The Rise of Use of AI by Authors

Imagine: Two of Zoe Saldana’s alter egos having fun with karaoke. Limitless prompts!

Advances in AI are providing authors with exciting new tools to bring their stories to life. Recently, text-to-image generators like #MidJourney have popularized the ability to create original images simply by describing them. This emerging technology has intriguing implications for writers looking to vividly visualize their fictional worlds. After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to add Artificial Intelligence image creation to my creative toolkit.

Benji, THE GREAT BIG FAIRY, as I visualize him.

For any novelist, a core part of the writing process is imagining how our characters and settings look. Translating those mental pictures into words through descriptions is part of the artistic challenge. Our readers take our words and reinterpret them into their own mental images. Something is often lost in translation. After all, we each imagine things in our own unique way.
I enter word prompts to the AI (MidJourney for me) and it generates a myriad of original images. After picking the one that best matches what I imagined, I fine-tune it with more adjectives. The AI helps me crystallize my vision into impressions that I can describe in new ways, boosting my creativity in how I share my vision with readers.
I love the way the technology bends to my will. I control the size of the image, lighting, and settings. I can also employ whatever media and technique I want to use. These images can be photos, woodwork, line drawings, posters,or works of art based on the Masters, all tailor-made to match my verbal prompts. They can also be fun, whimsical, and made out of metal!

My impression of 2004, the Chinese Year of the Metal Monkey.

It’s also useful for advertising books and sharing inspirations with fans on social media. I created the one above to describe my evening with a brown bat that had come in, uninvited. Isn’t this great for conveying a moment of panic?

Here’s what I got when I asked for a red-haired 18th-century Scot. No names or books were mentioned. Since he also happens to look like Jody Pomeroy in THE FAIRIES SAGA series, he’s a keeper

Fleshing out my fictional characters with AI-created images has allowed me to promote my books in exciting new ways. For readers, AI art shared by authors grants a peek directly into their imaginative process, a glimpse inside their heads to see how they see their characters. Like concept art in movies, it makes the fictional realm feel real.

Here’s Grace from THE SET UP and THE WHOLE SHE-BANG collection

As with all new technologies, there are debates on ethics we must consider, too. However, used judiciously and with respect for human creatives, text-to-image generators like MidJourney feel akin to any new tool in an author’s creative kit. Much like concept artists at Pixar using digital software, these AI can enhance imagination in fresh ways. But human creativity, skill, and labor still remain essential! Someone has to tell the ‘bot what to create!
At the end of the day, it’s the writer who breathes life into her worlds and characters through meaningful stories that connect with readers. In the hands of skilled creatives, AI image generators are an innovation to get excited about. This fusion of emerging tech with the enduring craft of storytelling will be fascinating to watch unfold.

Thanks for tuning in! Dani Haviland

If you’re looking for a box set of Romantic Sizzle, check out Unforgettable Devotion. It contains ALL these titles. It’s also free to read with #KindleUnlimited!

Here, kitty, kitty

Here, kitty, kitty… Feral cats have always been in my life. From the kittens we ‘rescued’ from the hay barns as kids, to the cats my mother ‘stole’ from the park during her lunch breaks at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (to have them fixed and given to new homes – usually hers), to the abandoned cats my husband started feeding during the minus zero weather in Alaska. (Yardley, pictured on a Cat-erpillar tractor, is now a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat).

Yardley on her Cat D3 8/18/2013

Cats are survivors. One reason cats survive is because of sheer numbers. A female (queen) can start breeding at five months and have four litters a year.
If she has four kittens each time, that means in ten years, she’s populated the area with nearly 1.4 MILLION cats! (See the t-shirt for the math equation)

I recently stepped forward to help control the cat population again. My husband had been feeding one of the neighborhood stray cats. She looked pregnant. Well, when her belly went down, he started paying attention to where she was hiding. She had located a big empty (4′ tall) plywood box on our burn pile. He looked in. Yup, four kittens were deep inside. I coordinated with the local cat rescue lady and borrowed a trap, two kennels (roped together into a bigger kennel), and a cat carrier for use as an inner sanctum. My husband retrieved the babies and set them in the carrier. He’d hoped to entice Mama Cat with food (he’d briefly petted her the day before) but had to resort using to the humane live trap. Within moments, she was reunited with her four babies. We estimated they were three weeks old (eyes and ears open, no teeth but nubbins were felt). All are in good health.
It’s been a week now. I put a recently worn tank top in their home so they would be used to my smell. I visit them in their apartment every couple of hours. Now when I call out my greetings, the babies mew-mew in recognition.

It’s a three-week wait here after contacting the local Humane Society before they’ll call you to bring in the cats. Even before we caught any of these critters, my husband decided to keep the mama and one kitten (so she didn’t feel abandoned). Of course, they’ll be fixed when the youngster is old enough, taking Mama in at the same time.

A few years ago, I helped control the local feral cat population explosion by transporting a dozen critters to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon. These citizens of the Oakdale Cat Colony were examined, wormed if necessary, checked and treated for ear mites, spayed or neutered, then given the ‘right ear snip’ that indicates a sterilized cat. They were re-homed as barn cats.

If you’d like to help, but don’t want to adopt a cat (or even transport a dozen or so), please give time and/or money to Friends of Felines, the Humane Society, or your local or regional agency. I know they would appreciate any help. Whether answering phones, cleaning up, or whatever is needed. Their suggested donation is $50 per cat.

Notice the snipped right ear on the nameplate. This indicates the cat has been fixed and doesn’t need to be caught again.

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Inspired by true events in the author’s life. Read this romance about the cat-loving hunk for free with #KindleUnlimited.

Are you obsessed, passionate, or both?

Are you obsessed, passionate, or both? I’m both. Not with a person, game, or money but with colorful plants. The house we bought in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley in 2014 was built in 1900. It came with ¾ of an acre of deep topsoil, plenty of upgrades needed but loads of well-established perennials. Yup, with a handyman husband and lots of digging tools, I was in heaven.
I brought some of my own roses from Alaska and promptly purchased more from my favorite rose supplier, Burling Leong of Burlington Nurseries. I also planted a few rose seedlings I had started, happy to have a temperate site to evaluate my babies’ size and hardiness.

Less than 10% of the rose varieties I have grown in my Oregon yard in the last four years.

Why would I start seedlings when there are so many colors, shapes, and sizes of rose varieties available? Well, because I like to create. I used to sew, still crochet and cook, and have been known to write a book or forty, all without patterns, recipes, or outlines. I think it was Nike who said, ‘Just do it.’ I was all over that before they put out the slogan (although I’m not a runner).

Here are two of the rose babies I created. Both are rugosas. The blooms are three to four inches across. Both smell great, too.

What’s your passion? Did you know that working with it and finding a way to make it your own gives immense satisfaction? I remember my mother looking at photos of us kids and saying she was ‘Just admiring her greatest creations.’ Aww… Being a loving and caring parent or grandparent IS special, too.

Do you love birds? Check out the first book in THAT TWIN THING series, THE MIDWIFE’S SON. Two birdwatchers find each other fifteen years after meeting as children. Will they recognize each other or will Mom, the midwife, help them out? Twists and turns of emotions end in a Happy Ever After. Read separately or as part of THAT TWIN THING COLLECTION, all available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited.
If you would, please follow me on Amazon, Goodreads, and Book Bub to hear about my latest releases. I’d appreciate it.

My, how picnics have changed…

Picnics have been around since before I was born and that was a long time ago. Mom made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on store-bought white bread, the kind that tore to pieces if the peanut butter was too thick. We didn’t have baggies of any sort, either. The sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper or aluminum foil. We took fruit – maybe a watermelon if it was the right season – and a bag of chips. Ah, remember Wampum chips? They were the ‘other’ corn chip. Tortilla chips didn’t come in bags back then. There were only two flavors of potato chips then, too: plain and barbecue. Nothing fancy like the gyro or biscuits and gravy flavored ones I saw recently. Times were tough…

We had an honest-to-goodness picnic basket, not a paper bag or cardboard bucket. Ours was made out of wicker – the natural fiber kind, not plastic. The set came complete with Melamine-type plates (sectioned with ridges so the beans didn’t slop over into the potato salad or sandwich). There were probably paper plates available, but we never used them. We were treated to a bottle of soda or shared a pitcher of Kool Aid, chilled and in cups we took home with us to wash.

Nowadays, if we go on a picnic, we drive through a fast food restaurant or stop by the grocery store. A bag of burgers and fries or an eight-piece pack of fried chicken, a few pints of various sides, and maybe some Jo Jo’s (the most awesome super-fries in the world). Instant gratification but high cost, low nutrition, and loads of garbage to dispose of!
Back in the day, if we wanted music, we’d open the car door and listen to music on the AM radio. No Sirius, Alexa, or streaming tunes through a smartphone. Of course, there were battery-operated transistor radios around. They came out around 1955. Aw, how great to listen to music without power cords.
We sprayed DDT-type bug spray or swatted flies and mosquitoes with a fly swatter, but otherwise were pest free. We didn’t have to worry about being interrupted by phone calls either. There were no such things as portable phones, much less cell phones. That’s why it was so important to let someone know where we were going and when we’d be back. Sort of like a flight plan for a day trip on the road.

What kind of picnic foods did they have in Revolutionary War-era America? Find out about Evie’s ‘fast food, Colonial-style’ in Naked in the Winter Wind, the tale of a 21st-century woman who finds herself in a new and improved body in 1780s North Carolina.

THE FAIRIES SAGA: Thirteen books about friends and family who bounce between the 18th and 21st centuries, fighting bad guys and the elements, striving to make new lives in their little corner of North Carolina.