourself, or send it to the author directly, it still gives you a chance to learn. Knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you love.

There is an example of a one-star review in my book. (The reviewed book doesn’t exist.)

As authors, we’re especially inclined to avoid writing one or two-stars book reviews. We appreciate how much time and effort it takes to put a book out there. The lowest one I’ve ever written was because a book was a work of flat-out plagiarism. (The book has since been removed from all sale sites.)

It’s hard to not find at least one nice thing to say. Should you spare the feelings of a fellow author, or save the time of fellow readers? Will you inform the place that sells the book about a quality issue? Or do you stay silent? Everyone has to follow their heart on this. I will only tell you that, if you do write one, keep the lines crossed at ZERO.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: What would you like my A to Z theme for next year to be?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 29 2019

Yippie #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Emotional writing

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter Y
is for Yippie

Were there any strong emotions this book evoked in you? An example would be making you shout “yippie” when your favorite character is victorious.

What someone is looking for when they read your review is your personal observations and emotional responses. Readers of reviews are genuinely interested in this, in your point of view.

Emotions are about you, how the book made you feel, even if the feelings don’t match the expected ones for the genre. There are funny horror novels and scary romances.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question:

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image





Friend of Poe

Apr 28 2019

Sunday Stealing and Melanin

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop
Sunday Stealing
Questions to get to know each other.

Your favorite songs

Kennedy

Your favorite bands

Kill Hannah

Your favorite actors or actresses

Tom Hanks, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Momoa, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Rodriguez

Your favorite books

Moonless (Maiden of Time Book 1) by Crystal Collier, The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, (and my own books, naturally)

Books you dislike

Ones that plagiarize from other books.

Your favorite movies

Divergent, Die Hard, Fast & Furious movies

Your favorite TV shows

LOST, Stargate: Atlantis, How I Met Your Mother

Your favorite foods/drinks

Tamago Nigiri Sushi, Dark ‘N’ Stormy

Your favorite animal

Wolf, cats

Your favorite scents

Forest after the rain

Your hobbies/ things you do in your free time

read, watch movies, goof off on Pinterest, video games

Your pet peeves

Haters that spread their intolerance. SEE OTHER HALF OF THIS POST

Things you collect

Writing inspiration images

Things you like to swap

Knowledge, blog comments, food

Places you’ve been

Lots of places, not always by choice.

Places you’d like to visit

There are a few. Rome comes to mind first.

The songs you dislike

Any that are waking me from my blissful slumber.
alarm humor

The movies you dislike

Allegiant is my least favorite movie of all time, because they ruined the character arc of multiple charaters.

The TV shows you dislike

Safe. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

classes you liked in school

Writing

classes you disliked in school

It wasn’t the class, it was the people in it.

crafts you would like to learn

Turning shells into jewelry. Mostly because people assume I’d know how to do it, but I don’t really. Not well, anyhow.


Quote from 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!
This week’s questions were originally from: Facebook

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Ah, prejudice. Just can’t escape the hate. I recently received a comment that triggered me. It felt threatening, a reminder from a stranger that, given the chance, the person would kill me for being a Lenni-Lenape. That my higher resistance to sunburn is an affront to that person.

Immigration

It was suggested (by the friend of a friend) that I took it out of context. My friend did some digging into the person who said it. She found a post from a few years ago where the person expressed hatred of people who have even more melanin than I do, as well hate of anyone who believes in equality, and hate for an additional 24% of humans. That’s a LOT of people to hate.

melanin

I live in a world where this is true:


Deported Veterns

Seperation of families

Right to Vote revoked

Apr 27 2019

Xenophobia Triggers #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


xenophobia word cloud

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter X
is for xenophobia

Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. There are many people who are triggered by reading something like that. (Triggered is when someone feels hurt, offended, upset, or like an outcast because of a “trigger.” Distress because of feelings or memories from a troubling experience.)

Without giving spoilers away, was there anything especially offensive, any triggers for you? Examples include profanity, pedophilia, violent abuse, and discrimination. Was there any warning beforehand (perhaps in the book description) that the book contained this? Especially with romance and erotica books, were the steamy scenes safe and consensual?

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: Have you ever stopped reading or watching something because it triggered you?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 26 2019

We Need Diverse Books #WeNeedDiverseBooks #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an Author


We Need Diverse Books

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter W
is for We Need Diverse Books

Is the book your reviewing diverse? Are there diverse main characters? Does the author mention having a diverse identity?

Diverse: “The diverse book movement recognizes all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.” — diversebooks.org

There are plenty of books that are great, but aren’t diverse. However, if someone is looking for a book with a certain diversity, and you’ve found one, your review might help.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: What is your favorite diverse book?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 25 2019

Visual Appeal #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter V
is for Visual appeal

Is it a good cover? Does it have visual appeal? Does it match the story or contents? This is your chance to remark on the work of an artist. Authors, as you probably know, do not always get a say on their book covers, so take care when wording, as praise or blame might belong to a publishing house. Also, give a brief description of the cover you are remarking on, because books change cover art (especially with later editions/ printings).

If you’re reviewing a children’s picture book or a graphic novel, this is a good time to also remark on the drawings done by the artist. Does it match the story? Is it well done and visually attractive? Use your own experience with art to determine how best to phrase this.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: What most catches your eye when it comes to book covers?
For me, it’s colors. Click here for my Pinterest board of favorites!

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 24 2019

Universal Life Lessons #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Theme meme Universal Life Lessons #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter U
is for Universal life lessons

Did the author convey the theme well enough that you got the overall purpose of the book? Themes are universal life lessons. Authors are expected to notice themes. For non-fiction or reference, did the book educate you to the best of the author’s ability, in your opinion? Are you different because of this book, and in what way? Has knowledge or wisdom been imparted, and were you able to soak it up?

Themes like overcoming the odds, love conquering all, dealing with grief, surviving in nature, regaining religious faith, the importance of family or friends, and the bravery of soldiers are all popular examples. If you can relate to it, or if the theme helps you better understand something about life, that’s worth mentioning.

If you can’t relate to the theme of the book, chances are that you won’t give it five-stars.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: What is your favorite theme in fiction?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 23 2019

Typical #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Typical #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author ~Book Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter T
is for Typical

Is the book you’re reviewing the typical genre you usually read? If you aren’t sure, you can check what categories the book is in and determine if you’ve read any other books listed there. Is this the genre you write?

Another valuable insight could be if the book is a genre you generally like or dislike.
Someone who likes horror saying that this is a good horror book will help convince fellow horror fans to pick it up. Someone who doesn’t normally like fantasy saying that they enjoyed a fantasy book will start the crossover meter.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: Are reference books a typical genre you read? Are books on Literary Criticism or Writing Skills a favorite indulgence for you?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
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Apr 22 2019

Skeptical #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and Sweet Blog All About It


Skeptical #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and Sweet Blog All About It ~ photo By Unsplash Jon Tyson

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter S
is for skeptical and sweet

blog all about it challenge 2019

Today’s post will discuss one reason why a less-than-five-stars review isn’t the worst thing. (Next week, for Z, there will be a post about 1 and 2 stars reviews.)

What if disliking a book is what stops you from reviewing it? Consider that it’s possible that what you don’t like will be the very thing that someone else is looking for in a book. (Perhaps you found it too sad, but someone else is looking for books that will give them a good cry. Or the romance is too sweet for your jaded tastes, but perfect for others.)

The number of reviews, including the bad ones, makes a difference. Why? Because a book with two hundred five-stars glowing reviews, and nothing ranked lower, makes people skeptical. There’s no book that every reader thinks is perfect. Therefore, even a negative review might turn out to be not so bad. Just keep it respectful.

Consider this marketing psychology: “Four out of five dentists recommend this brand.” Why does that sell better and appeal more than saying most dentists, all dentists, or even just dentists? Because people are skeptical. When the word “most” comes up, people question how many. With the word “all,” people doubt it’s true. If there’s no number or amount at all, people consider that only two dentists are needed to make the word plural. That’s how it is with book reviews. People expect there’s going to be at least one reader who found some reason not to like the book. When it comes to writing book reviews, sweet honesty is best.

Reviews are life preservers thrown to indie and traditional published authors alike. It is, after all, one thing to sell a book, but quite another to get someone to read it and then provide feedback. Not to mention, there are some promotional sites for authors that will only accept a book with a certain number of reviews. Getting the first twenty or fifty reviews has never been more important. That’s why leaving a review is such a sweet act.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: When you come across a book that has only five-stars reviews, do you trust that or question it?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
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Apr 21 2019

Happy Easter Sunday Stealing

Happy Easter - free to use image
For those who celebrate it, happy Easter. For those who enjoy reading Easter essays from the point of view of fictional characters:
Gwendolyn’s Easter Essay
Xavier’s Easter Essay

You can find the characters here:

Sunday Stealing is a blog hop I joined earlier this year. Weekly questions to get to know each other. Fun times! My A to Z posts will resume tomorrow.

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop
Sunday Stealing
Questions to get to know each other.

1. What Did You Have For Lunch?
On Saturday for lunch I had a bagel with honey, and a handful of walnuts.

2. Do You Dance In The Car?
If there’s a really good song.

3. Favourite Animal?
Wolf, Turkey, Turtle. Those are the ones of my tribe. I also like bears. And lobsters.

4. Do You Watch The Olympics?
I’ve seen some of it. I hear the Mongolians have a more extreme version.

5. What Time Do You Usually Go To Bed?
When I’m tired.

6. Are You Wearing Makeup Right Now?
No. I’m really not that kind of guy. (Though I’ll support the ones who are.) I suppose sometimes there’s some ceremonial face paint that might count, but that’s not today.

7. Do You Prefer To Swim In A Pool Or The Ocean?
Ocean. Why isn’t river an option?

8. What Was The Last Thing You Ate?
Walnuts.

9. Bottled Water Or Tap Water?
Again, I must ask why river isn’t an option?

10. What Makes You Happy?
Snookums. Books. Nature. Good food, good friends. Accomplishing goals. This blog hop.

11. Did You Like Swinging As A Child? Do You Still Get Excited When You See A Swing Set?
(Pauses to look at my A to Z cohost, @JRVincente — I’ve been corrupted by commenting on adult blogs. I misunderstood the use of the word swinging. 😇😈)
Yeah, so, “as a child,” well, I don’t know what age you count there. The first time I saw a swing set… Well, anyway. Yeah, it was fun. But I know children younger than me seemed to enjoy it more, so I probably missed something.

12. Do You Work Better With Or Without Music?
I write better without. My paycheck job, it’s not really optional.

13. Do You Make Your Bed In The Morning?
No.

14. Do You Like Your Music Loud?
Depends what’s playing.

15.Do You Fear Thunder / Lightning?
Not beyond reasonable precautions and respect.


Quote from 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!
This week’s questions were originally from: Question Meme

~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~

Apr 20 2019

Recommend #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Recommend #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author ~ Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter R
is for Recommend

Would you recommend the book, and why or why not? Who, or what groups, do you think might enjoy it, or should avoid it? Do you know who the book was written for, who the original target audience was?

What age group is this appropriate for, and is it correctly categorized for them? (Especially with children’s books.) Would you recommend it only to others who like the genre? Or do you think this book would appeal to a wider audience?

If it is a clean-read, you might suggest it to those looking for such books. Or, if you think it would offend a certain group, you might recommend they not read it.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: Would you recommend a book using the information given, please?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 19 2019

Quote #AtoZChallenge Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and #IndieAuthor

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter Q
is for Quote

Is there a short quote, excerpt, or passage you especially enjoyed? Or one you especially hated? Copyright laws have a gray area on how much you can include in a review. The current rule of thumb is to keep it at under 100 words per review (often less for books under 300 pages). Check the book’s copyright page for any specific guidelines set by the publisher.

BONUS CONTENT:

Find a quote you REALLY love? Keep it short, make it a meme, and share it. Some authors are willing to do this themselves. Others are waiting and hoping for a fan to do it. “Pay it forward” by being that fan when you find something worthwhile. Share it on Pinterest, Twitter, and other such sites.

Do a search to see if others have created memes of your favorite books. (Memes are sharable images, usually with words included, passed between people online. They may be funny, culturally relevant, or just interesting.) Like and share those. Grow the online book and writing community, especially for Indie Authors!

Speaking of which… do you know it’s #IndieApril? My local writing group shared this Tweet about it:

My books are indie. Here are two memes you can share:

#quote #excerpt #book #title After reading the book, did the title make sense? Some readers enjoy finding the title inside the book. The “ah-ha” moment of figuring out where the title comes from can be very meaningful. Does the book live up to the title? Writing Book Reviews as an Author @JLenniDorner #IndieApril morning teary eyed call quote from Fractions of Existence #book by @JLenniDorner #UrbanFantasy #Novel #read #IndieApril

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: Have you ever seen an intresting quote from a book on social media?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 18 2019

Propagate #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


hashtag free to use image

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter P
is for Propagate

Propagate! Meaning to wildly spread and promote the review you write! Don’t hide your thoughts in the shadows. Be proud that you are literate, that you were able to read and comprehend a book well enough to write a review of it. Post your review in as many places as possible. Places like your blog, Goodreads, BookBub, and various book clubs that allow it. Retail sites such as Amazon and Smashwords often allow reviews too. (Though Amazon doesn’t allow reviews during the pre-order phase.)
Amazon preorder

Putting hashtags in the title of your blog post, and in links to your review using social media, is a great way to get it noticed. Think about what might draw you in. What genre was the book you reviewed? Was it diverse? Is it a new release, or by a debut author? People are looking to read certain books. They search those hashtags looking for recommendations. You can help other readers find a book to love. It might net you a “like,” a word of thanks, or even a new follower. But keep your hashtags limited to three or four. (People tend to ignore posts with five or more.)

The more people who discover your review, the more who will read it. The more who read it, the more who will be interested in what you said. If you suggest a book that becomes someone’s favorite, they’re going to like you more. The same is true if you end up hating the same book for the same reason. You’re not only supporting the writing community, but you’re also connecting with fellow readers.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: Have you ever discovered a book because of a review or hashtag? ( #BookReview #FridayReads #Bookstagram etc)

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 17 2019

Occurrences #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and #WEPFF Jewel Box


What is in your Jewel Box? Join @TheIWSG @DeniseCCovey for 2019's second challenge #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter O
is for Occurrences

What occurrences caused you to read this book? Did something, or someone, specific motivate you? Perhaps you read a blog post, a book review, or were told about it by a friend.

How did you get a copy? Bought, borrowed from a friend, loaned from a library, Advanced Reader Copy possibly given in exchange for a review (ALWAYS mention if this is the case), found on the bus, given as a gift, etc. Sometimes the occurrences that led you to a book make a difference.

line break

JEWEL BOX PARK

by J Lenni Dorner

Peanut shells crunch under my feet. I know it’s a carnival here today, but it will be a public park again tomorrow. Who will clean this mess?

“Step right up! Knock down the bottles, win a prize. Three balls for a dollar.”

Why did I come here? What about the bright lights and annoying sounds drew me out of my cool home? It’s sweltering out. The sun is sinking, yet I swear it’s getting warmer.

“How about you? Three balls for a dollar. Easy game. A child could win.”

I shake my head at the bearded man running the game. Triple braids coated in wax make his facial hair look fantastical. Costumes and make-up never did it for me. Why am I here?

“You there, Slugger! Win a bear for the lady. Step right up. Three balls for a buck.”

Cotton candy melts on the nearest bench. On pleasant days in autumn, I sit on that bench. Will someone clean it? Does the charity carnival come with mops and buckets?

“Oh, nice try. All in the wrist, you know. Two balls to go!”

I wish the library just asked me for a check. Be so much easier, so much quieter and cleaner, to pay for their renovations.

“Another miss. One ball to go!”

I nearly fall over, my ankle turning in, as someone crashes into me. A mother yells at her child to be more careful. The child ralphs on the grass beside me. As I step backward, my ankle burns. Of course I’d be injured at the carnival outside my door! I stumble back until I hit the booth.

“Strike three, you’re out. Sorry, pal. Try again? Another dollar, another three? No? How about you?”

I glance at the prize box. There are books? One I must have. I look to the bearded man.

“Something caught your eye? Ah, not just teddy bears today. Three balls for a dollar! Knock down the milk bottles, win a book.”

I had no intention of spending any money here. Wouldn’t want to encourage this carnival, lest it becomes an annual event. But one dollar wouldn’t make much difference. The prize is worth more. I shell out the cost of the balls.

I feel the first one. My fingers run over the stitching. It’s older, fraying. The ball hasn’t been cleaned between uses. How many grubby hands have clutched this thing? I set the ball down, shaking my head.

He looks at me like I’m the one wearing a tie-dye shirt under a red and white striped vest.

I pull a packet of wet wipes out of my pocket. After cleaning the next ball, I take my place. There are three stacks of milk jugs. Only one has been placed with enough care to be even. Sloppy. I hate the look of the uneven two.

The ball soars from my hand. An ugly sound smacks my ears. I turn around, only to have my nose assaulted by the smell of vomit. Blazing heat has cooked it. I want to run home.

“Very good, very good! Take your next shot. Three balls needed for the prize you want.”

What cruel joke is this? Shouldn’t hitting the jugs with one ball be enough? I have to touch another of his unwashed things?

I take out another wipe, eyeing the bearded man as I clean. How much would I pay to throw these balls at a dunk tank target? To see his wax wash away? Oh, if only! The library would be larger than the stadium thanks to my funds. I could dunk this man as the sun goes down and repeat again and again until the rooster wakes.

He doesn’t know who I am.

Peanut shells crunch under my feet as I take a step back. My ankle stings, but I’ve had worse. Sweat teases my face. Dirty, filthy, stinky sweat. I need to bathe. The milk bottles are keeping me from a cool shower.

Another burst of sound as the ball hits. Both uneven stacks are down. My ears ring. The park spins. Too many lights! I should have stayed in.

“Well-done, well-done! Just get the third and you’ll have won.”

I stare at the bottles. There’s one that isn’t quite right. Ah, so the game is rigged. My aim needs to be more to the left. I look at the ground. A puddle of soda blocks my spot.

Too much litter! Someone sneezes. I shouldn’t have left home.

More blinding lights pop on as the sun vanishes. People cheer in the distance. Someone yells about hotdogs and beer. The park reeks of pine and popcorn.

I look at the booth. How did I not see it before? Green paint. I shouldn’t be here.

“Go on now. Throw your last one. I’ve wiped it off for you.”

Monster! The Green Monster has come to call on me once more. Does the bearded man know? As he hands me the ball, does he know who I am? Has he ridden the Green Line of the T?

I shouldn’t be here. Too dirty, too bright, too loud. Just knock them down. One more time. Then I’ll go home for good. Away from the balls, the crowds, and the vicious Green Monster of that Jewel Box park.

The sound isn’t as loud as my ball collides with the target. One milk jug teeters. It isn’t meant to go down. Food for the monster, no doubt. It knows who I am. It remembers.

But the jug falls at last.

“Here, old timer. You’ve earned your pick.” The bearded man holds up the box of books. “Unless you wanted a teddy bear?”

I shake my head and take the book. “The Fear of Fenway.” A biography about me. No one fears me anymore. They’ve forgotten who I am. I thought I bought all the copies of this blasted book already to ensure it.

WEP WEPFF critique preference

FCA: 984 words
JEWEL BOX PARK by J Lenni Dorner

Fenway is a jewel box park, and is the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. The Green Monster is in Fenway. The Green Line of the T refers to Boston’s public transit, particularly the route one uses to reach Fenway Station. “The Fear of Fenway” is a non-existent book, as is the main character of this story.


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
In the Flash Fiction story above, and in an example review in Writing Book Reviews As An Author, someone wins a book by knocking down milk jugs at a carnival.
Question: What is the most unusual or interesting reason or way you’ve ever gotten a book?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

UPDATE:

THE ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD FOR THE 2019 WEP APRIL CHALLENGE JEWEL BOX goes to @JLenniDorner #WEP #WEPFF

Apr 16 2019

Needs Editing #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Zeugma

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter N
is for needs editing

Was the editing done well? If not, provide up to a dozen examples of failure types, mentioning the locations in the book.

There are three good reasons to include editing information in a review.

  1. Readers want to know if a book is well-edited before they buy it. Your review can be a quality assurance.
  2. The author might notice the errors mentioned in your review and then go fix those issues. (You might also try to contact the author directly for major errors, especially historical or factual inaccuracies of which you have proof.)
  3. You might be wrong. This gives editors a reason to check. Also, you’re an author, and authors have always been the ones to craft and reshape languages. So you may spark a conversation that results in you becoming right.

Why only note up to a dozen errors? https://www.denisecowleeditorial.com/blog/why-the-grammar-police-arent-cool This article covers the reasoning. It’s a quality control check by you, a reader. The purpose isn’t to bully or belittle. Nor are you being paid to find these issues, and as such there’s no need to correct everything.

On the more positive side of editing notes:

Has the author crafted the language with a zeugma, or with a poem that changes meaning when read from bottom to top or every other line? Has the author mastered showing rather than telling, with adjectives not being used to tell readers how to feel but rather making the readers feel descriptions? (This is about language mastery and use. That falls apart if not edited properly.)

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: How important is it to you that a book be well-edited?

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
Writing Book Reviews As An Author B&N Nook Goodreads image

Apr 15 2019

Might also like #AtoZChallenge #Writing #BookReviews as an #Author


Cheese image ~ Photo by Victoria Shes on Unsplash

Writing Book Reviews As An Author

Inspiration To Make It Easier

By: J Lenni Dorner

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter M
is for Might also like

There are some books you might recommend to others. This doesn’t mean you should put in a review, “If you like Twilight, read the Vampire Diaries!” Instead, try to phrase it like, “if you enjoy stories with a romance between a vampire and a loner teen girl, you might also like this book” or “I’d suggest this to those who enjoy alternative versions of vampire lore.”

The key here being what you liked about the story. What made it different? How does it work well in its genre? Why would you suggest it to other readers? Who, in your opinion, is the target audience for the book?

Or, on the dark side, who wouldn’t you suggest it too? Might it offend or trigger some readers? Is there a certain age group for which this isn’t suitable?

Think about cheese for a moment. In the above picture, what cheese do you think that is? Probably Parmigiano-Reggiano, right? Why? But not Brie. See, we tend to like “Parmesan” because it’s a hard and granular cheese, thereby making it good for grating onto pasta. That doesn’t mean Brie isn’t a good cheese. But not everyone is looking for a soft cheese. Pregnant people are cautioned to avoid soft cheese because of listeriosis. Apply this same thought process to books.

You might make new book-loving friends by sharing your likes and dislikes in this way. It’s not always easy to pinpoint what one likes or dislikes about a book, but it’s worth sharing if you figure it out.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge
Question: What do you like most about your favorite book? (Or one of your favorite books, if you have more than one.)

— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge


~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~


Find the book:
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Apr 14 2019

Filling In Blanks for Sunday Stealing * #AtoZChallenge #WRiTECLUBDFW Equity and Giveaway

Sunday Stealing welcome mat image for blog hop
Sunday Stealing
Questions to get to know each other.

It’s always nice when there’s fresh coffee when you need it.

Oh, that winning story is mine.

It’s a sure sign of a good day when someone says something nice about your hard work.

Are we having an attack by spammers again??!.

My heart soared when I read a recent review.

Do you believe in equity? I am a supporter!
Equality vs Equity

I’m a Lenni-Lenape.

I was looking at shirts and commenting on A to Z posts earlier.

Drink more water when the moon is full.

When we finish with the #AtoZChallenge, it will be time to vote daily at #WRiTECLUBDFW.

Ronel is the best! (Janet is close behind.)
CommentLuv stats image

Underneath it all I love April, even if it’s exhausting.

Oh! And thanks for all the love, which is why I’m holding a contest.

~ GIVEAWAY! Click here. ~

And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to making more comments on blogs, tomorrow my plans include making even more comments on blogs and Sunday, I want to be a blog hop master because the #AtoZChallenge has taken over my brain!


Quote from 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!
This week’s questions were originally from: Facebook

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