Dannie Ybarra, “authorette” of The Forgotten Habitat, Fading Zen, and Monopolize Me trilogies, lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her Border Collie, Maki. She’s involved in progressive movements for the LGBT+ community daily. Dannie also spends her time supporting fundraisers and petitions for an eco-friendlier society and pollution awareness. Her background in falconry, career in the beauty industry as a hairdresser, and previous marriages influence her dark and raw writing style.
Dannie’s work and inspirations
My passion for birds started at 15.
I began with volunteering at the Ogden Nature Center in Ogden, Utah. It only took me seconds to fall in love with the reptiles and raptors they keep in rehabilitation there. One day my boss brought in his Peregrine Falcon. In a matter of minutes, I learned that he is a licensed falconer who traps birds of prey from the wild, teaches them to hunt with him, and later releases the birds back into the wild. I was hooked.
It took me several years to pass the falconry test, get registered, and find a sponsor. In the mean time, I had become heavily involved with the falconry community and made many connections. I was hired as a volunteer at Utah's World of Flight Bird Show at the Hogle Zoo and trained raptors, parrots, rats, and other various animals.
By the time I became a fully licensed falconer, I was married to my ex-husband, and together, we trapped and trained multiple American Kestrels, Sharp-Shinned Hawks, and a Cooper's Hawk. While I've since allocated my time elsewhere, my infatuation with birds of prey remains strong in my heart.
Maki: The partner I never knew I needed.
I got Maki as a puppy from a breeder in Idaho and at the suggestion of my counselor, I decided to get her trained as a Service Animal. After passing the preliminary entry test, she passed through the training program with flying colors.
She now accompanies me on the daily, whether it be at her favorite coffee shop (Sugarhouse Coffee) or hard at work snuggled on my couch at home. She is named after Maki Sushi; inspired by the incredible month I spent in Japan with my ex-husband.
Championing the LGBTQ community.
In a heavily conservative state, I entered adulthood surrounded by a culture of anti-LGBT propaganda. As a previously religious traditionalist, there was always something within me that didn't sit right when it came to the treatment of LGBT individuals; perhaps this is because I discovered my bi-sexuality at a young age and was tired of shaming myself for it. During my extensive world travels with my ex-husband (who is gay), we had our eyes enormously opened to the cultures, beliefs, ideas, and equality around us. Suddenly we both felt the confidence needed to step into our “less popular” views and advocate for LGBT equality as we stepped away from our childhood religion.
As a hairdresser for eight years, I have been surrounded by very progressive and fluid people and it's been an amazing opportunity to connect with organizations, movements, and individuals. I don't hesitate to open the pathway for communication between myself and conservative clients when they ask me questions with an open mind. I've been invited to participate in doing hair for Gender Creative photoshoots that educate and provide options for Gender Creative children who are able to grow in an environment without traditional gender roles. I also have actively participated in the Pride parades in Salt Lake City, assisting with floats, decor, and hair styling.
When choosing coffee shops where I spend time writing, I select those that openly welcome all. I believe equality begins with a smile, open mind, and honest conversation. My hope is that my books can start these kinds of conversations and facilitate a space where a culture of acceptance can arise—even in the most conservative of places!