"Hello Giveaway Hop" - Dani Harper's Post

Many thanks to THE HERD HOPS for
hosting this great giveaway event!
In keeping with my New Year's resolution to wrestle order out of chaos in my office, I've cleaned out my closet of long-forgotten swag and found some surprising goodies. (One of them is being offered as part of my prize!)

But first, this Blog Hop requires me to dust off some lesser known facts about myself! So here goes...

1. I'm seriously addicted to gnomes. I pick them up as souvenirs whenever I travel, plus I rescue them from folks who don't appreciate them. Over the years, I've accumulated a flourishing colony. And as you might expect, they've taken over the yard. In fact, the gnomes recently applied for a permit to begin building an apartment complex....  
(BTW, it's no surprise that gnomes even crept into my recent faery PNR - Storm Warned!)
One of many gnome families in my garden
2. I'm a HUGE science nerd! I realize now that I should have followed a career in geology, astronomy, physics or biology -- but probably didn't because I couldn't narrow it down! Tough to specialize when you're interested in EVERYTHING!  I admire big-brained folks like Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Stephen Hawking, Lynn Margulis, E.O. Wilson, Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker, and Richard Dawkins. 

I adore fictional smart guys as well, like Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Mr. Spock (I'd make a terrific Vulcan!). Though I don't have an advanced degree in anything but hard knocks, I've read enough to be able to hold my own in an episode of Big Bang Theory -- especially since I also have a passion for comic books!
My favorite comedy show.
3. Maybe I'm just unusually balanced, but in addition to my love of hard science, I have a passion for the paranormal. I collect myths, lore, legends, superstitions, and folktales from many different cultures, and I draw inspiration from them for the stories I write. I also have several sets of tarot cards, a drawer full of crystals, and shelves of books on magic. 
One of the decks in my collection,
The Llewellyn Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson 
4. I ADORE chickens! I have a friendly flock of 14 who follow me everywhere in the yard. My current favorites are Araucanas (they lay BLUE eggs!), Cuckoo Marans, Cochins, Speckled Sussex, and Crested Polish! Looking forward to chicks this spring and a chance to become acquainted with some new-to-me breeds like the Salmon Faverolle!
This is Bigfoot, a black Cochin rooster, with
a Buttercup hen in the background.
5. I collect Maneki Nekos ("beckoning cats" in Japanese) just because they make me SMILE. These good luck felines are often seen in Asian businesses. The cat is most often white with spots, but can be any color. One paw is always raised in a welcoming gesture to draw customers into the establishment. All my lucky cats live in my office in the form of clocks, posters, and figurines. Even my desktop mousepad has a Maneki Neko on it! (The PC was replaced by a laptop long ago, but I refuse to part with this mousepad!)
I have this particular figure on my windowsill
in my office, watching me as I write this blog post.
The more kittens a Maneki Neko has, the luckier it is!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

There's a giveaway at every stop in the hop, so be sure to visit them all! 
Here's the LINKY LIST of participating sites: