About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

The Secret of Mookies

Have you heard about Mookies?

A few years back, I decided to go gluten-free. One of the happy accidents that resulted from my recipe experiments was a sort of cookie. They baked best in a muffin tin, so I called them Mookies. I have since discovered others use the same name for similar bakery goods.
I treat myself to a fresh batch of six almost every morning. They taste better than a bowl of cereal. I can also spread out my breakfast bowl of oatmeal to include a couple Mookies for a late-morning snack. This recipe makes six Mookies and has about the same ingredients as a hearty bowl of hot oatmeal.

Basic recipe:
1 egg
1 pinch of baking soda
1 small mashed banana (or about a five-inch piece of a larger one)
1/4 cup Australian Instant Coconut Oatmeal (or the equivalent of quick-cooking oatmeal)
1/4 cup Old Fashioned oats
1 Tbsp Grape Nuts cereal (I want the extra fiber to knock down cholesterol)
1-2 Tbsp chopped pecans
(1-2 Tbsp raisins, craisins, or chopped dried fruit optional)

Mash the banana in a bowl. Add the egg and a pinch of baking soda. Blend. Add the other ingredients and mix.
Grease or spray oil into each of the six muffin tins. Portion the lumpy batter into these. Put the tray into a preheated toaster oven/air fryer at 355 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Take the pan out and let cool for at least five minutes. Run a plastic knife or spatula around the cooled ‘mookies’ to loosen them. Dump or pry out with the spatula.
(INFO: The Red Farm Australian oatmeal I use has a small amount of sugar and coconut. In a pinch, you can use a packet of instant, flavored oatmeal. If your batter is soupy and not semi-firm, add more old-fashioned oats.)

Note: I got a cute little tool with another appliance that is perfect for this. It looks like a plastic knife with the tip ground off to make it flat, not rounded. It works great for running around the edges before prying them out of the pan.

This recipe can be totally sugar-free if you use plain instant or quick-cooking oatmeal/ It’s also gluten-free, and very heart-healthy!

If you double the recipe and bake in a twelve-cup tin, you can make your own snacks for you, the family, and last-minute ‘bring something to share’ events.

As far as the latest from me, I finished ‘editing’ the audiobook version of the first book I ever wrote. NAKED IN THE WINTER WIND is the tale of a perky woman who falls through time and gets her sixty-year-old plump body converted into that of a foxy eighteen-year-old with amnesia. She does recognize some of her new acquaintances: they’re supposed to be fictional characters from the popular time-travel romance series ‘LOST.

The audiobook is free with your Audible Plus (USA version) subscription. It’s a long listen: 23 hours and 40 minutes. You can speed along if you want to read for free with Kindle Unlimited when listening isn’t convenient.

A New Hands-Free Way to Enjoy Books! Audiobooks!

Do you multitask: drive, clean house, garden, knit, or crochet while listening to audiobooks or podcasts?

If you do and haven’t heard about Audible Plus yet, you’re in for a treat!

This new monthly subscription program from Amazon is a great bargain! Not only books and podcasts, but Amazon originals, too.

I was introduced to Audible Plus when Kindle Direct Publishing invited me to join Amazon’s beta program for it using their Virtual Voices. I jumped in with both feet. Now over half my catalog of single titles is available to listen to for one low monthly fee. Oh, and the first month is free so it’s a great time to catch up on the Haviland Universe of stories.

I produced/directed every one of the titles I uploaded. When needed, I added a pause or corrected the pronunciation of words read by my personally selected Virtual Voice narrator. I felt that some of my stories sounded best when narrated by a man. The guy I chose has a rich voice, sort of a cross between Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones. Perfect for my sports-themed stories and That Twin Thing.

An English woman’s voice sounded better for my time travel audiobooks. I also used it for a couple of RomComs and Triplets: Three Aren’t One.

 

If you’d rather buy and keep an audiobook, many times you can buy the corresponding ebook for only $1.99.

#FREE on Friday, February 16th only, then on special low price of 99 cents for the rest of February is AYE, I AM A FAIRY.  This book is also available to listen to for free with your Audible Plus subscription. Over twenty hours of action, romance, and intrigue, narrated by the soothing voice of Number Eight. Check both the ebook and audiobook for ‘take me away’ entertainment. A time travel romance novel, the first of fifteen in The Fairies Saga series:

For a bundle of action, romantic suspense of all flavors to read on your Kindle reader, check out UNFORGETTABLE GUARDIANS. A veritable banquet of themes and characters. Enjoy for only 88 cents or #Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Ai: Are you listening?

Audiobooks continue to surge in popularity, with listeners craving everything from epic fantasy sagas to meditation guides, soothingly narrated in their ears. Traditionally, creating these audiobooks required actual voice actors to record themselves reading page after page – often exhausting work requiring days sequestered in studio booths, reading copy, editing out clicks and other errata, costing authors a LOT of money. Now, Ai voice cloning is shaking up that process.

I was invited to Amazon/KDP’s beta program to supply content for free to The Audible Plus Library (unlimited listening that uses Virtual Voice). I jumped at the chance, I used three (of the offered eight) Virtual Voice narrators for several (okay, fifteen) of my books. I matched the tone and genre of the story with the pitch and inflection of the VV narrator. I carefully curated every word in the books, correcting pronunciation, adding pauses, and slowing down or speeding up the VV’s speech to match the mood of the story. Was I satisfied? You betcha!

The earthy, masculine voice I chose for the Arlie Undercover series was a great match, even better than using my own voice. I used ‘his’ voice for Too Fast For You and The Polar Xpress, also. That Twin Thing romantic suspense series needed someone with more seriousness. An American woman’s voice was the answer.
For my romantic comedies, I went with a female British voice. I liked ‘her’ sprite inflection more than any of the others. Check out samples of The Purebred and the Mutt and The Wizard of Odds samples and let me know what you think.

I’m waiting to use my own voice, professionally cloned by Eleven Labs, for The Fairies Saga books. To do that, I need to produce three hours of cleaned-up narration files for them to plug into their algorithms so they can create a clone. My cloned narrator will not only match my pitch and tone, but will also incorporate the inflection and pacing I use when speaking. I want to use it for Triplets: Three Aren’t One series, too. However, production costs for Ai Voice audiobooks are still high. Converting doc to MP3 files when charged by the character is spendy. Plus, I will still have to listen to over one MILLION words of text, making sure my clone pronounces every word correctly before I release it. Are there enough hours in the day? I think so. And the great thing is even if I get laryngitis, once my cloned voice is created, I can read aloud for hours and hours!
For more info on getting the most out of the new unlimited listening program by Audible (Amazon), check out: https://www.audible.com/mk/l/lto (limited-time offer ends January 16, 2024).

If you want more Holiday Romance, check this out. It’s the only place you’ll find my latest book
KINKY BOOTS AND ME.

How many reindeer did Santa have?

For most of us, visions of Santa’s magical reindeer fleet begin dancing in our heads as soon as the holiday decorations hit the store shelves. But have you ever wondered about the real-life animals behind the fairy tale?
Reindeer, also known as domestic or semi-domesticated reindeer, are a subspecies of the wild caribou. These hooved mammals inhabit the Arctic and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere, covering areas like Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. Both reindeer and caribou boast amazing adaptations that allow them to not just survive, but thrive, in some of the planet’s harshest weather conditions. They possess incredible stamina and adaptations for living in extreme northern climates. Their wide hooves act as snowshoes to walk on snow. Special nasal passages warm cold air entering their lungs. Thick, dense fur insulates them against temperatures as low as -50°F. Their seasonal migrations traverse huge ranges as they continually seek out lichen and other sustenance.

One very interesting fact about caribou and reindeer is that the female of the species also gets antlers! Both genders drop the antlers in early winter (painlessly) and regrow them every spring, Do You know what that means? All those pictures of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by reindeer are wrong! Or they’ve been cleverly modified.
As it turns out, reindeer have a truly captivating connection to Christmas. Centuries ago, legends recounted that shamans harnessed the mystical flight powers of reindeer to traverse different spirit worlds. When emerging Christian traditions overlapped with existing pagan yuletide celebrations, the image of a sleigh led through the winter night by flying reindeer took hold in the public imagination.
The famous 1823 poem by Clement Clarke Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas”- also known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – introduced and popularized the enduring image of Santa and his reindeer to the public consciousness. Their names – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (later Donner), and Blitzen – have become part of the Christmas tradition. Thus reindeer have come to symbolize the Christmas season through their connection to Santa Claus aka Saint Nicholas aka Sinterklaas.

Oh, and how many are there? Well, there are the original eight (named above), Rudolph, and ‘the other’ reindeer, Olive. What? You don’t know about her? Surely you recall the stanza in the song, “Olive the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names…” That makes ten reindeer.

If you’re ready to tackle the tough side of life, and are ready for some tough gals who come out winners despite adversity, check out RECLAIMING ME, an intense collection of women’s fiction stories by some of your favorite authors. Inspiring! New Release.