Apr 05 2012

E is for Essential item

            The most
essential item to me is a pen. It is extremely rare to see me without one!
Sitting here at my desk, there are four of them to my left (one with red ink,
one with blue ink, and two with black ink, one of which is a breast cancer
awareness pen that I won), and three to my right (all black ink).

            My favorite
inexpensive pens are the Pilot EasyTouch fine retractable pens. (Pens on Amazon)

            I have
several humorous pens as well. The most unique would be the one shaped like a
palm tree, the one shaped like a shark, and a wand pen from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

            My most
used pen when I’m not at home is probably the one attached to my Memo Mate. (Memo Mate from B&N)

            The pen
that I most regret losing is my lava light lamp pen. It was eclectic and fun. I
have no idea whatever became of it.

 (stock photo)

Apr 05 2012

E is for Elijah Wright (Existence series character)

            Elijah is
Gwendolyn’s father. He is a devote Mormon (also known as the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints) and serves a leader for his ward. Tred is also a
ward leader. (The two men live far enough apart to be in separate
congregations.) The leaders of the wards and branches in this area get together
several times a year, and that is how the two of them met.

            Elijah owns
a window store. The majority of his business is in replacing older windows with
new more energy-efficient ones. His favorite section of the store, however, is
the stained glass windows. He is delighted when someone custom orders a design
which will be unique to them. Owning a window shop in earthquake prone southern
California
requires a great deal of faith and prayer.

            The shop
has been successful enough over the years to allow Elijah to support his
family. Were he a single man, he would likely have just squeaked into the
upper-class. But as a the sole breadwinner with a wife and four children to
support, he and his family have always lingered just below the middle line of
the finances of the middle-class.

Apr 04 2012

D is for Dorner

Dorner, which originally meant “one who lives near
thorny bushes,” is a German surname. The Dorner side of my family had
immigrated to America
over a century before the World Wars. Grandma Dorner was a fantastic cook,
unlike me who should be banned from kitchens everywhere!

            Kelly makes
Jell-o far better than I have. http://youtu.be/fmFIeSmBjRQ

As this post is short, I shall now answer a few more
questions about me:

(Found on another A to Z challenge blog:  christinegion.blogspot.com/2012/03/50-questions-that-will-free-your-mind.html?spref=fb )

1.      How old would you be
if you didn’t know how old you are?

I would probably be
27.

2.      Which is worse,
failing or never trying?

Depends what it is.
Usually never trying is worse, because then you will always wonder.

3.      If life is so short, why
do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

We are ruled by
obligations. Or we hide behind them, calling it “the responsible
choice.”

4.      When it’s all said and
done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Probably. As long as I
have written more than I have done, I’ll go out considering this a full life.

5.      What is the one thing
you’d most like to change about the world?

I would like to flocks
of space aliens appear, because then the world might stop dividing every human
into the smallest boxes possible.

6.      If happiness was the
national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Entertaining children.

7.      Are you doing what you
believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Both, at any given
moment unless I’m writing.

8.      If the average human
life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

Write more, sleep
less.

9.      To what degree have
you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I lost control about
ten years ago.

10.  Are you more worried about doing things
right, or doing the right things?

I’m worried about
doing the right things the right way, which is even harder!

11.  You’re having lunch with three people you
respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours,
not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and
unjustified.  What do you do?

I lose my respect and
admiration for them, and feel bad for them that they have snapped to wrong
conclusions rather than get to know someone who is really a great person. If
think these three people have enough brain power to digest information, I would
set them straight. If not, I would just find a way to insult them without their
knowing.

(See “How I met
Your Mother” season 3 episode 2 “We’re Not From Here.”)

12.  If you could offer a newborn child only one
piece of advice, what would it be?
Stay adorable. Seriously, newborn
children don’t comprehend what we’re saying, they just understand the
inflections of our voices and the emotions of our eyes.

13.  Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Yes.

14.  Have you ever seen insanity where you later
saw creativity?

This question describes
my best friend to a t; so yes, I have seen it many times.

15.  What’s something you know you do differently
than most people?

Think. Every time I
play Family Feud online, I am assured that I think differently than others.

16.  How come the things that make you happy don’t
make everyone happy?

There is nothing which
can make everyone happy, because there’s always someone that is the odd man
out.

17.  What one thing have you not done that you
really want to do?  What’s holding you back?

There are a few places
I would like to travel to. I am currently held back by a lack of funds to make
the trip properly.

18.  Are you holding onto something you need to
let go of?

*Looks around at some
stacks of paperwork.* Me? No……

19.  If you had to move to a state or country
besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

I would move to a
costal town in either Maine or Massachusetts. Why?
Because I like there.

20.  Do you push the elevator button more than
once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

No, I don’t do that
unless it is an older elevator with buttons which don’t light and potentially
have not registered that first push.

21.  Would you rather be a worried genius or a
joyful simpleton?

Worried genius. I would much rather know what is going on,
even if there’s nothing to be done about it. This is an opinion that I don’t
have in common with one of literature’s famous characters.

All right… I’m glad it’s a
girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool–that’s the best thing a girl can be in this
world, a beautiful little fool
.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

22.  Why are you, you?

I am me because I have
failed at figuring out how to be someone else.

23.  Have you been the kind of friend you want as
a friend?

Oh, that is a hard
question. No, I don’t think I have, because I prefer someone that is ying to my
yang, not a replication.

24.  Which is worse, when a good friend moves
away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

I have lived through
both of these circumstances, and I can say with great certainty that the latter
is worse. This seems to be even more true now that stay connected with those
who move away has become easier thanks to social media networks.

25.  What are you most grateful for?

My ability to write.

26.  Would you rather lose all of your old
memories, or never be able to make new ones?

Both sound terrible to
me, but I would not be who I am without my memories- even the bad ones- so I
would rather not be able to make new ones.

27.  Is it possible to know the truth without
challenging it first?

Generally speaking,
yes. Perhaps I have too much faith in the encyclopedia.

28.  Has your greatest fear ever come true?

Yes. More than once,
in fact.

29.  Do you remember that time 5 years ago when
you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?

Five years ago? No.
Ten years ago, yes. Twelve years ago- without question. Fourteen years ago-
absolutely.

30.  What is your happiest childhood memory? 
What makes it so special?

I had a decent
childhood, so it would be difficult to select only one. There was a vacation
with my family to Canada
that was an excellent time. It’s special because we all got along so well and enjoyed
an adventure together.

31.  At what time in your recent past have you
felt most passionate and alive?

I felt the most
passionate and alive while writing the almost-kiss scene in book 1 of the
Existence series.

32.  If not now, then when?

When the time is
right, that is when.

33.  If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you
have to lose?

You have the
possibility of achieving it to lose.

34.  Have you ever been with someone, said
nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

I have not, but I know
someone that I could hug and get this same feeling.

35.  Why do religions that support love cause so
many wars?

My characters would
deeply enjoy having this debate! I do not think that the religion is the
problem- it’s the people behind it who are busy trying to get everyone into
their little boxes. Space aliens- I’m just saying…

36.  Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what
is good and what is evil?

No, it is not
possible.

37.  If you just won a million dollars, would you
quit your job?

My job is to write,
and the only way I could quit that would be to die. So no, I would not.

38.  Would you rather have less work to do, or
more work you actually enjoy doing?

Generally I would
rather have less work to do.

39.  Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a
hundred times before?

This day, no. Have had
days like that? Yes.

40.  When was the last time you marched into the
dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

At the end of October,
2011.

41.  If you knew that everyone you know was going
to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

Wow, this question is
horrible! I believe I would visit my parents, my brother and his family, and my
grandfather. There are a few friends that I would like to visit me, but I don’t
know that time would allow for the travel.

42.  Would you be willing to reduce your life
expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

No, I’ll pass on that.

43.  What is the difference between being alive
and truly living?

Being alive means that
you are not dead. Your blood is moving through your body. That is the main requirement
for being alive- that blood circulates. Truly living requires actual effort. It
requires thoughts and choices and decisions. It means that there will be pain,
there will be wrong moves, and there will be mistakes- but that you’ll have to
keep on going. It means that when you fall down, you will have to pick yourself
back up. It means getting out there and doing. It’s hard.

44.  When is it time to stop calculating risk and
rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

When the calculations
no longer offer a real answer, it is time.

45.  If we learn from our mistakes, why are we
always so afraid to make a mistake?

We are afraid of the
outcome of the mistake, of the impact that it will have.

46.  What would you do differently if you knew
nobody would judge you?

This question assumes
that I care about the judgment of others to the point that there are things
which I desire to do but do not. Unless judge means an actual judge in the
court, which means that I could break a law. Until such a free pass if given, I
don’t think I should answer this question.

47.  When was the last time you noticed the sound
of your own breathing?

When I woke up this
morning, and again just now because of this question!

48.  What do you love?  Have any of your
recent actions openly expressed this love?

What do I love? What,
not who, but what? I love to write. I believe that my recent action of writing
expresses this love.

49.  In 5 years from now, will you
remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before
that?  Or the day before that?

It was a fairly
unremarkable cluster of days, but I suppose I will remember if I look back
through archives such as this blog.

50.  Decisions are being made right now.  The
question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others
make them for you?

That would depend on
the decision. The most important ones seem to be those which I make together
with my family. 

Apr 04 2012

D is for Dizzy Duck

            Though it
ultimately wasn’t mentioned in book one, Jun’s favorite drink is called a Dizzy
Duck. The recipe can be found here: http://www.drinkswap.com/dizzy-duck.htm (Please do not indulge if you are not of legal drinking age and/ or there are
other reasons that you should not.) Jun has also been nicknamed Dizzy Duck
because of his love of this drink.

            Incidentally,
Jun’s father is from Tokyo, Japan and his mother is from Connecticut,
USA.
His name sounds like: http://www.pronouncenames.com/pronounce/jun

Apr 03 2012

C is for Current location

            I presently
live in the Lehigh Valley / Allentown
area of Pennsylvania, USA.
This same location is home to the http://www.museumofindianculture.org museum of Indian culture. Though the Lenni Lenape
were largely forced out of their Pennsylvania
homes after the death of William Penn, a few managed to remain. My ancestors
were among them. One such ancestor married a Pennsylvania Dutch woman, who was
my great-grandmother.

            Tune in
tomorrow for more information on another side of my heritage!

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.

            Sandi
teaches English at a university in Ontario,
Canada
. 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
other.

 

            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
looks.

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

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

            The man
chuckled. “Try me.”

            “It
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.

            Unfortunately,
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:

 

http://bit.ly/Ha0zR4

Apr 01 2012

A is for Asphodel (Existence series character)

            Jezebel’s
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.

            Jez
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.

http://www.nycacc.org/nychealthcode.htm

 

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:

http://www.petfinder.com/before-pet-adoption/reptiles-as-pets.html

 

More information on the Burmese Python can be found here:

http://www.rfadventures.com/Burmese%20Python.htm

 

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

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

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!

YES

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

NO

Can you cut the scene?

YES

Delete!

NO


There are already obstructions.

YES

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

NO

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

YES

The scene is fixed and now it stays!
NO


The scene already reveals character information.

YES

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

NO

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?

YES

NO


Readers will learn something from this scene.

YES

Is necessary information provided by the scene?

NO

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

YES

NO


The scene has elements which propel the plot forward.

YES

Does the scene more the plot forward?

NO

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?

YES

NO


It has done what it was intended to do.

YES

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

NO

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

YES

NO

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.

YES

Are there sensory details to draw the reader in?

NO

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

Welcome.

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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