GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Guest Post: Dani Harper - How Chickens Keep Me Sane + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Guest Post: Dani Harper - How Chickens Keep Me Sane + giveaway

While I can usually write anywhere, I wrote Storm Crossed – the latest installment of the Grim Series – largely at the kitchen table by the window. For some reason, it became my favorite place to work, my go-to place for inspiration, and the location of my greatest word output. Was it the lighting? The room to spread out my notes? The limitless availability of coffee? Or was it the calming pastoral scene of a large flock of chickens foraging freely in the yard?

Maybe some of those things. Maybe all of them. But what about those voices I kept hearing underneath my window? I’ve been wondering about that ever since….
………………………………

RECON TEAM 7 – TEAM LEADER EARL REPORTING


DAY 63 – Betty and Mildred are posting lookout while our spotter, Mrs. Beardsley, and her team carefully move into position. Today’s mission is to get a look inside the north window of the house and gather further intel. 

OBJECTIVE: Determine why the Domesticated Treat-Bringer (DTB) isn’t spending as much time outside with the flock.

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED SO FAR: Thanks to a successful covert operation by Priscilla (who pretended to be sick in order to get taken into the house), we now know that the window belongs to a treat prep area known as “The Kitchen”. DTB sits beside said window daily, accompanied by a glowing device known as “The Laptop”, alternately known as “This Damned Computer”. DTB spends a lot of time pressing buttons on it and talking to it, sometimes even yelling at it. I suspect it may be alive, and has usurped the flock’s rightful place as DTB’s reason for existence, and thus disrupted the natural order of things...

The hens have now positioned themselves on the back steps beneath the window, cleverly appearing to sun themselves. It took most of the night to calculate the correct number of chickens required to lift the spotter so her eyes would be just above the sill. We don’t want to reveal ourselves to DTB, or accidentally gain the attention of the neighbors across the alley.
There she is! From my perch on the grain bin at the back of the yard, I can see DTB enter the kitchen. I wave to Betty, who bobs her pompommed head up and down to signal Mrs. Beardsley. The team springs into action – wait, wait, something’s not right here. The idea was to put the largest hen, Snowball, on the bottom, but they’ve put skinny little Wilma there. There’s no way this is going to – it’s too late, they’re going for it. Climb, Mrs. Beardsley, CLIMB!

The column of chickens sways like a delphinium in a windstorm, but their brave leader has clawed her way to the shaky top. She’s peering into the window. She’s waving to us. She’s –

Call the medic, Mildred. We’ll try again tomorrow.


DAY 97 – It’s taken a valiant effort, and the sacrifice of many feathers and more than a few eggs, but we finally have our answer. Our DTB is a WRITER. This comes as a shock to many of us, I know, but we must maintain our dignity and accept the difficult fact that DTB’s current novel is always going to take first priority. (Harriet, stop crying. If it makes you feel any better, DTB’s mate is in much the same situation...)

However, there IS an upside to all of this. It’s very apparent that DTB has taken on this heavy responsibility for the sole purpose of providing a better life for us. You’ve all been enjoying the new heated watering bowls, I assume? The 20-pound bag of premium dried mealworms? The fluffy nestbox cushions?

In order to continue to enjoy such bounty, our duty is clear. We must do everything in our power to take good care of our writer!

Priscilla has come up with a schedule to ensure that there are always happy, playful hens cavorting in front of the kitchen window during the writer’s working hours. Mrs. Beardsley, you and your team are up first. Yes, yes, take Wilma, just prop her up against something so she looks natural. Stanley, you’re going to do your famous rock star strut as a backdrop. Meanwhile, Salty, Pepper, and Cheeks – we want your very best eggs.

Speaking of eggs, the principle is the same. The most contented and relaxed hens produce the most eggs. In like fashion, our DTB must be the happiest, most relaxed, and therefore most productive writer there is.

Remember: Greater success for her, means bigger and better goodies for us!

………………………………

So, maybe it happened, or maybe I fell asleep at the laptop (yes, there’s precedent for that…). The one thing I know for sure is that my chickens are good for my mental health. They provide me with a lot of entertainment and a reason to leave the laptop and go outside for a few minutes. And sometimes, as in my previous novel, Storm Warned, a chicken or two wanders into the story!

PS - For your own mental health, have fun entering my giveaway below!

Storm Crossed, paranormal romance, fae, cover, Dani Harper
by Dani Harper
January 9, 2018
375 pages
Heir to a noble fae house, Trahern is forced to watch helplessly as his twin brother is cruelly changed into a grim—a death dog—as punishment for falling in love with the wrong person. Trahern doesn’t believe love exists, but he will do anything to keep his brother alive—even join the Wild Hunt and ride the night skies of the human world.

Lissy Santiago-Callahan believes in love but has no time for it. She’s busy juggling her career as an academic and her home life as a single mom to a young son with Asperger’s. Her hectic life in sleepy Eastern Washington is made even more chaotic with the sudden arrival of a demanding fae and his unusual “dog.”

Mortal and immortal have nothing in common, and the attraction between Lissy and Trahern surprises them both. But when their desire places Lissy and her child in the path of a deadly faery feud, will the connection last, or will their separate worlds prove too great a divide?


LEGEND ∙ LORE ∙ LOVE ∙ MAGIC
The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

THE GRIM SERIES by Dani Harper: 

STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, STORM WARNED, STORM CROSSED
See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page at
https://www.amazon.com/Dani-Harper/e/B004FD8RV2

GIVEAWAY
Enter to win an MP3 Audiobook of Storm Crossed!
Open to USA, Canada, and UK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

101 comments:

  1. Escaping into other worlds via books keeps me sane. My dogs keep my sane. AND visiting our local theme parks often - my son's and my happy places - keep me sane. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness for books - I don't think I would have gotten through a lot of things in my life without them!

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  2. That's so funny. The owner of the studio (aka barn) where we have a drawing group has chickens who occasionally serenade us with an egg drop. No roosters allowed in their city though. Liked the book a lot.

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    1. My hubs and I just shake our heads when some of our hens "announce". I can't figure out how they survived as a species by telling the whole world they just laid an egg!

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  3. Replies
    1. I have a pug named Toby! Both my dogs like to think THEY'RE the ones keeping me sane.

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  4. I like my favorite scents around me. Candles, oils, plug-in scents, etc. anything that smells like the beach, amber, or some fruity smells. My scents that are in now at home are vanilla hazelnut in the main area of the house and amber in the bedroom area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aromatherapy can be wonderful. I'm curious as to what amber smells like. I know the real stuff can be burned as incense.

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  5. I love reading. It’s relaxing for me.

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  6. I read, I take road trips and I surround myself with good friends

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been on a road trip for quite a while --- it must be time for me to plan one!

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  7. My cat and working out do it for me.

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    Replies
    1. I often feel a lot better after a session on my exercise bike.

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  8. Reading works for me.

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  9. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jada! Earl and the gals thank you too!

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  10. Replies
    1. Some days family really does a lot for my mental health. Other days, I'm sure I'm going to lose it because of them, LOL! But I think that's the nature of family in general.

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  11. playing with my granddaughter, she cheers me up

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    Replies
    1. Kids are wonderful to be around --- they see the world so differently than us, and the smallest of things is fresh and exciting.

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  12. Reading & music do it for me,I always have my kindle & a book with me everywhere I go .. :)

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  13. My family keeps me sane. I love them all.

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    Replies
    1. My sister and my grown up kids are my constants, and I feel lucky to have them.

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  14. My pets keep me sane, as does my neighbor down the street.We now have one day a week where we do things as a family, and that helps too.

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    Replies
    1. It's a great thing to do as a family --- we all get so busy that setting aside some regular time together is essential.

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  15. A great cup of coffee and sitting on the porch with my dogs is making me happy today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone knows my passion for coffee, but I also have a huge fondness for porches --- my gramma had a huge wraparound porch on her Victorian house, and it was a favorite place to hide out from the summer heat.

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  16. Writing, taking a relaxing bath, playing with my pets!

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    Replies
    1. Writing's never going to be relaxing for me, but hanging out with my dogs or my chickens sure is!

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  17. Replies
    1. I love the conversations they make up for their figurines and dolls!

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  18. Reading and I discovered diamond painting.

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    Replies
    1. How fun! I've seen some really pretty diamond paintings.

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  19. A great way to start my day.

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  20. Reading and my fur babies. I hear yoga is good too and need to try it.

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    Replies
    1. I did a lot of yoga as a teenager, and now I'm gingerly trying it again. I hope it helps me to stretch out from my standard writing position!

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  21. Sitting on the bus early in the morning and watching the little kids wanting to play peekaboo.

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  22. Replies
    1. I read while I'm on my stationary bike - it makes exercise a treat!

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  23. Reading a great book or working on flea market and yard sale finds .Thanks for the awesome giveaway and books.

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    Replies
    1. Yard sales used to be a major family excursion for us. I still have cool things that my daughters and I discovered YEARS ago!

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  24. If I could keep chickens in my apartment, I think they would be fun, but alas, no pets in this building. So, I turn to my old standby...books and computer solitaire. I can spend hours playing about 5 different Solitaire games off and on throughout the day and night. I get up at night for a pit stop and usually end up staying up for about half an hour or so and I play...what else? Solitaire! I'm a Solitaire junkie!

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    Replies
    1. I've raised chicks in the house, and it's fun except that chickens give off an incredible amount of DUST -- and I can't breathe. So no more indoor chickens for me. As for Solitaire, I've read that it's very good for your brain!

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  25. Yoga. Reading too but yoga breathing helps the most.

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    Replies
    1. I'm just starting out. It's very relaxing except for the "getting up off the floor" part....

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  26. Hmmmmmmmm... Reading, bike riding, drinking tea (& sometimes wine) keeps me sane with 8 children!
    Cheers~
    Kelly Braun

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're taking time to replenish yourself. It's really necessary when you've got a houseful.

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  27. My family keeps me sane.

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    Replies
    1. I really enjoy the relationships I have with my grownup daughters, and they've helped me more than once with a fresh persepective.

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  28. I read. It takes me away from the mundaneness of my life. I can go anywhere or any time frame. I’d go nuts if I didn’t read.

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    Replies
    1. Reading has always been my chosen escape too!

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  29. Just going outside for a little bit helps, especially if it's sunny!

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    Replies
    1. That's definitely one of things I like about the chickens -- it gives me an excuse to leave the laptop and go outside, plus something to do when I get out there.

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  30. Lol I read! Usually in my chair with the Christmas light on around my television. Then I light a candle and just relax.

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    Replies
    1. I can just picture the lovely ambience!

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    2. CONGRATS HEATHER! You're my winner! I'll be emailing you in a few minutes!

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  31. Replies
    1. You'd think a writer could keep a diary of some sort, but I've always been terrible at it. I admire those who can do it.

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  32. I love to read and also when it’s okay weather outside, I love to go on walks
    I like to crochet as well

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    Replies
    1. I miss the trails I used to walk in Alaska, but walking around the lovely old neighborhoods in my town is fun too -- I keep imagining characters and stories to go with each house.

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  33. I like to bake or walk my dog.

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    Replies
    1. It's never relaxing to walk Toby the Pug - he can't seem to go in a straight line!

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  34. I have to make sure I go for a 30 minute walk everyday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excercise is so essential, but I have to remind myself too!

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  35. That would be my cat Ridley, I call him puppy because he follows me around like a dog. Love him to the moon! Thank you

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  36. I read a lot of books and listen to audiobooks, as well.

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    Replies
    1. I love audiobooks when my eyes are just too tired to read.

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  37. i read and blog take care of service dogs
    and listen to the sudio book that are given to me +

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    Replies
    1. Raising and training service dogs is an awesome thing to do - I've often thought it must be hard to part with them, though.

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  38. Replies
    1. I would like to learn to meditate. My mind is like a hamster in a wheel most days.

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  39. I sit outside in my backyard with my dog ... sunset is my favorite time ... I just love to sit there and say hello to my parents (who I believe are stars now) and clear my mind from the day’s stress ☘️

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    Replies
    1. Sunset is a magical time. I love being outside then too!

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  40. I go live everyday doing My Makeup or others!

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    Replies
    1. You must get a lot of energy from interacting with people. Me, I usually need to be alone to recharge.

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  41. Replies
    1. I love my camera - but it never seems to be with me when my animals are doing something cute!

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  42. Replies
    1. I love getting lost in other worlds. Right now I'm working through Devon Monk's Broken Magic series.

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  43. Reading keeps me sane! It helps me know i'm not alone.

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    Replies
    1. That's so true - we not only feel a connection with the characters, but also with the writer.

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  44. I love having all my "precious babies". If it has fins, fur, or feathers I've had it at one time. All I have right now is a cat, 2 dogs, and an adorable ferret. I think a house isn't a home unless you have a least some type of animal in it even if it's only a pet goldfish. Reading, pets, plants, and crafts are my passion when I can afford them that is.

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    1. I've never been without a pet of some kind. My elderly mom lives alone and I've been trying to talk her into getting a little dog --- I think pets bring very positive energy into a home, and it's good for us to interact with them.

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  45. Replies
    1. I'm fascinated by studies showing that petting a dog or cat lowers your blood pressure. It shows just how calming it is to have a pet! (Until they claw the couch or eat your shoes, LOL)

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  46. Replies
    1. That's a good one! We really enjoy that too!

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  47. I love reading too! Reading time helps my mind peaceful. My son makes me feel blessed everyday:)
    Thank You 😊

    Fiona N

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    Replies
    1. Reading is restful for my mind too. I hyperfocus when I read and the whole world gets tuned out!

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  48. My family and my birdies. I've also been looking into raising chickens.

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    Replies
    1. How fun! But beware, the silly things are addictive and you often end up with many more than originally planned, LOL!

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  49. CONGRATS to HEATHER SNYDER! Her name was drawn as the winner of this giveaway, and she'll be receiving an MP3-CD of Storm Crossed, plus a Storm Crossed/I Smell Sheep tote bag! MANY THANKS to everyone who stopped by to read about my crazy chickens, and I really enjoyed your comments. :)

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