My Favorite Happy Places #MFRWAuthor

Here we are a new year and new blog tour. This time I’m going to try to get in at the beginning and stay all year!

Favorite happy places? Of course, New Mexico. the open skies and unlimited vistas make my heart happy 001

I’m also happy with friends, often at dog shows, such as Pueblo Colorado

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Just getting to the show can be an adventure, especially when the weather is beautiful

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And then there are the times and places when I’m just enjoying my dogs being silly

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Because my favorite happy place is wherever I am. Life’s pretty much too short to fuss about not being somewhere when you can be having such a good time being where you are.

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Especially when your sky looks like this.

Back to writing. Enjoy your life.

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Hacking Our Way Into the New Year #MFRWAuthor

A month since my last blog? Seriously? Yes, it was a pretty serious post for me but wow, a month. Maybe if I go a little bit lighter I can post more often. I can’t say more regularly since once a month is regular. At least for a blog post. But…thirty days. Huh.

Since my life pretty much revolves around dogs and writing, what better way to share my New Year with you, than by sharing a couple things that make life a bit more fun around here.

For starters, there’s a solar powered nightlight with a motion detector. Seriously, check it out on Amazon

Mine are similar to this one, I got them at Home Depot. You just peel and stick, it has a soft glow until you (or a puppy!) get close. Nifty!

And also this: Vidalia Onion Chopper Now why the heck would I be excited about an onion chopper? Glad you asked. I bought it with my first order of Happy Howies

I chop up slices in the onion chopper and voilá instant dog treats. Much easier than dehydrating liver or baking chicken breasts.

So many things to share, so much going on in the world. But I want to take a breath on this first day of the year, and just share some love…and a New Mexico sky.

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Best to all in this upcoming year.

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The Sad Phenomenon of #MeToo #MFRWAuthor

You would have to have taken a hiatus from Social Media to not be aware of #MeToo in all its complexities. For a while I sat back and read but eventually I succumbed. On October 15, I posted this on my FaceBook timeline:

THIS I will copy and paste. Yes ME TOO
If all the women (men too, it’s awful no matter who is affected) who have been sexually harassed or assaulted or raped wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste, if you choose to participate.

It was a popular post, as far as inciting discussion. I was amazed…perhaps saddened…by the women who stated they didn’t let such things affect their lives. How they are so strong, so secure in their lives, they let me know when or if something bothers them.

That’s wonderful, seriously. But the #MeToo effort is not just for strong women. It’s to bring attention to the small girls who thought they’d locked their doors only to find out it doesn’t take much of a key for someone to intrude. It’s for the night waitresses who have to tolerate the cook’s comments or actions if they want their food out on time, and prepared correctly. It’s for the factory line workers who deal with overbearing supervisors. It’s every person, especially females, forced to cede control of their lives.

But it’s so much more. Melinda Gates reminded us of the global impact of girls growing up, being constantly put down, in this writing: Me Too Me Too

Heidi Stevens Baltimore Sun, relates what she hears from her male colleagues. The title is: Why do women get all attractive if they don’t want to be harassed? Yeah, that got me kinda hot. Especially when she explains this is the ‘core question’ she heard from one of her colleagues. She says more. So much more.

It seems like celebrities are falling right and left. Some of them are no real surprise but others? Particularly when we hear details? I’ve had friends earnestly explain to me this overflowing of testosterone is a side effect of being a strong leader.

Nope, I can’t buy that either. Nor do I think this is a modern phenomenon. Abuse of power is as old as choice of leader through intimidation. Might is Right, and so on. For one thing, just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t make it any more right than it was then. Slavery, child abuse, spousal battery. As a species, we are supposed to be maturing out of that way of life.

Maybe I just read too much Science Fiction as a kid, to believe in such fantasies. Maybe this just needs to run its course. Amber Tamblyn explains why she’s not ready yet to offer redemption. I agree with her. Not because I want to see all men suffer for the acts of (I hope) just a small percentage. But because I want all of us to step back, take a breath and THINK about what’s been happening to us. Because it has to stop.

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We need to see the dawn of a new era, when we can stop acting like we are the only ones with rights. Peace and love.

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Yes, The Loneliest Number #MFRWWriter

Catching up again..we’ve been to a dog show in Las Cruces, stayed at a trailer park, watched people with their fat dogs on Flexi Leads. I really need to talk about that but ya know I really want to go POSITIVE. And here’s a great opportunity, with a fabulous blog share from David Farland. Prefaced by a song from my younger days. Yes, I was younger once…geesh!

The blog? David Farland’s Blog talks about a similarity he has found in many great stories. Mainly, the protagonist is lonely. Check it out, it’s not long but wow what he’s packed into those few words.

Thinking about it, yeah, most good stories start with our main character facing a turning point in their lives which all too often have become lonely. Hmmm looking at my friend’s stories I  notice Jami Gray starts out her Kyn chronicles and PSY-IV stories with protagonists who have pulled away from human connections. Doranna Durgin brings an obsessively alone Kimmer on stage, determined to stay that way. Until along comes Rio.

Hmmm and yeah I’ve done it also. Doing it now in Question of Trust. Did it in Question of Honor and Question of Faith. I wonder how much, for me, has to do with how easy it is for me to eschew crowds (which often consist of more than myself and one other person.) Eschew…does that mean what my fingers say it means? Just checking and yes it does. Even more interesting, when I did that quick computer check, there was a suggestion to eschew obfuscation.

There’s a bit of silly for you. And here’s a silly picture of Israfel, practicing selfies.021

Bichok y’all. NaNo is coming up…should I try it again this year?

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Something a Little Different #MFRWAuthor

I have more discoveries to share…those so-called hacks that make my life easier. But I came across this blog today from several years ago and I really felt the need to share. Because, yeah, people WILL die today. They died yesterday and will die tomorrow.

From John Pavlovitz  Take a few minutes to read. I’ll be here when you get back

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We can’t stop them from dying. We can possibly try to delay the inevitable. Sometimes. And sometimes death just casually strolls into our lives and rips away at our foundation.

What we can do now, today, is live the day we’re given. Love those we know and those we’re going to meet. Plant a tree, take a moment to look at the night sky. Greet a stranger, help a neighbor.

In my case I also need to leave the property and stay in touch with the world around me. Wow that’s a hard one to do sometimes.

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gathering clouds reminding me weather is on the way

Well it is a blustery late September day, a worthy representative of this month in New

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C’mon MOM open the gate and LET”S GO

Mexico. I’ll leave you to your reading, while I go out with those wild creatures known as Saluki puppies to terrorize the bushes out in the big field.

Then maybe a quick trip to be around people and back to editing. Yes I am writing. Honest.

 

 

 

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Hacking Away at my Life…and Mole #MFRWAuthor

Apparently those things…either items or processes…that make our lives easier are known as ‘hacks’ which of course confuses me since for so long a ‘hack’ was someone who offered substandard quality. Now it’s something that makes our lives work better. Language is ever fluid.

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September Skies in New Mexico…had to share

The Fitbit, of course! Ever since I started wearing one, it has kept me accountable for my own health. Not a bad thing at all. Too bad there’s not the same sort of reminder about sitting down to write as there is to get up and move around.

A friend who cares (actually the same one who pushed me into Fitbitting) told me about an ‘organizing our lives’ system which encourages us to be mindful of what we have. Hold it in our hands and decide if it’s something we need to keep or dispose of. Naturally I can’t remember the system she recommended, but I find when I make that extra effort to sort, to throw away, to put away, I feel…better. And any time something leaves my house for anywhere else, whether it’s to a thrift store or recycling, or into the trash, I feel more in control. If only just a little.

What else has been doing well for me? So many things, most from the advice of friends. Such as…the InstaPot. Yeah I’ve become a Pot-fanatic. Especially when it comes to Mole (now how the HECK do I add that accent so I’m not cooking up rodents??) Trust me I make it with chicken!

Everything you’ve heard about InstaPot…pretty much truth. It doesn’t leap tall buildings

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In the pot, ready for the lid to clamp down and cook into yumminess

but it DOES cook great meals. Fast. Faster for sure than the crock pot and even tastier. Seriously.

You’re going to ask for a recipe, right? I’ve actually shared before, HERE

Let’s see what this recipe looks like. Mmmm. Mmm-Hmmm yeah that’s how I did it. Since I had invited a plethora of people to come visit the puppies (and my garden progress) I used five pounds of chicken breasts and pretty much tripled everything. Recipes such as this are fluid to me, I mostly concern myself with proportions. This time I found some fresh Cilantro at the grocery. Seems it did make a difference.

Tossed it all in the Insta Pot for one hour, since 45 minutes, had been more than enough for a smaller batch I’d made a couple weeks ago.

When it had finished the cool down, I opened up the pot and…not quite there. So I set it up again, for another half hour.

YES that worked. And since the group was smaller I was able to share take homes plus save some for me to enjoy for a while. Mole and eggs for breakfast anyone?

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A Question of Faith #MFRWHooks

One of the many advantages of working with Marketing for Romance Authors is the abundance of opportunities. Such as Book Hook Wednesdays.

I’m going to be in Newark over Monday and Tuesday but I bet I can get this done and posted in time…heck yeah I can! Even if I do it from the airport(s).

Since I’m finally back to work on A Question of Trust, I’m going to hook you on A Question of Faith. I had so much fun with this story, watching the smug Ty Randolph be knocked on his hunky butt by Rosalind Summerton, who just wants to get past a nasty time in the Middle East. Ty is so sure he knows all there is to know about women.

Cue hysterical laughter here, right? Check out Ty trying to pin Roz down

“You’ve never lost it all for a man?”
“Couldn’t see the reason to lose it all for a man. Could see wanting to share your life with someone, could see building something better from combining two lives than either side of the equation. Could never see forcing the issue. If it was meant to be, then it happened.”
“If it didn’t happen easily it wasn’t meant?”
“Not really. If it’s worth happening it’s definitely worth working toward and putting a lot of effort into. But if two pieces of a puzzle aren’t meant to fit together getting out a hammer to force the issue isn’t the answer.”
“What about trimming the edges so the pieces fit?”
“Forcing the fit? Nope, could never see it. Woman meets a man, he’s perfect except maybe he doesn’t go to the opera or would rather watch football than go for a walk with her. He’s not perfect, he’s not Mr. Right he’s just Mr Right Now, Mr. Almost Good Enough, Mr. I Can Fix This if I Try. If he’s the right man, he’ll want to make her happy and if going to the opera makes her happy, presto bingo, they go to the opera. Not every weekend, sometimes she goes by herself. Sometimes she watches football with him and sometimes she goes for a walk on her own. Because they are or should be two complete people who are better for being together, not two disparate beings who can’t function without being joined at the hip.”
“So not having found this ideal male who chooses to go to the opera with you, you’ve remained single?”
“Got it in one. Single, and not ragging on my husband or boyfriend or, heaven help me ‘life partner’ with my girl friends every time his back is turned.”
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I want to be Rosalind when I grow up.

A Question of Faith is available from Black Opal Books, and many other purveyors of fine literature.

Enjoy, and if you hop over to the link attached to the Book Hooks logo you can find even more exciting new authors.

 

 

 

 

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Those Best Laid Plans #MFRWAuthor

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Good Morning World!

Yeah, those plans we all have, especially writers. Gonna write every day, blog on a regular schedule.  Be super productive, get two books done this year. It’s all doable, right?

Right?  Yeah, sure. For some people. Sometimes for me, just not right now.

I had some decent blogs planned. I was going to whine a little about the power going out for two days, due to a small twister taking out a bunch of poles…I think they said ten poles, which means a very large section of supported wire, gone.

I found out pretty  much by accident, my doctor retired, or at least left the practice. Finally I found a doctor who would LISTEN. Now I’ll have to find a new clinic.

Then when I was doing a raw food pickup my car wouldn’t start after I pumped in gas.

Sounds like a pretty sucky time, doesn’t it? Or does it?

That power outage? From a storm, and power was back on in thirty-six hours. We could drive maybe ten minutes in any direction for supplies, to visit a restaurant or get gas. Not long term, not caused by an attack or earthquake or catastrophic storm.

There are plenty of other clinics I can try, some closer to my house. We have a sufficient number of trained medical professionals here, in well stocked facilities that don’t leak or lose power, and don’t have patients crowding out the door.

Seems like my car has a problem with the air conditioning which overheated the engine. More a comfort than a safety issue.

I was invited to judge Salukis in Reno, so I had a great trip to a new town, met some wonderful new people.  Judged some fabulous dogs.

In other words, I’m at this time dealing with first world problems. I don’t have fires lighting up the skies around me, nor is a category 5 storm threatening and mine. I have to admit life does not suck

So what’s my excuse for not writing? I could point to the greatly improved exterior of the house. Or maybe the cleaner than before interior? I confess it’s difficult for me to work inside when outside tempts me with sun and unfinished project.

Truth is…well…this happened

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photo by the so talented Shiri Hoshen

These two strode into my life, and things have yet to settle down. There is such a small window available to introduce new puppies to life, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

That is my story, I am sticking to it. Oh, I did briefly think about relocating A Question of Trust to Reno but…no, the atmosphere there is just too nice.

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Israfel, contemplating a sunbeam

 

 

 

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DeAnna Brown: Artistic Fears and Eating Cookies #MFRWAuthor

My book baby, Demon Rising, is soon to be released into this world by Black Opal Books. No one told me about the gut wrenching nerves that would accompany a book release. It’s one thing to write, draw, or even sing in the confines of your own home. In the shower, I can belt it out like Beyonce. Behind closed doors, you can revel in your art, whatever form that is. Somehow when you open those doors and allow the public to see your work it becomes a whole new ballgame. One I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for.

How did I take that step? I took a whole lot of baby steps.

  1. Support Group – I needed more than family members telling me I’m amazing, cause they’re obligated by blood. I found critique groups and other professional writers to help me navigate the path to publishing and encourage me when I need it.
  2. Ignore the negative voices – The voices never leave all together, but I find when I replace them with positive words they shut up for a little while.
  3. Jump – Sometimes you can climb that hill inch by inch, but you eventually have to take that plunge.
  4. Good Food…I mean Stress Relief– Find some kind of stress relief, whether it is walking, swimming, yoga or cookies, and make sure to treat yourself. We are more than our art and have to remind ourselves of that. I have a great healthy cookie recipe below, if you’re like me and one of your stress reliefs is food.

Despite the editors, beta readers, and more, it still is scary publishing a book and putting yourself out there. Maybe that is part of the thrill of writing, not only creating a world for yourself, but having the chance to share it with others. So I’m pushing back the fear, and trying to embrace this new step in my life. My novel, Demon Rising is released mid-August, and I’d love for you to join me on this journey. Keep reading below for my other stress relief…cookies with no guilt.

 

cover deannaThirty years ago, dark magicians unleashed new power on the earth fueled by demons. Governments toppled, millions died and magicians ended up on top of the food chain.

Twenty-four-year-old Becca survives these dangerous times by relying on her wits, her fists, and the limited goodwill of her boss, a local crime lord. When news comes of a fire back home and the family she left behind dead, she realizes her dark past has finally caught up to her.

On the hunt for her missing sister, she must rely on Darion, a treacherous ex-boyfriend with ties to the local coven for back-up. Problem is he’s a pyromancer that can’t be trusted, especially with her heart. Becca’s forced to navigate a dangerous web of deceit and must decide what’s she’s willing to sacrifice to save her sister.

 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Guilt-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Cookiescookie deanna

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup of almond meal
  • ½ cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Cacao Nibs (or other options: Dairy free chocolate chips, raisins, or dried fruit)
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients until well mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into the dry mixture.
  4. Place approximately 2 Tbsp of the mixture on the cookie sheet for each cookie. I used a round cookie cutter to make them, lightly pressing it into the cutter for each one.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, just until they begin to brown.

 

About the Author

deannaDeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, A DEMON RISING, will be out in 2017 with Black Opal Books. An avid reader and writer, she has a soft spot for fantasy with a touch of romance. Despite her love for food and traveling, she always finds her way back to Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and pet dog.

To contact her and for free extras check out:

www.deannabrowne.com

www.facebook.com/deannabrownebooks/

https://twitter.com/BrowneBooks

deannabrownebooks@gmail.com

 

 

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It Is What’s Up Front #MFRWAuthor

Real Estate agents talk about curb appeal and how important it is to have an attractive front entrance. Which hasn’t always been the case here, in fact several friends wondered if they needed a machete to approach through the front overgrowth. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I can’t find any pictures of this area. Except one from last Hallowe’en, with a giant black spide…well you probably remember!

One of the problems with dressing up the front is the seriously poor quality of the soil in front of the walkway. It took, sadly, ten years for me to think waaay outside the box, and use the EarthBoxes I had in the back. Although most everyone else manages amazing success with vegetables in these clever planters, they don’t do much for me. However, with annuals…those flowers that can be found inexpensively pretty much anywhere…hmmm.

I needed quick results since people were going to be driving up the private lane, and I really wanted something to show off. Soooo. I continued the concept of found materials, dragging pieces of carpet, and cut sections of railroad ties around to the front (gotta love those hand trucks) to help boost the EarthBoxes.

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Earthboxes on RR ties on carpet. Ready for planting.

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Yellow and cream…looks pretty good

I hauled a wood bench out of the house, where it had been covered in ‘stuff’ for ten years. And, yeah, it needs to be outside.

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Add A Guardian

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And a bench…come sit a spell

THANKS for being a part of this journey. More pictures coming soon. Stick around, you’ll be learning about a new book, from a new Black Opal author!

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