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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cheesy Brussel Sprouts #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is a really simple recipe that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. Enjoy! :-)

4 cups brussel sprouts
2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese grated
6 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the brussel sprouts in salted water until just slightly tender. Drain the sprouts and place them on a baking tray. Smash the sprouts into disks using a spatula or the bottom of a cup. In a bowl, mix together the cheeses, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the sprouts and then sprinkle the garlic on them. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top of the sprouts and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until cheese browns. Serve warm with a side of crusty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Small Actions; Big Results?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today's post will be pretty short. I just want to make a suggestion for all of you to consider. At least, those of you who live in the US might want to consider it. For those of you who live outside the US, you might want to take a look at your own country's laws and find one or more that you think are worth keeping at the back of your mind.

Last year and again a few weeks ago, I took it upon myself to print out several copies of the First Amendment, laminated them using those peel and stick laminating kits you can get anywhere stationary supplies are sold, and sent one to each of my elected representatives -- local, state, and federal. With these cards, I included a short note explaining that, especially with all the attacks on the First Amendment recently, I wanted them to have the opportunity to read it and reflect on why our Founding Fathers thought these rights were so important that they listed them before all the other rights protected in the Bill of Rights.

I have no idea if doing this had any impact on any of those individuals, or even if the cards made it into the hands of the representatives, themselves, or just their office staff. But, I figure, with so many people making so much noise over a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, it was important to remind my elected representatives about what the First Amendment says and why it was written first. After all, if someone holds a public office, they have sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution. It just makes sense for them to think about what's in that Constitution, from time to time.

So, my suggestion to you is that you all do the same. Again, I don't know that doing so will do much, if any, good. But I'm pretty sure it won't do any harm, either, and it doesn't take much time or effort to do. And, after all, who knows where the ripples from this small act might end up? For your convenience, I've pasted the text of the First Amendment below, so all you need to do is copy it.  Of course, if you wanted to take a few moments to read and reflect on it, as well, that would be perfectly fine, too. Peace!

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Actually, there are two videos. They're about the swamp creatures currently inhabiting the White House, and I'm pretty much just going to let the videos speak for themselves. Peace!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Innocent Retribution By Jack Kregas!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Jack Kregas in my APC spotlight, today! Jack is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his action/adventure, mystery, suspense, crime thriller novel, Innocent Retribution, looks great! Here's the description:
The novel Mystical Glasses, tells the story of Joey Moretti as a young man departing New York City in harrowing circumstances and in his fifties becoming an accidental hero after finding the mystical glasses. This interquel fills the gap of the missing years.
This encounter finds Joey as a lost soul wandering aimlessly through the Western United States until a life changing meeting with Coyote, a Native American. It brings changes to his life that rekindles his spirit, bestows him with love, peace, and fulfillment, invigorating Joey to a level he never dreamed possible.

Circumstances bring him in contact with the unscrupulous Alex, a re-connection with the Moretti family’s expanding empire, and an unimaginable event, which combine to deal a blow few men could withstand.

Joey Moretti becomes the face of Innocent Retribution.
 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! :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 768

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 Seven-Hundred-Sixty-Eight:
Though he refuses to communicate to me the specific cause(s) of his disturbance, the adolescent felid seems to have made a full recovery and is once again his usual, irritating self. After my previous entry, I kept a close watch on the small pest for several hours, though he did little but sleep during that time. I did notice an uncharacteristic urge on his part for close physical contact with my person. And, after several futile attempts to maintain some distance between us, I gave in to his inexplicable need wallow against me. Perhaps he was simply attempting to replace the stench of the healing facility with my own, clearly superior scent.

After his extended nap, during which time the effects of the drugs that had been administered to him apparently abated, my young compatriot indulged himself by meticulously bathing every last inch of his body. A measure I can only imagine was a further effort to divest himself of the reek of terror and disinfectants. The areas of his person where the fur had been removed to enable access to the wounds beneath seemed to be of particular concern to him. However, after a thorough inspection of the areas, he seemed to resign himself to the temporary disfigurement and regained his normal aplomb.

Once his grooming ritual was completed to his satisfaction, the annoying beast went to our food bowls where he proceeded to eat nearly half his weight in the dry pellets my hominid-servant leaves out for us. For her part, my hominid-servant merely looked at him as he ate and stated that she was gratified that he had recovered from his ordeal sufficiently to allow his appetite to surface. She did, however, assume a seated position so as to allow him to recline on her lap, which enabled him to add her scent to the layers of fragrances he was attempting to bury the odor the healing place under. But he soon settled down and since then has been the annoying creature I have become accustomed to.

All hail the recuperative powers of felids! ;-) 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, June 19, 2018

Can The Pressure From Below Overcome The Pressure From Above?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got a little more of Alyce's adventure to share with you, today! Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"So the pressure your people put on your government worked," observed Squid-boy.

I nodded. "And that's not the only recent example. There's also gun control."

"What's that?" asked Yax.

I sighed. "There are some people in our society who don't want there to be any restrictions on who is allowed to own guns or what types of guns civilians are allowed to own."

"That sounds unreasonable. Why would they make such an argument?"

"Because of a misinterpretation, which I often think is deliberate, of something written by the people who initially formed our government."

"I don't understand."

I felt a headache building again and rubbed the back of my neck. "When the United States was formed, the people who wrote our Constitution also wrote a list of amendments to our Constitution called the Bill of Rights. The second of those amendments was about the arming of militias."

"Militias?" said Squid-boy.

"Yes. At the time, my country was too new and poor to be able to afford to have a professional standing army. So, the way defense was organized was for individual states, and even local communities, to organize a way to call people to arms if they were needed to defend against a threat. And, so that those militias would have the necessary arms to call upon, the second amendment was written, which guarantees the right of people to have guns in order to serve as part of a well-regulated militia. To defend the country."

"But you do have a professional military."

I snorted. "Sugar, we have the largest professional military the planet Earth has ever seen in all of human history. A lot can change in more than 200 years. We even have a militia; it's called the National Guard."

"So then how does this amendment apply to guns in your current day society?" asked Yax.

"As I said, a misinterpretation."

"How is it being misinterpreted that would make some of your people think that there should be no rules about who can own weapons or what types of weapons non-military personnel should be allowed access to? That seems extreme, to say the least."

"Well, some people claim that the militias mentioned in the second amendment were intended by the people who wrote it to mean militias that would be available if our own government overstepped its authority and needed to be removed by force."

"Is that what it meant?" asked Squid-boy.

I shrugged. "Honestly? I don't know. It's possible. The amendment itself doesn't say anything about that, but there are other writings by the people who founded our government to suggest that at least some of them felt that way. Those writings aren't part of our legal code, but they do exist. And the people who wrote our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were revolutionaries who had fought a war to overthrow the government that had ruled over them, so it would be entirely within their character to worry about governmental excess. But, again, none of those writings were included in the legal code they wrote, only in their personal correspondence."

"But, if that's what they intended, even if they failed to explicitly state it, would that give credence to the argument being used by those in your society, now, who seek to keep your government from regulating weapons?"

I shook my head. "No. For a couple of reasons. First, even if that's what the founders meant, there's still the fact that they stipulated that guns be kept for the purpose of a well-regulated militia. Which means that being part of a militia is necessary, which most people who own guns aren't, and that the militia can and should be regulated. And part of regulation is defining who can safely be allowed access to guns and what guns are appropriate for non-military members."

"And, second, and most importantly, as I said before, a lot can change in more than 200 years. At the time the Bill of Rights was written, it was realistic to think that a citizens' militia possessing only small arms would have a chance to prevail over a professional army if the members of the militia were dedicated enough and had enough support from the populace. That's no longer the case. The advancements in weapons technology mean that, no matter how many guns regular people have or what kind of guns they are, they'll never be able to mount an effective defense against missiles launched from hundreds of miles away or bombs dropped from the sky by unmanned drones or poisonous chemicals deployed in clouds of gas or dozens of other weapons that a professional military run by a government has that a civilian militia will never have."

"So, these people you're talking about seek to rectify the problems in your society through armed insurrection?" asked Yax.

I sighed. "There are some crazies who think that way, yeah. Other people just think it's fun to play with guns. And there are other people who just want to bully people they don't like and think having guns will garner them respect they haven't earned."

"But there are people in your society who are seeking to ban guns?" asked Squid-boy.

I rolled my eyes. "No. And now you sound like the gun nuts."

"Then how does the recent increase in civil unrest apply to this issue?"

"Because there are people who are trying to get legislation passed that will regulate guns in sensible ways."

"Why not ban them, altogether?" asked Yax. "If they have caused enough trouble in your society that people feel the need to protest them, why have them at all?"

"Because the people who are protesting are generally reasonable people who just want to decrease the number of mass shootings that take place on a regular basis in public places in our country. And that can be achieved by regulating the types of guns that can be owned by civilians as well as doing a better job of making sure those who will use guns to harm others aren't able to get access to guns."

"But wouldn't it be simpler to get rid of guns completely?" asked Squid-boy.

"No. Because some people need guns to protect themselves and their livestock against predation by wild animals, or to hunt animals for food, or any number of other legitimate reasons a person might need a gun. And most of the people who have protested for better gun control laws are aware of those reasons."

"And their efforts have been successful?"

I wagged my hand back and forth. "A little. Remember when I compared our current situation to boiling water? Well, there's a lot of pressure being exerted by the corporations that manufacture guns to keep better laws from being passed. They don't seem to care how many people are murdered, so long as they keep making money. And they use quite a bit of that money so that their lobbyists can influence politicians through campaign donations."

"The corruption you talked about, before," murmured Yax.

"Yep. But the marches and other political pressure that the people who want better gun control legislation passed is starting to be strong enough to push back against the gun lobby. There have been some laws passed, at the state and local level, to try to help regulate guns more effectively. And even some politicians at the national level are starting to talk about it, which is more than they've done in the past."

"But will it work? In the final analysis, will these groups that are marching and advocating for change achieve their goals?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. What's happening now is just a start, not a finish. A lot can, and I'm sure will, happen before anything is really decided. Like I said before, we'll have to wait and see what happens."

Monday, June 18, 2018

#June2018 #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 Watchmage of Old New York by C. A. Sanders: 

Nathaniel Hood is a good man who raised a good son, Jonas. Both men have dedicated their lives to protecting others, though their spheres of influence differ greatly. When a baby is kidnapped and Jonas is brutally attacked by the supernatural creatures Nathaniel is charged with controlling and disciplining, father and son find themselves working together to solve the crime.

As a former New Yorker, I loved this story. I found myself comparing my recollections of The City with the descriptions in the book and, at times, trying to decide if my memory was at fault or if the differences were due to the changes that have happened since the 19th century. Still, it was a fun mental exercise and an enjoyable trip down memory lane. The descriptions in the book were vivid; I could almost smell the tang in the air that is distinctly New York.

It's also clear that the author has done his research, both into the history of New York City and its neighborhoods and into the mythology he used to create his fantasy creatures. I'm not sure if this book should be classified as urban fantasy or steampunk or something in between, but whatever it is, it's a fantastic read and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series!