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

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.

Sasquatch and Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest

Around here, we call him Bigfoot. He is also known as Sasquatch, an Anglicization of the name Sasq’ets, from the Halq’emeylem language spoken by First Nations peoples in southwestern British Columbia. Bigfoot is a cryptid: a creature that is reported to exist but without hard physical evidence that it does. For centuries, encounters with this tall, hairy humanoid have occurred in the Pacific Northwest, capturing the imagination of locals and visitors alike. Eyewitnesses describe the creature as a massive, bipedal ape-like being, covered in dark brown or reddish hair with heights well over six feet tall and with an unforgettable ‘stench’ or aroma. Low-arched footprints up to twenty-four inches long and with five toes have been found in areas Bigfoot are said to inhabit. They are said to have a lumbering gait but can move extremely fast when needed according to the stories.


Hotspots for Bigfoot activity include the remote wilderness areas of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. The large expanses of forest with sparse human populations provide ideal habitation for these elusive creatures said to shun human contact.
Sasquatch tales date back to Native American oral and ‘pictograph’ history. Tribes like the Yokut, Lummi, and Skagit spoke of giant hairy men inhabiting the woods. They regarded the ‘wild men of the woods’ as a distinct species, neither human nor animal. Cliffs adorned with Native American pictographs of Bigfoot were discovered in California. These tall, apelike figures were hand-drawn images of sasquatches made centuries ago.

When European settlers arrived in the Pacific Northwest and California in the 19th century, they also told of spotting huge man-beasts while exploring the mountainous area. One of the earliest documented Sasquatch sightings was reported in 1811 near what is now the town of Bluff Creek, California. The sightings continued through the 19th and 20th centuries, with reports of loud vocalizations heard, and giant footprints found deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
A surge of interest in Bigfoot came in the 1970s when the famous Patterson-Gimlin film emerged, claiming to show actual footage of Bigfoot walking through the California woods. The film shot in 1967 appears to show a female Bigfoot walking through a clearing. Debate continues over its authenticity.
The encounter reports still persist today. Whether they are glimpses of Bigfoot, hearing strange calls, finding footprints, or smelling a unique and pungent scent, something is out there. Is it an undiscovered primate species or a living piece of legend? Conclusive proof remains lacking, but the truth is out there somewhere. In the meantime, Oregon locals have fun with the Bigfoot legend. Special events, statues and pictures, books, and more bring people together to discuss their own experiences. There is even a fantastic museum devoted to Bigfoot in Oregon. Among other items of interest, they have recreated the Sasquatch ‘scent’ for visitors to sample. Visit https://northamericanbigfootcenter.com/ for their location and more information.


I’ve never seen a Bigfoot, but I love the inspiration he provides. I created calendars this year to help fund the local feral cat T-F-R (Trap, Fix, and Return) program. Oregon’s Furry Feral Friends Calendar was created with a mix of many different Artificial Intelligence programs. After all, I didn’t have a lifetime to sit in the forest, waiting for a Sasquatch to come by and pose for me!


Just so you’ll know, The Authors’ Billboard has released two box sets this month. Unforgettable Christmas Wonders is a collection of eight contemporary romance stories. My NEW story (only available in the set for now) is Kinky Boots and Me. No, it’s not a Bigfoot story, but is a story about a cute little hedgehog and how he helped his human pets.
Reclaiming Me is a set of five Women’s Fiction stories, including my book The Set Up. If you want to read about strong women and the challenges they have faced, check it out.