Happy Halloween!

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Whether you’re going to a Halloween party, haunted house, trick or treating, or just staying in and watching a Halloween marathon ( I did that yesterday, and Michael Myers terrifies me just as much now as he did the first time I saw 31 years ago), be safe, but have loads of kick-ass fun.

Whether you’re dressing up as something funny and goofy, or scary and morbid, or slutty and inappropriate, have loads of kick-ass fun. If you’re going out and not dressing up as anything, you’re kinda boring, but still, have loads of kick-ass fun, (if that’s even possible for bland people who go out on Halloween, and don’t dress up).

As I wish everyone a safe Halloween, please remember to keep the day safe for your pets, as well. Little kids ringing the doorbell all day, shouting for candy, can be extremely stressing for animals.

And if your pet doesn’t want to wear a costume, please don’t force it.

I once tried to dress Phil, my pit-bull mix, as Superman. That didn’t go very well. But I didn’t force it, even though I really wanted him to wear the costume because he looked frickin’ adorable in it. But when I saw how much the costume bothered him, I took it off him. Yes, while begrudgingly removing his costume, I may have mumbled something to him about how all the other well-behaved dogs in the neighborhood were wearing costumes like their mommies asked, and how I didn’t see why it was such a big deal for him to suck it up for one day, but still, I didn’t force him to wear one.

And I have never attempted to dress him in silly costumes ever again. Although, I do throw the threat out there, when he’s being a naughty dog, that I will do just that.

I’ll calmly say to him, “Remember that time when mommy tried to put that Superman costume on you, and you really, really, hated it?”

Suddenly, I have a well-behaved dog again because he remembers. He will always remember the horror of what was the Superman Halloween costume.

Yes. I have found a way to use Halloween to my advantage in getting my dog to obey me. Don’t judge me cuz it works!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

This is Me Finally Doing Something

I talk about dogs…a lot. And I write about dogs…a lot.

If you follow my blog at all, you probably already know this. It wasn’t my intention to use so much space penning about my favorite animal, but these things happen. I write about what I love.

Ever since adopting my Lab/Pit mix, Phil, five years ago, I’ve gotten more involved with animals than I ever had before, or ever imagined myself to be. I volunteer at an animal shelter, spending as much extra time with the dogs, outside of my regular shift, as I can.

I protest regularly with an organization against pet stores selling puppies that come from puppy mills, which are most, if not all, pet stores. With this group, I have also sat in on town meetings to support a ban against the sale of puppy-mill puppies, and I’ve emailed numerous politicians pleading for such a ban.

I’ve taken my stance. I’ve lent my voice to a cause I believe in. Whether it be through emails, signs in my hands, or by my mere presence, my voice has been spoken, but whether it’s been heard? I don’t know.

But I won’t stop.

I don’t state this to show how wonderful I am. I’m not wonderful. Trust me. I’m a terrifically-flawed person. A Deeply, terrifically-flawed person. I write this because I don’t know where all this fight came from. I didn’t grow up in a household of activists. Neither of my parents had staunch political beliefs. We just lived our lives in a quiet suburb, where the word “protest” was never uttered.

But then, decades later, I adopted a pit-bull mix, and everything changed.

Even though having a pet isn’t new to me, this time around it was different. Growing up we had a cherished family dog, a Lhaso Apso/Maltese mix named Coco, for over fifteen years. But I was a child when we got him, and barely a young adult when he died. None of the years between that time did I ever think about animal abuse. I had naively assumed that all dogs were as loved and doted on as Coco was. Maybe I was too young, or too capably self-absorbed to look beyond the walls built around my cozy little life to see the world.

But I’m looking now, and I see the kinds of abuse animals suffer. Phil’s breed is the most abused and neglected breed of all dogs. The moment I fell in love with my pit-bull mix, I knew I had to fight for him. But I can’t only fight for pit-bulls. I need to fight for all the animals suffering because of human greed. Whether it be dogs living their miserable lives in dirty, over-crowded puppy mills, or pigs crammed into gestation crates so small they can’t even turn around, or mother cows bellowing for their babies, taken from them seconds after birth, to either be killed for meat, or raised to suffer as a dairy cow.

I need to fight for all animals being abused..

Last week, I participated in my first protest with Mercy for Animals. It was a protest against the way farm animals are forced to suffer.

This isn’t me being wonderful. This me finally doing something. And it’s about time I did.

puppy-mill-     pig_gestation_crates1pigs in crates

loving-mother-cow-and-calf1 Beautiful picture of love right here.

*I don’t own these pictures. I will take them down if they are copyrighted.

Get Your Hot AND Free French Tart Now!

FREE for a Limited Time Only
Bon Appétit…Satisfy all your cravings at cooking school.

Determined to prove herself and shed her party girl image, Donatienne Dubois pins her hope on the exclusive cooking school in Nice, France. One by one her expectations are shattered by a foul-mouthed parrot, a bogus Michelin chef, and a headmistress with a heart of tungsten steel. Donni’s lifesaver is a bad boy too hot not to handle.

Mark Anderson is incognito and hating every moment. To pose as a student while keeping tabs on a rich wild child is his version of hell, until he partners with the dish of Crème Brulée good enough to eat.

Class takes on a whole new meaning as Doni and Mark heat up the kitchen when they discover honey has better uses than sweetening tea.

EXCERPT
Mark pasted a cheery smile on his face. Hell, he was getting the hang of this cooking stuff. He tipped the mountain of cheese piled on his platter and leaned closer to the stove, eyeing the pan that looked too small to hold it all.

“Stop!” Doni held up her tiny hand. “You cannot toss all that in here.”

He stumbled backward. What the hell? He’d done exactly what she told him. She couldn’t blame him because the damn block of cheese grated up to Matterhorn size.

“Are you sure you’re in the right cooking school?” She threw in a handful of the white shreds and shuffled the pan until one side of the omelet flipped over the other.

“Are you sure it’s cooked?” He pointed at the pan. “Looks kind of pale to me.”

“Are you sure you know anything about food?” She glared at him while wiping her slender fingers on a striped blue towel. “Sebastien, this is the easiest dish we’ll prepare. What’s going to happen when we advance to boeuf à la mode and present it?”

Now she had him on this present thing, let alone whatever the hell kind of food she meant. If it even was food.

“No problem. I’m your man and ready to step up to the plate.” Dammit. How stupid was that, to make a baseball reference? Quick, change the subject. “What’s next?”

She handed him a coffee cup.

Good, a caffeine jolt would go good about now.

“Snip the chives.”

“Ah, sure.” He gingerly took the mug, wondering what the hell she expected of him.

“These, Sebastien”—she waved a handful of limp skinny green sticks at him—“are chives. From the onion family.” She shook her head, then slid the omelet onto an oval platter. When he didn’t move, she slapped a pair of scissors into his palm. “Do I have to do it for you?”

“You don’t have to be insulting.”

“I apologize.” She tossed her head to move a thick strand of hair from her cheek. He looped the blonde lock around his finger—pure silk—then curled it behind her ear. Her breath quickened and his heart swelled. He leaned into her, needing to taste her pink lips. The sweet aroma of flowers filled his lungs.

“Chives.”

Before he could say anything, Chef edged between them.

“Interesting.” Chef took the platter from Doni. “Perhaps a bit plain, do you not think?”

She gasped when he grabbed a handful of some chopped green thing and plopped the wad on her omelet, obliterating the light-colored food.

Pierre flapped overhead, squawking like he had steak knives shoved up his ass. He hovered over the platter, then plop!

“We are always whipping up something new in the kitchen.” Chef sniffed and raised his fist to the bird. “This, however, can never be on a menu.”

He dropped the plate back into Doni’s hands and strolled on to the next pair of fledgling chefs.

Doni blinked rapidly as she pressed her lips tight. Mark slung an arm around her shoulder, feeling guilty as hell that he’d done nothing to stop…

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For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an Award-Winning author who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives. I carry that philosophy into my books. I write sexually explicit romances that take you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all my stories have a happy ever after.

My books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Studly, my mate for life, and I now live in a small home in Indiana and enjoy the change from city life. I’m an avid cook and post new recipes on this blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, and I strive for easy.

Currently I have six erotic romance books and one box set either released or coming soon from Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from these books can be found on my website, blog, and all popular vendors.

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Cover Reveal for “Loving Again”

My second lesbian romance novella, Loving Again, will release next month. Thank you to Affinity eBook Press for acquiring my book.

Here is the cover, and a glimpse of the story. I will post an excerpt soon. Thanks for stopping by!

loving again cover

Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again. The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women.

Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined.

Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?

Save Two Lives. Adopt a Shelter Dog.

When I adopted my dog, Phil, almost five years ago, I didn’t have a specific breed in mind during my search, (although I’ve always had an affinity for Labradors, all labs, Black, Chocolate, and Yellow). So, it was no surprise when I went scouring the Internet for shelter dogs, and my eyes fell upon a beautiful yellow lab mix, that I was instantly smitten and knew he was meant to be my baby.

The fact that Phil’s other breed was pit-bull (please note, pit-bull is technically not a breed, but a broad generalization to include dogs like, American pit-bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and Staffordshire bull terriers, and other terriers) didn’t even factor into my decision to truck down to the shelter and pick up my new bundle of joy.

Phil being part pit-bull didn’t deter me from adopting him, but it also didn’t play a role in my choosing him, either. I wasn’t making a stance of any kind. It wasn’t a conscious decision to rescue him because of his breed. I wasn’t aware most pit-bulls never make it out of shelters alive.

I didn’t know, at the time, that pit-bulls were the most euthanized dogs in the country. I didn’t know much about pit-bulls, apart from what I had heard in the news every now and then. But surely one can not reasonably judge an entire breed over the actions of only a few. (And the actions of those few were without a doubt instigated by neglectful and abusive human beings.)

But I was wrong.

I was ignorant at the time of the very real, and very strong prejudice against pit-bulls. I didn’t know, the day I took Phil home with me, the powerful stigma attached to this wonderfully loving dog.

According to a 2012 article by Save a Life Harbor Animal Shelter, in Los Angeles alone, two hundred pit-bulls are killed each day. ASPCA estimates that 3.9 million dogs (all breed of dogs) end up in U.S shelters every year, with only 35% of those getting adopted, and 31% being euthanized.

Latest data from ANIMAL PEOPLE shows that pit-bulls make up 60% of dogs euthanized every year. Easily over a million adoptable pit-bulls are killed each year because of ignorance, prejudices, insurance refusal to cover pit-bulls, and discriminatory bans on the breed.

This is a horrible shame.

All that I didn’t know about the unfair treatment toward pit-bulls, before I adopted Phil, that I know now, has made me a huge advocate for pit-bulls. I fight for this breed because I have to. I wasn’t looking for this job, and I didn’t ask for it, but I’ve turned out to be pretty damn good at it.

puppymill protest                                            dont shop adopt

big puppymill protest

*On a side note, ASPCA estimates that 70-80 million dogs are pets in the United States. That’s beyond the amount that could give EVERY single shelter dog a home, as well as the millions of strays in other countries. So much money is spent caring for animals in shelters. If America would only open their homes to all the homeless dogs here, then shelters can spend their resources on flying abused and hungry strays in from other countries, because the numbers show we have enough homes for them, too.

Please note, most pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills. Please stop supporting these awful places. Adopt don’t shop.  Thanks!

P.S – Here’s a pic of my scary pit bull mix…..Shhhh…don’t wake the baby.

phil adorable nuzzle on blankie

Looking For a Place to Vacation? Author Sara Daniel Has a Suggestion.

Top Ten Reasons to Vacation at Wiccan Haus

by Sara Daniel

1. It’s a healing spa for every ailment. Take a bullet to the knee? We’ll fix you up. Lose your memory? We’ll help you recover it. Got issues with your family? We’ll help you deal with your emotional difficulties. People think you’re going crazy? We don’t, and we’ll help you unravel the truth.

2. No electronics. Time to unplug! Your cellphone won’t work. You won’t get barraged with social media updates from people venting about their awful lives or bragging about their nauseatingly perfect lives. Even better, your boss can’t contact you about that office “emergency” no one else wants to tackle.

3. You get a whole week to relax. One ferry boat a week takes guests to and from the island. You won’t be leaving early or pretending a weekend getaway is all the vacation you need. You’ll have a whole week to truly relax.

4. No crowds! No lines! That ferry boat only takes 12 guests per week, with another 12 arriving through a magical portal from the paranormal world. That’s it, just 24 guests getting some very personalized attention.

5. The Wiccan Haus is magical. Yeah, the brochure might say the island is off the coast of Maine, but you’re not going to find it on your own. I’m guessing it’s part of a paranormal world, but they’re not confirming or denying my suspicions.

6. The owners get involved in helping you make most of your stay. Talk about personalized attention. At least one of the four siblings who run the resort will help you make the most of your stay—maybe all four of them. Now that’s service!

7. They have yoga, meditation and other classes that you always meant to try but never quite got around to. Admit it: You know that practicing deep breathing would be good for your blood pressure and probably your scattered brain too, but you never have time to actually do it, just like you never had time to try the King Pigeon or Camel yoga poses that the too-perky barista at the coffee shop swears by. Now you can.

8. They have exotic plants that scientifically shouldn’t exist. The orchard has apple tree with blossoms, unripe fruit, and ripe, ready-to-eat fruit all on the same tree. All at once. All the time. And you can help yourself to an apple straight from the tree. Simply paradise.

9. You could meet someone with paranormal abilities. Those guests who came through the magical portal might be shifters, vampires, psychics, truth-finders, lamias, or something else you’ve never heard of. They’re coming to the Wiccan Haus to heal and relax just like you, and you’ll see them when you all gather together in the dining room for dinner.

10. Another guest might end up being the love of your life. Maybe the person is a paranormal, or maybe he/she a human, but every story from the Wiccan Haus ends with true love and a happily-ever-after. It truly is magical!

Psychic Lies

What if you could read minds during sex? What if the government wanted to exploit you for your ability?

Fiona Vetter has spent her life hiding her sexual mind-reading power, pretending to have normal, safe powers like the rest of her family. When her charade results in the death of an innocent woman, her life of lies unravels. With nowhere else to turn, she retreats to the Wiccan Haus.

To expose her as an enemy of his government, Armando Verdad follows Fiona to the Wiccan Haus. Her beauty dazzles him, her personality seduces him, and her web of lies intrigues him. But with his career and the safety of his countrymen on the line, only the truth matters.

The harder Fiona tries to keep Armando away, the more she falls for him. When enemies come searching for her, she is forced to trust him to protect her life and her psychic lies, but nothing can protect her heart.

EXCERPT
Fiona dropped her fork. How could her soul have picked him for her mate? The Fates played cruel jokes, and, once again, they did so at her expense. “The vetter was trying her best.”

“Her best to do what?” He gripped her arm a bit tighter.

“To be a vetter.” By the Goddess, she’d tried so hard. Her failure had cost an innocent woman her life.

He rubbed his hand along her arm, his face breaking into a smile again. “You know, I believe you’re right.”

A fat lot of good that did for Lizbet. She dropped her gaze to his hand. “Why are you always touching me?” She didn’t know him well enough to warrant the constant contact, but pleasure sizzled under her skin at his touch. She didn’t deserve to enjoy anything.

He smiled wider. “I can’t stop myself. You feel the connection, don’t you?”

She couldn’t have a connection to a man who scorned people who didn’t use their powers for the greater good, not when she’d built the foundation of her life on denying her true powers. “I’m actually not a tactile person.”

After speaking such a big lie, she couldn’t continue to look him in the eye, not with all her powers concentrated in the most intimate tactile experience possible.

His grin split wider. “I’d love the chance to prove you wrong.”

And when he did, she’d know his thoughts. She’d know how much he despised the woman who claimed to be a vetter and allowed the commander’s beloved daughter to lifebond with a man who would murder her. Fiona had come to the Wiccan Haus to get away from the public’s hatred and scorn, not see it behind Armando’s beautiful smile and feel it no matter how warm and gentle his hands.

She shoved away from the table and ran for the exit.

“I didn’t mean to offend you. I meant it as a compliment,” he called after her.

The dining room quieted around her. Everyone stared. Once again, she drew the bad kind of attention. But she couldn’t stop.

Despite her desire to be a simple vetter, without real vetting powers that life could only be a lie. The truth, however, was far worse than a life of lies.

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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

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Why Not Raise the Minimum Wage?

I was recently told by a friend who works at a register that she doesn’t think she deserves $15 an hour. She told me she knows too many people working “skilled” jobs who get paid $12 -$13 an hour. I told her I thought her “skilled” friends were grossly underpaid.

Is $15 an hour a lot of money? Does it put a person on easy street? Is it the kind of money that spoils a worker so much that those workers lose all ambition to get better paying jobs? When have people ever been discouraged from making more money?

A worker making $15 an hour, full-time, will bring home an annual salary of about $31,200 before taxes.

Is that a lot of money? Even for a person working an unskilled job. Is that a lot of money in today’s terms?

There has been a lot of talk and protests supporting the effort to raise the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $15 an hour. Of course, there has been tremendous push-back, too. Particularly from business owners.

There have been numerous strikes by fast-food workers demanding an hourly wage of $15. Almost immediately the cries of “Big Macs would cost $8.00!” or “A small fry will be $5.00!” rang out. Which are both untrue.

According to ABC News, the cost of a Big Mac will increase by .68 cents and everything on the McDonalds Dollar menu will shoot up a whopping .17 cents, if the company who makes over 2 billion dollars a year would be forced to pay their employees a living wage.

As it stands, the Federal minimum wage for 2015 is $7.25. An annual salary of $15,080. The Federal poverty level for a single person is $11,770 and for a family of two, $15,930. Even for a single person, a minimum wage job doesn’t give much leeway from falling into poverty levels. Especially since not all jobs guarantee a worker full-time hours, nor do they all provide sick days.

A gallon of gas costs about $2.49, but not long ago they were hovering around, and above, $4.00 a gallon.

According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, between 2011 and 2013, the median annual income in the US was $52,047.

A new car today averages about $31,000.

The average annual cost of college tuition at a 4-year institution is $23,600.

Depending on where you live, the average price of a home can cost $300,000 or more.

In 2015, the average cost of healthcare insurance for a single person is $5,615 and $15,745 for a family.

When we look at these expenses, does $31,000 a year really seem like a lot?

The Federal minimum wage in 1975 was $2.10. An annual salary of $4,368.

A gallon of gas in ’75 costs .57 cents.

The median annual income was $10,257.

A new car cost $3800.

The annual cost of college tuition at a 4-year institution was $2265.

The average two-bedroom home cost about $51,000.

Healthcare expenses were less than $1200 a person.

In 1975, the difference between a minimum wage job and the median annual income was $5,809.

In 2015, the difference is $36,967.

The difference between annual college tuition between 1975 and 2015 is $21,335.

The price of a car has risen by $27,200.

Homes have increased by almost $250,000.

The price of healthcare has rose astronomically and for people without insurance, according to CNBC, medical bills were the number one reason for bankruptcy filings in 2013, far outpacing credit card bills or unpaid mortgages.

Yet, with all these increases in expenses since 1975, the rate of minimum wage has risen a mere $5.15. In forty years.

This is sad. I know a minimum wage job is supposed to be a starting point, but it should provide a person a living that affords food, shelter, clothing, etc. A person working 40 hours a week, shouldn’t be a pay check away from living on the street because they can’t afford housing.

A few years ago, McDonalds was caught instructing their employees how to file for government help. This infuriated me because here is a company making billions of dollars a year, and even though they can afford to pay a higher wage, but choose not to because of greed, they force their employees on government help, and the US tax payers foot the bill.

There are many people, wealthy people, CEO people, making tens of millions of dollars a year, who love the attitude my friend expressed about not deserving $15 an hour. They love that because they want Americans happy to be working for less. More money for them. And these people won’t shy away from snagging that extra money. They’ll knock their grandmothers down getting to it first.

And they won’t ask if they deserve it. They’ll just take it.

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*The source for all my data was Kaiser Family Foundation.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net