Thursday, December 1, 2011

Soup and Compassion

It is snowing and bitterly cold here in Colorado today, and I am working like a crazy woman trying to meet the deadline for my TAILS Magazine humor column. So I did what I aways do when it's cold and I'm crazy busy, I made a big pot of soup this morning to eat from all day. It's convenient and comforting. It's also cheap.

I make great soup. I learned the fine art of soup-making from my late maternal grandmother who was an elementary school teacher. She taught me to do the most amazing things with simple ingredients.

After Grandma died, we received a ton of mail from her former students. Something we family members didn't know about her was that throughout the Great Depression she made a pot of soup in her classroom every day for her students. For many, it was the only meal they had. Some of her students credited her incredible act of generosity with keeping them alive. Forty years later, they remembered and wrote to express their gratitude.

So, on days like today when I make wonderful soup from the most simple ingredients, I am comforted in many ways. I am warmed, I am nourished, and I am honored to remember the compassionate soul who was my grandmother.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Novel About Near-Death Experience

Cole Dillon drowns in Deer Lake shortly before his thirteenth birthday. Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American shaman, travels between the worlds to bring Cole back from death. Unfortunately, Cole isn’t supposed to survive, and with the natural order disrupted, dark spirits follow them home.

During Cole’s near-death experience, he is assigned an important mission that involves saving the lives of many other children. However, when he is revived, he can’t remember the details and undertakes a challenging quest of discovery.

Meanwhile, the dark spirits begin to manifest in the lives of the local town residents, bringing hatred and death. When shamanic visions reveal that many young lives are indeed in imminent danger, Elijah has to help Cole find the courage to do what is required of him before it is too late.

As Elijah tries to help Cole, he struggles with his own personal demons, and both men—one young, one old—must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to save others.

A moving paranormal thriller about courage, faith, and the transformative power of love.

To read an excerpt, follow this link:

Available as a print and eBook!

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Amazing Showcase Of My Work

The life of an author is full of angst. Well, at least my life is. I struggle to grasp hold of nebulous threads of inspiration and weave them into an artistic vision I hope will touch others. Then I worry about if I could have done it better. I stress over if I messed my commas up too badly. (Commas are my worst thing.) Then I wonder if anyone will read my books. If they do, I fret over if they liked them. I question if I am fulfilling my life purpose or should be devoting my energies elsewhere. I don't sleep enough or eat properly. I am antisocial. My world is my art and I often ask myself if all the sacrifices are worth it.

Then there are days like today. A fan surprised me with an artistic showcase of my work that features my books, reviews of what other people think of them, and interviews with me that I didn't even remember doing. It is extraordinary!

More than flattered, I am amazed that someone I don't even know would go to this much effort to honor my work. It'll make it easier to spend another eighteen hours tomorrow working on my new novel.

Please take a look at what this woman did. It is amazing:

Please make a comment at the end of it to honor her creativity, time, and effort. Thank you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Winner of Wicked Dog Contest!

GLORY, Book One of my Legend of Glory urban fantasy series, features an intrepid demon-fighting Australian Shepherd named Hallelujah (Hallie to her friends). Hallie’s job is to protect the teenage heroine, Glory, from demons, vampires, and evil scientists. Hallie has extraordinary courage. She is the Wonder Woman of the canine crowd.

I am now writing the second book in the series, and a few months ago I put out a casting call for an evil dog to be Hallelujah’s perfect foil. All I can say is, wow, there sure are a lot of wicked dogs out there!

I received a ton of photos of wild- and crazy-looking dogs that inspired nightmares for weeks and gave me exciting new ideas for my paranormal-themed novels. It took me a while to make my decision, but...hold onto your bones...the winner is Cuddy, a red merle Australian Shepherd puppy. Yes, you heard me correctly—a puppy. (Consider the fictional possibilities!) Here she is:

I am going to have fun using this puppy to create the fictional canine character I have named Hex. Hex is the evil sidekick for the demoness Nyx and is the bane of Hallie’s existence. She will give puppies everywhere a bad name.

There were so many wonderfully wicked dogs who entered the contest that the final decision was tough. So, I may try to fit some of the runner-up dogs into the novel. Perhaps they will form a roaming pack of terror to rival the novel’s sinister collection of demons, vampires, and evil scientists.

Meet a hairless Chinese Crested known as “The Beast.” Her person, Lisa, cropped this photo from a larger one she calls “Beauty and the Beast." Lisa said she cut out the image of her other dog who, “looks like he is sad to have to deal with her.”

And here is Sassy, who is truly horrifying:

Last but not least is a Border Collie named Abigail:

According to their humans, these dogs are merely yawning or playing or being their usual sweet selves.

Right. And they call me the fiction writer.

Copyright © 2011 by Devin O’Branagan

Photographer credits as follows:

“Cuddy” – Terri Collins
“The Beast” – Lisa Hartman
“Sassy” – Rachel Ritland
“Abigail” – Shannon Stainton

Sunday, July 31, 2011

City Witch Versus Country Witch

In my bestselling urban fantasy, GLORY, there are two powerful covens. The Moonstone Covenstead is located high in the Colorado mountains near the sacred space of Crestone. The Starlight Coven is in located in the heart of the city of Atlanta. In order to cement relations between the two covens, the Elders are attempting to arrange a marriage between eighteen-year-old Kaia, from Moonlight, and the sexy young Evan from Starlight. Kaia rebels, not only at the prospect of an arranged marriage, but because she cannot fathom how to bridge the gap between her more traditional practice of The Craft and the modern approach of the city witches. This is a conversation between Kaia and Evan:

   “But you are attached to your life here in the city.” Kaia said “city” as if it were a dirty word. “How can any self-respecting witch practice the craft in a city? You’re out of touch with nature. How do you raise energy to channel into your magic? How do you commune with the ancient powers? I mean, what you’ve got here is concrete, asphalt, power lines, graffiti, subways, busy roads, skyscrapers, nightclubs, and random gunfire. How sacred is that?”
   “It’s just a different kind of sacred, Kaia,” Evan said. “The skyscrapers are concrete caves and we’re cave dwellers. Graffiti is our cave painting, conveying symbols that represent tribal myth. The streets are rivers of movement and life. Nightclubs are temples where ritual dancing generates tremendous cones of energy.
   “Channeling energy in the city is easy; it overflows our banks. Both the concentration of people and those power lines you mention are tremendous reservoirs. Instead of working to raise energy, city witches have to work at grounding it, because we swim in a giant sea of power.
   “The city has its own deities. For instance, here in Atlanta, our underworld is ruled by MARTA—the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority—our subway system. She’s a snake goddess who takes us into the labyrinth where we can explore the depths of our being and experience our personal transformation.
   “There is nature here. It’s just different than you’re used to. Our wildlife consists of pigeons, rats, alley cats, crows, and moths. They become our familiars, helping us to survive in this wild place. “And yes, there’s violence, but there are demons everywhere. It’s up to us to fight the good fight, be it in the mountains or the city. The entire world needs us and what we do, Kaia. There isn’t any place that isn’t sacred.”

In the forthcoming sequel to GLORY, Kaia and Evan struggle to bridge the cavernous gap between them. But of course, as Evan just pointed out, it really is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Book Signings!

I have two big book signing events planned this summer!

Saturday July 30, from 11-1, I will be at Blue Hills Dog and Cat Shoppe in Longmont, Colorado:

2255 Main St. #116
Longmont, CO 80501
Located in Horizon Park Shopping center on the corner of 21st Ave & Main St. (Hwy 287) in Longmont.

Saturday August 6, from 12-2 I will be at Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Loveland, Colorado:

5835 Sky Pond Drive
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 663-9473
Located at The Promenade Shops at Centerra Mall

Hope to see you there!

Oh, and here is a wonderful newspaper article just published in the Loveland newspaper:

Author's Latest Book Sides Into 'Paranormal Chick Lit' Genre


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dog Doesn't Die At The End

When my new comic novella SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES came out, it immediately hit Amazon’s Bestseller List of Books About Dogs. It eventually made it to the top of Hot New Releases, but the book that was hard to beat was “JACK: A book about a dog where the dog doesn't die at the end” by Ray Braswell. Why? Well, I imagine because the author lets the readers know right up front that the dog doesn’t die at the end.

As much as I enjoy novels that include dogs, I always hesitate to read them because the dog really always does die at the end and it just tears me up. That said, my favorite novels are THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE RACING IN THE RAIN and SIGHT HOUND, both of which involve the dogs dying at the end. Sigh. Love makes you read strange things.

When I wrote SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES about Talisman the Australian Shepherd I definitely intended for it to end on an upbeat note. And it does. No dogs were harmed in the writing of this novel. Although there are touching moments, it will have you on the floor laughing. It is a funny tale about a prissy show dog mistaken for a cowdog who has to work on a ranch for the day. Along the way she rises to the occasion and learns that she’s not just another pretty face. However, in the end she sure is ready for bottled water and organic kibble, a full grooming, new pedicure, a visit with her Reiki Master, and a consultation with her pet psychic. She is a dog who never loses sight of her priorities.

So, I would like to heartily recommend my new novella SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES and assure you that the dog doesn’t die in the end.

In parting, here is an excerpt. Talisman has a play date with her sister, a cowdog named Maddie. After they fall into a mud puddle, confusion arises and Maddie is taken into the house to be groomed and pampered, while poor Talisman has to work stock. After the humiliation of being herded by a flock of geese, Talisman takes a nap and goes to her happy place:

   I dreamt that I was a show dog tragically mistaken for a cowdog, and I did such a heroic job that I inspired both Angelina and Molly. I had my very own ticker-tape parade down Main Street as a marching band played "We Are the Champions." People threw dog treats as I passed. It was glorious!
   I woke up to find a tiny kitten nursing on my ear. It was a major letdown from the epic experience I had just been having.
   I opened one eye and saw her clamped onto the tip of my ear, sucking away, purring her heart out, tiny paws enthusiastically kneading with eager hope of coaxing milk. Sky blue eyes the exact shade of mine looked at me adoringly. Her sweet-smelling fur had shades similar to my own hair—she could have been my daughter, if I had been a cat.
   Geez, so what was I supposed to do now? I might be beautiful, but I wasn’t heartless.
   Before I could sort it all out, a really big Siamese cat leapt onto my bed, hissed at me, took a wicked slap at my nose with angry claws, grasped her baby by its scruff, and carried her away. Little Blue Eyes watched me all the way down the hay stack.
   Ouch! My paw swiped the blood off my nose. This really was a dangerous place—the way things were going, I’d be lucky to get out alive.
   Well, I certainly was wide awake now. I got up and stretched, then climbed down off my perch. Thirsty, I tried to figure out where to find a bottle of water. I had brought my own, but it was in the house. Perhaps Maddie had been able to explain things to Cheyenne, so I headed to check the situation out. I climbed up the porch steps and peered in the window.
   Maddie was lying on the couch atop my super plush throw—she looked so clean. Was that a pink bow in her hair? It was the exact shade of pink as my nails and would have looked very nice on me. I raised my paw and tapped the window.
   Maddie looked at me, leapt off the couch, and raced to the window. Her eyes were frantic. Get me outta here!
   Let me in! I replied.
   She stood up on her hind legs and started pawing at the glass as if she were trying to dig through it. So, I stood up on my hind legs and pawed right back at her. I really don’t know what we hoped to accomplish, but desperation can cloud the mind.
   "Stop that, Tali!" Cheyenne yelled. The cowgirl marched over to the window and gave me an irritated look. "Git, Maddie, you two had your fun. Go on now. It’s time for Tali’s lunch." She carried a bottle of my spring water in one hand and a bowl of my special kibble in the other—my organic turkey and sweet potato, apple, and cranberry kibble that Molly bought for me at The Back to Eden Tree Hugging Organic Granola Shoppe.
   My stomach growled. I really wanted that kibble.
   Cheyenne stuck the bottle of water under one arm so that she had a free hand with which to draw the drapes closed.
   The nerve.

SHOW DOGS SINGS THE BLUES is available as an eBook and print book and is for humans of all ages. For more information and to read additional excerpts, please visit

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

In this context there are two possible meanings to that birthday wish. Of course it is Independence Day in America today, a celebration of the country's birth. Also, Glory's missing sister is named America. There are multiple meanings to a lot of things in my urban fantasy GLORY.

In GLORY, the blood of seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague, and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Two powerful covens of witches come to her aid as multiple mysteries unfold about the forces of evilboth natural and supernaturalwho influence the events of this world.

I was recently asked why there are so many patriotic references in GLORY: the heroine's name, her sister's name, an intrepid demon-fighting Australian Shepherd named Hallelujah, the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and a fearless Army National Guard helicopter pilot. The easy answer is that I was writing a patriotic novel named RED HOT LIBERTY when I conceived GLORY and was influenced by that creative effort.

However, there is far more to it than that. What is America's Independence Day celebrating? Freedom from tyranny; a fight that was fought with blood.  Hmmm. Sounds like the plot of GLORY to me. Glory and her scrappy band of rebels fight the good fight against evil and are willing to die for the cause.

As Liberty True, the uber-patriotic character in my new comic chick lit novel RED HOT LIBERTY, says to that novel's heroine, Molly, "You have to stand for something in life."

Every day of our lives we are faced with choices pertaining to the opposing forces that influence life on this planet. One morning I was thrilled when I checked my Facebook page and someone had happily posted, "Go Team Caretakers!" In GLORY, The Caretakers represent the forces of good in this world.

You have to stand for something in life.

Glory, glory, Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A 21st Century Witch Hunt?

When Mrs. B’s blog was entered into the contest for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Faith Blogs by Moms, she suffered harassment from individuals who suggested Pagans didn’t belong in a contest about religious faith. Mrs. B handled the situation with grace and class, people of all religions came to her defense, and her blog won. It was an amazing thing to watch unfold.

It could have turned out much differently.

My bestselling novel, Witch Hunt, was first published in 1990 by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. It was a novel that explored the possibility of a modern witch hunt. At the time, it seemed like it really could happen.

The 1980’s were the heyday of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, as well as an uber-conservative political and social climate in America. The Christian “born again” message was one of fear, expectation of the Second Coming of Christ, and extreme judgment of anyone who didn’t fit the “born again” mold. I became fearful about where it was leading.

The book that was considered America’s first bestseller was the 17th Century Day of Doom by charismatic New England Puritan minister, Michael Wigglesworth. It was an epic poem about the Second Coming of Christ and the horrors of Judgment Day. It created an atmosphere of fear that set the stage for the Salem persecutions. In the late 1980’s I began to wonder what kind of stage modern fundamentalist preachers were setting, and I decided to make a statement about the dangers of religious fanaticism. Thus, my novel Witch Hunt was born.

My publisher chose to release Witch Hunt as a horror novel because, frankly, they didn’t know how else to market it. As a result of their decision, I had to slant it to that market—a creative decision I always regretted. Late last year I had the opportunity to rerelease it, so I rewrote it as originally envisioned and updated it for the 21st Century.

When I undertook the task I realized that the contrast between the world twenty years ago and now was stunning, and it created special challenges for the rewrite. The truth is, the Craft is so much more accepted now than it was then that I actually wondered if the plot would be plausible in the 21st Century. Interestingly, although in the 1990’s Witch Hunt enjoyed brief popularity as a horror novel, since its rerelease it has had a wild ride on Amazon’s Metaphysical Fiction Bestseller’s List. I gave considerable thought to the reasons for this and came to the conclusion that maybe the world hasn’t changed that much after all. Perhaps people are embracing this book with such passion because they realize that a modern witch hunt could indeed happen.

Yes, the Craft is more accepted now, but our society is still fear-based. And cultures of fear always look for scapegoats. What if a charismatic Christian preacher decided to fan the flames of judgment and fear against Witches again? Besides the written word, the message could be delivered even more powerfully by television and the Internet. It could happen.

In what way is this possible scenario different in the 21st Century than it was in the 20th? Today the Pagan community is so strong—so united—that this time I think the Witches would not tolerate abuse. Perhaps that is the saving grace of this possible scenario. The power is more equally-balanced now and, thus, less likely to manifest in a persecution. At least that is my hope.

In closing, I would like to share a review I received for the original edition that is especially fitting for the new one:

"A superb examination of the corrupting influence of power: political, social, economic, religious, and sexual power. Witch Hunt works well on several different levels, and the story comes very close to being a modern religious and political allegory." -2 AM Magazine

Please visit my website at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Casting Call For Wicked Dogs!

I write novels: humorous chick-lit, supernatural thrillers, and young adult urban fantasy. Whenever possible, I include colorful animal characters, and in conjunction with my projects I support animal rescue.

GLORY, Book One of my Legend of Glory urban fantasy series, features an intrepid demon-fighting Australian Shepherd named Hallelujah (Hallie to her friends). Hallie’s job is to protect the teenage heroine, Glory. Hallie doesn't like vampires, is partial to angels, and enjoys talking with witches. She'll tolerate being dressed up in silly costumes in the fight against evil, but after multiple baths to remove blood and dangerous scents, she elevates deep, sorrowful sighs to an art form. Her loathing of vampires puts a serious cramp in Glory’s love life, but she will brave a room full of vampires for a raspberry-filled, super-thick, triple-glazed doughnut.

She is a dog with clear priorities.

Hallie can dance, and she sings her own special version of "The Hallelujah Chorus," but her greatest talent of all is extraordinary courage. She is the Wonder Woman of the canine crowd!

I am now writing the second book in the series, which has a working title of TIMELESS, and I am looking for the perfect canine foil for Hallelujah. I need an evil dog.

So, I am putting out a casting call to all dog owners to send me information about their own demonic dogs. Tell me in what way they are wicked and send me photos to show me how evil they look. (Seriously, I need inspiration here.) If I use the likeness of your dog in TIMELESS, he or she will be immortalized forever in literature. Think about the possibilities!

My casting call is being held on my Facebook page. So friend me and post away!

Of course, you and I will know that your dog isn’t really evil. Between us, we will agree that he or she is merely mischievous. However, because I’m a writer, I can exaggerate. It’s what I get paid for.

Besides, that’s what the voices are telling me to do...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Hawthorne Book of Shadows

With his eyes fixed on Paradise,
   the haunted Christian
blames the shadow. Plagued

by his own demons,
   soul bitten and loveless,
he is bound in the sackcloth of pride,

in cobwebs and ashes.
   While there, thrilled to the wild,
dizzying ride of the flesh,

of phallus and womb, the fresh
   dew of this world, the red,
simple wing of original joy,

like the berrying spring of a child's
   renewal, the Witch slips out
of the black diaphanous robe

of our common sleep. Behind
   that half-curtain, lives with the sharp
knowledge of danger (Do not, whatever

else you may do, be discovered!).
   Out of that horn of magic, desire,
flesh at once richer and paler than ivory

is bathed—Look!—in original light!
   ...Or are those only the elegant
ivory bars of the cage

in which both have been trapped:
   Earth-delighted no less than he
with his cross-obsessed pain?

While She-Without-Form,
   resurrected again and again,
cries out from the nailed thirst of this world

to our own resurrection, that single
   commandment: Love!—O heart's simple name!
O first and final salvation!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are Werewolves or Dogs More Desirable?

In my young adult novel GLORY, seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton’s blood holds the cure for a pandemic plague, and a vampire, a witch, and an angel are assigned to be her bodyguards. Her intrepid demon-fighting Australian Shepherd, Hallelujah, rounds out the team. 

TWILIGHT is also about a seventeen-year-old girl, named Bella, and her romantic triangle with a vampire and a werewolf.

So, let’s compare canines here.

Jacob, Twilight’s werewolf, is a hunka hunka burning love, with a body ripped to perfection and a face so handsome women of all ages swoon at his smile. He is as devoted to Bella as, well, a puppy dog. He will fight vampires to the death to protect her.

Hallelujah is brave and beautiful, totally devoted to Glory, and will also fight vampires to the death to protect Glory.

Of course, in both novels neither Glory nor Bella want to be saved from all of the vampires, which presents its own set of unique problems for the respective heroines.

Hallelujah can be a bit, um, bitchy, and gives Glory the silent treatment after she falls asleep in the arms of the enemy.

Jacob can be a bit surly, and he gives Bella the silent treatment when she announces she wants to sleep with the enemy.

Hallelujah saves Glory’s life by defending her from demon-possessed mountain lions and bears. And when Glory is knocked unconscious in a car accident Hallelujah plops down on Glory’s nearly-severed arm and keeps her from bleeding to death.

Jacob protects Bella from various evil vampires and werewolves with bad attitudes. And when she jumps off a cliff into the ocean, Jacob saves her from drowning.

Both Jacob and Hallelujah are good at rationalizing their own inconsistent behavior. For instance, Jacob ends up choosing Bella’s daughter over Bella as a romantic partner because of something to do with werewolf soul mate imprinting. (Really.) And Hallelujah will brave a roomful of vampires to retrieve a triple-glazed, super-thick, raspberry-filled donut. (She is a dog with very clear priorities.)

A plus on Hallelujah’s tally sheet is that she sings "The Hallelujah Chorus," and I don’t recall gorgeous Jacob ever entertaining Bella in such a delightful manner.

However, did I mention that Jacob is unbelievably sexy?  And when he transforms into a werewolf, all his clothes are shredded and he is buck naked.

(Excuse me while I pause to splash cold water on my face.)

Oh, and by the way, Hallelujah saves the world.

So, there you have it readers.  I know whom I find more desirable.  Do you?

For more information about GLORY, visit the website:

Monday, January 24, 2011

WITCH HUNT And GLORY Hit The Bestseller's List!

In the past two weeks, both of my novels WITCH HUNT and GLORY hit Amazon's Metaphysical Fiction Bestseller's List!  WITCH HUNT made it into the top 20, and at one point they were both on the list at the same time.  I am over the moon!

There were a number of wonderful things that happened all around the same time that created the "tipping point" about which all authors dream.

First, GLORY received a 5-Star review from the prestigious Midwest Book Review that stated, "A fantasy on the shoulders of a strong willed girl, GLORY is not to be missed. And it was nominated for the 2011 Best Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association.

Then WITCH HUNT received a 5-Star review from Midwest Book Review that stated, "A riveting story of magic and morality, WITCH HUNT will prove very hard to put down."  The leading New Age publisher Llewellyn posted a wonderful review of it on their website, and then renowned pagan artist Sabrina "The Ink Witch" gave it a glowing endorsement.

Finally, readers of one book were anxious to read the other and excitement grew, quickly reaching critical mass.

Did I mention that I'm over the moon?

To learn more about both of these bestselling novels, please visit my author's website: