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

Monday, November 30, 2015

#NewRelease #Captivated By The #Winter #King #Now #Available!!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's finally here!!! :-)  Captivated By The Winter King is out and available for download!!! :-)  You can find it at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble: 

I'm so grateful for all of your encouragement and support, and I really, really, really hope you like this newest installment in my Spellbound Hearts series!!  Please consider leaving a review so I'll know what you liked and what you thought needed improvement! :-)  You readers are my favorite people in the whole world, and you make writing a joy.  So, thank you!! :-)  To help show my appreciation, I've posted the first chapter of Captivated By The Winter King below.  Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone, and happy reading!!! :-)

***Trigger warning:  The following excerpt contains material that may be disturbing for some readers.  If depictions of domestic abuse upset you, this may not be the story for you.

Captivated By The Winter King: Chapter One:
Rain poured from the sky making a steady drumming sound against the car. Kate listened as the patter of the raindrops harmonized with the swish-swish of the windshield wipers as they fought a valiant battle to keep the glass clear enough to see through. The white noise the combination made was a perfect accompaniment to the static that filled her mind. She wasn't sure, but she thought she might be in shock and she pondered that possibility in a desultory manner.

The air outside was hot and humid, but Kate had turned the air conditioning in the car up all the way, causing everything to feel cool and clammy. She shivered. It wasn't even the honest chill of winter, but instead a sticky, moist dankness that seemed to settle into her bones yet still left her skin and throat dry. But she was grateful that the junker of a car at least had a functioning air conditioner. Kate hated hot weather.

She had never wanted to leave the northeast to spend the winter in Florida. That was Erik's idea. Predictably, her mother had agreed with him and pressured Kate into making the trip. Agatha Graham was always in favor of anything that might move Kate and Erik closer to matrimony.

Tears filled Kate's pale gray eyes as she thought about her now ex-fiance. He was a beautiful man, who seemed to have been painted in shades of gold. Even at thirty-seven, his hair remained a lovely dark blonde. His hairline started just a few inches above his eyebrows and showed no signs of thinning. He wore his short tresses slicked back in a shiny business-appropriate style that created the illusion that he wore a golden helmet. A large man, with a powerful build, there wasn't an ounce of fat on his frame. At six foot two, his height topped even her own impressive five feet eleven inches. His eyes were a warm chocolate brown, but it had been quite some time since she had seen him look at her with anything but coldness in them.

For years, she had tried to make things work between them. Not because she loved him or thought he loved her, but because her mother was so determined to see them together. She could hear Agatha's voice in her head even now. "Smile, dear, and think about how comfortable your life will be with him. He's a good provider, and will give you a position in society. A woman can put up with a lot to gain that."

Fighting back both the moisture in her eyes and the echoes of her mother's words, Kate tried to figure out where she should go and what she was going to do for money. She would be okay for a while, her Nana had left her an inheritance when she died and Kate had kept that money safe in a bank account that Erik didn't know about. But it wouldn't be long before she would need to find a job, and she had no idea how to go about doing that.

Her mother had pushed Kate at Erik since just after she graduated from high school. Kate had managed to evade her mother's matchmaking efforts long enough to start college, but by the time she finished her Junior year the combined pressure from Erik and Agatha had convinced her to drop out of school and focus her attention on pleasing her fiance. Not that she had ever succeeded in making him happy. So, Kate never started her Senior year and had failed to earn a degree.

With no degree or work experience, she was at a loss as to how to find a job that would pay enough for her to live on. Going back to school might be an option, but she had no idea how to find out if any of the classes she had already completed could be used in a new program or how long it might take to finish a degree. Kate knew her situation wasn't unique, lots of women had been abused by their husbands or boyfriends, and most didn’t have a safety net like what her Nana left her. But she had never before realized how dependent she was on Erik and her mother.

At thirty-two years old, Kate had never lived on her own. She had never needed to find an apartment, arrange for utility services, find or hold a job, or do any of the other things most adults took for granted. Even during her brief stint in college, she had stayed close to home and lived first with her mother, and then with Erik. One of her ex-fiance's favorite things to berate her with was her utter uselessness. And, to her shame, she couldn't argue with him.

Oh, she had done charity work, served on various committees for different organizations, and decorated and kept the homes that Erik had provided for them. In short, she had spent her time doing all the things women who belonged to rich, important men did. But, as her ex-fiance was fond of pointing out to her, none of that was worth a whole lot.

In all honesty, her biggest accomplishment in life was knowing how to shop. Even her mother, ever ready to aid her only daughter with well-directed criticism, admitted that Kate always had impeccable taste and an infallible eye for aesthetics. In spite of her impossible figure, and the frizzy, orange-red hair that defied hair dye and styling products, Kate always looked well-groomed and elegant. With an uncanny nose for classic style and timeless beauty, Kate could make even flea market finds fashionable. It was that saving grace that had allowed her to decorate a man like Erik's arm for the last twelve years.

But a talent for shopping, dressing, and decorating wouldn't put money in the bank or food on her table. At least, she couldn't see how it would, and she didn't have anyone to turn to for advice. Her mother wasn't an option. Agatha had made it clear on more than one occasion that if Kate didn't make things work with Erik, she would wash her hands of her.

It had been the older woman's life-long goal to improve her position within society, and to secure one for her daughter, and she had long ago decided that marrying Kate to Erik was the way to do it. After all, Erik's family connections were beyond reproach, coming as he did from old money. And the man himself was a successful, respected attorney who was a partner in a large, prestigious law firm. He was exactly what Agatha had been training Kate to attract and marry from the time the girl was a toddler.

Her mother meant well, Kate knew that, and she did what she did out of love. But sometimes her words cut deeper than any knife could reach. Kate was never pretty enough, demure enough, or feminine enough to please her mother. She had always been tall and slender for her age, and when she hit puberty things had only gotten worse. Taller than all the girls and most of the boys in her age group, Kate had been gawky and socially awkward as a teenager. Her mother would mock her, calling her beanpole and Olive Oil when she became frustrated with her daughter's angular frame. Agatha was forever trying to get Kate to pad her clothing and had even tried to convince her daughter to have surgery to enhance her figure. But it was Kate's height that was the final straw that caused her mother to give up changing her appearance as an impossible task.

Agatha considered Kate's looks mannish and beyond redemption, so instead she channeled her energy into molding her daughter's behavior. She insisted her only child's education focus on art, music, and deportment; and refused to allow Kate to study subjects like math or science, except the bare minimum required by law. As a result, Kate's skill at balancing a checkbook was far below her ability to arrange form and color to produce a final product that was pleasing to the eye.

No, her mother would not be at all sympathetic to Kate's plight, and could not be counted upon to provide assistance. As for friends, Kate had them once, but somehow they all seemed to drift away over the years. She knew why that was, and it was her own fault for allowing it. Erik had always been jealous of Kate's time. He worked long hours under stressful conditions and expected her to always be available to cater to his needs when he wanted her. That made keeping in touch with friends almost impossible.

Of course, that suited him just fine; he'd never liked any of her friends anyway. He preferred that she spend her time at home, taking care of their apartment and making sure everything was kept the way he liked it. It had always been his argument that he was devoted to her, and so he should be enough to satisfy all her needs.

To prove his commitment, he had proposed to her in lavish style a few years into their relationship; even though they had been living together for several years. She would never forget their engagement; it had warmed her many times when the realities of their life together left her cold. On her twenty-fifth birthday, he had surprised her with a date of fairytale splendor. The evening began with him picking her up from their apartment in a horse-drawn carriage and taking her to the fanciest restaurant in town. There, he ordered Dom Perignon and beluga caviar, followed by filet mignon, grilled white asparagus, and a delicate potato mousse. He spent the entire time making her feel as if she were the only person in his universe.

They had talked for hours, and he had complimented her both on her looks and on her opinions. She had never felt as beautiful, articulate, or special as she did on that night. After dessert, he pulled a black velvet box out of his coat pocket and got down on one knee before her. Every eye in the restaurant was on them as he explained how much he loved and cherished her and that it was his greatest wish that she would allow him the privilege of doing so for the rest of their lives. Then he had opened the box and revealed a flawless, emerald-cut diamond ring. He had slipped the jewelry onto the ring finger of her left hand as she sat before him speechless. The stone had covered her entire digit to the first knuckle.

The people in the ritzy establishment had applauded and even whistled as she forced her stunned muscles to work and nodded her head in an affirmative answer to his question. He stood, pulling her up with him, and gave her the most tender and passionate kiss she had ever experienced. They rode home together in the back of a luxurious limousine, necking and carrying on like two teenagers on their way home from the prom. When they had arrived at their apartment building, he actually carried her through the front door and into the elevator.

That night he made love to her as if she were the most precious thing on earth. She actually achieved orgasm, something she had never done with him before or since. When she awoke, she was convinced she had found the Prince Charming she would spend the rest of her life with. After he had left for work that morning, she called her mother and told her all about it. Agatha, of course, had been ecstatic and had pushed for a quick wedding date. But after seven years, one had never materialized.

After that one magical night, Erik had gone back to treating her as he always had. Except that over time his barbs got a little sharper and his demeanor a little chillier. There always seemed to be some condition she needed to meet before he would agree to set a wedding date. No matter what she did, it was never good enough. She was never good enough.

She had bowed to his pressure and followed her mother's advice for years, and things just kept getting worse and worse. With her friends long-gone, it had been easy for him to convince her to give up her charity endeavors one after another. After all, if she wanted to be his wife, she would need to keep her schedule open so that she would be available to meet his needs. Anytime she left their apartment, she would first need to gain approval from him for the errand and give him a precise timetable for when she would return. This was, of course, so that he would know where to reach her if he needed her.

Then there was sex. She grimaced just thinking about it. Sex was always to be available to Erik upon demand. If she even thought about refusing or making an excuse, he would treat her coldly for days afterward and threaten to find someone else to meet his needs. It might have been bearable had she enjoyed sex with him, but after the night of their proposal he had never gone to any trouble to see to her pleasure. As a result, sex became a chore, something she needed to endure long enough for him to slake his lust on her body. Even that might not have been so bad if he had just wanted a convenient hole to pump himself into, but he began insisting on things that she didn't want to do.

It started with him getting rougher and rougher with her. If she cried out in pain, it just excited him and spurred him to hurt her more. She was afraid to find out what would happen if she complained or told him to stop. But when he suggested asking another woman to join them, she had put her foot down and refused. The result had terrified her.

That was the first time she had told him "no" in a long time. A look of maniacal fury had filled his eyes, and he flew across the room to grab her. The first blow had surprised her, but she saw it when he drew his fist back to punch her again. She had tried to raise her arms to protect herself but, for all her height, Erik was much stronger than her. He spent several minutes pummeling her, and when he let her go she fell at his feet like a rag doll, sobbing out her fear and horror.

He had stood there looking at her for a few minutes, and then stormed from the room and out of the apartment. After a while, she had collected herself and made her painful way home to her mother. Agatha had taken one look at the bruises that covered her daughter's face and made an immediate trip to the nearest high-end department store. She returned with half the store's inventory of foundation and cover-up cosmetics and proceeded to instruct Kate on how to conceal the evidence of the beating. The remaining cosmetics were gifted to Kate in case they should be needed to cover any future beatings her fiance administered. Not once had her mother entertained the suggestion that Kate should leave Erik. Her social ambitions unaffected, Agatha had insisted her daughter return to her abuser immediately.

Hurt and not knowing what else to do, Kate had complied and returned to the apartment she shared with Erik. She never asked her mother for help again. Erik had been waiting for her when she arrived home. He met her with a gorgeous bouquet of roses, an expensive diamond tennis bracelet, and a sincere-sounding apology. Begging her forgiveness, he vowed he would never lay a hand on her in anger again.

Kate knew that wasn't true. She had seen the after-school specials and knew that people who abused their partners didn't stop unless they participated in serious therapy. And even that was no guarantee. Not that she would dare suggest that Erik see a shrink, she could imagine his reaction and it sent chills down her spine. But she had nowhere else to go. Not believing him, but feeling that she had no choice, Kate had forgiven him. Of course, that was only the first of many beatings.

For a while afterward, Erik had treated her better. He seemed to make an effort to restrain his temper and had acted as though her happiness mattered to him. Things were good, for a while, and she almost convinced herself that she was wrong. For a while, she thought that maybe, just maybe, he would be the exception. That he truly was sorry and would never hit her again. For a while.

But it wasn't all that long before she said something that again made him angry. Just like all the textbooks said, a cycle of him beating her and then apologizing and promising not to do it again repeated over and over. Each iteration of the cycle had a shorter cooling-off period, the beatings coming with greater frequency. Each time he blamed stress and pressure from work, and each time she forgave him because she didn't know what else to do.

In fact, one of the reasons for their trip to Florida had been so that he would have the opportunity to relax and feel less stressed out. He had told her he needed a vacation, and that the snow and dark skies of the northeast winter made him feel anxious and depressed. Some time off and fun in the sun was all he needed, he insisted, to recharge and get a better handle on his temper.

They had been in Florida for a little over a month, and he had beaten her three times. She had achieved an almost academic detachment, and found it interesting that his apologies had changed. In the past, when he apologized he had taken the blame and promised to change. Now, he was blaming her and suggesting ways for her to change. She became pretty sure it wouldn't be long before he killed her and had found it quite difficult to muster up any concern over the matter. Until the last beating.

The two of them were staying in a small cottage on the beach. Erik loved the sand and the surf, and the sun just gave his golden skin a little darker tone. Kate had the delicate, fair complexion that matched her fiery red hair, and her skin turned a shade to rival her tresses when she spent any time in the sun.

Kate had stayed behind while Erik went out to give his new boogie board a try. Her refusal to come and cheer him on had annoyed him, and she had thought it might be a good idea to do something to mitigate his anger. It occurred to her that if she made him his favorite dinner of scallops and linguini he might be appeased enough to let her lack of enthusiasm for sun worshiping go.

Leaving him a note about where she was going, just in case it took longer than she thought it would, Kate hurried to the market. She figured a quick trip to get the supplies she would need for such a meal, and she might, with luck, be back before he realized she had left. But she hadn't accounted for southern Florida traffic.

By the time she returned, he had been waiting for her for quite some time. As she entered the kitchen to put the groceries away, she noted the stiff, still way he sat in the living room. The television was on and he appeared to be watching some kind of sports game, but his jaw was clenched tight and a tick had started at the corner of his left eye. She knew she was in trouble, but had forged ahead with making the meal. Maybe the smell of the food cooking would help him calm down.

With the garlic, scallions, and mushrooms sizzling in a skillet with butter and olive oil, she set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. The scallops themselves would cook in almost no time, and the pasta was fresh and would take only a couple of minutes. If she timed it perfectly, everything would be done at just about the same time, and would be piping hot and delicious when she served it to him.

Just as she laid the scallops in the pan, he had come up behind her. She jumped when she turned to find him there, but quickly looked away from the icy rage in his eyes. "I'm making your favorite tonight," she had mumbled. "Scallops and linguini in a cream and butter sauce. If you go sit down, it should be ready in just a few minutes and I'll bring it to you."

He had moved closer, caging her against the counter with his body, and she shrank into herself and refused to meet his gaze. He raised one hand and held it, trembling, by her face. As if he intended to cup her cheek. But she knew better.

"Where were you, Kate?" he asked, his voice shaking with suppressed fury. "You weren't here when I got back. I thought you weren't feeling well enough to go out?"

"I-I-I," she stuttered. Swallowing, she forced herself to form coherent words. "I wanted to surprise you. I thought you would like it if I made your favorite dinner."

"You know how upset it makes me when I don't know where you are, Kate. You know I worry when I don't know how to find you." The volume of his voice increased with each sentence. "You know you're supposed to ask me before you go anywhere." He was almost yelling.

Gulping, Kate pointed to where the note still sat on the counter. "I left you a note. I just wanted to do something special for you."

In two strides, he went to snatch the note off of the counter and was back, forcing her to huddle against the counter. He crushed the paper in his fist. "You're so fucking stupid, Kate! I don't want a fucking note telling me where you are! I want you to have the fucking guts to tell me yourself!" he screamed into her face.

She had grimaced at the insult and the crude language. "I know, Erik, I'm sorry," she said, trying to pacify him. "I'll try to do better." A weak smile flashed across her face and she pointed at the pan that was still on the stove. "I need to turn the scallops over now, or they'll burn. You don't want your lovely dinner to burn. Why don't you go sit down and let me bring you something nice to eat?" she pleaded.

With a roar, he had flung the hot pan and boiling water across the room. Kate had screamed and tried to duck around him to run, but he had grabbed her and slung her to the floor. He kicked her in the ribs. "You stupid, fucking, cunt!" he screamed as he dragged her up and threw her against a wall.

Her head had bounced off of the wall when she hit it, and she had seen stars. She watched as his fist descended, and she had thought that he was finally going to do it. That this was the time when he would finally kill her. She didn't remember much after that until she woke up.

It was unusual for him to knock her out when he beat her. In general, he preferred when she was aware and terrified. As a result, she was a bit disoriented when she came to. She hadn't moved at first; she had only lain there on the floor and listened. Her whole body throbbed in a symphony of pain. She had breathed through her mouth, trying not to whimper, desperate to remain still and silent.

But Erik wasn't there. As she continued to strain her ears for any hint as to his location and mood, she became aware of a rushing sound. It took her a while, but she finally figured out it was just the sound of her own blood moving through her head. It was so quiet and still, that's all there was to hear.

Kate had realized that she had an opportunity, and she needed to take it. For some reason, this beating had shaken loose the apathy that had possessed her for years. She had believed that she was going to die and had realized that she didn't want to. For the first time since the horrible nightmare began, she felt the reality of the threat Erik posed to her and she was terrified. She wasn't ready to die yet! With a new resolve, she forced herself to get up off of the floor. It involved a lot of pain and suppressed cries but, determined, she made it to her feet.

She went to the bathroom and washed the blood from her face. Her features were distorted where the contusions Erik had inflicted were already swelling. She decided just to let the wounds show. She felt broken inside, it seemed appropriate for her appearance to match. Moving to the bedroom, she had dug a large suitcase out of the back of the closet.

For years, Kate had kept this suitcase packed, and she took it with her whenever she and Erik traveled. She had never opened it before, and he had never asked her about it. A fact for which she was grateful. In the suitcase were all the clothes she still had from before she moved in with Erik. Ever since she and Erik had started living together, he had paid for all her expenses, including her clothing. But the clothes in the suitcase were hers. She supposed, on some level, she must have been planning this for a long time.

One of the things that Erik liked to threaten her with anytime he thought she might leave, was that if she took any of the things he bought for her, he would have her arrested on charges of theft. With his connections in the legal community, she had little doubt he could follow through on his threat. But the contents of the suitcase hadn't been bought by him.

She had removed her torn, bloody clothing, and changed into some of the clothes that were in the suitcase. For the first time, she was glad she hadn't gained any weight since college. Her preference for classic, timeless garments also stood her in good stead. In spite of the fact that the clothing in the suitcase was over a decade old, it fit her perfectly and wouldn't stand out if she wore it in public.

After removing the engagement ring she had worn for seven years, she had left it on the top of the bureau in the bedroom. Then she gathered up a few other personal items that hadn't been purchased by Erik and called a cab. When the taxi arrived, she had the driver take her to an ATM where she withdrew $500 of the money that her Nana had left for her. It wasn't much to start a life on, but it was too late for the banks to be open and the ATM had a limit. She figured it would be enough to pay for the cab and rent a car so she could get as far away from Erik as possible.

The driver kept throwing furtive looks in the rear view mirror at the bruises that decorated her face, but he didn't say anything as he drove her to the car rental agency. The only such business in town that was still open at that late hour had a limited selection of available vehicles. In fact, there was only one, and there was little doubt as to why that particular car had yet to be rented out.

The gentleman who waited on her apologized for the lack of quality and offered to at least have their service mechanic go over the car when he arrived in the morning. Kate had informed him that she was in a hurry and would take whatever they had. Casting a quick glance at the wounds on her face before letting his eyes slide away, the man hadn't argued.

Which was how, she reflected, she had come to be driving in the pouring rain, on a deserted country road, at night, by herself. She had been afraid to take any of the main interstate highways. Not knowing where Erik had gone or when he might return, she didn't know how much time she had before he realized she was gone. Once he did, it seemed likely he would use his connections in law enforcement to have her detained. She didn't want to risk being found.

Before leaving town, she had stopped at an all-night convenience store to fill up the car's gas tank and buy some portable food and beverages. She had also purchased a map and found the road she was currently on. In theory, it would take her all the way to Georgia. It seemed like a serviceable enough road. Her only real problem with it was that the storm and the lack of streetlights resulted in a stygian effect that created the surreal illusion that she was the only person in the world.

It was funny because she had felt that way for quite some time, but it took a drive through the dark to make her realize it. Oh, Kate had read all the books. She knew the psychological theories behind domestic abuse. She knew that being able to isolate their victims was one of the key elements that abusers depended on. The texts always made it seem so cut and dried, with clean lines and clear edges, something easily defined, identified, and avoided. But the reality wasn't that simple.

The advice was always the same: leave. But it wasn't that easy to just pick up and leave one's whole life behind; to have nowhere to go and no idea how to get started with a plan. Even now, Kate didn't have a clue where she was heading. The only thought in her head when she had left was to get away. But get away to where? At the moment, all she knew was that she was heading north. She wanted to see the snow; she was tired of hot, sticky weather.

But she knew she couldn't go home to the apartment she had shared with Erik. She couldn't even risk going back to the same town. She didn't want him to find her. Seeking help from her mother was also out of the question. So she had followed the advice that all the experts gave to domestic abuse victims, she had left. But she had nowhere to go.

There were supposed to be agencies that would help women who were fleeing from abusers, but where were they? How did one go about making contact with such an agency? Who would she even ask? She couldn't go to the police. If she did, Erik would use that to track her down.

There had been many times when Kate had listened to other women sneer that they would never allow a man to hit them. That if any man ever tried, they would leave. That any woman who put up with such behavior was a fool. She might be a fool, she had certainly been told she was often enough, but Kate also knew it wasn't that simple. Being beaten for so many years had been terrible; it had been awful to always be afraid and have to tiptoe around Erik's moods. But at least it was the devil she knew. Now she was faced with the fear of the unknown.

Even with all that, Kate knew she was lucky. She had the money Nana had left her and she didn't have any children. She couldn't even imagine trying to make this trip with kids in tow. Women who managed to escape domestic abuse with their children were amazing, and true heroes. She had no idea how they did it. That kind of strength was beyond her.

The thoughts running around and around her head were driving her crazy. It was like having a rat in her brain that was gnawing to get out, and she couldn't bear to be alone with them anymore. She reached a trembling hand out to turn on the radio, hoping for something soft and soothing. Feeling lost in the darkness, she needed a message of hope.

Instead, the station the radio was tuned to was playing something loud and jarring. Dangerous sounding. She couldn't take it, and looked away from the road to change the channel. As she fiddled with the radio trying to find music that would help calm her, she kept flicking her eyes up to keep track of where she was going.

Suddenly, a cat appeared in the cone of illumination thrown out by the headlights. Kate had barely a second to register the half-drowned animal's presence before slamming on the brakes and praying that the car would stop in time. As she skidded across the wet road, one of the car's rear tires blew and she lost control. The vehicle careened off the edge of the pavement, and down an embankment into a patch of forest along the side of the road. Kate fought for control and tried to steer enough to avoid the trees, but the momentum of the car and gravity carried her deeper and deeper into the woods.

An enormous tree loomed large right in front of her, and Kate knew she would never avoid it. She threw her arms up over her face to protect her head and braced herself for the impact and the sound of shattering glass and shearing metal. It never came. Instead, the light from the headlights seemed to be swallowed up into a well of darkness, and the car started spinning. As the vehicle spiraled faster and faster, it made Kate dizzy and disoriented her even more. Pressure built in her head, and just when she thought her eyes were going to explode out of their sockets, her world seemed to shatter and everything went dark.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

#Introducing A #New #Cat :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

As I promised in my last Animal Rescuer's Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane post, I'm going to start posting some of the little animal-related writings I've collected over the years.  This one is about how to, peacefully, introduce a new cat if you have an older kitty who has their nose out of joint. :-)

Introducing A New Cat:
Put the new kitten/cat in a room all by himself away from your other cat, where your other cat can't get to him or see him or smell him (a towel rolled up blocking the space under the door helps). He'll need his own litter box, food, and water. Keep them completely separated for at least two weeks to give your cat time to calm down. Then, still keeping them separated, remove the towel and allow them to sniff each other and reach their paws under the door. Then switch their food bowls (I'm assuming you have already had them both tested for disease) and start feeding them in the other cat's food bowl (to help them associate the smell of the other cat with something good -- food). Also, you can switch their toys. Play with your cat with the same toys that the kitten has played with (again something good will smell like the new kitten/cat). They should still be in completely separate rooms at this point, with the door closed. After at least a week to two weeks of this you can slowly introduce them. Try to pick a neutral territory, some place that your cat hasn't claimed as her own (ie: if she has a favorite sleeping spot don't introduce them near that spot, don't introduce them near her food or litter box, etc.). Just put them both down in a room, not close to each other, and don't force them near each other. Your cat will probably still hiss and swat at the new kitten/cat, that's normal. She will also probably try to get away from him, climbing up on something tall or leaving the room. Don't force her near him. Just pay lots of attention to her and don't pay much attention to the new kitten/cat. Don't leave them together for too long, maybe fifteen minutes the first time, then half an hour, etc. Always make these introductions supervised, and then when you are done take the new kitten/cat back to his room, but don't spend a lot of time there with him. Go directly back to your cat and give her lots of attention. Give her lots of pets and love and talk to her, but basically ignore the new kitten/cat any time they are together. You can gradually extend the length of these visits and she should start to accept him eventually. They may never be best friends, but they should learn to tolerate each other. When your cat can ignore him consistently you will know that it is safe to leave them together permanently. Good luck! :-)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

#NewRelease!! #Reflections by K. Meador!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

K. Meador is joining us today to talk about her latest release, Reflections!! :-)  K., take it away! :-)

K. Meador:
Reflections is a sixteen-story devotional designed to draw yourself closer to God. Experience Him through each unique story, which will let you know He is alive and involved in your life. Reflections will help you cut through life’s distractions and rely on the one thing that is truly important – a relationship with God.
Reflections serves as a refreshing reminder of God’s love and grace during difficult times. The world wants you to place your trust in your circumstances, success, talents and opinions of others, but God has called you to rise above and put your full trust in Him – to believe and apply what He’s promised in His Word more than anything else.
Experience the life-changing power of God’s words as you journey through life assured that God is concerned about you.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

#AnimalRescue: In #Conclusion...

Hey Everyone!! :-)

If you've been with me since the beginning of this endeavor, thank you so much for sticking with me!!! :-)  Don't worry, you haven't heard the last from me on the topic of animal rescue.  I'll be digging through my archives and, on occasion, sharing with you some of the "instructions" I've come up with over the years having to do with dealing with various cat-related challenges. :-)

Animal Rescuer's Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane: Conclusion:
This guide was never meant to comprehensively or conclusively capture what it is to be an animal rescuer. It was intended rather to point out some of the more obvious and common pitfalls, and to describe some (not all) methods to avoid them.

Many people enter animal rescue with a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of preparation. These people are often taken by surprise by the realities of this calling. Animal rescue is an area that desperately needs more people, but these people need to be prepared for what they will face and have to deal with. The most common reason that people stop working in animal rescue is pure and simple burn out. Hopefully this guide will help some people prepare themselves so that they can last in this difficult but vital work.

There is, however, a lot more to be said on the subject. I truly hope that others will add to this writing, and that it will change, evolve, and continue to be relevant. Please, if you are reading this, feel free to add your own personal perspective and experiences in the comments below.

Since a lot of this guide is a bit pessimistic, I would like to leave you with some positive words. May whatever powers you believe in smile upon you, and may you find peace within yourself. Yours is a labor of love.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#Interview With TE Ridener!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

TE Ridener is joining us today to talk about her book 180 days.  TE, can you tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

TE:  Well, I just recently turned 30 years old (yay!) and I live in Southeastern Kentucky. I'm unmarried and I don't have any children of my own, but I treat my niece and nephew like my children. I have written about 22 books, but only 19 of them are published right now. I run a Christmas charity called Giftapalooza and we help gift children in need within the indie community. We welcome the children of authors, bloggers, and readers. Last year we raised $6,000 in gifts for these children to open on Christmas morning and it was awesome! I love helping people. It's something I'm really passionate about. But I also really love sharing my stories with folks, too. That's pretty much me in a nutshell.

Me:  Happy Birthday!! :-)  Sounds like you're a busy lady! What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

TE:  180 days is my latest release. I watched a movie on Netflix called 'Boy Meets Girl' and I knew going in that it was about a transgender girl, but what I didn't know was how much I would enjoy it. You can tell it's an indie movie, but the acting is tolerable and the storyline is really amazing. Plus, it took place in a small KY town and I am from a small KY town, so I instantly connected with it. After finishing the movie I got on Amazon and tried to find books just like it and I was disappointed at how very few there were, so I decided that needed to change. I love writing books about diverse characters. It wasn't long until Lydia captured my heart and I knew I had to get her story out there. I'm really proud of it.

Me:  I love stories that help bring some diversity to literature, I think I'll have to check yours out! :-)  What are you working on now?

TE:  Right now I am writing on the sequel and it's titled '90 Days'. It picks up just a few months later and it focuses more on the main character's sister and one of the main character's best friends. People loved the supporting characters so much they wanted to read more about them, so I decided it would make the perfect NaNoWriMo project. Of course, this one features a transmale and I am so excited to share things from his point of view. It's ultimately a romance, but I hope it can give support to those who need it and let them know they are loved. I also want it to spread awareness.

Me:  Sounds like a really amazing series!! :-) What authors, or books, have influenced you?

TE:  That list is long and ever changing! Authors I have always looked up to include Stephen King, Anne Rice, and R.L. Stine. They are definitely my top 3 and I read them as much as I could when I was little. Books that have influenced me include (and are not limited to) It by Stephen King, The Mating by Nicky Charles, That One Night by Josie Wright, and Once in Every Life by Kristin Hannah.

Me:  A scary story buff!! Wonderful! :-)  What are you reading now?

TE:   I tend not to read while I'm writing because I fear someone may inspire me /too/ much if you know what I mean. But when I catch a break here soon I plan on diving into Michael's Awakening by Jaclyn Osborn.

Me:  Ha! Yeah, I know what you mean. ;-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

TE:   They should expect a love story with lots of sweetness, some laughs, and tears. It's the tale of a girl who fought really hard to be herself and she has to fight for that every day.

Me:  Sounds like something many people can identify with. :-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

TE:   Sharing my worlds with others. Changing minds and changing hearts. Helping bring families and friends closer together. Believe it or not, that's happened a few times. I've had two sets of cousins bond after they talked about 180 Days and realized each was accepting of the trans community, which helped them open up about certain things in their lives. That is awesome and totally priceless in my opinion.

Me:  You're right, that is priceless!! :-)  Do you have a day job as well?

TE:   I design covers for my fellow authors. As far as a day job goes, that's it for me. I enjoy Photoshop just as much as anyone else enjoys video games or tv.

Me:  That's a great talent to have!! :-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

TE:   I think the hardest part for me is when I hit a wall. Sometimes I have to walk away for a few days and it literally makes me feel like I'm going insane. I love writing and get a little grouchy when I can't. It's sometimes also hard to believe in myself. We all experience self-doubt at some point, but I promise this is completely normal and you'll overcome it! The easiest part? For me there is no easy part, especially when it comes to saying goodbye to characters I've gotten attached to.

Me:  Yes, letting go of "friends" is always difficult.  What genre do you place your book in?

TE:   This particular book is a LGBT romance. I'd like to call it romance alone, but people like to get specific and I understand it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

Me:  True, but I agree with you, it sounds like a good, old-fashioned romance to me. :-)  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

TE:   Thank you for giving my books a chance. Without you, authors like me would practically be talking to ourselves. Keep reading. Keep getting lost in new worlds and falling in love with new characters. Life's too short not to read as much as you can.

Me:  Amen! :-)  Are there any links you'd like me to post?

TE:  Yes please! Here is the link to my author website, my FB page, my Twitter, and the buy links for 180 Days. Thank you! xx

Website: www.teridener.webs.com
FB: www.facebook.com/TERidener
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TE_Ridener
US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0161IZ6GC
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0161IZ6GC
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0161IZ6GC
AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0161IZ6GC

Me: You're quite welcome, TE, and thank you so much for joining us here today! :-)  Everyone else, thank you also for stopping by and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings!! :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#Knowledge Is #Power! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you've probably surmised that I like books! :-)  They can be a wonderful escape when they contain stories, but they are also a font of information.  Of course, books aren't the only source of information, and this post in my tongue-in-cheek Animal Rescuer's Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane is about the different types of information you might need and how to make sure you have it when you need it. :-)

Some Things You Need To Come To Terms With And/Or Remember:
Create a few different libraries. Maybe this should have been lumped in with coping strategies or resources, but it is so important that I wanted it to stand out.

First, you are going to need a reference library. This library is going to be a collection of books and websites about the animals you are caring for. These books and websites are going to contain information about the physical needs of your charges, how to train them, signs and symptoms of illness, how to deal with behavioral problems, etc. This type of library is essential, but it is probably also the easiest to obtain.  One caveat: make sure your sources are reliable ones.  However, as a rescuer you are going to need more than just a reference library, you are going to need at least three other kinds of libraries.

The first alternate library you are going to need is going to be written by you and it is going to be entirely practical and similar to a reference library. When people find out you have been in rescue for a while (or even if you just started) they are going to ask your advice about certain things. After a while you will start to notice patterns in that people will ask you the same kinds of questions over and over. The questions will vary depending on what type of animals you work with, but every type of animal has some issues that tend to come up over and over again.  For instance, with cats you get asked about litterbox issues and declawing a lot. Rather than come up with a unique response every time someone asks you these questions, write up and save some comprehensive guides and instructions on how to deal with the issue and just email them to people. Keep a library of these guides and you will save yourself some precious time.

Another alternate library you will need is for the purposes of humor.  It will not, for the most part, be written by you. Though if writing such things yourself helps you deal with your feelings, go for it.  This library will include essays, poems, jokes, rants, etc. written by people who have done rescue for a while.  You can find these types of things if you look for them on the internet, but you will probably find that they will come to you without searching as people find out that you are doing rescue. These writings will sometimes be funny, often sad, and usually very honest. Sometimes they are all three at the same time. The purpose of these writings is to remind yourself that you are not alone in your work or in your feelings. Other people have been where you are and have survived. These really can come in handy at times and there is some overlap between this library and the previously mentioned library.

The third alternate library you will need is rather macabre but unfortunately necessary.  It will consist of pictures. These pictures are for when people ask you (or when you ask yourself) why you keep doing what you are doing. These pictures can be rather gruesome, though they do not have to be, but they do help to get the point across. Remember the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words?" These pictures will save you a lot of talking even though looking at them will probably make you cry. Just remember, these things happen, whether or not they are captured on film. And looking at these types of pictures may just convince someone when words have failed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#Winter #Wonderland #Giveaway!! $200 #Cash #Grand #Prize!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm taking part in another multi-author giveaway and I'm really excited!!  The grand prize is $200 cash payable through Paypal and there are over 100 other prizes!!!  Check out all the awesome things you can win in the rafflecopter below and consider entering! It's free and it's fun! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 23, 2015

#MondayMotivation #Snippet!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Do you realize there's only one week left until Captivated By The Winter King is released?  Squee!!  I'm so excited and can't wait to share it with you!! :-)  It's already available for preorder, so you can check it out here:

And just to whet your appetite a little bit, here's another peek! :-)

Excerpt from Captivated By The Winter King:
He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips. "You will be safe, Kate. I will always keep you safe. But I will also push your boundaries. That is part of the game. I will not do anything you have said you don't want, but I will test your limits.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it?  It won't be long until you can see exactly what he intends to do with her!!  ;-)  Thank you all for stopping by today, and don't forget to drop in tomorrow for the next edition of Mistral Dawn's Musings!! :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

#AnimalRescue: #Difficult #Choices...

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back with another installment of my tongue-in-cheek Animal Rescuer's Guide To Staying (Relatively) Sane!  Today I'm going to talk about some of the nitty-gritty details of rescue that can pop up when you lease expect them.  Specifically, the fact that animals won't always cooperate and go along with your plans.  This is a fact of rescue and I hope this might give you a few ideas to help cope with it. :-)

Some Things You Need To Come To Terms With And/Or Remember:
Your personal pets come first. This goes both for their physical health and their emotional well-being. Some animals become stressed when confronted with strange animals in their territory and can react in detrimental ways. This may or may not become an issue for you, but if it does you have to remember that your first loyalty and priority has to be your pets. If your pets have a hard time adjusting to strange animals coming into your home you may be able to mitigate the problem by creating a separate area for your rescues. A basement, garage, bathroom, spare bedroom, or outside kennel/run/enclosure often work, depending on what type of animals you are rescuing. You can also try various methods to calm your pets, such as setting aside time where you pay a lot of attention to them, or products like Rescue Remedy or Feliway. There are some strategies you can use to help prevent a problem. Such as when you first bring a rescue home, get them situated in their space as quickly as possible. As soon as you have made sure that all of their physical needs are met, leave them alone and go spend time with your pets. This will help prevent your pets from becoming jealous and also give your rescue some time to calm down and adjust to their new surroundings. Usually, over time, your pets will become accustomed to having new animals come in and go out and it will cease to be a problem. However, if every strategy fails, and your pet still has a problem with your rescues (or with a particular rescue), you need to adjust the situation to accommodate your pet, not your rescues. This is very important. You have made a commitment to your pets and they deserve your loyalty. If one or more of your pets is not able to adjust to your rescues, and you have tried every possible method to help them adjust, you may have to postpone further rescue work until that pet is no longer with you. This doesn’t mean you get rid of your pet, or rehome them, it means you wait until old age or disease takes its toll. This might be hard, but a pet is a long-term, life-long commitment. How can you possibly ask others to live up to this responsibility if you do not do so yourself?

This goes double for your pets’ physical health. No matter what type of animals you are rescuing, there will be some type of communicable disease that they may carry. You have an obligation to protect your own pets from these diseases. That means any new animals need to be examined by a vet, as well as undergo whatever type of tests are usual for those type of animals (for instance in cats a test for FeLV and FIV is necessary for every new rescue, for horses it might be a Coggins test that they need, dogs need to be tested for heart worms, etc.). New rescues also need to undergo a period of quarantine. Even if you don’t isolate your rescues for your pets’ emotional well-being, it is necessary to do so (for a time at least) to protect their physical health. It might seem cruel to lock an animal in a room away from the rest of the house for several weeks (and yes, it really DOES need to be several weeks, a month or more is better), but not nearly as cruel as losing one of your pets to a contagious disease brought into your home, by you, through one of your rescues.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#NewRelease #Announcement: Five Seven Five: The #Boy With #Words by C.E. Wilson!

Take only what can be used. Take only what won’t be missed. The Creators are watching all of us.

White Frost lives in a world cloaked in darkness and ignorance. While most people in her society are content to live in fearful peace, White’s cousin brings her words from the mysterious Unknown. Strange collections of written words that tease her that there may be more to the world than candlelight and dank hallways.

But when tragedy strikes, White can no longer rely on the words to give her solace. She must discover what lies beyond the only world she’s ever known… no matter the cost.

Eventually, White finds her way to the skies and there she discovers that the tantalizing clues of her words are only pale reflections of the massive and wondrous world above. Colors she never thought possible. Blinding light. And an impossible being who may or may not be the Creator of it all.

But this information comes at a price White Frost is not sure she can pay.

White’s hunger for knowledge proves to be her greatest strength and weakness as she strives to learn more. But as she learns, she has to wonder – is there such a thing as too much information? And what will happen as it brings her closer to a being who could destroy everything she’s ever known?

Find out in Five Seven Five, the first book in a two part series entitled The Boy with Words!

Author Bio:
C.E. Wilson is currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, beautiful daughter, a chubby beagle and two cats. They are all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing young adult, fantasy novels, she enjoys writing short stories on her Deviant Art page. She loves to write stories involving giants and little people (also known as GT) and she can't decide what she loves more: horror movies or shoujo manga. She has a bachelor's degree in English Education so she has a soft spot for older literature authors including John Milton, William Shakespeare, and stories such as Paradise Lost and Beowolf. On a side note, nothing helps her to write more than drinking good beer and watching The Twilight Zone.

Contact Information:

Friday, November 20, 2015

#RRBC #PayItForward: Katheran Allen!!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today I'm featuring author Katheran Allen as part of the Rave Reviews Book Club's Pay It Forward week!! :-)  Katheran's first book, Autumn, is a sweet romance and is available on Amazon! :-)  Check It out! :-)

When two handsome strangers come to the charming community of Finch’s Crossing they succeed in changing the town dynamics—one for the better, the other for the worse. And neither Autumn Hamilton nor Meg Overly want anything to do with them. An artist, Autumn is struggling with an intense creative block that threatens her beloved way of life. And Meg is nursing a fierce loneliness that she hides from everyone, including herself. The two friends must work through their own problems before romance even stands a chance. And to further complicate matters, the men have the kind of baggage that just might be a little too heavy for the women to carry.

Katheran also has another book coming out this month.  Check it out!! :-)

A Finch’s Crossing Christmas Sampler: Tips, Ideas and Recipes to Create a Beautiful Holiday:
Your favorite characters in Finch's Crossing are gearing up for the winter holidays. Miss Elsie is baking up a storm, Autumn is going overboard with her decorating, and Meg is telling everyone she knows how to keep their pets safe around all those holiday plants and decorations. And Stan at the hardware store is proudly displaying his annual "Lady Gifts" at the front of his shop. Spend a little time with all of them in this complimentary Finch's Crossing Sampler--my gift to you. In it you'll find a collection of tips, tricks, ideas, and recipes, plus some holiday planning templates. As you prepare for this wonderful holiday season, I wish you and yours health, happiness, and much joy!

And she has three more in the works for next year!! :-)

Winter “Win” Hamilton’s high school nickname, “The Ice Queen,” has followed her all her life and she is, in fact, just that—cold, selfish, and emotionally detached. But her steely demeanor helped her achieve a full partnership, at age thirty-seven, in a prestigious international architectural firm. True, she doesn’t have many friends, but she lives in a beautiful penthouse, has a fat 401K, drives a brand new Porsche Cayenne SUV, and dresses flawlessly in designer clothes. When she breaks her leg in a skiing accident she reluctantly returns to her childhood home to recover. As the broken bones heal, with the help of the handsome local doctor Armistead “Trip” Harrison, she rediscovers the traditional values she grew up with, and wonders how on earth her life got so out of balance. As her strength returns and she embarks on a self-improvement campaign, Win realizes that the unflappable and aloof doctor is the one man in town who isn’t rendered tongue-tied in her presence. Accustomed to getting her way, she bristles at his lack of interest in her. Realizing she’s met the male version of herself, she knows she has her work cut out for her.

At thirty-five, Spring Hamilton has reached a crossroads in her modeling career. No longer young, but still beautiful, she has severed ties with her controlling and unimaginative manager, and for the first time must figure out her future, alone. The only thing she knows for certain is that if she doesn’t figure out how to transition her career she will end up as a grandmotherly model in mail-order catalogs. As she relocates from Los Angeles to New York she detours to Finch’s Crossing for a quick visit with her sister. But a chance encounter with Mitchie Woolf, her high school sweetheart, rekindles their love, launching Spring into unbelievable circumstances she never could have predicted. She never thought of herself as the kind of person who would fall in love with another woman’s husband. But when life throws you curves, you…

Free-spirited, thirty-year-old Summer Hamilton has worked as a chauffer, waitress, obituary writer, and house painter. But when she is fired from her job as a nanny because she rebuked her employer’s advances, she points her pink VW bug east and travels from Seattle to Finch’s Crossing. After a ten-year vagabond life, she yearns to decide what she wants to do when she grows up. Upon arriving at Finch’s Crossing, she meets carefree Trevor Banks, whose job building adventure parks takes him away for weeks at a time. She is torn between the kind of life she has just abandoned and the one she yearns to make for herself. Having just tamed her wanderlust, Summer must decide whether or not to hit the road again with Trevor in order to be with the man she loves. But as their relationship blooms, a nagging voice in her head keeps asking, “Just exactly how ‘carefree’ is Trevor?”

Don't forget to check out Autumn on Amazon here: 

And if you'd like to learn more about Katheran, you can find her here:

Thank you all for stopping by and I hope you'll take a moment to check Katheran Allen out!! :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#IABBAddict #Turning #Pages #Anthology!

Check out more information on #IABBAddicts here
Join us every Thursday for IABB #Confessions

About the Book

The anthology will only be available through the first part of January 2016.

Title: Turning Pages

Pages: 152

Genre: Various (including romance, sci-fi, mystery, erotica)

Date published
: January 9, 2015

This is an anthology of short stories benefiting Literacy Lubbock, a charity that helps teach adults to read. Included in the anthology are seven stories about change. Several different genres are represented, so there's something for everyone.

Peaceful Easy Feeling by Freedom Chevalier
The Firefly by Nina Ceves
R.O.S.E Riders of Sins Eternal by Ava Morgan Brown
Luxury Suite by Gabe Franklin
The Scarlet Butterfly by Sinead White
Dismay by Janie E.M. Storer
Accused by Denise Malone

Accused by Denise Malone
The day I graduated from college was supposed to be the best day of my life.  I’d completed 17 years of education.  I was supposed to be prepared for the rest of my life, but none of that education prepared me for my graduation day.  I was educated, free, and young, with prospects galore.  I had interviews to go on, contacts to make, networking to do, a stage to walk, and a diploma to collect.  I’d earned it.  I was looking forward to it.  But instead of graduating, I was spending my time in a police station, being questioned in the disappearance of my best friend and roommate of the last four years, and in the murder of my boyfriend; ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend as of the previous evening.
A mere 24 hours before, I was blissfully happy, but today was a different story.  My graduation was taking place while I was sitting in an interview room, handcuffed to the table, waiting for the police officer to come back into the room.
The door opened, and a relatively young, attractive man in a suit entered.  I wasn’t sure who he was.  For some reason, I was expecting the uniformed officer that arrested me to be there, but he wasn’t.
“Ms. Duncan?  I’m Detective Martinez,” he said, as he sat across the table from me.
“Please, call me Mags.  Everyone does,” I replied.  I would’ve offered him my hand to shake, but they were still cuffed to the table.
“Okay, Mags, do you know why you’re here?” he asked.
“Yes, sir.  My ex-boyfriend was murdered, and my ex-best friend is missing,” I replied, as I began crying.  The detective reached into his jacket, pulled out a little packet of tissues, and handed them to me.
“Thank you,” I managed between sobs.  Trying to wipe my eyes was difficult, so the detective stood and pulled his keys from his pocket.  He uncuffed me and left the keys on the table beside the handcuffs.  He pulled his jacket off and draped it over the back of his chair before sitting down again.  I wiped my eyes and blew my nose.  Then I rubbed each wrist where the handcuffs had been.  It felt good to be free of them.
“I understand the arresting officer read you your Miranda rights.  Is that correct?”
“Yes, sir.  He told me I didn’t have to say anything because it could and would be used against me in court.  And I haven’t done anything wrong, so I don’t need an attorney.  I don’t have anything to hide.”
“Okay.  You’ve lived with Courtney Mills for four years.  Is that correct?”
“Yes, sir.”
“And you’ve dated Brandon Wade for those same four years?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Then, why did you call them your ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend?” he asked.

 About the Charity

The first and foremost goal of Literacy Lubbock is to make a difference in as many people's lives as possible. Literacy Lubbock is a Lubbock Area United Way Partner Agency. We strive to improve the lives for those who need adult education by offering Free of Charge classes or tutors in adult education. Our program includes GED, English as a Second Language, Dyslexia, Learning Difference, College Prep, Essay, Math and Reading Classes.

Literacy Lubbock was founded on the idea of helping those in need who are 18 or over. Ever since our organization was established, we have endeavored to provide help where the need is greatest.

Our class room teachers and tutors are made up entirely of volunteers. We advocate for those who need our help. Even a little help goes a long way.

That is why we are especially happy to find new volunteers who share our commitment to adult education. Reading is Forever. Do you want to support us by helping with our work? Then do not hesitate to contact us. A helping hand is always greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#November #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Authors #BookReview!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's that time again!!  Here are my indie books book reviews for the month! :-)

Tales Of The Fifth Guardian; Book One: The Beginning by CM Johnson:

Okay, first off, I few things you need to understand about this book. Number one, it's not a book; it's a series. An epic series, with all the complexity and necessary explanations of GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series or Frank Herbert's Dune series (both of which it reminded me of at times). And this is the first book with all of the explanations needed to set up the rest of the story. It is absolutely not a quick, breeze-through read, there is a lot of background information that has to be given, which causes the story to drag a bit at times but is necessary for the reader to understand what is going on. Number two, this is a story that is intended for adults. It has violence, explicit sex, and adult situations that would not be suitable for younger readers. If you are easily offended or unable to tolerate darker stories, this is not the right book for you.
Now, all that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! It's a great start to what promises to be a fascinating series. The world-building is great, the plot is interesting, and the characters are well-developed. Most of the time I was on the edge of my seat to find out what would happen next and I really think this book sets up the rest of the story very well. As long as you approach this book from the standpoint of the beginning of a saga, I don't see how you could be disappointed. :-)

Fang And Claw by Markie Madden:

Fang and Claw is set approximately 100 years in the future. Vampires, werewolves, shifters, zombies, and other supernatural beings have revealed themselves and integrated into human society. Two of those beings, Lacey, a vampire, and Colton, a werewolf, are police officers in the Dallas, TX Police Department's Major Crimes Unit. The powers that be decide they need a unit dedicated to crimes committed by supernatural beings, but they don't take into account the cultural differences between the types of supernatural beings when they appoint Lacey as the lieutenant of the new unit with Colton as her second in command. The two officers are left struggling to work together professionally when neither trusts the other. Unfortunately for them, there's also a new criminal in town who is committing crimes that are right up their alley. Can these two good cops overcome their differences to save innocent lives? You'll have to read to find out! :-)
I really enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and well-researched and the characters were interesting. I especially enjoyed how the author demonstrated how easily even innocuous actions can be misinterpreted as malicious when we refuse to look at things from another person's point of view. The world Ms. Madden created was also really interesting, and I think the advances she imagined are well within the realm of possibility given the time frame. All-in-all, this was a really fun read and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#Winter #Wonderland #Giveaway!! $200 #Cash #Grand #Prize!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm taking part in another multi-author giveaway and I'm really excited!!  The grand prize is $200 cash payable through Paypal and there are over 100 other prizes!!!  Check out all the awesome things you can win in the rafflecopter below and consider entering! It's free and it's fun! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 16, 2015

A #Favor. :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's less than two weeks now until the release of Captivated By The Winter King and I don't know about you, but I'm excited!! :-)  The release date is 11/30/2015 and I've set up a Thunderclap campaign to help me get the word out that day.  I need to get at least a 100 people to support it, or it won't go out, and I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't mind helping me with it.  It's completely free and only takes about 30 seconds.  Just click on the link below, click "support," select a social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr), confirm your support, and that's it!  Thank you so much for your help with this!!!  Also, don't forget to scroll down to see the latest peek at what Kate and Ankou are up to! ;-)

Blinking, Kate shook her head, "I never expected to meet an actual goddess."

Leaning down, he whispered, "You've been having sex with a former god for a while now."

She stopped and glared up at him. "Are you trying to freak me out?"

Grinning, he shook his head. "No. Just trying to help you put it in perspective."

Laughing, she rolled her eyes. When she focused on him again, she happened to notice a mirror behind him, on the wall of the corridor. Curious, she moved closer. When she saw her reflection she gasped.

Oooooh!!! I wonder what she sees?  You won't have to wait long to find out!! ;-)

How To #Tweet. :-)

Hey Everyone! :-)

I made up a instruction sheet for basic tweeting and someone asked me to put it in a blog post, so here it is! ;-)

Twitter Instructions:
Okay, this is just my take on Twitter, but I thought some of you might find some of these things useful. I've heard a lot of people say they don't know how to use twitter, so I thought I'd tell you my process for composing a tweet. Again, other people may do things differently, and their way may be better. :-)

First, twitter only allows you 140 characters total for each tweet, so every character has to count. Links take up 23 characters (no matter how long they are) and pictures take up 24 characters, so you have to keep that in mind. 

Links: I, personally, think it's essential to include these in any tweet where you want people to go to another website and do something (buy a book, like a page, support a thunderclap, etc). I just don't think people are likely to do anything unless the link is right there ready to click on.

But aesthetically, I think it looks better to use a site like https://bitly.com/shorten/ to shorten your link to something like this: http://amzn.to/1vS2bWs .

Pictures: Some people don't use pictures for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is that they take up a lot of characters. Also, a lot of links will automatically cause a picture to display in the tweet. For example, if you post a link to the Amazon listing of your book, your book cover and the beginning of your description will display in the tweet.

I use pictures in almost all of my tweets. For one thing it makes them standout; I can use teasers with excerpts from my books or reviews of my books in them. And for another thing, it puts them in my "Pictures and Videos" which makes it easy for people who want to retweet me to find my tweets.

This is important, because if you want your tweets retweeted, you have to retweet other people's tweets. That means your twitter page is going to have lots of tweets on it that aren't for your stuff. If people want to retweet you they have to scroll through all of those other tweets to find your tweets...unless you make it easy for them. I also click the little star at the bottom to favorite my tweets, which is another place people might look for my tweets to retweet. Which brings us to...

Pinned tweets: Pinned tweets are tweets that stay at the top of your twitter page. Again, this makes them easy to find and retweet. Also, it marks them out as important to the person who pinned them. If you pin a tweet, it's usually something that you want spread around. It might just be a sales tweet about your books, but it might also be about a sale, event, new release, etc. You can change pinned tweets as often as you like, but you can only have one pinned at a time. I usually change mine once a day. 

Unfortunately, you can only see pinned tweets when you log into twitter on a computer. On mobile apps (at least the one's I've used) the tweets are still there but they aren't pinned, so you have to search for them. Plus, there's nothing to mark them as pinned, so you don't know that they are especially important to the person who pinned them. 

So how can you tell if a tweet is pinned? It says it just like this:

How do you pin a tweet? At the bottom of the tweet are three dots (again this is on a computer, you can't do this from a mobile app):

You click on the three dots and a drop-down menu appears:

This picture says "Unpin" because my tweet is already pinned, but for a tweet that's not already pinned it will say "pin to your profile page." You just click on that and it's pinned. :-) 

Hashtags: Everyone has heard of hashtags, but not everyone knows what they are. What they are is a way to mark key words. For instance my tweet: 

Let the #Summer #Prince #Heat up your #WeekendReads


Notice how the words I want highlighted are marked with hashtags. How do you know which ones to use? Well, it's kind of half guessing, and half logic. You want to use words that people are looking for. It's summertime in the northern hemisphere where many of my readers are, so I have the word "summer" marked with a hashtag. It's part of the title of my book, so it's relevant (never use irrelevant hashtags, that just wastes characters and annoys people), and people who are tweeting about various things to do with summer might look at that hashtag. Even people in the southern hemisphere might look at things with that word, because they're sick of winter and looking forward to summer. So, there's at least a reasonable chance someone might see a tweet with that word hashtagged. Someone looking for a recommendation for a book to read over the weekend might search out #WeekendReads, so I've included that as well. Etc.

Some hashtags are specifically used to request a tweet be retweeted by a group. #BookBoost is an example of that. The twitter ID @freeboostpromo was set up to retweet book related tweets. As always, the best way to get them to retweet your tweets is to follow them and retweet their tweets. Two other hashtags I've found that are usually good about retweeting are #SNRTG (social network retweet group) and #TW4RW (tweets for romance writers), but there are a lot of other ones as well. #IndieBooksBeSeen is a indie authors group that may help with your promotions, but again you have to give if you want to get.

Some hashtags are used to mark genre. In this tweet I've used #fantasy, #romance, and #PNR (paranormal romance) for that, but sometimes I use others. This is to hopefully get your tweet in front of people interested in a specific topic, like fantasy or romance. 

The #RRBC hashtag is for a bookclub I belong to (Rave Reviews Book Club), and I use it to mark me as a member and encourage other members to retweet my tweet. It should only be used by members of the Rave Reviews Book Club, and there are other hashtags like that for other clubs and groups. So it's best to know what your hashtags stand for before using them. Using a hashtag for a group you don't belong to is considered rude, and can upset the people who do belong to that group.

So, back to choosing which hashtags to use. Generally, I try to pick hashtags that a lot of people are using/looking at that day. How can I tell? Well first, there's a list of trending hashtags at the side of your twitter feed (notice I said "feed" and not "page." Also, this is only true on a computer), and that's a good place to start. Your twitter feed looks like this:

As you can see, the Trends list is there on the side. You get to this page by clicking on Home at the top. 

Your twitter page looks like this:

It's where your pinned tweet is and you get there by clicking on your avatar at the top and then on "view profile." You get to other people's twitter pages (to find their pinned tweets and pictures to retweet) by clicking on their twitter handle in one of their tweets, or by searching for their twitter handle and clicking on their page from there. The list of trending tweets will also show up on your twitter page, but you can't tweet from that page as easily (you can, it's just an extra step), so back to your twitter feed. If none of the hashtags that are trending seem relevant, then you can look for ones that do. You can put a hashtag in front of any word you want to mark, there aren't any restrictions on this other than that it should be relevant to keep from annoying people, but you usually want to pick words that people are looking at/using (unless you're trying to create a new hashtag in the hope it will become popular like #author4author). So how do you figure this out? One way is to type in a word with a hashtag in front of it, and see if Twitter has any suggestions for you. Like this:

You see when the cursor is on "summer" Twitter creates a drop down box with suggestions. These are usually hashtags that are being used/searched. As you type your word in, see if Twitter gives you any suggestions. In this case, "summer" is on the list, so I've used it. You can check each of your hashtags this way, to try to gauge the chance of it helping get your tweet seen.

How do you attach pictures? Well, the easiest way is just to click on the "add photo" button and select the picture you want to attach from your picture files.

But sometimes you want to be able to cut and paste a whole tweet, including the picture. For that you need the picture twitter link. The easiest way I've found to get that is this:

1. Tweet the tweet with the picture attached using the "add photo" button.

2. Find tweet after it's been tweeted and click on the three dots on the bottom and then on the 'delete tweet' button on the drop-down menu:

3. When you do that, a new box will appear with the whole tweet, including the picture link. You can select (by dragging your cursor along it) and copy (by right clicking) the picture link from here. **Be careful to make sure you hit the 'cancel' button and not the 'delete' button when you're done copying your picture link:

4. Then you just put the tweet all together and it's ready to tweet:

Let the #Summer #Prince #Heat up your #WeekendReads



This is useful if you want to give someone else tweets for them to tweet for you (like a street team) or if you want to use an automated tweet feed (like feed140) and include pictures in your automated tweets.

Anyway, this is how I make my tweets. One thing I can't stress enough is that if you want your tweets to be retweeted, retweet other peoples' tweets. If someone retweets you, don't just send a tweet saying thank you, retweet something of theirs. And try to make sure what you retweet is actually something of theirs and not something they've retweeted for someone else. If they haven't made it easy for you with a pinned tweet or pictures, try looking at their profile and see if you can figure out what's important to them (are they selling something? Do they have a blog? etc.). Also, look for tweets that have been created by their twitter ID, and not tweets that say "retweeted" in them. Thanks are nice, but retweets are better. ;-) Hope this helps! :-)