J is best know for the Existence series. Book one is titled Fractions of Existence.
While embracing the ancient tribal traditions, J Lenni Dorner learned a legend originated by The Grandfathers.
In May 2016, J became a member of the Operation Awesome Team, running the Debut Author Spotlight on Wednesdays. Blogging from A to Z #AtoZchallenge co-host as of 2017.
J weaves fantasy with lore to unhinge your mind.
This speculative fiction and reference author is happily married and living in Pennsylvania (USA) on the original lands of the Lenni-Lenape people. When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games, funny cat videos, finding drawings of dragons on Pinterest, and watching movies.
Describe your desk
I walked into the forest the day after a storm. There, in a burnt section of grass, was a very old tree which now lay on its side. The cut had been cleanly made by the lumberjack known as lighting. Sad to see this once mighty forest soldier fallen, I decided to save it from the slow decay that this new phase, this death, would offer it. Using my ax, I chopped the trunk into pieces which could be hauled away without disrupting the peace of this sanctuary. I spent long hours for the next month carving and crafting, listening to the wood, until at last the new function of the tree came into being. There it stood- my mighty desk- a gift from nature. Sorry, sorry, sorry… that was all made up. Bummer, I know. But that story was way better than the reality, which is that this desk was on sale at Staples. I do actually have some wood working talents, but the largest thing I ever created was a clock. A very nice clock, mind you, but still. I am related to someone who could turn a tree into a desk. He built a tractor out of wood. I think that’s pretty interesting. He has a full time job at a machine shop now though, so he doesn't exactly have time to go into the forest and find a down tree from which to build me a desk.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The reference guide, Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters, is the result of a discussion about an #MSWL post. A literary agent said that, on her manuscript wishlist, was a book where the setting felt like it was a character in the story. Someone asked me if I knew how to do that. They said they searched online and in various ebook stores, but couldn't find something on the subject. I looked, but there were only two articles with vague information. So, being that I do happen to know how to do this, I decided to write a book on it.
Children are missing. One minute they were in class, the next they had vanished. They aren't the first people to disappear from the area. Hokus Wood has a mythical secret. A history lesson might be the key to getting the children back.
Smashwords Style Guide
on April 08, 2015
My assistant and I, both winners of NaNoWriMo 2015, recently downloaded our discount copies of Scrivener. I signed up for an hour long online course on how to use this, and ended up buying into the learnscrivenerfast.com course of Joseph Michael. I thought I had followed along. I thought my book was formatted correctly for Smashwords. I WAS WRONG. (I got an error about my table. I don’t even have a table in my book!)
This book by Mark is what saved me. On the first attempt, I tried just the instructions that come after nuclear. Nope. Waste of five hours of my life. But on the second go-round (yes, I read this book twice in 24 hours), I went step-by-step, starting with the Nuclear Method. About three hours later, I was able to proudly call my book PUBLISHED. Booyah. Thank you, Mark Coker.
Write Good or Die
on April 08, 2015
Scott Nicholson has created an excellent compilation of the blogged advice of himself and other several published authors. Cut down your research “how-to-write-better” time by reading this book.
It starts with a hilarious and visionary comparison of the craft of writing to the effort of Olympians. Then there’s the comfort that writing gets better with practice.
There’s the A to Z of the industry. The book hits on the harsh realities that come after finding an agent or publishing, and tells you how to get there.
By chapter 31, it’s clear that this book is aimed at indie authors who are ready to succeed with pride.
Chapter 33 does have a link to a site that doesn’t exist. Searching leads to a blog post from Feb 2012 that says it’s “coming soon,” a Goodreads group that hasn’t posted since 2012, and a rarely used Twitter hashtag.
Overall, this is a very good book, and I recommend that new writers take the time to read it.
Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities
on April 24, 2015
There are some good jokes. (Ricky Rocky... ha! And the abs, omg.) And "drop me off on the way" is an ominous and brilliant line. Gotta watch out for that Aunty Ida! That last story-- I think several writers wish for readers that dedicated to our words.
It has a great deal of dialog. There are some fun twists. It's very fast paced (I read the whole book in half an hour.)
The Imaginary Friend
on May 11, 2015
A short read well suited for younger readers.
It's a story that will assure children that it is okay to come out of their shell and grow-up. This seems aimed at comforting the reader in knowing that imaginary friends left behind will be all right. That they are here to do a job and will move on to do another when it's time.
Friends and Lovers
on June 03, 2016
A good short story that shows how much one bold statement, one brave moment, can change a life. Believable characters. Good flow. Well-written and easy to read.
Cosmic Seasoning: A Collection of Short Stories
on Dec. 29, 2016
This collection of speculative fiction stories was very fun to read. I enjoyed the “Polite Letter of Complaint” with the line: I would never insult such a rotund, mentally-deficient, greedy despot such as yourself. There are some news-relevant, deep stories mixed in with the humor and good times. “Emissary,” for example: How could I help how I was born? I didn’t make the choice to come into the world. And “A Politician Tell the Truth Before Armageddon” has the classic line: So yes, I do in fact believe that you’re all suckers for electing me. I think “Lux in Tenebris, Rendition #7,620” was my favorite story of the bunch.
on May 08, 2017
I read the book three times (in my quest for the secret scene). I enjoyed all three read-throughs. There is a good amount of suspense, making it more like a mystery-thriller, in several of the choices. It’s easy enough to believe that this could be real; that the characters could exist, as could the scenarios. Runaway was as fun to read as every other choose-your-adventure book I’ve picked up. It might be hardcore, it might be softcore, there are some HEA and some not, or it might just be a suspense with some romance… the reader decides.
I read erotica when it is written by someone I know or recommended to me. (This book was a recommendation.) I was pleasantly surprised by how fun this was to read. Perhaps because I was able to decide her fate. The only problem I had was that I didn’t get that secret bonus scene on the first read, so I had to go back! Okay, that’s not a bad problem to have, and speaks more to my stubborn determination. It was a fun journey.
It's Illegal, But It's Okay
on Sep. 25, 2017
The author states in the introduction that "the people who lived in New York could be so rude sometimes even when they were trying to be polite." Which, I feel, is an accurate summary with which anyone who has spent more than a week's time in NYC will agree.
Fagner faces various problems while living illegally in NYC. His downward spiral into crime is presented with varying degrees of humor as the play goes on.
There are so many social issues brought up in this that it's difficult to keep track. An excellent philosophical discussion could (and should) be held after concluding this.
The second character, a color-blind man from Iran named Oman, is a Catholic Republican who doesn't look or sound like a "white American," which is the source of most of his problems in the script. Anyone who has ever been mistaken for a culture, nationality, religion, or such to which they do not belong will easily relate. That's what I enjoyed about this.
LVPANaNo Presents: A NOVEL WRITING HANDOUT
on Oct. 25, 2018
This free guide is provided by my local writers' group. It's full of fun tips, an excellent "unstucker" to fight writer's block, websites, and other writing resources. It took a small village to put this together. All in the name of helping people write more books. I found it to be very useful and well presented.
Exploration: An Erotic Novel
on June 03, 2020
This book is written by one of my "favorite people that I've never met," J.R. Vincente, a fellow A to Z Challenge co-host. I bought a copy from Smashwords the day it came out because I enjoyed her Runaway book.
Exploration was a good book. I enjoyed that it it's set in a post-apocalyptic future. It gives the characters a different set of "rules" and "morals" to play by, and gave my mind a chance to ponder possibilities. (So many of which I hope will come up in book two.)
Mara, the main character, comes of age. Everyone takes vitamins, and those not of age have a vitamin that prevents sexual desires. So this future society has totally ended teen pregnancy, child molestation, and it seems to heavily imply they've even put a stop to non-consensual sex in all forms, including rape and forced marriages. I'd love for Mara to learn more about that, but it isn't the focus. The story is about all of her firsts, because she is assigned a job as the colony's new porn star (which she consents to). The tension comes from a guy she grew up with, a friend, who now that they're off the suppression vitamins, is interested in her. He is sent away for most of the book, and she only occasionally thinks about him. She's more focused on her career, which is having sexual firsts. They're making porn videos so others who come of age know what to expect. As of book one, what to expect is just sex. No romantic connection, no seduction, no dating and debating how long to wait between anything. Just pick a guy from a list and he shows up and they go at it, pausing only to verify consent is still given.
Mara questions if she's just a job to the two guys she has sex with in this book; in both cases, that is how it started out. She feels lucky to learn about sex from people who are very experienced. Mara also pauses to reflect for a brief moment on the fact that it would have been fun to explore with James, who equally lacked experience. She's now the experienced one, so they'll never have all of these first together. (I'd honestly like to see a book three where they make a video for the guys. And one for others, because the book does mention they have the whole range genders and the whole LGBTQIA+ experience. This could easily be an entire series with different characters taking Mara's roll. Maybe she'll become a director? Maybe we'll find out that she's the one writing this, fictional speaking, and it's a call to those looking at a career path like her own? Very exciting possibilities. I'm also pretty sure they've only offered her male partners so far, so I'm curious as to if that will change in the next book. Maybe Jean won't stay behind the scenes? I love that this books fills me with so many thoughts about what the next book could be!)
Relationships similar to marriage last for one year, after which people can stay together or not. Poly relationships also exist, as far as I can tell. I'm hoping to see more of how this works in that world. How is heartbreak dealt with? Mara questions jealousy at one point, so does that remain an issue, or is there a daily vitamin that turns that emotion off and people are given it if they enter a steady relationship? So many questions! My biggest qualm about this book is that it isn't long enough. I need more pages, more information, more about all the deeply fascinating world that J.R. has created here.
Within the erotic genre, which I don't read much of (basically only if I have a connection with the author), this is fascinating because it's all about sexual first, mostly BDSM exploration. All of her "vanilla" or usual firsts are over very fast (her first kiss and over-the-bra touch one day, everything else two days later). Anal gets the big build up on the pages instead.
There are some plot twists, mostly thanks to Marchand. Mostly it's just a fun and entertaining read. Marchand is described as having caramel-colored skin and dark hair, so there is diversity, though the society might be advanced enough to be beyond prejudice.
The cover does match the book, as she is followed by a camera to record everything. (Mara barely has any feelings about being naked and exposed. It's a fleeting thought. But their society has different ways than most current real-life places. Jean is the shy character.) The title goes perfectly with the book. Mara starts off with a thirst for knowledge about sex, and the book ends with her still exploring and still eager to learn more, but also navigating and juggling various relationships thanks to her job.
"He called me names, and I loved it." Mara pauses to question why she is aroused by being demeaned, but brushes it off quickly, her focus moved to being tied down and beaten with three different objects. There is consensual BDSM in most of this book. It's an erotic novel, after all.
The theme is coming-of-age and having the courage to learn about your passion. (In Mara's case, sex is her passion. Jean's passion is make-up. How much make-up people use, when, and why aren't mentioned, but Jean seems to be focused on make-up for film stars.) The plot all came together, everything progressed in a natural order.
I enjoyed the characters, but none of them relate to me specifically (which is fine, I rarely see myself represented in books of any genre). The book would probably be most loved by anyone who wants to read about a girl going through her firsts with experienced partners in a world without sexual taboo. I was especially excited about the setting and the culture of the world. Mara faces very few obstacles and her goals are mostly met quickly and easily. Having to eat a lot of cereal because she can't cook is probably the only real difficulty. There's potential for her friendship-maybe-more with James to become an obstacle in the next book. I have to wait for the next one to find out!
Exploring Limits (Exploration Book 2) will be released on June 15, 2020.