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, March 29, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 519


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 Five-Hundred-Nineteen:
The infant felid seems to have developed a penchant for gathering the ceremonial objects that my hominid-servant periodically presents to me and placing them underneath and behind various pieces of furniture. I'm not entirely certain what his motivation is for engaging in such behavior. At first, I thought he might be attempting to train my hominid-servant to retrieve the objects upon command. I could have told him that such an endeavor was pointless. My hominid-servant is rather stubborn when it comes to such training, and will only deign to comply sporadically.

However, even after the tiny beast seemed to realize that, when it comes to my hominid-servant, training efforts are best reserved for matters of true importance, such as food, he continued his ceremonial object-hiding efforts. Perhaps he believes that someone may attempt to abscond with the objects? Since the value of the objects remains unclear to me, I am not certain why anyone would wish to pilfer them. I will continue to observe and see if I can better discern the reason for the creature's actions.


Hmmm.. Infant felids can certainly engage in pretty bizarre behavior, at times. Perhaps, Agent Thoth will be able to solve the mystery. ;-) 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, March 28, 2017

Stay On Target!



Hey Everyone! :-)

Remember that line from the first Star Wars movie? It was at the end when the Rebels were fighting the Death Star. One of the pilots was concerned because Imperial fighters were chasing them, but the squadron leader urged them all to, "Stay on target. Stay on target!"  That admonition resulted in the death of the pilot who tried to give warning, but it ultimately led to the Rebels winning a victory.  In other words, remaining focused on the goal of the mission allowed the Rebel Alliance to survive.  If the x-wing pilots had abandoned their objective and run from the Imperial fighters, they might have lived. But the Rebel Alliance, and the last hope for the galaxy, would have been exterminated that day.

So, what's up with the Star Wars analysis?  Well, it seems to me that it makes an excellent metaphor for the Democratic Party, right now.  Progressives are the Rebels and the establishment Democrats are the evil, Imperial forces who are trying to silence us.  If we're going to prevail against our enemy, we need to keep the things that matter in our sights and not allow ourselves to be distracted by less urgent issues.

That's a challenge, I know. The Democratic establishment is so good at creating distractions, after all. Just look at Hillary Clinton's campaign. According to a study that was recently published in The Forum, A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, only 25% of her campaign ads focused on policy issues.(1)  The rest were character attacks against Trump and empty platitudes.  And losing the election, apparently, hasn't taught the Democrats anything. Rather than refocusing on the things American citizens care about -- healthcare, income inequality, infrastructure, etc -- they have decided to focus all their efforts on Russia, Russia, Russia.

Why would they do that when such tactics lost them the election? Because establishment Democrats are far more afraid of losing control of the party to Progressives than they are of losing control of the country to Republicans. Why? Because many of the establishment Democrats have financial ties to the lobbyist groups and campaign consulting corporations that profit off the Democratic Party.  If Progressives gain control of the party, they will be out of a job. But if they just lose elections to Republicans, they get to keep sucking on that sweet, sweet corporate tit.

See, that's what they're trying to distract us from. When the DNC elected a new chair, they chose Tom Perez, an establishment pick with ties to corporate lobbying firms. They also voted against banning corporate lobbyist donations and even struck down the limited ban that Obama had instituted.  Since then, Perez has created a transition team that consists almost exclusively of establishment Democrats with ties to lobbyist and consulting firms.  Not exactly the actions of a party interested in learning from past mistakes, are they?

Of course, these establishment Democrats can't afford to have people pay too much attention to their blatant corruption, so they needed to come up with something to keep us occupied. Trump's supposed connections with the Russians are what they chose. Because if they can keep us all focused on the big, talking head, maybe we won't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

Are their accusations regarding Trump and the Russians true? I don't know. As I've said in previous posts, that's something that needs to be investigated. But, in some ways, it doesn't matter if the connection between Trump and Russia is real or not. The Imperial fighters were real, but they weren't the biggest threat at that time. The larger issue, the issue that the Rebel pilots needed to focus on, was the Death Star.  And the biggest threat to Americans at this time isn't whether Trump has connections to Russia, it's whether or not there are any viable alternatives to Trump during the next election.

Because, like it or not, the American people will not vote for an establishment Democrat in numbers large enough to defeat Trump. Don't believe me? Just look at the most recent poll on the relative popularity of Trump vs. the Democratic Party. Right now, Trump has a 45% favorable rating and a 47% unfavorable rating.(2)  Pretty bad for a President who just took office, right?  Well, compare those numbers to the numbers for the Democratic party. According to the same poll, the Democratic Party has a 36% favorable and a 52% unfavorable rating.(2) Scared yet? I am, and it's not of the Russians.

But that isn't to say that Americans aren't in favor of Progressive values.  According to an aggregate of polls, Bernie Sanders has a 56.1% favorable rating and a 31.7% unfavorable rating, at the time I'm writing this.(3)  Think about that. Bernie Sanders is 20% more popular and 20% less unpopular than the Democratic Party. Why?  Because, for the last forty years, Bernie Sanders has done nothing except advocate for income equality, an end to foreign wars, workers' rights, civil rights, universal healthcare, and freedom and fairness for regular Americans. And, for some reason, regular Americans respond to that message.

So, what does this mean? It means we need to "stay on target" and not let ourselves be distracted by the establishment's slight-of-hand. It means we need to focus on the things that really matter, not the distractions that those in power want us to attend to. It means we acknowledge that, yeah, the Russians might be a problem. But they aren't the biggest or most urgent problem. And, yes, I know, the Democrats are hardly the only ones who use such tactics. When Trump wants to distract us from the fact that he's defunding Meals on Wheels and Sesame Street, he sends an asinine tweet to Snoop Dogg.

But that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. We need to ignore that tweet, as obnoxious as it may be, and focus on the issues that matter. We need to hold Trump accountable for defunding safety net programs. But, more importantly even then taking Trump to task, we need to force the Democrats to present a viable alternative. Because, as has already been proven, Americans aren't going to vote for "not Trump" or "not Republican."

We need to have something to vote for, not against.  Rather than candidates who yell, "Squirrel!" and point at Russia, we need candidates like Bernie Sanders, who will fight for a living minimum wage, Medicare for all, sensible regulations on industry and Wall Street, a tax structure that makes corporations pay their fair share, an end to the military/industrial complex's control of the US government, public funding of higher education, protection of unions and workers' rights, getting corporate money out of politics, the fair and equal treatment of all US citizens, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc, and all the other real issues that real people care about because their lives are directly affected by them. The numbers are in and these are issues that American citizens will fight for and will vote for. We just need political candidates who will do the same, which means we need to put an end to establishment control of the Democratic Party.

It's time to shut down the giant, talking head, yank back the curtain, and tell that man he's out of a job. Otherwise, come 2018 and 2020, the American voters aren't going to find anything but the same smoke and mirrors they rejected before. If the Democrats won't offer them something real, who do you think they'll vote for?  I don't know about you, but I find that prospect much more frightening than the Russians.


References:

1. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/for.2016.14.issue-4/for-2016-0040/for-2016-0040.xml?format=INT

2. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/king-democratic-party-doesn-unpopular-article-1.2993659

3. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/bernie-sanders-favorable-rating




Monday, March 27, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  With all the hoopla in recent weeks, a lot of things seems to fall through the cracks. I wanted to share this video about something you might have missed, but I think is pretty important.





Sunday, March 26, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: The Rite Of Wands By #Debut #Author Mackenzie Flohr!



Genre: YA magical fantasy

Book Description: THE RITE OF WANDS by Mackenzie Flohr

One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever

And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.

Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.

But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.



Excerpt
“Mierta!” Mortain shouted at the top of the stairs, hearing nothing but his own voice echo. Watching smoke drifting out of the open doorway, Mortain took in a deep breath and tried to slow down his heart. The aroma of acrid chemicals and burning flesh filled his nose.

“Mierta!” he shouted again. “Son, you all right?” He listened, hearing nothing more than what sounded like gasping breaths.

“Father,” Mierta mouthed in response to Mortain’s calls, unable to produce any sounds as he dropped to one knee. His heart was pounding. Each pulse matched the ache he felt in his temples. A deep burning pain seared through his chest every time he took a breath. It was like he was slowly being strangled and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The inside of his nose felt charred and his throat felt like he was swallowing tacks. He blinked, his eyesight blurring, the pain beginning to overwhelm him. Nausea built in his throat and droplets of sweat slid down the side of his face. He wished he could do anything to end the torture. He could not imagine dying would be much worse.

Mierta attempted to stand and tried to get away from the workbench. He managed a few staggering steps before his body was drained of all energy. He watched puffy white circling clouds fill his vision before everything was replaced by darkness.

Mortain felt his stomach drop at the sound of something breaking. “Mierta!” he screamed, racing down the stairs. “Mierta, answer me!”

When he reached the bottom, Mortain abruptly stopped, taking in the horrific scene before him. His son was unconscious; lying sprawled out on his back. What remained of a small culture tube lay shattered next to him, and chemicals dripping from a workbench bubbled and fizzled as they made contact with the hardwood floor.

Acidum salis, he thought, his eyes widening.

Mortain raised his arm to his mouth, careful to not inhale any of the smoke that was filling the room. He trembled as he came closer, observing the damage that had been done to the left side of his son’s face.

The skin was mostly raw red with patches of peeling burned black skin hanging off his face. Blood was seeping from some of the deep crevasses caused by the acid. Most of the damage was confined to the cheek and jaw area. His eye was spared any damage.

“Oh, my dear Lord,” he uttered, fear filling his heart. “My poor boy! What have I done?”


About the Author

Mackenzie Flohr grew up in the heartland of America, chasing leprechauns and rainbows and dreaming of angels. Her parents nurtured a love of fantasy and make-believe by introducing her at a very young age to the artistic and cultural opportunities that the city of Cleveland had to offer.

From the time she could hold a pencil, Mackenzie was already creating pictorial interpretations of classic stories, and by the age of nine, she and a childhood friend were authors and reviewers of their own picture books.

While following her love of adventure, Mackenzie found a second home, the Beck Center for the Arts Children's and Teen Theater School. It was there that a world of wonder was only a script and a performance away.

Yet it wasn't until she was on a trip to Indiana, viewing a Lord of the Rings exhibit, that the innermost desire of her heart became clear to her. She wanted to write a fantasy of her own, one that could inspire imagination in others and lead them into a magical world of their own making. She hopes The Rite Of Wands will do just that.


How to find Mackenzie Flohr

Email - mackenzie@mackenzieflohr.com

Author page at publisher -http://www.bhcauthors.com/Books_Flohr_Rite_of_Wands.html

FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/MackenzieFlohrAuthor

Twitter - https://www.twitter.com/mackenzieflohr

Website – http://www.mackenzieflohr.com/






Saturday, March 25, 2017

Something #Wicked This Way Comes...


Hey Everyone!! :-)

As I've said in the past, I intend to make my Spellbound Hearts series available in both print and audio book formats, but I want to polish them up first. This is something I've been working on, slowly, and the other day I was going back through Taken By The Huntsman. As I was rereading part of it, I thought it might be fun to remind everyone just why the Wild Hunt is considered so fearsome by the Fae. Take a peek at Jillian's thoughts as she waits to meet the Erlking for the first time. ;-)

Excerpt from Taken By The Huntsman:
Jillian knew that the Hunt counted among its members some of the most violent Fae, such as the Harpies, and some ancient, faded deities, such as the Morrigan. But she also knew that there were other horrors within the Hunt. There was Ionhar, the Erlking’s second in command and a member of the fearsome race of Spriggans, who were a plague upon the roads of Fairie.

Ionhar was known to have been forced into becoming part of the Hunt after interfering when the Erlking slew his band of highwaymen. Because his service to the Hunt was not voluntary, any failure on his part to follow the Erlking’s instructions would result in a long and painful punishment. With that in mind, Ionhar was always extremely careful to be thorough in carrying out his duties. Which boded ill for anyone whom the Erlking had a reason to dislike.

The odd female Fae who had once been known as Jenny Green-Teeth was also a part of the Hunt. She had always been a lone Fae, and at one time she lured thirsty travelers to their deaths by promising them a drink of water and then drowning them in the water source she brought them to. Jillian didn’t know how such a Fae could fit into the goddess’s plan. But, apparently, she had somehow pleased the goddess, because she had later been granted additional powers. Before Jillian had been born, Jenny Green-Teeth had gained the ability to cause and control storms and had been renamed the Storm Hag. All of Fairie knew the story of the drowning Fae’s elevation, but no one was quite sure how she had become part of the Wild Hunt. One thing was certain, though, she served the Erlking loyally.

There were also the Fachan. Those Fae were actually members of the Winter Court, but several individuals had made themselves famous by joining the Hunt. They were horribly ugly Fae, whose looks were said to be enough to cause a grown male’s heart to freeze in his chest. Their entire bodies were covered in fur, and they had only one eye, one arm and hand, and one leg and foot arranged along the center of their bodies. They had large, bat-like wings on their backs, which were their only method of locomotion. The tops of their heads were one enormous mouth, which was filled with venomous fangs and a razor sharp tongue.

All of these terrifying creatures, and so many more, answered to the Erlking. He also had the Jacks-In-Irons guarding his walls, and the Virikas to give his enemies to. If Ithel’s actions should bring the Erlking’s wrath down on the Summer Court, Jillian's people would be lost. She knew it was imperative that she do everything in her power to make it clear that the fault lay with only one Fae, and not the whole kingdom. Her mistress, Briallen, loved Ithel dearly, and for her sake Jillian would try to make some attempt to gain mercy for the Summer king. But, in the final analysis, the fate of that male was of small concern when weighed against the welfare of the rest of the kingdom. Jillian hoped the Erlking would see her soon, before her imagination sapped all of her courage.


If you haven't read Taken By The Huntsman, and you'd like to get to know all these Fae a little better, why not grab your copy now? After all, who doesn't love a fairy tale? ;-)





Friday, March 24, 2017

#March2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I know I'm about a week late, sorry about that, but I've got my monthly #IndieBooksBeSeen indie author book review for you today! Enjoy! :-)


Carved Wooden Heart by Elizabeth Horton-Newton:

Daniella is a young woman just beginning to find her way in life. Jesse is an artist haunted by personal demons. When Dani's work brings them together, a brief interval of passion leads to feelings deep enough to last a lifetime. But fate is a fickle thing, and a series of chance events soon forces them apart. But, sometimes, seemingly harmless actions can have lasting consequences, and life doesn't always lead us along the road we thought it would.
I enjoyed this book. It's a contemporary romance that reminded me of the style of an Olivia Goldsmith novel. As a transplanted New Yorker, myself, I found the Manhattan setting nostalgic. The description of the scenes was detailed enough that I could almost smell the street-cart food and hear the taxi horns blaring. The characters are interesting and complex enough to keep you interested in their stories. And the love scenes are hot enough to keep romance fans happy. All-in-all, a fun story. Five stars.




Thursday, March 23, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Pleasantwick By M.L. Stoughton!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got M.L. Stoughton in my APC spotlight, today!  M.L. is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her coming of age, sci-fi, fantasy novel, Pleasantwick, looks like a fun read. Here's the description:
When her father begins restoring an enormous, ancient run-down house in the middle of the California woods, Melinda Richards is instantly captivated. Steeped in mystery, the grand old structure, dubbed Sotheby House, boasts a history — and power — that Melinda would never guess. She’s lured back time and again, especially after meeting a handsome stranger in the nearby woods. Strong, soothing, charming … Luke makes her feel calm and excited all at once, and it’s not long before Melinda is spending every spare moment with the mysterious young man.
Luke Sotheby is in trouble — in more ways than one. Not only is his magical world, Pleasantwick, under attack by dark witches, but his ancestral home, the very portal to that world, has been bought by a commoner. And worse … he’s falling for the commoner’s daughter. Melinda is smart, sweet, brave. She makes him feel things he’s never experienced — and for an empath, that’s really saying something. At a time when all his energy should be focused on the preservation of his home and the safety of his people, Luke is drawn to Melinda on a soul-deep level that’s impossible to ignore.
As the magical battle spills over into the common world, the young couple begins to face dangers the likes of which neither has ever known. Lives will be lost, secrets revealed, and if Pleasantwick falls, Melinda and Luke could be separated — forever.
If you think this sounds like a story you'd enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


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