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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

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

Hey Everyone!! :-)

The lovely and talented Claudette Nichole Melanson has graciously extended the deadline for this contest, so you still have today and tomorrow to enter!!! :-)  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! Don't miss your chance!!  It's free and it's fun! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#Moving #Up The #Ranks!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Guess what?!?!?  Captivated By The Winter King and I have been lucky enough to move up to the third round of the Bottles & Book Reviews First Annual Reader's Choice Awards - Best of 2015!!! :-)  So, what does this mean?  It means I need your help again! ;-)  Again, this is totally free and will only take a couple minutes.  All you need to do is click on the links below and vote for me so that I can advance to the fourth and final round of this contest! :-)

Under the Categories for authors, reviewers, models, etc. link
I've been nominated for the following categories:

-Favorite BDSM Author
-Favorite Fantasy Author
-Favorite Paranormal Author
-Favorite Women's Contemporary Fiction Author

I've been nominated for the following categories:

-Favorite Erotica Book
-Favorite Paranormal Book
-Favorite BDSM Book
-Favorite Book Boyfriend
-Favorite Male Character
-Favorite Fantasy Book

So, once again, just click on each link, and then go to those categories and click on the bubble next to my name.  That's it!  This stage of the contest ends on January 1st, so please vote soon!!  Thank you all so much for your help and support with this!!  I hope to see you all tomorrow on the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#Interview With Elisabeth Joye!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Elisabeth Joye is joining us today to tell us about her debut erotic romance novel, Invisible Ink! :-)  Elisabeth, can you tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

Elisabeth:  I used to write about Congress. Now, I write about sex. I am a former political journalist and I have wanted to write a romance novel since I was 12. I finally found the inspiration to do it by incorporating my love of concerts and musicians. Invisible Ink is my first self-published novella and it has been in the works since December 2013, when it started as a now-defunct Tumblr blog.  When I'm not writing, I'm a stay-at-home mom to a four-year-old son. I also love fangirling my favorite celebrities and reading true crime obsessively. I live in the Midwest with my husband and family.

Me:  Cool!  What inspired Invisible Ink?

Elisabeth:  Invisible Ink is my novella (36,000 words). It's a fast, sexy read and was inspired by my life-long love of music and concerts. One day I attended a meet and greet with my favorite band and started imagining a fantasy around it. I decided to write it down and couldn't stop the story after that.

Me:  Ha! I think many authors have experienced something similar when it comes to our writing. ;-) What are you working on now?

Elizabeth:  I'm mostly just working on getting my name out there with this first book and then we shall see what happens. I have a lot of other ideas and some word documents just sitting on my computer with four sentences in them.

Me:  Best of luck with the marketing! :-) For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Elisabeth:  I try to write what I think is hot and I just hope others will, too.  My book is structured a little bit differently than other erotic romance, and it has a LOT of sex. My rule is that if it doesn't turn me on, it doesn't make it into the book. I also try to make the relationships in the book real, which means there is some cheating and some of the things the characters do aren't "perfect." The story is a bit dark.

Me: Dark and steamy, sounds great! ;-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Elisabeth:  Living out a fantasy life through writing and connecting with people who enjoy my stuff.

Me:  Yes, imaginary friends are fun to hang with! :-)   Do you have a day job as well?

Elisabeth:  I'm a mom to a wonderful little boy.

Me: Congratulations!  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Elisabeth:  The hardest part so far is the self-promotion work and, of course, getting rejected by publishers. The easiest part is actually writing the scenes. That's the fun part.

Me:  I think most authors would agree with you. ;-)  What genre do you place your book in?

Elisabeth:  Erotic Romance.

Me:  Great!  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Elisabeth:  If you like other rock star romances, please read my novella! It will take you no time at all and you will love it.

Me:  Sounds fun!  Are there any links you'd like me to post?

Pre-order link: http://myBook.to/invisibleink
Web site: http://www.elisabethjoye.com
Twitter: @elisabethjoye
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elisabethjoyeauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elisabethjoye
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/elisabethjoye

Me:  Teriffic! :-)  Thank you so much for joining us here today, Elisabeth!  Everyone else, thank you so much for stopping to hear about Invisible Ink and don't forget to check back tomorrow for another installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Monday, December 28, 2015

To #HEA..Or #Not?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've been wrestling with a question and I'd love to hear what you all think about it.  The next project I'll be working on is a cyberpunk series with the working title of Petri's Story.  As you may or may not know, the cyberpunk genre tends to be rather dark and brooding.  So, I'm trying to figure out whether or not I can give Petri an HEA.

I know, this probably seems a bit premature since I still have at least two books to write before this becomes an issue.  But it's been bugging me.  You may have noticed, I'm a generally upbeat kind of person.  I'm happy, and I like for my characters to be happy too.  Actually, I'd love to have the power to make everyone happy, but I'm afraid I haven't figured out how to do that yet, so I'll have to be satisfied with just making my characters happy.  Though, I'm not sure if I can do that for Petri and still be true to the genre.  But I really want to.

Poor Petri has had a rough life, and I think she deserves a little happiness.  Even her name, Petri, is a hint about her past.  You see, Petri is short for Petri dish, as in something that microbes are incubated in.  Uh oh!  Now, I've gone and given away a secret! ;-)

So, what's your opinion?  Are HEAs overrated?  Do you like a story with a heart-warming end?  Somewhere in between?  Thoughts?  Come on, people, talk to me!  ;-)

Anyway, thanks, as always, for stopping by  And please do check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#HowTo #Bathe A #Cat

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I know, I know, that title is an opening for a whole book worth of jokes. ;-)  But, no, I'm serious.  This is part of my series on pet care tips and advice.  One of the questions I've been asked a lot over the years is how to give a cat a bath in a way that Kitty doesn't end up traumatized and Pet Parent doesn't end up needing stitches.  Here's the advice I've come up with. :-)

How To Bathe A Cat:
Before you get started, you should know that most cats don't need to be bathed that often.  The exceptions may be kitties who don't have fur, such as the Sphynx breed, kitties who have fleas, kitties who are exceptionally dirty from being in a filthy environment, kitties who have gotten into something, such as motor oil, that they can't or shouldn't clean off themselves, and kitties who due to age or infirmity cannot clean themselves.  It may also be necessary to bathe kitties who have a medical condition that requires medicated baths, but if that's the case you absolutely need to consult a veterinarian before proceeding and follow their instructions.  Now, if your kitty falls into one of the other categories, here's a list of instructions...

First, trim your kitty's claws.  Yes, you would think this would be obvious, but apparently it's not.  It's a simple step that will likely save you a whole lot of bloodshed.  How do you trim a cat's claws?  That's pretty easy.  Hold the kitty in your lap in a comfortable position.  When the kitty is relaxed, gently pick up their foot.  They may pull back on it, so you'll need to hold it gently, but firmly.  Gently press on your kitty's toes so that their claws extend.  Then, clip off the tips with a pair of nail clippers.

You can get clippers specially made for kitties, or you can use the clippers you use on your own nails.  The only thing you need to be careful of here is making sure you only clip the tips of their claws.  You don't want to clip too far, or you'll nick the quick and make them bleed.  You know how it feels when you break a nail too far down into your nail bed?  It hurts and bleeds, doesn't it?  You don't like it and neither will your kitty, so be careful and only clip the tips.  If you look at their claws, you should see where the nail turns pink inside.  Always make sure you clip well above where it starts to turn pink so that you don't quick them.

Okay, are all the claws trimmed on all four feet?  Good! Now you're ready to prepare your bathroom.  First, make sure the room is warm.  You don't like taking a bath in a cold room and neither will your kitty.  When the room is warm, go get several big, fluffy towels from wherever you store them and bring them into the bathroom.  Put them aside, but make sure they are handy.  Also, get the shampoo, conditioner (if any), combs, etc.  In short, any supplies you will need for the bath should be in the bathroom.

Whether or not you use the bathtub for the bath or the sink will depend on the size of both your kitty and the sink you have.  If you are bathing a small kitten, it would probably be a good idea to use the sink.  But most adult cats won't fit into most bathroom sinks well enough to bathe them there.  So, depending on your circumstances, choose where you will give them the bath.

When you know where you'll be bathing your kitty, plug the drain and fill that receptacle with a few inches of warm water.  The water should only come up to your kitty's belly if your kitty was laying in it.  Also, fill a clean bucket with warm water and set it beside your bathing spot.  It doesn't have to be a huge bucket, but a couple gallons would be good.  Put a large, clean, plastic cup in the bucket.

Once you have everything filled with the water you'll need, turn the tap off.  The sound of water running might frighten your kitty, so it's best if you don't need to run the tap.  Now, go find an old bathmat or thick towel, and put it on the bottom of the basin in which you'll be bathing your kitty.  Kitties don't like to feel like they're slipping and sliding, so it helps them feel more secure if you give them something to dig their claws into.  Bathmats work best because they usually have a rubber bottom that grips the tub or sink, but a towel will work too.

Now that everything is prepared, go find your kitty and bring them into the bathroom.  Make sure the door is closed firmly behind you.  Spend a minute giving your kitty some cuddles to reassure them, and then place them gently in the tub or sink.  They may try to jump out, so you'll want to keep a grip on them to keep them in place.  Hopefully, they'll settle down and hold onto the bathmat underneath them in a couple minutes.

While, you're holding them in the water, dip your hands in the water and then pet and scratch them in the way they like to be petted and scratched.  Don't, under any circumstances, try to force them deeper into the water.  If they want to stand, let them stand.  If they sit or lie down on their own, let them.  But don't try to get them to put more of their body under the water than they choose to.  One of the biggest reasons people get scratched and bitten while trying to bathe a kitty is because the kitty thinks they are trying to drown them.  Just use your hands to scoop water over them and massage it into their fur.

When your kitty is wet all over, take the soap you have chosen and work it into their fur.  It's best if you are able to pour the soap into your hand first, because it will probably be cold and could startle your kitty, but that might not be possible if your kitty doesn't relax enough to stay in the bath without being held.  Use your judgement on this, if you have to, you can apply the soap directly to your kitty's back.

Which soap should you use?  Well, that depends.  If your kitty has fleas, there are lots of medicated shampoos on the market designed specifically for killing fleas.  The best way to choose one of these is by consulting your veterinarian.  However, at the very least, make sure the product you use is labeled specifically for use on kitties, and not just on dogs.

Personally, I don't like any of the shampoos made for fleas.  My choice, when I can't use a product like Advantage or Frontline for some reason, for getting rid of fleas on cats is to bathe them with blue Dawn dish liquid and then dust them with diatomaceous earth.  Blue Dawn dish liquid also works well for degreasing a kitty who has spent too much time underneath cars.  Just remember, it has to be the blue Dawn dish liquid.  No, I don't know why, I just know it works best.  And it's the kind of dish liquid you would use in the sink, not what you'd use in a dishwashing machine.  But, I'm not a vet, so it really would be best to consult with your vet about this.

Once you have the soap worked into a lather, massage it all over your kitty's body.  Be careful around their face, you don't want to get soap in their eyes or up their nose.  They won't like that any more than you would.  If the instructions on the bottle of soap say to let it sit, then let it sit for the amount of time required.  Then, using your hand, cup the water in the tub over your kitty to rinse them off.  Again, be careful of their eyes and face.  When the majority of the soap is gone, then apply any conditioner you want to use and then rinse it off in the same manner.

Then, unplug the drain and let the water out of the basin.  The sound of the water draining may frighten your kitty; remember, their hearing is much sharper than yours.  So, before you pull the plug, take them out of the tub or sink and wrap them in one of the towels you have set aside.  Hold and cuddle them while the water drains, and then unwrap them and place them back in the tub or sink.  Make sure the bathmat or towel is still in place so they can hold on to it.

At this point, what you do will depend on what kind of fur your kitty has.  If you have a short-hair kitty, or a kitty wit long hair that rinses off easily, you should be able to clean off the rest of the soap using water scooped from the bucket with the plastic cup.  Just pour it over your kitty while you gently use your fingers to scrub the soap away.  If your kitty has thicker hair, especially if it's also long, you might need to use a spray nozzle to get rid of all the soap.

If it's necessary to use a spray nozzle, first rinse as much soap away with the bucket and cup as possible.  Then, take your kitty out of the tub or sink and wrap them up in a clean towel while you adjust the temperature and pressure of the water.  The water should be warm, but not too hot.  And the pressure should be as gentle as possible while still enough to get rid of the soap.  Harder pressure may frighten your kitty.  Only when you have the water just right should you put your kitty back in the bath and finish rinsing them.

Once all the soap is gone, wrap your kitty up in a clean towel and cuddle them.  If they seem calm, gently scrub them with the towel to help dry them.  If they are scared, just hold them and talk to them until they calm down.  When your kitty is as dry as you can get them with the towels, let them go and they'll finish drying themselves. Just make sure they are in a warm place until they are completely dry.

And that's it!  Some kitties enjoy baths and playing in the water.  Your kitty may be one of those kitties, or they may learn to enjoy bathtime if you are patient with them.  If your kitty gets to the point where baths don't scare them, you can see how they feel about standing under a water spray or being in the tub with the water running.  But if your kitty is nervous, then you can just try to be content with the fact that you've now managed to bathe a cat.  And, hopefully, no one has lost any blood or shed any tears. ;-)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#Please #Vote! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

So, tomorrow is the last day to vote for a me and Captivated By The Winter King in a few contests.  If you haven't already done so, I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a couple minutes and cast a vote, or four. ;-)  It's all free, and it really won't take more than a couple minutes.

First, there's the Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards, in which I've been nominated in several categories for round 2!!  There are two links, each with different categories.  The links and categories are below. :-)

The first link is:

Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards - Best of 2015* (Authors, Editors, etc.)

And I've been nominated under the following categories:

-Favorite BDSM Author
-Favorite Fantasy Author
-Favorite Paranormal Author

The second link is:

Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards - Best of 2015* (Books, characters, etc.)

And I've been nominated under the following categories:

-Favorite Erotica Book
-Favorite Paranormal Book
-Favorite BDSM Book
-Favorite Book Boyfriend
-Favorite Male Character
-Favorite Fantasy Book

Again, just find those categories and click on the bubble next to my name.  That's it!!  I really appreciate your help with this!! :-)

Second, there's the Pitch Perfect Finalist contest by Underground Book Reviews!!  It's posted on their Facebook page and if the post gets the most likes and shares by tomorrow, Captivated By The Winter King will be published in their magazine as the Perfect Pitch Pick for the week! :-)  So, if you could all take a moment and visit their Facebook page and like and share the post, I would greatly appreciate it! :-)  The link is:

Also, if you could vote for Captivated By The Winter King on the Underground Book Reviews website, I would appreciate that too!! ;-)  If I can get 100 votes, Captivated By The Winter King will get a special recognition badge on their site. :-)  The link is:

Captivated By The Winter King on Underground Book Reviews Site

The button is at the top of the page.  It's white and says "Vote" in black letters. :-)

Thank you all for stopping by today, and I hope you're all have a fun and safe holiday weekend!  Please check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Friday, December 25, 2015

#MerryChristmas!!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's the last day for the #Winter #Wonderland #Giveaway!!  The grand prize is $200 cash payable through Paypal and there are over 100 other prizes!!!  Did you get a new Kindle for Christmas?  Here's your chance to load it up for free!! :-)  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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A #Little #Help, #Please? :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Exciting news!  Captivated By The Winter King and yours truly have been nominated for several categories in the Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards!!  I would greatly appreciate your help in winning, and it won't take much on your part, at all! :-)  First, it's free, of course.  Second, all you have to do is click on the links below and find the categories I'm listed under and vote for me. :-)  It shouldn't take more than a couple minutes.

The first link is:

Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards - Best of 2015* (Authors, Editors, etc.)

And I've been nominated under the following categories:

-Favorite BDSM Author
-Favorite Fantasy Author
-Favorite Paranormal Author

The second link is:

Bottles & Books Reviews 1st Annual Reader's Choice Awards - Best of 2015* (Books, characters, etc.)

And I've been nominated under the following categories:

-Favorite Erotica Book
-Favorite Paranormal Book
-Favorite BDSM Book
-Favorite Book Boyfriend
-Favorite Male Character
-Favorite Fantasy Book

Again, just find those categories and click on the bubble next to my name.  That's it!!  I really appreciate your help with this!! :-)   Thank you all for stopping by today, and I hope you all have a safe, fun, and magical holiday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#What's #Next?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

As I promised, I'll be telling you a little about what, besides the revisions to Taken By The Huntsman, will be keeping me from writing the next book in the Spellbound Hearts series right away.  But first, I'll keep my promise from yesterday and give you a hint about the next Spellbound Hearts book.  Actually, it's two hints.  First, there will be a dragon in the next book.  And second, you've already met him!  Albeit, briefly.

Is your interest piqued? Mine is! And I feel your pain over the delay, but I hope you'll be as excited over my next project as I am! :-)  It will be a little different, but I think it will still be pretty awesome. ;-)

So, what is it?  A new series, of course! :-)  Unlike the Spellbound Hearts series, the new series will not be romance.  It will also not be a fantasy series.  So, what will it be?  Good question!  It will be a Cyberpunk series, and so far I have two books planned.  But that's subject to change.  At the moment, I'm using the the working title Petri's Story for the series, but I'm sure that will change before the books are published.  I don't have ideas for the titles of the individual books yet.

Who is Petri, you ask? Well, Petri is a pretty interesting character, if I do say so myself, who has been keeping me up at night for months now. She's very anxious to have her story told!  I don't want to say too much about her yet, but I will tell you she is a human/alien hybrid with a rather unique history.  Petri also has some really cool friends, and together they manage to escape some pretty scary situations.  Sound exciting?  Good!

There's a lot more to tell, but I'll be a tease and leave it there for now.  One thing I will promise, once I have the rough draft of the first chapter, I'll post it on my blog so you can at least see how the story starts.  Hopefully, that will help you forgive me for the delay in the next Spellbound Hearts book.

Luv you all, and please check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings!! After all, you never know what secrets I may reveal... ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#Coming #Down The #Pipeline. :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I just wanted to give you all a quick update as to what I'm up to now that Captivated By The Winter King is out. :-)  First of all, I'll say that there will be more books in the Spellbound Hearts series, and if you check back tomorrow I'll share a small tidbit about what to expect in the next one. ;-)  That being said, there are a couple of other things coming before I get to those books.  The first one is that I'm in the process of cleaning up the editing and formatting for Taken By The Huntsman.

Now, don't panic!  This absolutely does not mean you need to buy it again!  If you already have a copy, all you have to do is download the latest version and you'll have all the updates.  I've entered the settings so that this should happen automatically, but it's my understanding that Amazon is having difficulty with the automatic process, so you might have to email them and have them send you the latest version.  But it won't cost you anything.  I've already uploaded a slightly revised version, but it's not the final version.  I will post a notice on my blog once the final version is uploaded.

Why am I doing this?  Well, after a year of writing, I think practice has improved my abilities somewhat, and I want my first story to reflect those improvements.  Also, I've learned a few things about formatting ebooks and I wanted to make it easier to navigate through Taken By The Huntsman.  And the third reason I'm doing this is because I want to make Taken By The Huntsman available in print, but I want it to be the best version of itself first. ;-)  So, that's what I'm working on at the moment.  Tomorrow, I'll tell you a bit about what I'll be working on next. ;-)

And just so you can get an idea of the kinds of changes I'm making, I'll post a short excerpt below.  The first excerpt will be from the original version, and the second excerpt will be from the updated, though not final, version.  The changes aren't major, but I think they're important. :-)

Original version excerpt:
The Erlking had left Faerie for the human world, something he hadn’t done in decades and didn’t do lightly now, to hunt the one who had killed a pixie child named Coel. The Wild Hunt (also known as the Wild Horde among the Fae) often punished murderers (as well as oath breakers, liars, and others who committed crimes against the goddess) but catching a child-slayer had special meaning. Children were revered among the Fae (probably because they had so few) so when Aeronwen, Coel’s mother, spilled her own blood and called for vengeance against Griogal (the male Sidhe who’s suit she had rejected and who had murdered her son out of spite) the Erlking responded immediately. He had reviewed the evidence against Griogal and found it more than sufficient. No one called the Wild Hunt lightly because if the evidence didn’t support the charge, or the offense was not great enough to warrant a punishment by the Hunt, the one whose blood had called them would be punished instead, and the Erlking was the sole judge, jury, and sometimes executioner when the Hunt was called. Even more so than the US Supreme Court, the Erlking decided which calls to heed and his judgment was final, no appeal possible.

In this case the Erlking had heard Aeronwen’s call for vengeance against Griogal for the crime of child-slaying and had traveled to the scene of the crime immediately. The ability to instantly appear to a caller was a power that was unique to him, as far as the Erlking knew, and was one he only possessed when a call for vengeance was released onto the wind with blood. He could carry any or all (as he chose) of the rest of the Horde with him to the initial call, but the rest of the hunt had to proceed by other means of travel.

Updated version excerpt:
The Erlking had left Faerie for the human world, something he hadn’t done in decades, to hunt the one who had killed a pixie child named Coel. The Wild Hunt, also known as the Wild Horde among the Fae, often punished murderers; though, oath breakers, liars, and others who committed crimes against the goddess fell within their province as well. But catching a child-slayer had special meaning. Children were revered among the Fae, probably because they had so few. So, when Aeronwen, Coel’s mother, spilled her own blood and called for vengeance against her child's murderer the Erlking responded immediately.

Aeronwen claimed Griogal, the male Sidhe whose suit she had rejected, had murdered her son out of spite. As a Sidhe, Griogal's pursuit of a Pixie was considered something of a perversion among the Fae, and Aeronwen told the Erlking she had been disgusted by the idea. But, she had never dreamed that her refusal to consider Griogal's romantic overtures would result in the death of her only child.

The Erlking had reviewed the evidence against Griogal and found it more than sufficient. No one called the Wild Hunt lightly because if the evidence didn’t support the charge or the offense was not great enough to warrant a punishment by the Hunt, the one whose blood had summoned them would be punished instead. The Erlking was the sole judge, jury, and sometimes executioner when the Hunt was called. Even more so than the US Supreme Court, the Erlking decided which calls to heed and his judgment was final. No appeal was possible.

In this case, the Erlking had heard Aeronwen’s call for vengeance against Griogal and had traveled to the scene of the crime immediately. The ability to instantly appear to a caller was a power that was, as far as the Erlking knew, unique to him. It was a power he possessed only when a call for vengeance was released onto the wind with blood. He could carry any or all, as he chose, of the rest of the Horde with him to the initial call, but the rest of the hunt had to proceed by other means of travel.

The second version is what people who buy Taken By The Huntsman now will receive, and it's what you can download as an update if you have already purchased Taken By The Huntsman.  But it's still subject to revision.  I hope to have this project completed sometime during the beginning of next year, but no promises. :-)

Thank you all for stopping by today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

#CoverReveal For #Blood #Ties by Julie Nicholls!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Julie Nicholls is here today to talk about her soon to be released novel, Blood Ties! :-)  Julie, take it away! :-)

Hey Peeps!

I'm proud to reveal my latest cover the first book in a new trilogy. The first book is titled, Blood Ties.  It's going to be available Monday, 4th January, 2016 on all platforms.  Amazon, B & N, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks. So stay tuned for the links! You can sign up to my email list, and receive details of special offers and freebies! 



Blood Ties is a paranormal/shifter/romance story.

Meet K 3 4 G E N - He's not quite human.
Sweat ran down Keagen’s muscular back as he pressed the female against the wall. A rock-hard body, with perfect proportions and stamina that would outlast a stable of thoroughbred racehorses, was nowhere near to flagging. He’d pounded the woman for the last hour, nonstop. The female on the receiving end of his attention cried herself hoarse more than twenty minutes earlier. She needed to rest, but large hands cupped her ass, supporting her weight, and only when he’d had enough would he let her down.

With the air-con turned up high the smell of fresh sweat and sex hung in the air. Keagen loved to fuck; he had some catching up to do after his sex-starved existence for the first part of his adult life. Puffing out a few quick breaths, he built up his pace. He was ready for a beer and wanted the woman out of his room.

Keagen was tall, muscular, and stronger than most men were, although he wasn’t exactly a man. His genes were human DNA with a hint of animal, courtesy of Solgen Laboratories. It wasn’t common knowledge what the company did, and their labs were all in secret locations. Only their financial backers knew where they were. Who supported them was unclear. Possibly the government, private military organizations, or even wealthy dictators; no one knew. You would not find any documentation about it. It wasn’t legal what they were doing, that’s for sure.

Keagen tracked and hunted escapees and always caught his prey, but just one eluded him, and it pissed him off. Nevertheless, he was closing in, and soon he’d return to base with his prize in tow. Given free reign to come and go as he pleased, Keagen enjoyed the freedom, and as long as he brought in the bounty, all was well. Sometimes out in the field for days or weeks at a time, he upheld contact by phone; a check-in, but he wasn’t worried. Sometimes he needed ‘Keagen’ time. Holding up at his secret hideaway, or a motel, where a steady stream of females frequented his room, he could easily fob off his supervisor. The geneticists made the mistake of giving him just a little too much intelligence. Consequently, his IQ already rivaled some of the top minds in the world, and he was smart enough to hide that fact from his testers.

Grunting and hissing through gritted teeth, Keagen screamed his orgasm as he fucked the flagging woman; those last deep thrusts into her satisfied pussy filling the room with a guttural cry. Throwing his head back, his wet hair slapped against his shoulders. The muscles in his thighs held the female firmly against the wall for a few moments until his hips finally stilled and finished jerking. Catching his breath, he rested his head against the cool plaster before releasing the sighing woman. As she tried to stand her knees buckled, but he quickly scooped her up and laid her on the bed.

Meet Gabriel - Lycan

It was quiet in the smoke-filled bar. Just the gentle humming from the waitress broke the silence. Drew’s was a rundown place where the locals piled in after work. Mostly hanging out for just a few drinks to wind down before heading home, they used it as a stopgap, preparing for more stress from either home life, or a second job. There were the regulars who propped up the bar day and night. Jack, one of the old-timers, spent all his time drooling over the young women as they tended bar. Occasional delivery trucks would hold up in the parking lot and the drivers would drop in for coffee, just to keep from falling asleep on long hauls. Smokey and dark, with subdued lighting with wood paneling covering the walls and an unvarnished wooden floor, it was a place to relax and ponder.

Gabriel was a regular and sat at the end of the bar in his usual place. From his vantage point, he could view the entire room. He didn’t have children or work to unwind from, but still enjoyed a cool beer. Without turning his head, the washroom and entrance were all visible. He could see everyone come and go with ease. Sitting quietly, he’d listen. Unless someone started the conversation first, he’d barely speak, but take in everything.

The quiet town appealed to Gabriel. Moving here just over a year ago, he settled in easily and found a place to stay. After renovating a cabin just on the edge of town, it gave him the seclusion he desired. He could take a short drive into suburbia and have everything he needed before returning to the solace he preferred. He kept to himself and avoided confrontations. Causing trouble wasn’t in his nature. However, he came over as someone who didn’t take crap, and he would let small annoyances slide until he reached a breaking point, then you didn’t want to be around to see the fall out. On a few occasions, Gabriel let people know he wasn’t someone they should fuck with, earning him respect shortly afterward. In sleepy town bars, there’s always someone dropping by to stir up the calm. Stepping in to deal with troublemakers made him the resident bouncer. There was never any exchange of cash; he didn’t need a regular job. He just did it. Drew made sure he never went thirsty and all drinks were on the house for keeping the place brawl-free, which suited Gabriel. The more beer, the better, and he didn’t like having his peace and quiet disturbed; it was a win-win situation.

Watching Lyssa brought out his more human characteristics; he’d not always had those. A year ago, he was nothing more than a caged animal. He tried not to think about the past, but occasionally something would trigger his thoughts.

Taking a mouthful of beer, he watched everyone and everything. Casually watching Jack eye up the sweet piece of ass, he grinned. He’d been close, and was still working on getting closer. Never short of female attention, Gabriel made up for lost time as soon as he broke free from his captors. There wasn’t a huge choice of pussy in Dewburn Falls, but quality, not quantity was the issue here. Lyssa would succumb to him, eventually. They couldn’t resist him, and he was astounded she’d lasted this long; he had a feeling she’d be worth the wait. Continuing his advances and hoping for a victory soon, Lyssa proved an interesting challenge.

He wasn’t sure if it was luck, or fate, that brought him here, but finding two female lycans was a surprise. Taking a drink, he smiled as his thoughts turned to Sally. He’d been in town only two weeks and gotten lucky with her.

One down…

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Artwork by yours truly.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

#News & #Stuff! ;-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

A couple of exciting things and a couple of favors I'd like to ask today. :-)  The first exciting thing is that Captivated By The Winter King has been chosen as a Pitch Perfect Finalist by Underground Book Reviews!!  It is posted on their Facebook page and if the post gets the most likes and shares by next Sunday, Captivated By The Winter King will be published in their magazine as the Perfect Pitch Pick for the week! :-)  So, if you could all take a moment and visit their Facebook page and like and share the post, I would greatly appreciate it! :-)  The link is:

Also, if you could vote for Captivated By The Winter King on the Underground Book Reviews website, I would appreciate that too!! ;-)  The link is:

So, those are the favors and one exciting thing.  The other exciting thing is that Ankou has stopped by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra's blog for a meet and greet!  If you'd like to learn more about the Winter King, please stop by and see for yourself! :-)  The link is:

Thank you all for stopping by today.  And please check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Saturday, December 19, 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

Friday, December 18, 2015

#December #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #BookReviews!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Slither by Valarie Savage Kinney:

This was a unique view into the world of the supernatural.  Although, I think a bit more back story about the choices the family made long ago might be useful. This is not an erotic novel, so those expecting that anything supernatural must include lots of adult scenes will be surprised. Slither is well organized, the characters are well thought out, and the story is well told with a few plot twists along the way.  It is quite interesting and a good read that goes quickly but still leaves you feeling as though you've truly read a book instead of just a short story.

Song of the Vampire by K M McFarland:

This was a sweet beginning to the Vampyr trilogy. Ms. McFarland does a good job of introducing readers to her characters and setting up her world for the next story. The relationship between Giselle and Quinn was incredibly romantic, star-crossed lovers getting a second chance. Also, the way Ms. McFarland paints with words is fantastic. I've never been to New Orleans, but I felt like I could see club Vampyr. All in all, a wonderful story, and I'm looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#Interview With AM Leibowitz!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

A. M. Leibowitz is here with us today to talk about her book, Passing On Faith.  A. M., can you tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

AM:  I'm a spouse, parent, writer, and editor from upstate NY. I mostly write bisexual MM. That's not quite what it sounds like--most people probably think threesomes/menage and possibly erotica. But I actually write bi characters, culture, and life experiences, which does sometimes include polyamory and open relationships. It also includes coming out, falling in love, and working through issues unique to bisexuality. Besides that, I've written short stories in various LGBTQ+ categories. So far, I have two novels published by Supposed Crimes and a number of short stories, both self-published and in anthologies from small/arthouse publishers.

Me:  Sounds like you've been busy!! :-)  What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

AM:  My current novel is Passing on Faith. It's a very personal novel inspired by my own journey to reconcile my faith and my sexuality. It's also partly based on the story of Puss in Boots.

Me:  I have to say, that's one of my favorite fairy tales. :-)  What are you working on now?

AM:  I'm finishing up edits on a novel about a burned-out activist who's a classic rescuer. He's learning to let go of the problems of the world and that it's ok to need someone else to lean on.

Me:  Speaking of someone who has been involved in animal rescue for a number of years, I know exactly the kind of person you're talking about. :-)  What authors, or books, have influenced you?

AM:  It would be hard to pick just one. I read a lot of LGBTQ+ fiction, and I'm constantly awed by how many wonderful, talented writers there are. I don't feel right naming only one author. Of more mainstream authors, my favorite is Elizabeth Berg. She has a knack for writing perfect slice-of-life novels.

Me:  Yes, there are a lot of truly amazing authors out there! :-)  What are you reading now?

AM:  I'm always reading multiple books! Currently on my Kindle are Silence Out Loud by Geonn Cannon and Signs of Desire by Tempeste O'Riley.

Me:  Cool! :-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

AM:  I would say to expect a non-traditional romance, a rainbow of LGBTQ+ characters, and some religious elements. I don't mince words; sometimes, religion is really damaging. But I also don't take the view that it's all negative--the two main characters have very different perspectives on that.

Me:  That actually sounds really interesting!  I might have to check it out! :-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

AM:  Meeting other authors. I can't believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many supportive fellow writers.

Me:  I totally agree.  The author community is awesome! :-)  Do you have a day job as well?

AM:  I'm also a freelance editor, so I get to work with writers on the other end of things too.

Me:  So you get the early glimpses! ;-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

AM:  Hardest: Getting frustrated when the words just won't come out the way I want.  Easiest: Working from home!

Me:  Yes, working from home is great! :-)  What genre do you place your book in?

AM:  It's categorized on Amazon as literature (under Gay and Lesbian). I tend to think of it as mixed genre literary/romance.

Me:   Like I said, it sounds interesting! :-)  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

AM:  *waves* Just that I'm grateful for the love and support, and I really enjoy connecting with readers. I'm happy to chat any time.

Me:  And so these fine folks can find your intriguing stories, are there any links you'd like me to post?

AM:  Here's the link to my website: http://amleibowitz.com

Me:  Wonderful!!  Thank you so much for dropping by today, A. M.  And thank you to everyone else who has joined us!  Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the next edition of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#How #Special?

Hey Everyone! :-)

Today, I'm going to share with you something that not a lot of people know about me.  Before we begin, please let me beg your indulgence.  This will be a long one.

What you probably don't know is, I was born into, and raised as a member of, a cult.  Yep, that's right, a cult.  My parents were, and still are, Jehovah's Witnesses, and I was raised as part of that cult.  Now, there are a lot of stories I could tell you about cult life, some of which would probably horrify you, but I'm not going to do that.  Instead, I'm going to talk about something that has a greater impact on society, prejudice and why it seems to be so prevalent.  Now, these are just my opinions, of course, but you can decide whether or not you agree after you read them. ;-)

You see, as someone who ran away, as far and fast as I could, from the cult that defined the only life I had ever known, I've spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why anyone would choose to join or remain in a cult.  I will say, the answer to that question probably varies greatly among cult members, and I certainly can't assert that the things I'll discuss here apply to every member.  But, through 20-plus years of close observation, I have come up with some general themes I think apply.

First, there's the comfort of the familiar.  If you're born into the Jehovah's Witness cult, your life is strictly controlled.  You are limited in how much contact you're allowed to have with people who are not cult members, and how much you're allowed to interact with various aspects of society.  For instance, Jehovah's Witnesses aren't allowed to socialize with non-Jehovah's Witnesses outside of what is necessary for work or school.  In fact, Jehovah's Witnesses have a term for people who are not Jehovah's Witnesses, they are called "worldly people."  And worldly people, in the view of Jehovah's Witnesses, are both dangerous and inferior to Jehovah's Witnesses.

Another way Jehovah's Witnesses isolate themselves is by strongly discouraging education.  Children whose parents are Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities at school.  For one thing, it would require unnecessary association with worldly people.  And for another, it would take time that would be better spent in the "preaching work," which is what Jehovah's Witnesses call it when they go door-to-door and try to convert people to their cult.  Any education beyond the minimum required by law is proscribed.  I won't go so far as to say it's strictly forbidden, but anyone who tries to pursue a higher education often faces extreme pressure to stop and may receive censure from the authorities within the cult.

So, as you might imagine, the combination of these two things often leads to an extremely narrow worldview.  In fact, exposure to anything outside their limited experience can be quite jarring for Jehovah's Witnesses, and they often have a hard time assimilating new ideas.  At least, that has been my experience in dealing with many of them.

Add to this, the fact that family members are not excluded from the rule about not associating with worldly people.  And people who leave the cult are viewed as even worse than people who have never been a part of it and are shunned by everyone, including their families.  Which means that anyone who leaves the cult often loses their entire social network and support system.  Of course, that's probably exactly what the cult leadership wants, what better way to maintain control over people?

But that doesn't answer the question of why people join the cult who aren't born into it, and I don't think it fully answers the question about why people choose to stay, either.  So what does?  After all, it would have to be something pretty compelling for people to be willing to cut off all contact with their children, parents, siblings, etc.  It's not easy to convince most people to be so cruel to their close kin.

For the answer to that question, I've had to look at what some of the perceived benefits to cult membership might be.  This has been quite a challenge for me because, as you might have guessed from this post so far, my experiences with the cult have been less than pleasant.  So, it has been something of a stretch for me to try to find the "good" aspects of cult life.  But I've tried, and you can see for yourself if you think I've succeeded.

I'm not going to get into all the doctrinal dogma of God and righteousness and whether a person will end up in a good place or a bad place at the end of their life or what form that will take.  These are things that many, if not most, religions express opinions on, so they are not unique to the cult.  The same goes for the sense of community and fellowship.  Any activity that involves human interaction and revolves around a common interest will likely result in those.  No, what it boils down to, in my opinion, is the license it gives people to feel superior to other people.

Now, this is not unique to Jehovah's Witnesses, or cults in general, by any means.  Human beings like to think they're special.  And we are.  All of us.  Every single person on the planet is unique and special in their own way.  Everyone has their own talents, abilities, and interests, and we are all, every one of us, special.  But we are not any more special than any other person.

However, we like to think we are.  And we like when other people think we are too.  What's more, we often gravitate to anything that will allow us to sustain our illusions about how special we are.  And sometimes those things do have the effect of actually making a person noteworthy in some way.  People might try to distinguish themselves through education, inventing something, accomplishing something that is useful to humanity in some way, discovering and documenting something new and interesting or important, creating something beautiful or that entertains others, etc, etc.  There are all manner of productive avenues that people might pursue in order to "leave their mark," so to speak.  And that's not a bad thing, at all.

And the argument can certainly be made that a person can earn special regard for themselves through their actions.  Especially, when those actions benefit others.  But not everyone can, or wants to put in the effort, to do those kinds of things.  So, what about them?  How can they make themselves feel special?

Well, the easiest and fastest way is to create an "in" group and declare yourself part of it.  That's what Jehovah's Witnesses have done.  And, in my observation, that's what pretty much every group that declares themselves to be superior to other people does.  Jehovah's Witnesses justify their perceived superiority by believing they, alone and apart from all other religions, know what God's will is and have His blessing.  They believe that their faith in their own superiority will be vindicated at Armageddon when God will kill all the people on Earth except Jehovah's Witnesses.  So, subtract roughly 8 million people from the total world population, and that's your death toll.  And this is something they look forward to!  Charming, right?

Are the beliefs of any group that tries to hold themselves above any other group any less vomit-inducing?  Have you listened to the News lately?  There seem to have been lots of charming people expounding on their thoughts in recent weeks, haven't there?  And once you've established yourself as "better" than someone else, it's pretty easy to deny them the same rights that you have and dismiss their suffering too, isn't it?

So, why is this type of belief so prevalent?  I mean, most of us, when we hear someone speaking about other people this way, realize how disgusting it sounds.  So, why do so many of us fall into the trap of thinking this way?  Because we get to be special!  We don't have to do anything, learn anything, accomplish anything, or contribute anything.  All we have to do is be something and not be something else.  And since we get to define what the "in" group is, it's pretty easy for us to be a part of it, isn't it?  And how many of us will ever get the chance to be special in any other way?

Of course, that doesn't make prejudice okay.  I'm trying to come up with a possible explanation for it, not justify it.  There is no justification for considering yourself superior to others and denying them rights or failing to be compassionate towards their pain.  But I think sometimes it helps to understand the reasons we do things, especially if we want to try to keep ourselves from doing them.  If you want to fight an addiction, you identify the things and circumstances that make it more likely that you will indulge in the thing you want to stop being addicted to, and you avoid those things and circumstance.

I look at prejudice the same way.  I don't want to succumb to the tendency to regard myself as better than anyone else, so I try to figure out why that tendency exists in the first place.  Maybe I'm wrong in the conclusions I've reached, I'm not an expert in human psychology, after all.  But I think I've at least managed to identify part of the equation.  And now what I need to do is keep that in mind if I start trying to look for ways I might be special in some way.  I need to remember, that yes, I am special.  And so is everyone else.  And that's okay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

From A #Certain #PointOfView

Hey Everyone!

I've been doing some thinking lately, dangerous, I know, and remembered an incident that happened several years ago.  I was volunteering in an animal shelter, at the time, and a woman came in with 15 cats that she wanted to drop off.  This particular woman had made quite a few similar trips to the shelter, by that time, and everyone who worked or volunteered there had come to loathe the sight of her.

Why?  Good question.  The answer is very simple.  It was because she had no idea what she was doing and, what was worse, she didn't care.  It was very clear to all of the shelter employees and volunteers that this woman could not have cared less what the effect of her actions was.

What was that effect?  Another good question!  For several weeks, the woman had brought carloads of cats to the shelter.  She had been trapping these cats from various areas around the county.  Many, if not most, of the cats were "feral."  Which meant that they were afraid of people and would react defensively if approached.  Kitties who are that frightened of people are generally not adoptable.  Animals that are not considered adoptable are euthanized by most shelters.

So for weeks, this woman had been consigning dozens of cats to death.  Why was she doing this?  Were the cats on her property or causing a problem for her?  No.  In fact, in order to catch the cats, she had been searching out the places where they lived and trapping them.

Just because an animal acts untamed in a shelter environment, doesn't mean that they don't have a home and a family who loves them.  It might just be fear that makes them act unfriendly.  This was demonstrated by the fact that not all the cats the woman brought in were strays.  Several of them had microchips and were reunited with their owners.  Some of the cats' owners came looking for their missing pets and found them in a cage waiting for their execution.  Of course, more of the kitties might have been owned by someone, but without microchips or collars and tags with contact information or someone stepping forward to claim them, their owners were never found.

So why was she doing this?  She had decided, all on her own, that there was a "cat problem" in the area, and she was going to "clean it up."  To her, the cats weren't living, feeling, thinking creatures.  They were vermin.  And vermin should be exterminated.

What really drove home the fact that this woman had absolutely no conception of the fact that she was sentencing multiple living creatures to death was what happened on the day that reminded me of this whole situation.  I had been volunteering in the back of the shelter, cleaning out cages and feeding the animals, when she came into the room with the cats.  She had never done that before.  Looking around at all of the full cages, she put her hands on her hips and gave me a smug, satisfied look.  Then she opened her mouth and one of the most heartless things I've ever heard crossed her lips.  She said, "Wow.  They really are all the same, aren't they?  At least, they aren't out making a mess, anymore."  Then she turned around and walked out.

I'm not a violent person, generally speaking.  For the most part, I abhor violence and believe that the best way to change people's behavior is to persuade them with logic and reason to make the change themselves.  But, on that particular occasion, it took every ounce of my self-control to keep from taking the handle of the broom I was holding and beating the woman senseless!

It was only later that I was able to calm down and realize that the woman thought she was doing a good thing.  In her mind, she was performing a public service and solving a problem.  She was wrong.  And she was also ignorant, arrogant, and presumptuous.  But she wasn't evil.  The woman hadn't set out with the intention of doing something terrible.  Her failing wasn't in her intentions, it was in her deciding she didn't need to consult anyone else before taking action that affected other people.

She didn't ask the property owners where the cats were located if they wanted her to trap the cats on their property.  She didn't ask the shelter staff or animal control officers if what she was doing would be helpful.  She didn't do adequate research to find humane alternatives to mass executions.  And, her absolute worst sin, she refused to listen when anyone tried to tell her that what she was doing was causing a problem.  But, from her point of view, she was doing something that needed to be done.  From her point of view, she was helping.

When I finally realized that, I was able to let go of most of my anger, if not all of my frustration.  I also realized that there was a lesson in there for me.  Everyone has a point of view, but not all points of view are equally valid all the time.

Sometimes they are.  When what you're dealing with is a matter of opinion, then it's possible that it would be appropriate to lend equal weight to all perspectives.  But if what you're dealing with is something that affects others and is dependent on factors that you might not fully understand, then it might be a good thing for you to defer to those with more knowledge of and experience in the matter.

Not everyone can be an expert in everything, and that's okay.  But it behooves those of us who are not experts to listen to those who are.  I try to remember that when I find myself in a disagreement over an issue that comes down to point of view.  It never hurts to ask myself, is mine the correct point of view?

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's #Only #Fiction...

Hey Everyone! :-)

It's Monday, so time for your weekly dose of the Fae! :-)  This week, I thought I'd share something that's a little different.  It's a passage I wrote several months ago, but I thought you might find it ironic now.  Just a quick disclaimer, this passage is an excerpt from the thoughts of one of the villains in Captivated By The Winter King.  It does not, in any way, shape, or form, represent the thoughts or opinions of the author. ;-)

Excerpt from Captivated By The Winter King:

After stumbling through the humid, Florida jungle, Erik had finally reached the place where Kate's car had been found. He had been prepared to wait the hour he had decided on; but, before he could settle in, he heard voices from close by. Peering through the vegetation, he thought he saw people standing not far away. What were other people doing there? Would the fairies have come through the portal before he arrived?

Moving closer, he realized he couldn't understand the language they were speaking. Foreigners! He was so sick of foreigners coming to his country and speaking their gibberish. Why couldn't they learn to speak American? Still, they might be dangerous. Weren't most foreigners criminals?

Before he could sneak away, the light shining through the trees brightened for a moment and he was able to get a better look at the group. One of them was pure white. It could only be Gormal. Shuddering, he reflected he had never thought anyone could be too white before. But the Fae male was. It was disgusting. But if he had Erik's fiance, it would be worth dealing with him long enough to get her back. When he entered politics, Erik realized he would have to put on a polite face for all kinds of distasteful people. At least, until he was able to crush them.

Well, he sounds perfectly detestable, doesn't he?  I'm glad he's not a real politician! ;-)  Anyway, thank you all for joining me here today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next edition of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

#Pet #Advice: #Getting #Rid Of #Fleas

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back with another in my series on pet advice.  This one is about inexpensive ways to get rid of fleas in the house. :-)

How To Get Rid Of Fleas:
Try diatomaceous earth. You can get it at most farm supply stores and garden centers.  It is relatively inexpensive and is non-toxic for mammals.
First, vacuum all surfaces thoroughly.  That includes: carpet, furniture, under furniture, linoleum/tile/hardwood.  And wash all bedding, yours and your pets', in hot water and lots of soap.  Also, vacuum your mattress.
Then, work the diatomaceous earth into the carpet with a stiff brush or broom and let it sit overnight. The following day, vacuum thoroughly and take the vacuum bag outside.  If you're using a bagless vacuum, dump the canister outside and wash it out with bleach.
After you've vacuumed, work more diatomaceous earth into the carpet and let it sit for a week. Then, vacuum the carpet again and take the bag outside. After this, the fleas should be gone. 
This procedure also works with boric acid powder, which can be found in most pharmacies.  It does not require a prescription and it is cheap. Of course, the best way to get rid of fleas, and keep them gone, is to use a product like Frontline or Advantage (or whatever flea product is recommended by your veterinarian) on your pet. :-)  Good luck!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#CoverReveal #Facebook #Event for #TheSolomonProject by @wrennovels!!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Jessica Wren is hosting an ongoing Facebook event for her upcoming novel The Solomon Project!  The event will continue until the book release on February 11th, but today she's doing her cover reveal for the book!  You can read below for details on how you can win lots of totally awesome prizes!! :-)

Come join me as I turn my newest novel into a reality. Part paranormal dystopian thriller, part historical fiction, you will be thrilled to Heaven and back as Eddie and his family, in the midst of a desperate crisis, call up the spirits of Solomon, Uriah and other major Biblical figures to help them defeat the cruel CIN and put an end to the deadly epidemic that's spreading quickly through the Southeast District (aka Georgia). Prizes, preplanned and random, will be awarded in abundance, with King Solomon's Treasure, a super secret grand prize awarded at the end.

Random Prizes: every so often, I will choose from among the list of participants to receive a $5 Amazon gift card AND a free ebook. You never know when you may win...
A. If you have a specific book you want, let me know and it will be honored. (My only other published book is currently undergoing a rewrite. I don't recommend that you choose that one lol)
B. Otherwise, tell me what your preferred genre is and I will send a "surprise" from the 60+ books I have reviewed. Please indicate if you don't like the following: excessive profanity, graphic violence, graphic sex scenes, or anything else you find unacceptable so I can pick something you'll like.

Scheduled Prizes: every Friday, the person who has earned the most 'talents' (swag points) will be awarded a swag prize such as a sweatshirt, T-Shirt, water bottle, etc. Swag will also be awarded during special events, such as the cover reveal. You win talents by:
inviting friends (5 talents)
sharing the event (5 talents)
tweeting/retweeting about the event or book (I strongly encourage you to use the hashtag #TheSolomonProject and to put @wrennovels in any tweet when possible. Not required for the points, but it makes it easier for me to keep up with and, well okay...I want to trend!) (2 talents)responding to a post concerning the event (1 talent per response, within reason. This includes participation in others' takeovers),
doing a takeover (20 talents for an hour, 50 for a full day)
being of any assistance at all during the event in a way I have not yet considered (talents awarded on a case-by-case basis by mutual agreement)
posting about the cover reveal between December 7-11 on your blog (100 talents)
posting about other special events on you blog (100 talents, dates TBA)
getting a friend to post about the aforementioned events on his/her blog or to reblog (150 talents each, please post the links)
posting about the book release on your blog between February 3-11 (500 points),
Getting a friend to post about the book release on these dates or to reblog (600 talents each, please provide links), and
between February 6-11, convincing someone to download a copy of The Solomon Project (2000 talents each, and that 'someone' can be yourself ;)).

Talents are cumulative, and the person with the most talents on the 11th at 9pm EST will be the winner of King Solomon's Treasure, an assortment of swag, goodies, and other prizes, including a brand-new Kindle tablet ($60 value).
In the event of a tie, random.org will choose the winner, both weekly and of the grand prize.

Only people who have chosen 'going' or 'interested' will be awarded talents.
As these can be rather tricky for me to keep up with, I encourage you to keep your own tally in case I forget to add your earned talents. You are on the honor system; however, talents are subject to verification (which will probably only happen if there is a dispute, in which case you will be responsible for proving points).

"So, Jess, why don't you just use Rafflecopter?" Because (a), Rafflecoptor in the past has proven to be a huge PIMA, and (b), I want the winners to be people who have actually earned the prizes, not someone who did one little thing and got lucky.

I'll post the talent totals as often as possible but no less than weekly.

See the schedule of events for author takeovers and other events.

Please join Jessica at her event and enter to win some of the awesome prizes she is offering!! :-)

Friday, December 11, 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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

#IABBAddict: #Slither by Valarie Savage Kinney

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

About the Book

SlitherAuthor: Valarie Savage

Title: Slither

Pages: 217

Genre: Paranormal Horror

Publisher: Twisted Core Press

Date published: July 2, 2015

We're often told tales of the underworlds to feed the darkest corners of our nightmares. We tuck them away with the sunlight and laugh away the fear our minds created. But the daylight offers no relief for Zari. She's hidden her waking nightmare as nothing more than a damaged past. The venom of her secrets consumes her, as well as those she cares for most. Emmett, the love of her life and the only one with a past dark enough to respect her space, becomes a pawn in the war against the demonic force which is her bloodright. Can Zari overpower those out to get her to feed on the innocent? Can she save Emmett from the evil of Slither?


Zari clawed at her sister, Gianna, in a desperate attempt to escape. Gianna ran her forked tongue slowly across her upper lip. The slimy, berry-colored muscle dripped hot saliva onto Zari’s face as she turned away from Gianna’s menacing glare. “Please don’t make me watch! I don’t want to see this again!” Zari cried, curling into a ball on the hard, cold floor of the shed.Nan stomped on Zari’s stomach, anger flushing her grizzled features. “Listen, you little bitch. You will sit still and watch, or I will see to it your father beats you senseless…again. Remember the last time?” Zari did remember. She’d not been able to walk for two days after the last beating. The pain in her gut now was so great it knocked the air from her lungs as she wheezed.
Zari whimpered. Pain, shame and disgust clenched her stomach as the young man tied to the pallet in the corner screamed for mercy. Pop straddled the man, laughing as his prisoner frantically thrashed about. Nan and Gianna gripped Zari’s arms and forced her to a sitting position. Roughly grabbing her chin, Nan yanked her head forward. “Watch!” Nan hissed.The man’s body had stilled and dark, thick rivers of blood dripped from his mouth and nose down the side of his face. Pop’s mouth pressed against the lips of the stranger as the serpent fed. When her father finally rose, the snake slid back into his mouth and Pop wiped the blood from his lips with the back of his hand. He met Zari’s gray-green eyes with his own, and grinned. His teeth were stained dark red.
Terror shook Zari’s bones, leaving her shivering as she raised her eyes to the scene in the corner of the shed. Pop ran his thumb over the lips of the man, who cried out once more but was quickly silenced when the snake burst forth from Pop’s mouth and slithered down the throat of the man, a drifter who had stopped by the farmhouse the day before, looking for work.Gianna’s split tongue flicked against Zari’s ear; the feel of the wet, dual points of it against her skin made Zari flinch. “Soon,” Gianna whispered, tracing the outer edge of Zari’s ear with her tongue. “Soon, it will be your turn to feed.” Pop shoved the limp body of the young man onto the pile of human shells stacked along the wall of the shed.Overwhelmed by the stench of blood and decaying flesh, Zari began to vomit. Vile chunks of rancid meat erupted from her mouth and bile burned her throat and nose as she heaved. Grimacing, she dragged the hem of her shirt across her mouth, resolving never to eat meat again.

About the Author

Valarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. Author of Slither and Just Hold On. Editor and narrator for Dragons of Faith.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is #Declawing A #Good #Idea?

Hey Everyone! :-)

Today, I'm continuing my series on pet advice I've come up with over the years.  One of the most common questions I'm asked about cats is whether they should be declawed.  Now, as I've said before, I'm not a veterinarian.  However, I have lived with cats for over thirty years, and in that time I've observed a few things.  This advice is based on those observations.

To Declaw Or Not To Declaw:
The short answer?  No, it's not a good idea.  Nor is it a kind thing to do to your pet.  There are several reasons for this, but the one that impacts cat owners the most is the fact that it can cause litter box issues.

Inappropriate elimination, both #1 and #2, is quite common in cats who have been declawed. There are a variety of physical and psychological reasons that this occurs. Declawed cats are prone to health problems because of the mutilation that has been committed on their feet.

The declawing process, itself, is painful.  Most often it is done by amputating the first knuckle on the toes. There are two alternative methods, but they are just as painful.  One involves severing the tendons that allows the claws to be extend, and the other involves disecting the nailbeds so that the claws cannot grow.  But neither of these methods is as common as the amputation method.

No matter which method is used, your kitty will be in pain after the surgery.  This means that, when the kitty goes to use the litter box, it hurts them -- a lot.  Like most living creatures, your kitty will want to avoid pain.  And once they start associating the litter box with pain, they may start avoiding it.  They may start going to the bathroom outside the box immediately, or they may try to "hold it," in which case they will most likely develop a urinary tract infection.

Declawing also often causes joint problems over time. Cats, unlike humans, naturally walk on only their toes. When you remove part of their toes, it causes them to change the way they walk and stand. This often leads to knee and hip problems, which can cause them to have difficulty climbing in and out of the litter box.

There are also a variety of psychological consequences to declawing a cat, which may cause them to stop using the litter box or to eliminate outside the litter box as well as inside it.  You may be able to redirect this behavior if you work hard at it and have a lot of patience, then again you may not. Kitties who have been declawed have been deprived of one of their primary defenses, so it's not uncommon for them to feel insecure and vulnerable.  One way animals avoid fights is by marking their territory clearly, so that other animals are deterred from entering it.  Declawing your kitty may make them more likely to try to avoid other animals by warning them away.

If you are trying to protect your furniture, you can put aluminum foil and/or duct tape over the areas where they are scratching. Every time you see them scratching, pick them up and take them over to their scratching post. Rub their feet on the scratching post. Try putting the scratching post in the area where they are scratching something that you don’t want them to scratch.  You can tempt them to their scratching post by putting some catnip on it.  There is also a product called "Softpaws" which is acrylic tips that can be glued over your kitty's claws.  The tips are too dull to cause damage if your kitty claws at things.

One thing you should keep in mind, if you declaw your kitty, they cannot ever be made an outside kitty.  It wouldn't be safe for them to be outside with no claws.  So if they begin having litter box problems, your choices will be to keep the kitty indoors or take them to a shelter.  It's highly unlikely anyone else will want to adopt a kitty who won't use a litter box.  So if you don't keep your kitty yourself, there is a high likelihood they will be euthanized.  Is that a choice you want to be faced with?  If not, please consider carefully before deciding to declaw.