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Lisa Brunette
Midwestern USA
Gardening for the Future
Interests: Garden, Home, Lifestyle, Native Plants, Permaculture, Pollinators, Wildlife, Homesteading
Recent Activity
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Kicking off today and running through March 13 is Ebook Week at online publisher Smashwords, an awesome alternative to Amazon. We're offering deep discounts on The Dreamslippers Series ebooks - prices not seen since the series first launched in 2014! That includes all three novels in the series, as well as the boxed set collection of books plus the bonus novella. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Cat in the Flock
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This past week, I attended Gateway Greening's Community Agriculture Conference. It was entirely virtual and took place in the evening, so I was able to participate around my full days running Brunette Games. I attended most of the conference sessions, only taking a break mid-week. The conference was free, though I did kick them a donation since I get so much out of the group's offerings, and this conference was just one example. Gateway Greening has been so kind as to upload all of the conference videos to YouTube, where you can watch them free until the first day of spring, March 20. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Cat in the Flock
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When I showed you how to cook a perfect pot of stovetop rice every time, I mentioned that next up I'd demonstrate a quick-and-easy recipe for a crockpot rice dish. That dish is the Asian rice porridge known as congee. Never heard of it? Well, neither had I until a friend spirited me away to a delightful, unexpected place in Seattle's International District called the Purple Dot Cafe, where I had my very first bowl of this heavenly porridge. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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It's tempting to buy prepared foods, whether that's shelf-stable packaged stuff or frozen. We're all really busy of course, even if we're working from home these days because you know, working from home is still working. But what if I told you the only thing standing between you and healthy living was a mere 15-20 minutes of cooking time per week? Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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We tend to think of gardening as a strictly warm-weather activity, not something to do during the winter months when the garden goes dormant, especially in climates that enjoy a full-on cold season, like here in the Midwest. During the decade I lived in the Seattle area, I found a certain quiet solace in the months of seemingly unending rain, as the winters were mild, the landscape electric green with moss. Here the green gives way to brown, and then white. That's a different kind of beauty, equally welcome. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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We've been meaning to post an update to the cast iron series for some time, as we ended up modifying our care and maintenance just a bit, and the result is pretty much the perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet. One way to test this is to fry an egg in the skillet and see if it can easily slide around on the skillet surface, as in the video above. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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Though I call the Midwest my home and the Pacific Northwest my second home, my writing chops were forged during the two years I attended graduate school for an MFA in creative writing at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. That tropical locale made its mark on me in more ways than one. When I close my eyes and travel back to the Miami of my memories twenty years ago, I'm awash in sensations: the flash of shocking royal blue as a flock of wild macaws flies overhead; the salty scent of the sea breezes, carrying hints of spicy aromas from Caribbean flora; the staccato rhythms of samba, salsa, and Cuban rhumba blasting from open cabana bars and car windows. Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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Last year was a lot of things that weren't good, but one silver lining for me was that it was also the year of the bee. Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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I don't think I'm overstating it to say that The Queen's Gambit is the best series Netflix has ever offered. Anthony and I finished it last night, and wow. I can't think of a better viewing experience. It has everything: a gorgeously flawed heroine you can't help but root for, well-developed supporting characters, a story arc that manages to be surprising and satisfying in one go, and a stream of sumptuous sets and costumes (especially in the later episodes). Judging by its enormous popularity - it's the most-watched show in Netflix history - many of you feel the same. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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I've been fangirling author Tammi Hartung for some time now. I think you should share in the love, so we're running this giveaway, which I'll get to in a moment. I picked up a copy of her 2014 book The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature a couple of years ago at my neighborhood used book store, and I was immediately hooked. When I found out she'd also written on growing healing herbs and how to make use of native plants, my soul-sister crush was cemented. Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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Cat in the Flock turns seven this year, so it's a good time to take a look at where we've been and what's resonated with you readers. But first, let's talk about what a wild ride we've had together. I launched this website in September 2014 as an author blog to support the release of my first novel, Cat in the Flock. That self-published mystery novel was enough of a success to warrant a whole series - the Dreamslippers - and the blog focused on it for the first few years. But then around 2017 I took my experience as a game storyteller and fused it with the work of mystery novelist to create two interactive novels in the mystery genre, and my game writing splashed onto this blog as a result. With the success of the game projects, I had the opportunity to launch my own game-writing company in short order, and in 2018, I split off Brunette Games as its own site. That left Cat in the Flock, which I pivoted toward the lifestyle content I'm passionate about, giving me a counterpoint outlet for the non-fiction stories I think about every day. Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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Two-oh-two-oh was a surprising year for Cat in the Flock, as between the extensive lockdowns and social distancing measures and our decision to forgo social media, Anthony and I found ourselves with more time to write. While our day jobs at Brunette Games never ceased, as its already established remote-work structure allowed us to continue working without fail, we saw family and friends less often, and most interesting activities outside the home were either canceled outright or made less attractive due to the requirement to wear masks and social distance. So, we opted to stay in. We authored more for this blog in 2020 than anticipated, with a total of 52 posts, or an average of one per week! Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at Cat in the Flock
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As suggested in our last post, the best time to shop for holiday items is in the weeks just after the previous year's holidays. We've been taking advantage of some great sales this week from the comfort of our own home, in our jammies, because you know, 2020. I've singlehandedly scoured the Etsy holiday shop for great deals that fit the criteria retro, handmade, eco-friendly, so you don't have to. Here's what's in my shopping cart right now. Maybe you'll even get them before I do! Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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Now that the gleam of Christmas has lost a bit of its glimmer, you might be looking at your living room full of spent wrapping paper and holiday cards cluttering the mantel and mentally planning when you're going to clean-sweep the whole thing and move on. Because if there was ever a year we wanted to move on from, it's this one, right?! But before you abandon the holidays, tossing everything into recycling and jumping feet-first into 2021, here are four cost-saving, eco-friendly moves you can still make as the whole kit and kaboodle winks out. Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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One of the fun activities Anthony and I participated in pre-COVID-19 was the holiday parlor tour here in St. Louis' Lafayette Square neighborhood. It was a treat to tour historic homes - some dating as far back as before the Civil War - all done up for the holidays. We look forward to a day when such in-person events are possible again. In the meantime, we've given the 116-year-old Dragon Flower Farmhouse a holiday makeover and invite you to tour it from the comfort and safety of your own living room. Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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As a St. Louis, Missouri-based company, we feel it's important to support our local community. Besides our membership in the Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, we've committed to hiring local talent, volunteering as mentors to students in writing and game design, and supporting the St. Louis Game Development Co-Op. We've also identified two local entities as recipients of our end-of-year charitable contributions: The Backstoppers and Saint Louis University. Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2020 at Brunette Games
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We just passed the three-year mark here at the Dragon Flower Farmhouse, and I'm excited to announce that the living room is finally 'done.' And it only took us two years! Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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I've been obsessed with so-called 'Millennial pink' for some time now, and I'm not even a Millennial. My pink preoccupation reached its zenith this fall when I finally got around to rehabbing a Mid-Century Modern swirl lamp I'd rescued from a junk shop. And how delicious is that sweet lamp? It's like Willy Wonka and the star of 'I Dream of Jeannie' had a baby. Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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Brunette Games has been nominated for the Business of the Year Award sponsored by our Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, of which we are a member. About the award: Established in 2011, the Chamber Business of the Year Award is an award that recognizes a Chamber business who demonstrated an exceptional contribution to their industry or community within the past year. Nominated businesses should be a model business, with a reputation of excellence in one or more of the following areas: Industry Achievement, Revenue Growth, Outstanding Customer Service, Innovative products and services, creative marketing endeavors, and community involvement. Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2020 at Brunette Games
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Jeannie once pulled me aside to say she "sensed" the physical pain I was in, and that surprised me because I didn't think I showed any outward signs. Maybe I did and didn't realize it (I'm not known for my poker face), or maybe Jeannie really was "in tune" with this kind of thing. But either way, she did me a real kindness: She gave me a poem called "Putting the Pain to Sleep." In it the speaker sang a lullaby to her pain, as if singing a child to sleep. It was maybe a little hokey for the edgy youth I was at the time, or at least fancied I was, but it helped. I've thought about that poem a lot over the years, and I've tried to put to sleep many a pain. Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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Our head honcho here at Brunette Games was recently named a 'top influencer' in the game industry by UserWise. Lisa Brunette was included in a roundup of experts, along with the likes of Rovio lead designer Harshal Karvande and industry vet Lloyd Melnick. "Gaming experts know it takes business, math and engineering skills to make a great game," writes author Mike Moran, "but the real pros have made the industry into an art form." Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2020 at Brunette Games
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It's like the old saying goes: Trying to design a major hit game is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. If there were one sure formula, everyone would have a hit, right? While many ingredients make a game popular with players - from a well-designed match-3 puzzle to the right blend of customization and progression pacing in the decorating element - it's our opinion at Brunette Games that a quality story is key. Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Brunette Games
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In September 2019, we made the choice to ditch social media, and after a year without it, neither of us plans to go back. Here's why. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2020 at Cat in the Flock
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Cammie Middleton is an accomplished stage and screen actor, voice-over artist, jazz and blues vocalist, and stand-up comedian. She's worked with Brunette Games for more than a year, with credits in both Jam City's Wild Things: Animal Adventures and Pride & Prejudice: Jane Austen Solitaire by Super Gaming. She's actually an old friend of Brunette Games founder Lisa Brunette; the two go waaaay back. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2020 at Brunette Games