Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 693

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal

Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Six-Hundred-Ninety-Three:
I have been the victim of a hominid invasion! After my previous report, my hominid-servant spent an extended amount of time going through one of her cleaning rituals. She then initiated a grooming ritual, in the later part of the day, which is atypical timing for such behavior. She also spent an inordinate amount of time and care in selecting the textile coverings she uses for her body in lieu of the fur that we more civilized species prefer. All of which left my domicile reeking of a strange combination of the artificially scented wax cylinders, the cleaning chemicals my hominid-servant favors, and a chemically enhanced personal scent that she donned at the end of her grooming ritual.

If that wasn't bad enough, not long after the completion of her grooming ritual, my hominid-servant allowed entrance to my domicile by several other hominids! One of her first acts upon their arrival was to offer the other hominids some of the edibles that she told me were poisonous, which indicates a level of duplicity I had not previously thought her capable of. Then, to add insult to injury, she plucked my person from the floor of my domicile and restrained me while the other hominids handled me!

I must admit that none of the hominids harmed me, nor did their intentions seem aggressive. And the attention and compliments my hominid-servant's actions resulted in were flattering, but the presumption is still galling. Once I escaped my hominid-servant's grasp, I withdrew to a position under one of the pieces of furniture in my domicile, which afforded me an excellent vantage point from which to observe the behavior of the hominids while remaining outside their reach. Hominid social interactions are bizarre almost beyond description, but I will do my best.

The first thing one must note about socializing hominids is the extreme amount of noise they generate, not all of which is direct communication. They often make loud honking/barking exclamations or soft humming sounds that do not resemble any of the hominid words I have recorded. What's more, these noises tend to be repetitive. Add to this the exaggerated gesticulation of their upper limbs, and I begin to wonder if there is a secondary hominid language that has heretofore gone unnoticed and undocumented.

It is also worth noting that all hominid social activities seem to center around food. Nourishment of various descriptions was freely consumed throughout the event and when the assembled hominids seemed to grow bored with one kind of edibles, my hominid-servant never failed to produce a new type of fare to tempt them with. Considering how stingy she is when it comes to sharing her food with myself, the juvenile felid, and the canid, I can't help but wonder why she was so generous with the strange hominids. Perhaps she intends to later slaughter and consume them and this was her way of maximizing the resulting meat? If so, it would be completely out of character for her, as I have observed no sign of such cannibalistic behavior in the past.

Aside from the noise and food rituals, I noticed that the hominids liked to move about quite a bit, but only within a limited range. They circled endlessly through the living and food preparation spaces in my domicile, but they avoided my hominid-servant's sleeping room assiduously. Several of them did visit the washing room, but only briefly and only ever in singles, never in multiples. I'm not certain if this seemingly compulsive movement is some form of mating ritual or if it has some other significance. Normally, I would seek additional samples in order to form a more complete impression, but I fervently hope there will not be a repeat of this invasion in the foreseeable future. Having so many hominids in such close quarters is quite unnerving.

Hominids can be so sneaky! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#NewRelease #Announcement: Aftermath (Broken Empire Book One) By E. A. Copen!

Hey Everyone!!

My friend, Karina Kantas, is here today to tell us about an exciting new sci-fi novel a friend of hers has written. Karina, take it away! :-)


Soldier. Traitor. Savior.

In an empire where political power is everything, Captain Timothy Val wants one thing: to serve his empire with honor and distinction. But after a mission to quell a revolt goes terribly wrong, Timothy is branded a traitor and barely escapes with his life. His only hope of regaining his lost honor and clearing his family name rests in the hands of a senator planning to use him as the face of a revolution. 

With an intergalactic war looming and civil unrest spreading through the empire, Timothy must tread carefully. Assassins wait around every corner, and his new allies have made him powerful enemies, enemies that may not be entirely Human. 

To save the empire, Timothy will have to betray every oath he’s ever taken.

Aftermath: Chapter One excerpt


E.A. Copen is a prolific speculative fiction author living in beautiful Southeast Ohio with her three kids, three cats, a dog, and a husband. She writes everything from space opera to weird west and all the strange genre mashups in between. When she’s not chained to her keyboard working on her next novel, she enjoys exploring old graveyards and other creepy places. On weekends, you can find her time traveling with her SCA friends, at least until she saves up enough money to leave the Shire and become a Jedi.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Since the establishment, corporate-hack media is trying so hard to keep anyone from hearing about this, I thought I'd do my part to spread the word. Peace! :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#February2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's the 18th again, so time for my #IndieBooksBeSeen monthly indie author book review!! Enjoy! :-)

The Dragon Dreamer by JS Burke:

Arak is a dragon, but he's not like the other dragons. He has a gift that makes him different, and being different is never easy. Wanting to gain acceptance among the other dragons, he sets off on his own to try to help his people and ends up in trouble. Which is when he meets Scree and a beautiful friendship is born. Will these two exceptional individuals overcome all the challenges ahead and succeed in helping their people? You'll have to read to find out!

I loved, loved, loved this story. I literally couldn't put it down and ended up reading through the night. It's not a terribly long book, but it's chocked full of important themes and thoughtful interactions between the characters. Virtues like tolerance, patience, cooperation, empathy, kindness, and open-mindedness are emphasized and celebrated. The characters solve problems by working together and using their differences to complement each other. And, as someone who revels in "exploring" new worlds, the world-building in this book is outstanding. The imagery used to paint a picture of two different worlds, one above the water and the other underneath, is breathtaking. I think this book is perfect for anyone from age 8 to 108 and I can't recommend it enough.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

#NewRelease #Announcement: The Crown By Genevieve Raas!

There is no greater wish than for a prince who is brave, strong, and true…
From international bestselling author Genevieve Raas comes a tale of dark enchantments and wicked secrets.
Whoever solves the mystery of why the princesses’ shoes are destroyed each night will inherit the throne. Princes from all kingdoms have tried. All fail. The punishment? Execution.
Only a soldier is now willing to take the challenge.
Ross Daltry was crippled long ago in one of the king’s many wars. The lavish lifestyle of the nobility disgusts him, not to mention the vanity of the princesses. He is determined to win the throne and end the king’s incompetent rule.
However, when he meets the Princess Octavia, he finds himself taken by her intelligence and kindness. She threatens to unravel his heart.
But behind the princesses’ pretty smiles lies a terrible secret that is more than just broken shoes. In a race against time, Ross must navigate intrigue, tricks, and terrors to save his life.
The Crown is a dark and twisted retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Excerpt from The Crown by Genevieve Raas:
She commanded them all. Power and grace exuded from her every step and twirl. A broad shouldered man bowed and slid his hand behind her slim waist. Her lips parted into a smile. Her cheeks flushed a deeper shade.

I continued along the edge, careful as I maneuvered between the collection of men that stood like trees. I couldn’t help my eyes falling to Octavia. She fell into the arms of an eager partner, only to spin away into the embrace of another.

It was then I noticed a pearl fall from her shoe. It rolled across the floor, passed the men’s pointed leather boots and beside the princesses’ pointed silk heels. It came to a rest right before me. Kneeling down I picked up the smooth orb and placed it deep within my pockets.

A pink ribbon twirled by next followed by a split heel.

The dance continued.

The clock chimed one. The clock chimed two.

Shreds of silk trailed behind the princesses’ spinning feet. Lace was torn and toes peeked through growing holes. Still they danced. The music grew feverish. It infected my bones and my entire body vibrated with the dark melody. It wanted me to join.

It needed me…

I shook it away, focusing on the glittering hail falling from their shoes. Diamonds, gold, and emeralds bounced off the marble floor and rolled beneath cracking soles. Buckles snapped. Seams popped. Strips of fabric disintegrated before my eyes.

Their cheeks were red and lips plump, almost as if they were drunk. They tugged the jackets of their princes, forcing them closer against their heaving bosoms. The men leaned their faces against their cheeks, their arms and hands skating down every arc and sinew. Some kissed passionately.

I couldn’t stop a rush of jealousy as the man with the scar ran his fingers up Octavia’s neck and into her hair. She laughed musically.


I covered my ears. Every clock chimed three as if summoning the horsemen of the apocalypse.

The music ceased. The dance stopped. The princesses were escorted back towards the boats, leaving the remnants of their shoes behind.

My heart raced. I ran across the emptying ball room, careful not to trip on an errant ruby or broken buckle. My only hope to avoid discovery was to board the first boat with Octavia.

I squeezed beside the princes and princesses as they filed out of the doors, but in my haste I came too close to Henrietta’s skirts. My shoe tugged on the silk and a distinct rip tore over their chatter.

“Look what you did, Bertram!” Henrietta scolded her prince.

“A thousand apologies, your grace,” he said. “But my foot was nowhere near your gown.”

“It didn’t tear by itself,” she snapped.

She pointed at the frayed fabric. He just bowed his head in surrender like a dog to its master.

“I told you, there is something odd about this place tonight,” Aloysia piped. “I’ve felt watched all evening.”

I froze.

“You’ve been reading far too many novels,” Octavia said. “We can’t waste time worrying about phantoms.”

As they stood in debate, I took the opportunity to slide past them. Their feet thundered behind me as we traveled back through the twisting bushes and to the dock. Octavia stepped in the first boat, and I slunk in quickly after.

I dared not breath the whole time, and my mind kept swirling with splitting shoes and dark melodies.

Once we hit shore, I jumped out at the first available moment and ran. I sprinted back up the bank and through the diamond forest. Their voices were never far behind, causing me to quicken my pace even more.

I ducked beneath a low hanging golden branch. Swiped past the silver leaves, the faintest rustle echoing out in my wake.

Laughter bubbled behind me. I forced myself to move even faster.

I raced up the stairs, skipping two at a time. My lungs started to burn and my heart pounded into my throat. The breath of youth I experienced withered away. The pain returned. My ankle ground into the surrounding tendons. Bones cracked and muscle coiled.

Sweat ran down my temples. My ankle could no longer support my weight. I gripped the stone walls, plunging into the cracks and crevices to help pull myself along. Ten steps I counted, each agony. My nails split as I dug them deeper into the mortar.

Throbbing and pounding, my ankle snapped beneath my weight. I collapsed onto the stairs.

Voices. Laughter. They were right up behind me now.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Sweet And Spicy Rice And Vegetable #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got another recipe that's definitely hot enough to warm you up on a cold winter night. Enjoy! :-)

2 cups brown rice or quinoa
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
4 tbsp sriracha
4 tbsp chili powder
4 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cardamom
2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup basil shredded
8 cloves garlic minced
2 large carrots peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen peas or pea pods
1 zucchini chopped
1 fennel bulb cored and chopped
1 cabbage cleaned and shredded
3 onions chopped
1 20oz package button mushrooms sliced
1 bell pepper chopped
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup regular raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts chopped and toasted
2 14oz cans chickpeas drained
Salt to taste

Place the rice or quinoa in your favorite rice or quinoa cooking dish or appliance along with the water or stock, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons sriracha, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1 teaspoon honey, and salt to taste. Cook the way you would normally cook rice or quinoa. Cool and set aside.

Heat a large deep-sided skillet or wok to high heat and add the oil, onions, carrots, peppers, fennel bulb, and cabbage. Cook until the vegetables wilt and start to brown. Add the spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, raisins, and garlic. Cook until all the vegetables are wilted and add the chickpeas and the remaining seasonings and spices except for the basil. Deglaze the pan or wok with the vinegar and add the nuts and the coconut. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Add the basil and then stir in the rice or quinoa one cupful at a time so that the grains are coated with the seasoning. Stir continuously until all the rice is added and remove from heat. Serve hot with a side of yogurt or sour cream and flatbread.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Slither By Valarie Savage Kinney!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Valarie Kinney in my APC spotlight, today! Valarie is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her supernatural, thriller, paranormal romance, horror novel, Slither, looks great! Here's the description:
We're often told tales of the underworlds to feed the darkest corners of our nightmares. We tuck them away with the sunlight and laugh away the fear our minds created. But the daylight offers no relief for Zari. She's hidden her waking nightmare as nothing more than a damaged past. The venom of her secrets consumes her, as well as those she cares for most. Emmett, the love of her life and the only one with a past dark enough to respect her space, becomes a pawn in the war against the demonic force which is her bloodright. Can Zari overpower those out to get her to feed on the innocent? Can she save Emmett from the evil of Slither?
 If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)