do good, Uncategorized

Do Good May.15

Every month I feature a way to give back by sharing things I’ve found meaningful to champion. For May 2015 I chose the Lucky Iron Fish™ project. This is a great and mindful way to make direct, positive change in people’s lives. The Lucky Iron Fish™ is a simple and effective health innovation that can provide 75% of daily required iron intake to the 3.5 billion people worldwide suffering from iron deficiency. All it takes is to cook with it.

More information || Ways to give

fish

Mission Statement:

Imagine a world where the billions of people who are constantly tired, struggle to work or focus, and often feel sick are finally able to lead healthier and more productive lives. We’re dedicated to leading the fight against iron deficiency in Cambodia and around the world. And we know that the Lucky Iron Fish™ can and will make a big difference. We’ve made it our mission to put a fish in every pot.

We are striving to realize this vision in a socially and environmentally responsible way. That’s why we’re committed to hiring local staff, using recycled and biodegradable materials, and supporting like-minded businesses and organizations. As a result of this commitment we are now a B-Corp certified company.

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Happy giving, in whatever way you choose to better your world!

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Hayley Peterson. Thanks, Hayley.

To know more about Hayley Petersen, check out her Instagram (hayleypetersen). Her ongoing triumph is co-running Dreamspinner Press’ and DSP Publications’ well-oiled social media machine, and her efforts can be seen at DSP’s website and Facebook.

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1) If you could own five acres of land anyplace in the world, where would they be?

A private island somewhere in the Pacific with beautiful sandy beaches. That, or part of Disney World.

2) Go out dancing or stay in with board games?

Board games for sure.

3) Candy floss pink or agate brown?

Both!

4) What is your favorite word?

I don’t know if it’s my favorite word, but I do say “geez louise!” A LOT in pretty much any circumstance. Otherwise, my favorite would be oishii which means delicious in Japanese. My Bachan (grandmother) and I always say it over meals together and it was probably the first Japanese word I learned as a child so it holds a lot of memories.

5) Dreams come true in less than ideal settings sometimes–awkward time or awkward place, for example–has this happened to you?

Absolutely! This is actually my favorite story to tell because it makes me so happy. I moved to Manchester, UK from Vancouver, Canada a couple years ago to try my hand at working in theatre production (stage management, sound design, etc.) and was working in a restaurant to pay the bills while working a few theatre gigs. While I had some good times and friends at the restaurant, the environment was less than pleasant at times and not exactly what I wanted to do as a career.  In addition, after working a bit of theatre, I was beginning to realize that I didn’t want to make a career out of it as I thought I had so I was feeling a bit stuck.

One evening I was working my usual dinner shift when Elizabeth North, Ariel Tachna, and all of the lovely DSP badasses walk in for a table after a long day at the UK Fiction Meet. I ended up serving them and we seemed to hit it off. They ended up coming back 2 days later and I was able to serve them again. Things ended up going so well that in the end, Elizabeth offered me a job with DSP. I learned 2 things that night. 1. Dreams come true when you don’t even expect it. For example, this job. And 2. Giving nice customers extra Sticky Toffee Pudding always pays off. 😉


Hayley Petersen is the Social Media Assistant for Dreamspinner Press and Media Coordinator for DSP Publications. She Capturehas been with DSP since 2013 and it’s possibly the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Manchester, UK and has slowly developed a fondness for tea, savoury pies, and Eton Mess.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Amy Lane. Thanks, Amy.

To know more about Amy, see what she’s up to on Twitter (@amymaclane) or join her Facebook group Amy Lane Anonymous. Her latest literary triumph is Immortal, a sort of brutal fairy tale and a sweet heartwarming romance (both at once!), and is available here.

Immortal


Hey all! I’d like to thank Elle for inviting me to Friday Fun Five, and to ask her, “Hey– what’s the deal with making me crave pie. That’s no fair at all!” And here they are– my answers to the Fun Five!

1) If you could yarn-bomb anything at all in the world, what would you knit encase?

The Avengers building.

2) Trail ride: Horses or three-wheelers?

You are far more likely to find me on the back of a magic carpet than a horse or a three-wheeler.

3) Cake or pie (and what kind!)?

Pie. Chocolate and banana cream.  Either or. All is right with the world.

4) What is your favorite word?

Any combination of swearwords is all win for me!

5) You can visit any historic architectural wonder in its prime–where do you go?

The Temple of Artemis– because it was completely destroyed and we need more kickass women models 😉


Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. momcommissionV3She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

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May.15 Book Rec

This month’s book recommendation: Red Tails In Love by Marie Winn. This book has so many elements I love–birding, hawks, New York City, Central Park, and lively nonfiction prose to tell you all about everything. The nesting hawk pair is as good a love story as any romance novel I might recommend, and perfect for when spring begins to heat up into summer.

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In the spring of 1992, a pair of red-tailed hawks built a nest on a high ledge of a building on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Excitement rocked the world of Central Park’s devoted birdwatchers: never before had a red-tail been known to nest on a city building.

This book is quintessential New-York-Ism as much as the peccadilloes and quirks abounding in the birding world. It makes for an amusing, heady combination. It’s full of personality and information about everything the hawks’ nesting saga touches: from the hawks’ famous neighbors, to the avid birders watching their every swoop, to the bustle of the City below them. A world-within-a-world narrative as charming as the dashing Pale Male.

If you’re ever in Central Park go find the Bird Registry–it’s well worth your while!

Brew a pot of tea and enjoy!

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Joyfully Jay. Thanks, Jay!

To know more about Jay, check out her blog joyfullyjay.com or see what she’s up to on Twitter (@jayhjay432) and Facebook. Her ongoing triumph is maintaining Joyfully Jay where she reviews books and talks all things romance.

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1) What single item in your home couldn’t you live without?

Well, aside from all the really important things like my husband and kids, food and clothing, my superficial answer is going to be my computers. Sadly I spend much of my day in front of the computer because I work from home and I run my blog. Between those two things I am in front of one for hours a day. Now the boring one is the clunky laptop I have for work. That is the one I tolerate. The fun one is the big, beautiful iMac that I use for the blog. The screen is so big I have to sometimes tip my head to see it all (yet still my cat manages to block it).  But I love it because it is big and fast and awesome! My second place answer is going to be my knitting needles. I recently started knitting (in November) and have become a total addict. I knit pretty much every night. Right now I am in the middle of three different shawls!

2) Cruise ship or transcontinental train?

Ohh, this is a hard one because I am solidly a beach girl. We go every year at least once and I love nothing more than to sit on the sand with a good book. So tropical climates are totally my thing. But I think I’d have to say transcontinental train because it seems cruises and my iffy stomach are not a good combination! And there is something so romantic about trains, no? I mean, I am sure in real life it is nothing like I imagine, but somehow the idea of traveling across the county, watching the scenery whiz by, and cuddling up in a sleeper car sounds intriguing.  Now if you could get me on a train to the beach, then it would be perfect!

3) Museum going: Art or science?

Science. I am lucky enough to live outside of Washington, DC where I have access to the many fabulous free museums.  I am a huge fan of the Air & Space museum and Natural History. I even like those discovery hands-on kind of places for the kids. When I travel to new cities, I always try to hit a museum there as well. I recently had a great time at the Field museum in Chicago. While I can appreciate art, I have never really been a big fan of art museums.

4) What is your favorite word?

Oh gosh, I don’t know if I have a favorite word, though I do have some I seem to fall back on quite a lot. I realize that I constantly use the word bit when I write my reviews, like “I was a bit surprised…”.  I have reached the point where I have to try to consciously avoid it, but sometimes I still can’t help myself.  I also recently read the transcript of a podcast I did on m/m romance and I realized I said “you know” so many times you could make a drinking game out of it and need your stomach pumped by minute 3!

5) In our digital age we’re exposed to a lot of pictures and images. What is one in particular that’s stayed with you?

I’m going to say a picture I saw of the Scottish Highlands. My husband and I were there three summers ago, and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We spent 11 days traveling around the country and we had our own rental car, so we got to drive ourselves everywhere.  It is amazing how undeveloped the area is, even today. We went to see some ancient standing stones and we were the only ones there, just us and the sheep.  When you go to Loch Ness, it is totally undeveloped. You can sail down the Loch and see virtually nothing but beautiful mountains. It is amazing, it is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and yet it is entirely unspoiled (you can easily imagine what a place like that would turn into in the US — condos and t-shirt vendors). So that picture stuck with me because it reminded me of my trip and the beautiful country and how wonderful it is to see someplace so lovely and unspoiled.


Jay is a wife, mom, blogger, and cat wrangler. She is an avid reader and lover of beaches, lazy days, and all things chocolate and peanut butter. Jay loves m/m romance and has been reading the genre for about 5 years. She averages about 4 books a week and loves to tjoyfully jay bookalk about them with readers! When not devouring books (and chocolate & PB) Jay is busy with her blog, Joyfully Jay. Joyfully Jay reviews all subgenres of m/m romance, as well as some other GBLT romance and romantic fiction, running about 20 reviews per week, as well as daily guest posts from a variety of authors.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Katana Collins. Thanks, Katana!

To know more about Katana Collins, check out her blog at katanacollins.com, or see what she’s up to on twitter (@KatanaCollins). Her latest book, the first in an erotic suspense series, Wicked Exposure hits the shelves on April 28th!

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1) What everyday rituals start your morning?

As a pet mommy, a lot of my “rituals” are more like duties. =) But my husband and I managed to make the mundane more enjoyable. I used to hate the first morning dog walks–I was always half asleep and cranky and especially in the winters, I was just miserable to be outside! But after our dog Red was diagnosed with cancer, it really made both Sean and I stop taking all those little moments for granted. Suddenly, those annoying morning walks were little gifts of time that we treasured. And so Sean and I instated what we call the “coffee walks” in which we make coffee, feed the animals, put the coffee in a to go cup and take the dogs for a 30 minute walk. It’s an amazing start to our day and a great way for us to connect without any electronic distractions. We lost Red to cancer back in June and have since adopted a new puppy (who requires a LOT more walks, haha). But even though Red has passed, the coffee walks are here to stay.

2) Tom Waits or Tom Jones?

I feel like Tom Waits would be the “cooler” answer, but I really love me some Tom Jones!

3) Woodsy cabin or five-star hotel?

Hotel. Now, if you had said a cozy cottage or five-star hotel, I would have had a bigger debate in my head… but I’ve only ever been camping once as a kid and I was sent home early because I spent the whole weekend crying because I saw a spider! Lol, yeah, I hate admitting that story, but it’s true.

4) What is your favorite word?

Ahhh! There’s so many. And it changes constantly. Pontificate is a fun one. Reticent, clandestine. But if you asked my husband, he would say that the F-bomb is my favorite based on how much I use it!

5) Say personal safety is not an issue. What natural phenomena would you like to experience up close?

If I was guaranteed no harm… I would love to be in a tornado. I’d finally know what it felt like to fly and it would probably feel a bit like a roller coaster if you took the fear out it.


Katana Collins splits her time evenly between photographing boudoir portraits and writing steam-your-glasses romances. katanaShe is the author of the best-selling paranormal Soul Stripper trilogy, the erotic suspense series, Wicked Exposure, the graphic novel, Cafe Racer, and the small town contemporary romance Maple Grove series. She and her comic book artist husband commute back and forth between Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Maine, with their ever-growing family of rescue animals (two dogs, a cat, and counting!). She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.
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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Taylor V. Donovan. Thanks, Taylor!

To know more about Taylor V. Donovan, check out taylorvdonovan.com or see what she’s up to on twitter (@taylorvdonovan). You can get familiar with her literary triumphs at her Goodreads page.

six degrees of agony


1) What food do you make that’s your specialty?

I actually have two specialties. The first one is lasagna. The second is yellow rice with honey barbecue pork ribs and potato salad, Puerto Rican style. Our recipe includes apples, which is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s delicious!

2) Are you always too hot or too cold?

Too hot, to the point I need to carry a folding hand fan with me everywhere! It’s my signature accessory and makes me popular with the crowds. They all want some of my air. 😉

3) Best weekend: Busy every minute with activities or a snuggled in bed with movies and books?

Snuggled in bed and binging on Netflix documentaries. It’s my favorite thing to do when I need to give my fried brain cells a break.

4) What is your favorite word?

I like the word commitment.

5) Which would you want to have great talent in: Dancing, drawing, or singing?

Drawing is my first pick. I’d love to be able to illustrate some of the things that cross my mind. 🙂


Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistTVDically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all. When she’s not writing or making a living in the busiest city in the world, Taylor can be found raising her two daughters and their terribly misbehaved furry baby in their home.

do good, Uncategorized

Do Good April.15

Every month I feature a way to give back by sharing things I’ve found meaningful to champion. For April 2015 I chose The National Park Service (NPS week is April 18-26 this year!). It’s no secret I love all things NPS– the wilderness and wildlife, outdoor activities, historical places of significance and reverence, and myriad opportunities to learn and discover and go adventuring. The parks represent many wonderful things, including being an invaluable resource for everyone. I’m as happy to support the NPS as I am to get out and explore it. As I say with every park site I’ve visited: “This is just so great!”

Locate parks and sites #FindYourPark || Learn all the Ways To Give

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Mission Statement:

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we safeguard these more than 400 places and share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But our work doesn’t stop there.

We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

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Happy giving, in whatever way you choose to better your world!

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Elizah J Davis. Thanks, Elizah!

To know more about Elizah Davis, check out elizahdavis.com, find her on Facebook or see what she’s up to on twitter (@ElizahDavis). Her latest literary triumph is Making Nice and is available here.

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1) You can only have one type of shoes for the rest of your life. What style are you going with?

Wow, playing dirty straight off the bat, huh? As much as I love my pretty heels and sandals, for the versatility plus comfort of one shoe type ever after, it’d have to be cowboy boots.

2) Polka dots or stripes?

Polka dots! No, stripes. No, no. Polka dots. Final answer.

3) Cuttlefish or hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs. They are so wee and roly-poly adorable!

4) What is your favorite word?

Indicative. I just love the way it feels when you say it out loud. Indicative.

Indicative.

5) Unlimited budget, but only for one room – which room would you make over?

The bathroom, no question. I sometimes actively fantasize about having a large, super fancy bathroom oasis. One of these fifty bathrooms for example. A gigantic tub and a fireplace, are you kidding me? And heated floor tiles, of course. This is the dream, friends. (#dreamer bathroom?)


Elizah J. Davis has lived in various parts of the United States, but currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the abundance of coffee readily available there. Once upon a time she had journalistic ambitions, but switched to creative writing after she realized journalism involved too many facts and not enough unicorns. ShAvatare loves stories of all kinds, but has a particular fondness for romance and fantastical adventures.

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Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Poppy Dennison. Thanks, Poppy!

To know more about Poppy Dennison, check out her website at www.poppydennison.com, find her on Facebook and Goodreads, or see what she’s up to on twitter (@PoppyDennison). Her latest literary triumph is Creature Feature 2 and is available here.

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1) Do you have a routine or habits you always follow when you sit down at your desk to work?

My most important routine involves a vat of coffee and a clear mind. I make lists with daily tasks and make sure a daily word count is included in my goals for the week. I find it difficult to write when I have a ton of other things to do for my day job, so I have to schedule my time wisely so I can both write and work successfully. Some weeks are better than others, but I enjoy the challenge!

2) Wet dream choice–a tall drink of water: Tom Hiddleston or Chris Hemsworth?

Oh this is a tough choice! Not only are these two different in looks, but their personalities seem to be different as well. Hmm. I think I’ll have to go with Tom Hiddleston on this one. He intrigues me and I have a sneaking suspicion that he would charm the pants right off of me. (Here’s hoping, huh? LOL)

3) Wet dream choice–waterfront property: Ocean or mountain lake?

If I think of this in terms of a vacation home, I’d go with ocean property! I live in the mountains of East Tennessee so I get to enjoy their beauty every time I look out my window. I’d love to be able to sneak away for long weekends at the beach from time to time, though! I see pictures of beach cottages in the magazines I love to read and would love to have a little cottage to escape to. I’m sure I could decorate it easily based on the number of pins I have on my Pinterest boards.

4) What is your favorite word?

I embrace the Southern tradition of backhanded insults so my favorites are usually phrases that accomplish that. You’ll catch me saying things like “Bless your heart” and “Isn’t that precious?” And, like many other Southern women, if you hear me say “Oh hell no” you’d better run! LOL

5) You have an eight-hour layover in Anchorage–what do you do with the time?

Well, I suppose that depends on the time of year! If I’m in Anchorage in the winter, forget it. I’m camping out at the airport and finding something to read! (I’m not a fan of the cold…) If it’s not freezing, I’d make some time to go exploring. I’m actually heading to Alaska this summer for a cruise with my family, so I’m looking forward to doing some exploration in the ports along the way. I wonder if my answer will change once I’ve seen the state? I have scheduled intentional long layovers before. Once, I stopped over in London and made sure to have an overnight layover so I could go out to dinner with some friends before hopping back on the plane and heading home the next day. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, so I’m usually up for some sort of adventure… you know, as long as I’m not cold.


A sassy southern lady, Poppy Dennison developed an obsession with things that go bump in the night in her early years i221v3-poppy-dennison-54f61ec5da82cafter a barn door flew off its hinges and nearly squashed her. Convinced it was a ghost trying to get her attention, she started looking for other strange and mysterious happenings around her. Not satisfied with what she found, Poppy has traveled to Greece, Malaysia and England to find inspiration for the burly bears and silver foxes that melt her butter. Her love of paranormal continues to flourish nearly thirty years later, and she writes steamy love stories about the very things that used to keep her up all night. If her childhood ghost is lucky, maybe one day she’ll give him his own happily ever after.