Apr 03 2012

C is for Carmen (Existence series character)

            Carmen is
Xavier’s live-in housekeeper. She hails from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. She is
a plump woman in her late fifties. She tends to be on the shy and conservative
side. Her greatest passion in life is shopping. What she loves most about
working for Xavier is the prestigious address she gets to use.

            Given the
choice between a new designer handbag or being fixed up on a date, she would
take the handbag. She decided early on that she never intended to marry. She
had strongly considered becoming a nun prior to meeting Xavier, but disliked
the outfits and the vow of poverty. 

Apr 02 2012

B is for Biggest Supporters

            My biggest
supporters during the writing of book one would be my friends and colleagues
Sandi, Lyle, and Jamie.

teaches English at a university in Ontario,
. She’s
been on what we call “comma patrol” since the first draft of the
story. The strength of many of the sentences is because of her patience and
guidance. She is the second set of eyes that I could not do this without.

            Lyle fills
in my blanks. He’s someone I can call with a nonsensical question such as,
“You know that word that means that thing that’s like that thing we used
that time in that place with those guys?” and he’ll reply, “Socket
wrench.” I absolutely could not write these stories without him. He keeps
my confidence up. He keeps me focused. He makes even the sticky mud parts
easier to bear, and sometimes even makes them fun!

            Jamie has
always been my biggest supporter. That’s the voice I hear saying yes even when
I’m saying no. That’s the hand that takes mine during the dark spooky bits and
drags me back to the light. I have come to rely and depend upon her like no


            When we all
get together online, magic happens. I hope that when you read book one, you’ll
find some parts of that magic to enjoy.


Apr 02 2012

B is for Beverly (Existence series character)

            On a warm
summer day a few years back, a bouncy easy-going young woman with long bleached
hair which had been styled into a loose braid danced down a street in Greenwich Village carrying a box under her arm. Though
six stores had turned her down so far, her spirit would not be dampened! The
bell over the door of a tiny eclectic shop sounded as she entered. The owner of
the store was a man at the tail-end of middle-age. He agreed to allow her a
small space to sell her wares, which were hand-crafted figurines which she
created and painted, once the proper paperwork had been filled out. He said he
was willing to negotiate the price of her rental space over dinner in his loft.

            A few weeks
later there was a free art exhibition in the park. Beverly set up table there, hoping that her
figurines would finally find their audience. An impressively well-dressed
handsome young man walking a beautiful white dog approached her stand. They
made polite small talk while he admired her work, and she admired his exquisite

much for this piece?” the man asked as examined a figurine that was a
piano being played by a dog.

that’s one of my favorites. I’m afraid it’s terribly valuable.”

            The man
chuckled. “Try me.”

would cost you a dinner with the artist.”

            The most
magnificent smile she had ever seen crossed the man’s lips. “Only dinner?
For a piece this nice, I’d think you’d want breakfast as well.”


            The man was
Xavier, and he became both boyfriend and blessing to Beverly. By his side she met all the right
people, made all the right connections, and was finally on the path she had
aimed for when she originally moved to the city from her small town with only
the clothes on her back and a box under her arm.

Bev eventually met Xavier’s mother. Vinica was appalled by her son’s choice to
seriously date Beverly,
something which she made no attempt to hide. At a party, which someone of Bev’s
station had no chance of being invited to unless it was as someone’s plus-one
or as part of the catering staff, Vinica made a point of cornering her in the
ladies’ room. After knocking Bev off of her pedestal of joy, Vinica went on to
crushing all hopes and dreams. She then pulled out her checkbook and offered Beverly a bribe. The
price agreed upon for a break-up and the conversation to remain a secret was
less than the value of Vinica’s handbag.


            Beverly has never been honest
with Xavier about the true nature of their breakup. She has always been ashamed
of her choice. Since leaving him, her choices in men have only gotten worse.
She assumed that she would not see Xavier again after the breakup, but did not
count on the fact that their groups of friends had since merged, and thus that
they would run into each other a few times a year at certain parties, such as
the one seen in the story.

Apr 02 2012

A is for April Fools Day!

            Not the
most traditional holiday on the calendar- but it is one which I personally
enjoy celebrating. My father is the best known in the family for managing to
pull the wool over on others for this fun holiday. My personal best gag was a
few years back. I looked up the winning lottery numbers and then called my mom.
I told her I had bought a ticket on the way home and was wondering if she
happened to know what the winning digits were. I read off “my
numbers” and then waited while she checked. My mom shrieked that I had won
several million dollars. I replied that it was great news, but that I even
better news. She asked what, and I answered, “It’s April Fool’s Day.”


            Thank you
for reading today’s entry. As a special bonus, I would like to share the following
with you:



Apr 01 2012

A is for Asphodel (Existence series character)

pet snake makes a brief appearance in the story when Xavier finds her in the
kitchen draped over the refrigerator. Asphodel is a female albino Burmese
Python. She is about 17 feet long, which is more than 3 times Jezebel’s height.
This giant snake also outweighs her owner.

            Upper crust
women such as Jez have become synonymous with owning small dogs which are
carried around everywhere they go. I thought it would be interesting to
showcase how Jez stands out by giving her a pet which considers such cute
little animals to be prey. Though the Burmese Python is generally docile, it
can quickly become vicious and deadly if provoked. The same can be said of
Jezebel’s nature.

acquired Asphodel from Caleb as part of an animal rescue. She is better
equipped to deal with the snake’s heating needs than most New Yorkers. Asphodel
has her own tropical room with a swimming area but sometimes sneaks out to
explore the apartment.


A few important notes:


The law which would prohibit Jez from keeping this pet
appears to have been passed after the storyline of book one.



Just because Jez has one does not mean that you should! Most
people are not equipped to deal with owning a large snake. There are several
articles on the Internet which discuss this topic, for example:



More information on the Burmese Python can be found here:



Apr 01 2012

A TO Z challenge 2012

            For the
APRIL A TO Z challenge I shall be offering a two-part series. The first part
will give you an inside look at some of the minor characters or plot points
from book one of the series (presently
known as the Existence series)
. This information will not be found in story
itself, but rather is being presented as sort of a “behind the
scenes” bonus.

            The second
part will be information about me. That is the considerably more challenging
bit to write! I find that it is much easier to talk about my characters than it
is to talk about myself.

            I hope you
enjoy reading this blog. Thank you for stopping in. Please check out my website www.what-are-they.com for more information on the book!


-J. Lenni Dorner

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Mar 30 2012

my scene editing flow chart

Is this scene good enough?
SelectSmart.com SelectSmart.com®
Make Your Own Flowchart
© SelectSmart.com 2012. All Rights Reserved.

The scene stays!


If you, the writer, personally had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to keep the scene, would you?


Can you cut the scene?




There are already obstructions.


Time to fix it!
Are there obstructions in the scene which make it interesting?


Add obstructions. Characters thrive on growing by overcoming.
Is the scene worthy yet?


The scene is fixed and now it stays!

The scene already reveals character information.


Does the scene enrich the reader’s view of a character?


Try to add more depth to a character in the scene. How does he feel about what is going on? What is she craving? Do their outfits blend in or stick out?
Is the scene worthy now?



Readers will learn something from this scene.


Is necessary information provided by the scene?


Give the reader a chance to find out something useful!
Is the scene worthy now?



The scene has elements which propel the plot forward.


Does the scene more the plot forward?


Think about your plot. Find a way for this scene to help the story move the from the “Once Upon a Time” to the “The End.”
Is the scene worthy now?



It has done what it was intended to do.


Has the scene met the goal you aimed for it to achieve?


Decided why you wrote the scene. Give it a goal. Force it to meet that goal.
Is the scene worthy now?



Delete it. You did all that you could.

Touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound each have a place in this scene. It still is not good enough.


Are there sensory details to draw the reader in?


Add some! If that still does not make the scene worthy, it has to be cut. If this finally fixed the scene, you get to keep it!

Mar 18 2012

A fun map

Mar 15 2012

Happy Pi Day

– From Heath

Mar 08 2012

Welcome introduction


Please don’t mind that image, it’s just there to show off my fandom. 
Writing is journey. Publication is often a destination. Editing, I suppose, is the stops along the way from hunger, flat tires, road construction, or random bears. LOL. 
You may wonder why I started a blog. I may wonder that too! Actually, this blog was started because I heard about the A to Z challenge from some nanowrimo friends. 
I feel there should disclaimers here. 
1) Sarcasm, wit, and certain jokes do not always “translate” when typed. I have fallen prey to this pitfall more than once, and most likely will again.
2) Just because I feel a certain way about something, or have a certain view on a topic, does not mean that my characters will share it. (In fact, at least one character would love to prove nearly all of my viewpoints wrong.)
3) I am an adult. Sometimes people who are not adults become fans of things which may seem questionable for their age-group. I do not support, endorse, or encourage such behavior. People who are not adults should have access to someone that is an adult who can take responsibility for them. 
4) I am descended from the Lenni Lenape Tribe, better known to some as the Delaware Indians. That may or may not seem relevant, depending on who you ask. My character Caleb is fond of that fact. My exact age, sex, full real name, and current location are all vastly unimportant. I am a writer. I write. I have been doing so for decades. I have been published under several other names. I am proud of those publications. I have created this pen-name to honor my ancestors. There is not some other reason. I am not running from the FBI or the mob or any of the other very funny theories. 
5) Yes, I do tend to talk about my characters as if they are actual people. This may seem crazy to you. Fellow fiction writers, however, are probably suffering from the same insanity, and therefore I’m fine with being this sort of crazy.
And now for some links that I think are important:
www.what-are-they.com  The Main Website
goodreads.com/J_Lenni_Dorner  My Good Reads page (Still updating the books!)
http://snack.to/5LgNYk  Character Personality Quiz- Fun times!
http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/   WLC – great bunch of people
Thank you for stopping in and for reading this. Have a great day!

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