Fractions of Existence
by J Lenni Dorner
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Once they were humanity's exalted protectors— now they are being hunted.
Xavier will weigh all human life against Gwendolyn's ignorant happiness.
The good news is that her choice can blow his away.
Omnipotent beings find each other while playing an online game. Xavier has been searching for Gwendolyn, his true mate and the missing member of the Existence. Only if reunited can the group regain the rest of their memories and access all of their powers. Hidden in plain sight, disguised as humans, they help who they can, as best they can, when they can.
The Eyes in the Shadows, a religious sect, has been trying to free humans from the “prison” of life on Earth for millenniums. The Existence has always been able to thwart them… until now. They've discovered a way to end the world that no one will see coming.
Gwendolyn has her future all laid out. There is a plan. She knows what her parents want for her and how to get it. Then Xavier, a friend from a virtual game, makes her question everything. He's full of secrets, one being an understanding of her fear of the wind.
She tries to suppress her intense attraction to the mysterious and frustrating Xavier. She's engaged, after all, and the thoughts she's having aren't proper. Gwendolyn is swept into a whirlwind of secrets, danger, and a forbidden attraction. She'll drive across the country in her beat-up old car, not knowing if he is genuinely interested or just being polite. (He refuses to kiss her!) Gwendolyn's journey is full of self-doubt, sacrifice, and dark visions that invade her sleep. Will she uncover the truth about herself?
The following TRIGGER WARNING may contain spoilers :
This urban fantasy is 99k long and contains some strong language, sexual situations, alcohol, a scene with medical marijuana, violence (including a memory of the murder of a sadist seconds before he commits rape), an arranged marriage, and college student debt. The majority of this book takes place in 2005.
While embracing the ancient tribal traditions, J Lenni Dorner learned a legend originated by The Grandfathers.
J is best known for the Existence series. Book One, "Fractions of Existence," is available on Amazon as of 2017. Also known for the writer's reference book, "Preparing to Write Settings that Feel Like Characters."
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.
The Creative Writing Institute holds writing contests which resulted in J Lenni Dorner's publication in "WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014" and in "LOST!: A themed anthology 2017" (available on Amazon).
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.
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What inspired you to write this book?
Many years ago, when I still lived among my people in the forest, an elder told me I was to be a storykeeper. I guess you’d say that’s what is inscribed on my soul. When I was older and found my people again, I was told an ancient legend. It was on me, they said, to find a way to share it with the world. I used the characters and the legend as inspiration for the Existence series. The characters are meant to leave readers asking:
WHAT-ARE-THEY ( http://www.what-are-they.com )
My tribe is the Lenni-Lenape. Lenape is pronounced “Leh-NAH-pay.” It is NOT pronounced “Len-Ape” or “Len-ah-pee.” (I’m not deaf. I used Lenni in my outsider name instead of Lenape because having to hear people mispronounce the tribal name, butchering it beyond recognition, is like having barbed wire shoved in one ear and yanked out the other. The hilarious repercussion is that, online, people change J Lenni to Jenni. #NativeAmericanProblems) Some use the spelling Lenápe or Lenapi instead, because more than one European people settled around us and couldn’t agree on a common alphabet. We’re sometimes called the Delaware Indians (after Thomas West, Baron De La Warr).
What can we expect from you in the future?
There are more books in the Existence series. There is also a high fantasy story which will tie in with the Existence urban fantasy line. I have a few other speculative fiction stories floating around that will probably become novellas. And, of course, I’m always putting out short stories for contests and anthologies. I try to keep my characters unusual so that readers will wonder:
WHAT-ARE-THEY ( http://www.what-are-they.com )
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I do! Fractions of Existence focuses mainly on Xavier and Gwendolyn (Wend). I think Heath’s relationships, both past and future, are really extraordinary. In Fractions, he just comes off as a playboy. (Feel free to count the number of times in the book Heath is mentioned as part of some tryst.) Love will bring him to his knees in forthcoming books though! There’s also a hint of something in the past between Heath and Caleb. That one is hard to write. Caleb’s character has seemingly small roles in Fractions, but the emotions raging in his character… he keeps my fingers at hummingbird speed on the keyboard. (Pun intended for anyone who understands his character.)
Before I became a team member at Operation Awesome, I had entered one of their writing contests. My winning entry should give you some idea:
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Fractions of Existence, book one of the Existence series?
Gwendolyn is very sheltered. She is frustrating to write because she doesn’t know who she is. The other members of the Existence know more about her than she does. That ends up being the source of a big fight. Xavier struggles to see her as she is rather than who she was and could be again.
Xavier is the leader of the Existence. He blends into the world by standing out. (You’ve nailed it if you’re thinking, “Like Bruce Wayne who is Batman?”) He runs a company with massive charitable side, which is how he publically is saving the world. Behind the scenes, he’s helping folks in other ways. Only one such example is in the book, but hopefully it’s clear that this is something the group, especially Xavier, does fairly often.
Heath seems to have the role of supportive friend and playboy in this story. There’s so much more to him, as will be clear in later books.
Jezebel has on and off again relationships with Xavier and Heath. She doesn’t want a commitment. Jez has the deepest sense of freedom. She’s full of confidence. Her character frightens and excites me.
Caleb becomes sort of an observing guardian in this book. Xavier phrases it as a little favor, but what Caleb has to do ends up being very taxing on both time and emotions.
Jun is the character that has it easiest in this book. Like the mighty oak, he’s just there, biding his time for now.
And there’s Tred, who is not a member of the Existence and wouldn’t believe such a group existed. Xavier really dislikes him, even more so when the guy presents sound, logical reasons for what he’s doing. It’s infuriating. You probably know someone like him.
Hopefully, you’ll read about the Existence members and wonder:
WHAT-ARE-THEY ( http://www.what-are-they.com )
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Most of the characters told me their names. Xavier was especially adamant about his.
Tred, however, was a name I made up. It seemed so odd. I thought about where it might have come from (a train of thought that shows up in the book). Several searches on name sites showed that it’s very obscure (possibly only having a ranking because I searched for it). I didn’t want a common name because the characters do mock the name in the book quite a bit. Not to his face, but still. The anger and frustration is let out by way of that private teasing, which is not the most positive way to deal with such things. (But is, unfortunately, very real. There’s a fine line between the ideal world I’d like to see and the real world that readers expect.)
I also keep an alphabetical list of names. There’s a first name to go with all 26 letters of the English alphabet. Some of the minor characters got their name because I was determined to meet that dare. It later became useful during the #AtoZchallenge. ( http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com )
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved when my characters made me laugh. The dialog between Heath and Xavier frequently felt like hanging out with old friends.
Heath shook his head and downed the rest of his drink. "All right. How about we grab dinner, then come back here and wait for the girl to show. I'll camp here all week and stare at the screen, if necessary. Just need some fuel for the tank first. Sex burns more calories when there isn't a keyboard in between."
Xavier laughed and smacked Heath lightly with a throw pillow before he stood. "It's not that kind of game, Heath. We just talk."
"Oh yeah? It must have been one hell of a conversation. The sort that includes no names or important details, and at the end you don't get laid. Did you at least get coffee? Because the only conversations I have like that are with a drive-thru barista." Heath remarked as he got to his feet.
"You're an ass."
"I love you, too."
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The title for the book comes from inside the story. Each of the chapter titles also come from inside the story.
Who designed your book covers?
After several terrible tries, I got help from Ivey Books. https://www.facebook.com/IveyBooks/
The two golden Fibonacci spirals twisting from the same point of origin, that’s something I created in Photoshop. It represents the antagonist group, the Eyes in the Shadows.
There is a chapter, the shortest in the book, which explains the cover picture choice.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
This is a hard question because I know that going from a book to a film takes years. My main characters are in their early twenties, so the people who could play them are teenagers now, and puberty could make them look very different in a few years. (Neville Longbottom was played by Matthew Lewis, and that right there is the finest example of what I’m talking about.)
Hypothetically though, pretending anyone in Hollywood could be ages 19 to 24 at the drop of hat…
Xavier ~ Justin Hartley
Gwendolyn ~ B. K. Cannon
Heath ~ Jason Momoa
Jezebel ~ Bonnie Wright
Jun ~ Masaki Okada
Caleb ~ Thomas Brodie-Sangster
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would enjoy spending a highly inappropriate day with a certain character from the book. Not sure how my Snookums would feel about that… You know how in “The Purge,” all crime is legal for a few hours? Is there a relationship equivalent to that, other than Las Vegas? Ha ha ha. I wouldn’t actually cheat on my other half, but… well, the character I’m thinking of certainly makes it tempting.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?” ― J.K. Rowling's Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The characters are based on a legend that was passed down to me. Are legends or religions real? That’s the sorts of question wars have been fought over.
My imagination gave these characters a place to be and gave them a structured storyline people expect to find in a novel. I have a character (who is properly introduced later in the Existence series) who is an expert on the theory of the multiverse, who would posit that all fiction is non-fiction somewhere.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Fractions of Existence is most definitely their story. I typed it and edited it, I gave it some tweaks. But this is very much their story. I’m little more than their escalator to this world.