10 NEW YEAR SUPERSTITIONS and a NEW YEAR'S BLOG HOP


The principle of “What you see is what you get” is practiced all over the world in connection with the advent of New Year. Here are just a few examples:

1. If the house is clean by midnight on Dec. 31st, it’ll be clean for the entire next year. (Do I have to sort the closets too?)

2. If all your pockets and purses and wallets have coins and dollars in them by midnight, you’ll have plenty of money in the new year. Some people place coins on windowsills and the tops of doors too.

3. If you wear new clothes on New Year’s Day, More new clothes will come your way. (My daughters like this one!)

4. No crying, fighting, arguing, name-calling or general negativity on New Year’s Day or you’ll have strife and tears all year long.

5. Don’t let valuable things leave your house on New Year’s Day or luck and fortune will go with them. The general belief refers to things like money and jewelry, but some people believe that nothing – not even garbage! – should leave the house on New Year’s Day. Take the empties to the recycling bin some other time!

6. Make sure the cupboards and pantries are full on New Year’s Day, in order to ensure abundance the rest of the year.

7. In many cultures, what you do for the first hour of the New Year signifies what you’ll do the most of for the next twelve months. (Yikes – does this mean sleeping is a bad idea?)

8. In China, and in many other countries, all debts should be settled before the New Year. Don’t pay back loans or lend money on New Year’s Day however, or you’ll be paying out all year long!

9. Be careful with the dishes. If anything breaks on New Year’s Day, ruin will follow.

10. Working hard on New Year’s Day will ensure a year of grueling labor. But if you do a small token task – something related to your employment – successfully, it’ll set the tone for achievement. (I'll be writing!)


NEW YEAR'S BLOG HOP

January 1st - 6th, 2013

Over 200 authors and bloggers are participating, each hosting a giveaway on their own site.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes.  You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win not only the prize on that site, but entered for one of the overall grand prizes as well. 

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or Barnes + Noble Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!


Dani Harper's Giveaway IS NOW CLOSED - Leave me a comment telling me something about New Years --- how you plan to celebrate, a favorite memory, a superstition or legend, or what you're looking forward to in 2013.  Include your email address so I can contact you if you win!  


Dani's Prize - A signed copy of my paranormal romance, CHANGELING DREAM (James Macleod's story), and a tote to put it in! 

CONGRATULATIONS TO RONDA TUTT!
Ronda's name was drawn at random from the comments as the winner of the Dani Harper giveaway.

NOTE - everyone who commented was automatically entered for the big Grand Prizes too!  Those winners will be announced in a day or so. 

Thank you for all the wonderful comments. I had such a ball reading them --- and I'm going to have to try the black-eyed peas next New Year's day!

OPEN TIL JAN 15 - Winter Wonderland SCAVENGER HUNT



WINTER WONDERLAND SCAVENGER HUNT

sponsored by Night Owl Reviews

Starts December 1, 2012 and runs all the way

until January 15th, 2013!


So when you've got some down time this holiday season, you can have fun finding great authors and books, plus get yourself entered to win one of 15 incredible prize packages.

******************************************************************************

THIS EVENT IS NOW OVER.

Congrats to Chrystina W, winner of 
Grand Prize Package #2, 
which included MY giveaway -- 
a Kindle Paperwhite plus 
one of my ebooks to read on it!

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Check for the complete list of winners and prizes at

Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Blog Hop - Author Dani Harper


The perfect present for a booklover is...
MORE BOOKS
(and book-related goodies!)
Welcome to the 
Purrrfectly 
Giftastic Hop! 
140+ authors…. and TONS of goodies to be won! 
STARTS: Friday, December 14, 2012
ENDS: Monday, December 17, 2012 @ midnight.
Dani Harper's Contest is now closed.

(link to other contest sites are at the bottom of this post)
CONGRATS TO SAVANNAH! Her name was drawn at random from the comments as the winner of the Dani Harper contest. She'll be receiving signed paperback copies of TWO of my shapeshifter novels -- her choice of Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream or Changeling Dawn.

If you didn't win THIS contest, don't despair! Check the other contest sites on the links below for many more winners! 

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So now put on your most comfy flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers, then visit this site to rock around your choice of the 140+ author sites and contests:

Christmas Wishes Giveaway Hop


“Christmas Wishes Giveaway Hop”
Their goal? To offer prizes that will blow the stockings off booklovers! A Kindle Paperwhite, A Nook Glow, and a $90 choice Gift Card for either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. PLUS both Tablets will come with a book bundle!

And those are just the Grand Prizes!

Over 160 authors have signed up for this blog hop, each offering a contest of their very own, and featuring book-related or Christmas-themed prizes. 

What do you do? Hop around to any or all of the partipating sites. You might win one or more of the contests!  Or you might even win one of the fabulous Grand Prizes! 

DANI HARPER'S CONTEST


Prize:  A signed copy of my shapeshifter novel, Changeling Dawn, plus an author tote bag to put it in!

To Enter:  Leave me a comment telling me what one of your favorite Christmas gifts has been over the years. (I still have my trolls and troll house!) Or make that a birthday or any kind of gift if you don't celebrate this season. ALSO leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win.

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES

CONGRATS TO JKHUBBARD, whose comment was drawn as the winner of the Dani Harper contest. I have a signed copy of Changeling Dawn and a tote bag just for you!


Go to this site
http://booktrailershowcase.com/virtual-tours-2/christmas-wishes-blog-hop-sign-up/  to find the 160+ links for the other participating authors. Or here's a link straight to the list: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=184069 

And to enter your name for the Grand Prizes, use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DON'T FORGET the WINTER WONDERLAND SCAVENGER HUNT!


WINTER WONDERLAND SCAVENGER HUNT

sponsored by Night Owl Reviews

Starts December 1, 2012 and runs all the way

until January 15th, 2013!


So when you've got some down time this holiday season, you can have fun finding great authors and books, plus get yourself entered to win one of 15 incredible prize packages.


I'm really excited about this event --- my website is one of the required stops along the way. I'm giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus one of my ebooks to read on it!
And that's just ONE of the fabulous prizes you might win!

Ready for fun? Go to the instruction page at 

Author + Spider = THE WILLIES!


Each Halloween provides me with a perfect opportunity to dust off and share this all-too-true story -- one of my favorite posts ever -- with my readers. It's not candy, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.


*****************************************************************

We all have something that pushes our most primitive panic button. I’m not talking things like Tyrannosaurus Rex or the shark from Jaws or even 10-foot-tall, brain-sucking aliens with ray guns. Think smaller. Waaaaaay smaller. The very same human who will rescue a family of nine from a burning building or face down a burglar armed with nothing but a folding chair will turn to Jello on stilts in the presence of his or her personal demon. Said demon of course is not in its brimstone-chewing and pitchfork-wielding form, but in the guise of a deceptively harmless-looking creature such as a mouse.

And then it hits – that peculiar fear reaction known only to homo sapiens. An attack of nerves so complete that in ten thousand years of civilization we still can’t think of a single intelligible name for the condition. We’re assailed by the heebie-jeebies, the creepy-crawlies, the jitters, the all-overs, the jim-jams and the screaming meemies.

Me, I get The Willies.

While I have no reaction whatsoever to slugs, bugs, snakes, rats, mice, lizards, bats and even the inner workings of cows (don’t ask), I come down with a severe case of The Willies when confronted with a spider. I don't know why that is – some mis-mutated survival mechanism? After all, while I'm dancing around, rubbing my arms and legs, flapping at my clothes and yelling EEYEWW at the top of my lungs, the spider has plenty of time to run off. When I've finally finished with The Willies, my enemy is long gone, leaving me safe and sound – at least for the moment. Instinct triumphs again.

I'm ready for a different evolutionary leap though. Recently I stepped into the shower only to discover that I wasn't alone in there. Eight beady eyes met my gaze. If they’d belonged to four mice or four beetles or even four plumbers, I’d have reacted better. But nooooooo, not only did all eight beady eyes belonged to a single spider, but this spider was big enough to wear a t-shirt and I'm certain he had a tattoo. I immediately suffered an attack of The Willies that was so extreme, I leapt backwards out of the shower and straight into the nearest wall, braining myself with the towel bar. It might have been just the ringing in my ears but I could swear I heard high-pitched spider laughter as I crawled hastily from the bathroom, naked, whimpering and cursing. So much for that inner defense mechanism. Thanks a lot, Darwin.

It’s important to note that the adage out of sight, out of mind does not apply to situations like this. Once The Willies have been activated, they have to run their course. It took me half an hour of pacing, shaking and jumping around to get up enough nerve to assess the situation rationally. My rational assessment said that I was on my own. Have you noticed that scary-evil things only show up when you're all by your lonesome? Sure, husbands and boyfriends will save you from a charging grizzly bear, but it’s a perverse Law of Nature that they’ll never be on hand in true emergencies such as power failures, cars that fail to start or spiders in the bathtub.

I confess, I considered siccing my pug onto the beast (Kill, Scooby, KILL!) but finally decided against it. My benign pug has all the ferocity of an eggplant. The spider would be in no danger whatsoever unless Scooby accidently farted on it. Besides, if my pug did actually TOUCH the spider (Ick, ick, ICK!), then The Willies would render me completely unable to touch my dog for heaven knows how long. I'd have to hand him biscuits with a pair of barbecue tongs...

I next considered waiting the six or seven hours until my husband got home from work. I could go without peeing or brushing my teeth that long, couldn’t I? Then I remembered I had an appointment I’d waited three weeks for. With mounting horror, I realized just how many things associated with getting ready for the day were trapped in the bathroom with the eight-legged invader. Makeup. Toothbrush. Earrings. OMG, my bra was hanging on the back of the bathroom door! For a wild moment I thought I could make it without all those luxuries and then I caught sight of myself in the bedroom mirror. My hair was sticking up in a lopsided morning mohawk and nothing, but nothing, would render it fit to be seen but a shower.

I would have to confront the enemy.

The flyswatter looked too flimsy to be of much use and the broom couldn't be wielded within the confines of the shower. A hammer would be a little rough on the bathtub enamel and would also require too much precision. I finally decided on the bathroom plunger as my weapon of choice – it had a nice heft to it. Not as good as a baseball bat but I didn't have one of those. In retrospect, it was probably a good thing I didn't think of our deer rifles....

I opened the shower door carefully, praying the spider wouldn't be startled. Not because I cared about its spider feelings, but because one sudden move from the creature would have cost me another hour of The Willies. Fortunately, the eight-legged invader was paralyzed by incredulity. A plunger? Are you kidding, lady?I launched my attack.

It was grim, it was messy and it was accompanied by strangled shouts of EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW and many GODDAMMITS. I think most of them came from me. After the battle, I turned the hot water on full blast and left the shower to disinfect itself while I ran to my room (still naked). I was dancing around but not with victory.

And that's the pity of it. More evolved gals would no doubt feel empowered enough to raise that plunger over their head and triumphantly shout "I AM BETTY, DESTROYER OF EVIL!". But me? I’m in the throes of an even bigger case of the creepy crawlies, a heebie-jeebie meltdown of epic proportions.

The Willies have struck again.


Dani Harper
http://www.daniharper.com/


So now I've told you what sends me screaming down the street --- it's YOUR TURN --- What scares YOU? Can anyone add to the list of synonyms for "heebie jeebies"? (My personal favorite is the screaming meemies -- one of my relatives used to say us kids gave her those...)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED..... 

CONGRATS TO DENISE Z. Her name was drawn as the winner. She'll receive a Dani Harper tote with an itty bitty plush wolf in it! 

THANK YOU for all the great comments --- loved them! 

You're not missing this Halloween Scavenger Hunt, are you?





It's the annual Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt at Night Owl Reviews!

The hunt ends on October 31st --- only a few days left to enter!
  
DANI HARPER'S PRIZE! 
This is a great way for you to find new books and authors. Along the way you also get entered for great prizes. 

Prizes range from Kindle's and $100 gift cards to eBooks and signed copies.

You might even win MY prize - An Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi PLUS my Changeling trilogy ebooks - Changeling Moon (RITA Finalist), Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn by Dani Harper





How the Online Scavenger Hunt Works:

You visit book-related websites and read blurbs. From the blurb, you will answer a fill-in-the-blank question that is provided on the entry form. Each correct answer is an entry.

You can join the hunt at: 


Happy Reading!
Dani Harper

Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt




I'm participating in the annual Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt at Night Owl Reviews!

The hunt starts on September 1st and ends on October 31st. You can enter anytime between those dates.
  
DANI HARPER'S PRIZE! 
This is a great way for you to find new books and authors. Along the way you also get entered for great prizes. Prizes range from Kindle's and $100 gift cards to eBooks and signed copies.

You might even win MY prizeAn Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi PLUS my Changeling trilogy ebooks - Changeling Moon (RITA Finalist), Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn by Dani Harper





How the Online Scavenger Hunt Works:

You visit book-related websites and read blurbs. From the blurb, you will answer a fill-in-the-blank question that is provided on the entry form. Each correct answer is an entry.

You can join the hunt at: 


Happy Reading!
Dani Harper

How a Nerd Started Writing Romance – part of “Romancing the Hop” Blog Hop

I SO relate to this pic!
I broke my glasses
more than once as a kid
and had to wear them
repaired with adhesive

or electrical tape!
This may come as a surprise but in the beginning, I was not even a reader of romance.

A nerd by nature, I was (and still am) in love with science and history, literature and mythology. And my idea of leisure reading was science fiction, fantasy and horror. Authors Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ann McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey were my heroes, and I have a collection of Ray Bradbury books that I will treasure forever.

I did not, I repeat, read romance. Ever. I had nothing against the genre – it just wasn't on my radar. But I ADORED the supernatural and every little thing that ever went bump in the night.

So perhaps it was the Universe giving me a shove in the right direction when in 2001 I literally stumbled upon the paranormal romance genre. That’s when I happened to pick up an anthology because it said something about vampires. What I discovered was a short story by Christine Feehan titled Dark Dream. Within 100 pages, I fell completely and utterly in love with the entire concept of mixing love and relationships with the supernatural. After that, I read every PNR I could get my hands on. My passion for the genre grew, and it wasn’t long before I was writing it as well.

For me, the most fascinating thing about romance is how people get together. It's an amazing process and different every single time. Each couple is unique and no two relationships will ever be the same – especially when hero and heroine are both strong people. And when you add a paranormal element to love, it brings complications galore!  In other words, PNR provides an endless supply of “what ifs” for my imagination, and I get a great deal of fun and satisfaction from both writing it and reading it.

Look for my current shapeshifter novels – Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream and Changeling Dawn – wherever books are sold. And watch for two new PNR series to launch soon! (I’ll be revealing details as soon as I can!)

See www.daniharper.com for more details on these books.

************************************************************ 

Romancing the Hop Blog Hop

August 31 - September 3

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

CONGRATS TO SHADOW


Shadow's name was drawn from the comments as the winner of my giveaway. She will be receiving a  signed paperback of my PNR, Changeling Dream, and a tote bag to put it in. 

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my post and enter my giveaway. I read EVERY ONE of your comments, and I love them!

Sincerely
Dani Harper
www.daniharper.com

PS - There were grand prizes associated with Romancing the Hop. The winners are as follows:


Grand Prize Winners:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Laurie Goudge
(from It's the Journey that Counts's Blog)

$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Ellie
(from Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog)

Swag Pack:
Cassandra
 (from Dana Delamar's Blog)

Tarot Cards - They're not Magic 8-Balls


Amazon link to Magic 8 Ball
Honest. “You will meet a tall, handsome stranger...” is more the stuff of fortune cookies than tarot. The purpose of a reading isn’t to tell you what to do – it’s to engage your own intuition

The pictures on the cards are powerful psychological archetypes which can help you gain insight about yourself and your circumstances by tapping into your subconscious. 

About the Tarot Deck

Amazon link to  
The classic Rider-Waite Deck
The traditional tarot deck has 78 cards, although modern variations may have fewer. Like ordinary playing cards, fifty-six of them are divided into four suits. 

Instead of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs, you have Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles.
 

Each suit has 14 cards, with numbers 1 through 10 plus four royal cards – Page, Knight, Queen and King.
 

What most people think of when they hear the word tarot are the archetypal cards, like “
The Tower”, “The Star”, “Justice”, “The Fool”, “The Lovers”, and “The Sun”. There are 22 of these trump cards, called “The Major Arcana”. The 56 suit cards are “The Minor Arcana”. Arcana means mystery in Latin, and the term wasn’t applied to tarot cards until later in their history, about 1870.


A Sampling of the Major Arcana 
Amazon link to  
Gilded Tarot Deck

THE FOOL – Often the appearance of this card signifies a beginning of a journey, although not necessarily a physical one. It may be mental, emotional or spiritual in nature. Happiness and optimism abound.

THE LOVERS – This card often indicates harmony and union, but is not necessarily about love at all. It may represent choices to be made or a decision between two paths. 

STRENGTH – This card typically shows a woman with a lion. She may be holding the lion’s mouth open or just standing beside it. The image represents not just strength, but courage, self-control and determination.

THE CHARIOT – This card often represents triumph over adversity, some obstacle overcome, a well-deserved victory.
 

THE EMPORER – As might be expected, this card signifies authority, corporate structure or government. It may stand for someone in a position of authority in your life, like a boss or a parent.
 

THE HANGED MAN – The picture is usually of a man dangling by his foot, and as such, often means a temporary suspension of progress. Circumstances may actually be turned on their head and a waiting period may be in the works.

Amazon link to  
Morgan-Greer Deck
OMG, I’ve drawn 
the Death Card!
With its skeletal figure, the Death card has been often been used in stories, movies and even video games to scare the bejeebers out of people. First and foremost, it’s not about literal death (whew!). 

In fact, the Death card can be a very positive card. It's usually the symbol for CHANGE, signifying either the end of one thing or the beginning of another. It can mean transformation and regeneration, hope and rebirth. In fact, psychologist Carl Jung attributed the Death card in tarot with a
 new standpoint or perspective.

Think of the Chinese word for crisis – the glyph contains the symbols for both danger and opportunity, and
 opportunity is stronger. Drawing the Death card can indicate that despair can now give way to hope – a very good change!


Choosing your Tarot Deck

Amazon link to  
Gilded Tarot Deck
You need to use a deck of cards that appeals to you and there are thousands of decks out there to choose from. Many people collect tarot decks for their gorgeous artwork. 
If you have a particular passion, someone is sure to have designed a deck around it. For instance, the Tarot of White Cats (yes, all of the characters depicted in the cards are cats), Mystic Faerie Tarot, Salvador Dali Tarot and Golden Dragon Tarot. Shapes and sizes vary too. There are even decks with round cards, hexagonal and triangular cards!

It’s important to find cards that you feel good working with. It’s an intensely personal choice – what feels right to one person may feel very differently to someone else. The very first deck I purchased was the traditional Rider-Waite design. When I opened the box and touched the cards, I was repelled. It’s not that I didn’t know what they were going to look like, it’s that they didn’t feel good to me. I got a headache every time I tried to use them and I soon gave them away. Other people swear by the Rider-Waite and use nothing else. Through trial and error, I eventually found a deck called
 The Gilded Tarot. It’s a beautiful deck, but more importantly, the cards resonate with me and I can work with them easily. 


Be Energy-Conscious 
Amazon link to  Tarot of White Cats
Owning your own deck of tarot cards and handling them regularly is very important. This is so the cards pick up your energy and hold it. For this reason, they shouldn’t be handled by anyone else. (This is also why buying a used deck of tarot cards isn’t advised – they’re saturated with energy from strangers.) In fact, most people who do tarot readings keep a separate deck only for that purpose or ask you to bring one of your own. 

The more familiar you become with your personal deck and the more you develop a close working relationship with them, the more your natural intuition will be enhanced and the better your readings will become.
 

Some people believe that it’s bad karma or bad luck to buy your own tarot cards, that your first deck must be gifted to you by someone else. Most tarot readers agree that this is a myth. There’s nothing wrong with getting your own set of cards – in fact, it’s desirable to do this so you can select the deck that appeals most to you. Note: it might not be the deck you think. You might love all things Victorian, but a Victorian-themed deck of tarot cards may not work for you. Who knows, you might respond better to
 Feng Shui Tarot or even the Tarot of White Cats!


Books to Help You

There isn’t room in a blog to discuss all there is to know about tarot. You’re going to need a good book (or more than one) to use as a resource. As I said before, I mostly use Josephine Ellershaw’s
 Easy Tarot - Learning to Use the Tarot Once and For All, but you need to find the one that resonates best with you. Many tarot decks come with their own books, which is a good place to start. 

Amazon link to  
Easy Tarot by Josephine Ellershaw

Most of all, don't forget that no matter what a book says, the meanings of the cards are fluid and adaptable. What a card means is what you feel it means. Intuition trumps all! 

Happy Reading!






YOUR TURN – Have you ever worked with Tarot before, or had a reading done for you? Is there a particular deck that you enjoy working with or a book that you’ve found helpful?

Entertaining Werewolves – part of the Sizzling Books of Summer Giveaway Hop


My obsession with wolfen shapeshifters has led to a series of PNR novels – Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream and Changeling Dawn.  The stories center around the Macleod family, who are able to become wolves at will. Forced to leave their native Scotland almost two centuries ago when wolves were being exterminated there, they found refuge in northern Canada. They've lived there ever since, in the little town of Dunvegan, hiding in plain sight.

The Macleods and all their friends live as humans – they have jobs and pay bills and go to school and mow the grass and do all the things that humans do. They view their wolfen side as a wonderful gift, but it also complicates their lives, sometimes dangerously so. Especially when it comes to relationships.

So if you happen to stop in at one of Dunvegan’s local pubs, you might see some interesting drinks on the menu. Here are the recipes for three of them. They could come in handy for your next Halloween party – or if you find yourself entertaining a good-looking shapeshifter!

THE WOLF BITE

This neon green shooter is an eye-catcher, especially with its splash of blood red on top!

Ingredients:

1 oz absinthe
1 oz melon liqueur (Midori® is suggested in this recipe)
1 oz lemon-lime soda
1.5 oz pineapple juice
Grenadine

Add absinthe, melon liqueur, pineapple juice, and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, then strain into a 2 oz shot glass. Pour lemon-lime soda on top and add a drizzle of grenadine.
...............................................................................................................

HAIR OF THE WOLF

If you're not already a werewolf, you might be after a few of these.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup hard apple cider
1/2 cup pale ale
1 measure brandy or bourbon
1/2 measure apple pucker liqueur

Chill a beer mug in the freezer until it is frosty. Pour in the hard apple cider, pale ale, brandy or bourbon, and apple pucker. Stir the mixture gently to combine, then serve.
...............................................................................................................

HOWLING WOLF

Real werewolves would rather skip the decorative fruit. Just saying.

Ingredients: 

1/2 oz. Creme de Menthe, white
1 oz. Curacao, blue
1/2 oz. Vodka
Sprite or 7-Up

Mix 1/2 oz. white creme de menthe, 1/2 oz. vodka, and 1 oz. blue curacao in a shaker over ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off the glass with Sprite or 7-Up.

...............................................................................................................


The Sizzling Books of Summer Giveaway Hop

August 15 - August 22

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congrats to Candice! Her name was drawn as the winner. She'll be receiving her choice of one of my PNR shapeshifter novels – Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream or Changeling Dawn.   



Dani Harper