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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Better Than The #Beach #Summer #Giveaway! $130 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Better Than The Beach Summer Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $130 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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




Friday, June 23, 2017

The #Best Way To #Start The Day! ;-)


Hey Everyone!!

This is for those of you who have emailed asking me if Chessie would get her chance at romance. And, just so you know, Intrinsic Connections is now out and you can grab your copy at your favorite online book retailer and read all about Chessie's dalliance. ;-)

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections, book 2 of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
She shivered as she remembered how it had felt, feeling him moving in and out of her body at the same time she could feel what it felt like to him to be clutched deep inside her velvety warmth.

The liquid heat of their ecstasy had burst over them both with mind-numbing intensity. To be honest, Chessie hadn't been sure if she had cum once or several times. Suffice it to say, they had both needed more than one damp towel to clean up with before they had been able to return to the bed to sleep.

Chessie's body responded to the memories, and she became lost in the sensations. So, it startled her when a furred grip enfolded her length. She looked up into Daji's crystal blue eyes and smiled. Eyes like that should look cold, but all she saw in them as she raised her hand to cup his cheek was incredible heat. His gaze seared her and she shivered.

"Good morning."

"Good morning," he answered as he leaned down to kiss her.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Myself: Wigu By A. Cole!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Ashley Chambliss in my APC spotlight, today!  Ashley is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her children's fiction novel, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself: Wigu, looks like an adorable story with a wonderful, positive message that celebrates diversity and tolerance! Here's the description:
My story titled "When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Myself" was inspired by myself and many other little girls who struggle to stay unique in a world where most people look and think alike. Naya, the main character is an eight year old girl who feels ashamed that she is not prepared for her class' career day. She has a realization that although she does not know what she wants to be when she grows up, she knows the type of person she wants to be. This book celebrates diversity, uniqueness, fearlessness, and individualism
If you think this sounds like something a munchkin in your life might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


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



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 571


Hey Everyone! :-)

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


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

Day Five-Hundred-Seventy-One:
My hominid-servant seems to have decided, for reasons unknown, that it is necessary to rearrange the furniture in my domicile. She has spent the last several days moving things and utilizing unreasonably loud machines to clean the floor space under their previous positions. This disruption has made it impossible to continue my studies. Even the small avians that frequent the area outside the portals in my domicile seem to find the noise off-putting. And they aren't confined in a small space with it!

I've attempted to express my dissatisfaction with this state of affairs. But, as usual, my hominid-servant seems incapable of comprehending even the simplest of statements. The infant felid has taken a more direct approach in his efforts to obstruct this activity. He has made it a habit to sit on the objects my hominid-servant is intent on relocating and to walk between her feet as she carries heavy objects from one place to another.

I must admit, his attempt to communicate effectively with my hominid-servant has been valiant, taking his life in his paws as he has, but ultimately ineffective. Due to his small size, his weight is negligible and my hominid-servant simply picks him up with the furniture or relocates him to an alternative perch. His efforts to hinder her locomotion have proven even less effectual, as she reacts with irritation and has even gone so far as to lock him in the small box she uses to express her displeasure with our behavior.

Since it seems my hominid-servant will not be dissuaded from this endeavor, I have decided to absent myself from the site in which her activities are most concentrated. It is my hope that this will facilitate a swift completion to her self-appointed task, and return my domicile to a state of tranquility as quickly as possible.


Hominids! No respect for felid sensibilities! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Questions, Scans, And Probes... ;-)


Hey Everyone! :-)

While I've been working on getting Intrinsic Connections ready to share with you all, I've also continued the new story I told you about. Today, I thought I'd share some of the most probing questions with you. ;-)  Enjoy!


Excerpt from Sci-fi Satire Story:
While he was occupied, I looked around the room some more. It really did look like a doctor's office. "I don't suppose you'd like to tell me what in tarnation is going on?"

"Explanations will be forthcoming momentarily. For now, just be assured you will not be harmed. Please climb up on the table so that I may complete a health scan."

"A what, now?"

"A health scan. We must be assured that you harbor no pathogenic microbes or parasites."

I quirked an eyebrow at him. "Is this the part where you probe me?"

That gargling noise again. "I beg your pardon, 'probe' you? My dear young human, I can assure you that the scan does not involve any 'probing' whatsoever. It is simply a scanning light that runs across your body and eradicates any disease-causing organisms so that you do not infect the entire quadrant."

"Quadrant of what?"

"Of the galaxy, of course. What else?"

"Well, how the heck should I know, buddy? Ya'll grabbed me when I was just minding my own business and brought me God only knows where, what am I supposed to think? You sure this doesn't involve any probing?"

Squid-boy's arms waved around his head for a few seconds and his beak snapped open and closed a few times, making a clicking sound that was loud in the quiet room. "Humans! Every single time we interview one of you, it's always the same thing. What is it with your species and your preoccupation with probing? What reason could you possibly imagine we would have for wanting to stick items into your orifices?"

I couldn't help but grin at that. He was right, we humans are a mite obsessed with "probing," though, generally speaking, it doesn't involve being kidnapped by a flashing light and a conversation with a talking squid. But, hey, to each their own, who am I to judge?




Monday, June 19, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  I thought this was worth thinking about. Take a couple minutes to watch this video, and then keep it in mind next time you need to decide who to vote for and what kind of legislation you should pressure your elected representatives to pass.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

#June2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

That's right! It's the 18th again, so I'm back with my #IndieBooksBeSeen monthly indie book review. Enjoy! :-)

Fairy Dust: Bedtime Tale #1 by WJ Scott:

When life is full of trouble, sometimes the only solution is a little magic. That's what little Evelyn discovers when she allows the traveling entertainer Farran to draw her away from her sorrow and show her there are still good things in the world...even if they might be hidden.

Overall, this was a cute story. The illustrations were adorable and the plot fast-paced and sweet. It's short, perfect for a bedtime story, and light-hearted. My only complaint is that there were several shifts in the story that happened abruptly, which gave it a jerky quality. These may have been done deliberately in an attempt to give the imagination of the reader room to play, and if it had just happened once I would have dismissed it as such. But it happened several times over the course of a very short book. Still, it's a nice story for young children, so four stars.




Saturday, June 17, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: Intrinsic Connections!


Hey Everyone!!

Yep! That's right! It's here! ;-) Enjoy!

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections, book 2 of the Petri Dish Chronicles:

Chapter One

Dust and grit swirled around Petri as she lifted a hand to shield her eyes from the harsh glare of the star that the planet she was currently on orbited. In truth, it was one of three stars, but by far the largest. The other two had nearly burned themselves out and were well on their way to becoming black dwarves. They did little more than light the night sky enough for most beings to navigate easily. It was rarely completely dark on this world.

Which was good, she reflected as she gazed out across the desolate landscape, since the remaining star made daytime travel difficult. It dried the lone planet that circled it and its older sisters to a world-spanning desert and created convection currents in the atmosphere strong enough to ensure that the parched soil remained suspended in a perpetual, whirling cloud. That is, when the dirt wasn't busy coating anyone hapless enough to be out in it.

Sighing, Petri raised the scarf she wore to protect her airways over her mouth and nose and stepped away from the building she had just exited. It had been almost three days since she had been outside its walls, and she half-expected that her friends would have left her here. It was what they wanted, after all.

Thinking about Chessie and Sadaka, Petri grimaced. She wasn't being fair to them. They just wanted her to stop arguing with Daji so much. Which made sense, considering that they only lived by his good graces. Still, he made her so angry sometimes she couldn't help lashing out. Sighing again as a nearly overwhelming exhaustion washed over her despite the way she had just glutted herself and her power, Petri remembered how frustrated she was the last time she saw him. That had been right before she had stalked off his ship in a fit of temper. Sometimes she thought he was deliberately refusing to try to understand her point of view.

Stopping suddenly, she looked around again and realized the swirling dirt had disoriented her and she was going in the wrong direction. She peered through the haze trying to discern enough landmarks to make her way back to where she hoped the Ruba would still be waiting for her. It wasn't easy, since there were several large, low-lying buildings in the small township, and they all looked the same; low to the ground, with no sharp edges, and coated in the ubiquitous pale gray sand. Most structures only had their entrances above ground, as the constant erosion from the airborne grit wore down anything built on the surface.

The shipyard was similarly underground, with a landing panel that was only exposed to the elements long enough for ships to land on and take off from it. The rest of the time, the landing strip was sheltered beneath a structure that was indistinguishable from half a dozen similar buildings in the area. Huffing, Petri acknowledged that the planet was named appropriately.

It was called Sheol, after an ancient human mythological afterlife full of shadowy souls who ate clay and lacked self-awareness. Petri couldn't remember all the details of the myth; devoting time and attention to learning extraneous trivia was still a new concept for her and she hadn't quite mastered it. But what she did recall certainly seemed to describe this planet with astonishing accuracy. Even down to the lack of sentience in the local residents.

She couldn't blame them; this place was deadly dull, and she'd go brain-dead too if she had to spend a week here, never mind years. That was why she couldn't understand Daji's motivations and determination to leave Chessie, Sadaka, and her on a planet like this. The thought of it was enough to set her temper off again and start a cold ball of panic building in her stomach.

Petri could understand him wanting his ship back. They took up space and it cost money to feed them. That was one of the reasons she spent so much time in the building she had just left; a local bar and flophouse, where a new dolly was a novelty and much welcomed by the locals. Even after she gave the owner of the establishment his cut, her pockets jingled with hard currency, evidence of her popularity. She intended to give it to Daji to cover at least part of the cost of their passage and board.

But what she found maddening was that every time she suggested a planet for him to leave them on, he rejected it. Petri wanted a developed, well-populated world; one with cities that were big enough for her and her friends to lose themselves in. As a trader, Daji traveled to a variety of planets, many of which would satisfy Petri's criteria.

But the kind of world that Petri was thinking about inevitably had a sophisticated bureaucracy with reams of laws regarding who could immigrate to their worlds, what background information was required from applicants, and extensive health testing and communicable disease prevention precautions. It was the health and disease testing that was the sticking point for Daji.

Chessie had the diddling skills to create new profiles and backgrounds for the three of them that would satisfy the bureaucrats, and Daji had no problem with that type of rule breaking because, as he said, it didn't endanger anyone. But he insisted the health and disease tests couldn't be faked.

The tests were no problem for Chessie or Sadaka. As humans, they would sail right through without so much as raised eyebrow from any of the medics. But as a human/Arcanum hybrid, Petri couldn't allow her DNA to be scrutinized by anyone in authority. If she did, she would at best be executed, and at worst be turned into a research specimen.

She shuddered at the thought. One scientist on Upworld had discovered her secret and she'd had the misfortune of spending a few hours in his custody. She still had nightmares from the experience.

Daji's solution to that problem was a world like Sheol, a backwater, sparsely populated planet that lacked the resources and bureaucracy of the more developed systems. On such worlds, there were often few, if any, laws regarding who could immigrate or what standards they had to meet. The only problem was, a planet like that was Petri's own personal idea of Hell.

The idea of being stuck in a place like this made her skin crawl. She had no idea how to survive on a world with as few people as this one had. Yeah, since she was new she had attracted a lot of business over the last couple of days. Novelty went at a premium in such places. But she wouldn't be a curiosity for long, and then what?

Would she be able to make enough as a dolly on such a world to survive? Because she didn't know how to do anything else. Chessie had her diddling skills, but how much demand for those could there be on a planet that lacked even a central global network? Hell, this place still ran on a cobbled together system built off satellites! Petri had lost track of the number of times the lights and air filters failed over the last couple of days thanks to the finicky power grid that was the best the local government could afford.

And what about Sadaka? The girl needed to be in school, and the educational opportunities in such a place were limited at best. In all likelihood, the child would grow up to work in whatever industry had necessitated that a settlement be founded on the world they settled on. Here, that meant she would grow up to be a miner, working in dangerous conditions to extract the rare mineral, trefoil, that was used to make the shielding in spaceship hulls. She would rarely be allowed out of the mines; her life would be lived in darkness, breathing recycled air. That wasn't what Petri wanted for the kid she had come to feel responsible for.

Worst of all, what if the people here discovered Petri's secret? A thrill of terror ran down her spine. There was no place to run. No crowd to hide in. If anyone ever suspected what she was and she was trapped on a planet like this, she would be dead.

Petri had tried to reason with Daji. First, she had argued that Chessie and Sadaka could go through the health screenings, if he insisted, and that she, herself, was in perfect health. She couldn't bring disease to a planet because she wasn't sick. He had insisted there was no way for her to know for sure that she didn't have some latent infection, and that it wasn't just other people's safety he was concerned for. Every world had its own diseases, and part of the screening process involved inoculating new arrivals against whatever endemic diseases were in residence.

He had pointed out that given where she and her friends had lived, they might have been exposed to any number of microbes and toxins and that, when combined with the microflora of a new world, might turn lethal. And that was especially true of her with her hybrid physiology. The only way to ensure everyone's safety was to go through the immigration health protocols.

There hadn't really been any way for Petri to argue the point with him; no one, least of all her, knew what surprises her unique biology held. So, she had shifted the conversation to the fact that planets like Sheol didn't have the resources to combat new diseases the way more developed worlds did. That by coming to a place like this, she would put people in more danger, not less. That was when the conversation had devolved into a shouting match.

Daji had started babbling about something called "population density" and how it affected the way "emerging infections" spread and whether they took hold in a population or burned out. Apparently, the more people there were living in close quarters, the more likely a new disease would be to infect and kill new people. At least, that's what she thought the gist of his lecture had been about. It had been over Petri's head and she had felt stupid for not understanding something he obviously considered common knowledge. It made her angry, and she had stormed out and gone in search of a decent meal for her power.

That was another reason she had been so short-tempered. With her new-found control, she had been able to feed from Daji on a regular basis without draining too much of his energy and endangering him. It was enough to sustain her and keep her power from getting out of control, but feeding in such a way left her feeling constantly hungry. The fact that Daji shared his food with them, and she had enough to eat for the first time in her life helped, but it wasn't enough. She needed to feed her power.

Knowing that her stay on this planet would be short and that she wouldn't be feeding on any of her clients here more than once, she'd had no qualms about feeding deeply from them. The first few may have felt a little tired and in need of a good night's sleep and a meal when they left her, but nothing worse than that. After she had taken the edge off her hunger, the rest wouldn't have felt even that much of a drain. And they all left completely satisfied with her services.

Being fed on by Petri made her prey feel amazing. Daji described it to her as an orgasm that touched every cell in his body and left him floating for hours. And being full again felt just as incredible to Petri. After the last couple of days, her body sang with her power and she felt like she might just have the energy to tackle all the reading Daji and Chessie wanted her to do.

Having time and resources to devote to anything other than getting the basics needed for survival was a new state of affairs for Petri. Her entire life before this had been devoted to getting enough money to put food in her belly, a roof over her head, and protecting herself from those who wanted to take what little she had. Now, she had leisure time and Daji and Chessie were determined to help her fill it.

Chessie lived with her father as a child, and so had a little more security than Petri in her early years. Since she hadn't had to scramble to survive, she'd had the opportunity to learn to use the rainbow. Those skills eventually developed to make her into the diddler she was now, but she had also learned to enjoy learning. She didn't have any formal education, almost no one did in Under City, but she had learned how to research and find things out for herself. Now, she was determined to help Petri learn as well. And Daji cheered her on.

It wasn't just Petri they were after; they both gave Sadaka a mountain of data to process, as well. But the little girl was incredibly smart and took to the education like fur to a Paka. She delighted in telling Petri about what she learned, which only made Petri feel even worse about her own abilities.

Because of her power, Petri had trouble focusing in the virtual world and controlling her surroundings enough to navigate through the material Chessie and Daji determined to be most critical. And the weird resonance that existed between her power and the digital environment made it extremely hard for Petri to concentrate. Not being able to fuel her power properly had only exacerbated the problem.

Sighing, Petri pushed those thoughts aside. Her power was now fully sated, and it was time she found out if she was stranded on this hellish world. She didn't think so. Daji might have been angry enough to leave her, but she knew that Chessie would never abandon her. Still, if he had incapacitated the older woman in some way, it was possible Petri would have to find another way back to civilization.

After studying the town for a few more minutes, Petri thought she had the right building identified. Ducking her head against the ever-present wind, she hurried to find out if she still had a ride.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Finally, A Good Cop When You Need One


Hey Everyone!

I thought I'd share a little snippet from Captivated By The Winter King with you, today. With all the bad press cops seem to get, often with good reason, I thought it wouldn't hurt to remember that there are an awful lot of good cops too, who only want to help people.  Sheriff Gabe Chesterfield is a fictional character, but, as always, there's some truth in this fiction. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Captivated By The Winter King:
The criminals he had arrested over the years had been motivated by different things. Some of the motivations Gabe could sympathize with. When people felt driven to crime because of poverty or addiction, he often felt bad for them. If possible, he tried to help them or to get them the help they needed. When someone only committed a crime because of a bad situation they were powerless to get themselves out of, they almost always chose a better path if given an alternative. Gabe considered it part of his job to help the citizens he was charged with protecting to find those alternatives if he could.

Then there were the less sympathetic reasons. The reasons people who were self-involved, selfish, and entitled had. They were so convinced of their own superiority, they thought that everyone else in the world should see it too. These people expected to be deferred to, obeyed, and to always get their own way. Anytime that failed to happen, they would get angry. Anyone who challenged, or even questioned, them was the enemy. And enemies always needed to be destroyed. Gabe had found himself in the role of enemy to people like that with alarming regularity, but none of them had yet been able to destroy him.

Yes, Gabe had a lot of experience dealing with a lot of different people and his gut feelings about them were often correct. He was always meticulous in his investigations, but it was rare for him to be proven wrong in the end. Every instinct he had screamed that Erik Daniel Montgomery, III was an abusive asshole who either drove his fiance away or murdered her.

The fact that the car she had rented had been found empty except for a few drops of her blood, and that the great man himself kept returning to the scene of her supposed accident made his cop-senses tingle. It was clear the vehicle had been crashed, but he hadn't found any trees in the vicinity with damage to match that on the car. So how had it gotten there?

Mr. Montgomery didn't seem interested in answering any of Gabe's questions, which only made him more suspicious. The night he had called the police, Mr. Montgomery had been insistent that Kathryn Graham, the woman he had lived with for twelve years, had suddenly, with no explanation, stolen from him and absconded. What she had stolen, the man had been less clear about. When Gabe had pressed him, he had admitted that nothing was missing, but he still didn't know where she was.

Being concerned about a family member who was missing without an explanation was something that Gabe could sympathize with. Calling the police and reporting that person as a thief was not. Then there was the bloody clothing that Mr. Montgomery declined to explain. Gabe had pointed out that Ms. Graham was an adult and, as such, could leave whenever she chose and go wherever she pleased. That was the point when Mr. Montgomery had stopped speaking to him and the phone calls had started.

Calls came into the Sheriff's Office from all over New England and even from some of the powers that be in Florida. Gabe had thanked all those important men for their concern and assured them that his office would investigate the disappearance of Ms. Graham with the same vigor that they would use to investigate the disappearance of any suspected victim of domestic violence. That had been enough to put an end to the phone calls.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: The Wandering #Star By A.L Mengel!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Andy Mengel in my APC spotlight, today! Andy is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his alien-invasion, first-contact sci-fi novel, The Wandering Star, looks great! Here's the description:
It's far into the future.
The Earth's rotation has stopped and the Sun is dying.
The Oceans have shifted towards the Poles, flooding all of the cities to the North. The cities in the South have been punished with a blistering, relentless Sun in a vast, dry, deserted landscape.
The survivors have learned to adapt to months of deadly heat, living in darkness beneath the Earth in underground cities.

A scout comes unexpectedly to the colony - near death, he spends his first days in a coma, as rumors surface of a "habitable zone". As supplies near depletion, the colonists argue - Who will journey to the zone? And what message is the scout trying to deliver?
Experience a Journey into the Cosmos with A.L. Mengel in his Science Fiction storytelling debut. A novel which inhabits post-apocalyptic worlds, and soars into the Celestial Heavens, the story explores the sought-after answers that have fascinated the human race for millennia: Are we alone? Or are we guided by another force?
about him?
Sound good?  If you think you'd like to give it a try, go ahead and grab your copy here:


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



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 567


Hey Everyone! :-)

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


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

Day Five-Hundred-Sixty-Seven:
I am gratified to note that the infant felid is as baffled as I by my hominid-servant's propensity for starting each day by immersing herself beneath a stream of running water. What attraction such behavior could have for any creature with an ounce of sense of self-preservation is beyond me. And, apparently, the tiny pest shares my confusion.

Today, he spent quite a bit of time observing this ritual and examining the basin in which my hominid-servant performs it, after she had vacated it. He did not seem to reach any conclusions, either. Heartened by this apparent interest in systematic discovery, I attempted to share with him the testing I have done on the makeup of the basin itself and the contents of the water.

The basin appears to be made of some form of ceramic coated in a colored enamel. I wasn't able to get a more precise reading without damaging the surface of the basin, but there doesn't appear to be anything present in its composition that would affect my hominid-servant's ability to protect herself. Likewise, the water contains the sort of trace elements, minerals, and sediment that one would expect, but nothing that could be expected to have a psychoactive effect on hominid biology. Findings which make my hominid-servant's actions all the more inexplicable.

Unfortunately, the infant felid's new-found scientific curiosity did not extend to such minutia, and he abandoned me mid-lecture. Still, I consider this a hopeful development and will proceed in my attempts to recruit the small creature with more optimism than I previously held.


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


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#Fantasy, Then And Now...


Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I'd like to talk about a changing trend I've noticed in fantasy fiction that I think is pretty interesting. Up front, I don't consider it a matter of "right" or "wrong" because it's fiction, so the only things it really makes sense to talk about are style and taste. Also, I'm only talking about "popular" or "mainstream" fantasy fiction, not underground, cult, or fan fiction, which has always been more diverse and complicated. Also, before people start sending me a pack of emails pointing out exceptions, yes, I know. There are always exceptions. I'm just talking about a general trend. ;-) But I'd love to hear if any of you have noticed something similar or if you think I'm just completely off base. :-)

In older fantasy fiction, older meaning early to mid 20th century, there tended to be clear "good guys" and "bad guys." A couple good examples of this were stories like Lord Of The Rings and the classic Superman and Batman comics and shows. The twists and turns in the plots of those stories mostly came from good guys turning out to be bad guys in disguise or vice versa. Or, at most, a good guy struggling against a dark or selfish impulse all the while knowing what the "right" thing to do was. Or a bad guy being redeemed by love or a kind act.

But, for the most part, there were always clearly delineated lines between good and bad/right and wrong. And everyone always knew which side they should be cheering for. Star Wars was another good example of this, and I think part of the reason the second, prequel, trilogy didn't "click" as well with the public is because it was made when the shift to the new trend was happening and George Lucus kind of tried to incorporate both styles, which just doesn't work at all.

The new trend, as I see it, is for fantasy fiction to try to more closely mirror real life in its characters' personalities and interactions. Instead of having two clearly delineated "sides," there are multiple viewpoints and who belongs where is flexible and dynamic. Instead of always knowing what is "right" and either choosing to do it or not do it, characters are more like real people in that they struggle to figure out what they should do based on biases, an incomplete set of facts, and a continuously shifting environment.

"Heroes" in this new type of fantasy are generally deeply flawed, sometimes even making a vice out of what would normally be a virtue by taking it to an unreasonable extreme. And "villains" are usually sympathetic on some level, with complex backgrounds and motivations that explain, if not justify, their behavior.

In the final analysis, there may not even be a "good" side and a "bad" side, but just a story about a bunch of people muddling through a series of situations not knowing what will happen next or if they're making good choices, but just trying to survive. And some of them do and some of them don't, and which is which seems to be largely based on chance and circumstance. And at the end, no one is where they expected to be, very few plans have come to fruition, and there isn't really a clear "winner" or an obvious, overarching goal that has been achieved. It's just a story about a bunch of people, their struggles, how they reacted to the situations they found themselves in, and what happened to them.

If there is a "right" side and a "wrong" side, they generally don't become clear until the end, and even then are debatable based on which character's point of view you find most sympathetic. The newer stories seem to try to highlight all the shades of gray that are to be found in life, and how temperament and life experience can color most situations even further. The point, generally speaking, seems to be that, in the final analysis, while there still may be those who are selfish or cruel, many of a person's choices are dictated by their circumstance, and most people just try to do the best that they can. Good examples of this kind of story are Game Of Thrones, American Gods, and The Walking Dead.

Personally, I think the shift is fascinating, and I'm interested to see where it goes. Since fiction, to one extent or another, is always a reflection of the author's experiences and perception of reality, if I'm correct about this trend then that would seem to suggest that we may be in the middle of a sea-change as a society. I'm not really sure what, exactly, it says about our culture, but I'd love to hear an analysis of it by the psychological community as well as historians, in case any of you have come across any discussion of this phenomenon in the professional literature and want to leave a link in the comments. I'd also love to hear what you think, so feel free to let me know in the comments. :-)

Peace!




Monday, June 12, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  Actually, I've got a couple videos I think it might be worth your while to take a look at. The first is a very short commercial by the DSCC and the second is an in-depth, if humorous, explanation by John Oliver of all the terrible things in the AHCA that the commercial is trying to communicate.

If, like me, you're an American, this bill will affect you. Even if you have private health insurance through your employer, this bill will affect you. So, take a look and think about it. If we all put enough pressure on our elected representatives, it's possible we can keep this travesty of a bill from becoming law.






Sunday, June 11, 2017

Easy Bean #Salad #Recipe!


Hey Everyone!!

I'm back with another one of my favorite warm weather recipes! Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
1 12oz can light red kidney beans
1 12oz can dark red kidney beans
1 12oz can black beans
1 12oz can pinto beans
1 12oz can chickpeas
3 cups raw kale
1 jalapeno or chili pepper chopped fine
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup and 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine (or balsamic) vinegar
5 cloves garlic minced fine
Salt and pepper to taste


Pour all the cans of beans into a colander, rinse thoroughly, and set aside to drain. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, the kale, and the pepper until the kale wilts. Mix the cooked kale and pepper with the beans and the cooked quinoa. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the dressing with kale, pepper, beans, and quinoa. Serve chilled as a salad.

A chopped onion and/or a shredded carrot are also good in this salad. If spice isn't your thing, just leave out the pepper or replace it with a sweet bell pepper. Also, any of the beans can be replaced with your favorite beans.

Bon Appetit!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 60 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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




Friday, June 9, 2017

Is The #Fun In The Chase Or In Being Caught? ;-)


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I thought I'd give you a little something to start your weekend off right. Enjoy! ;-)

Excerpt from Taken By The Huntsman:
As she slowed to unfasten her clothing, a body slammed into her, knocking her to the ground. Her captor turned them both in the air so that she landed on top of him, but then quickly rolled her beneath him and pinned her. The scent of the one who held her drove her wild, and she grabbed him and pulled him closer. Sliding her hands up to his mass of hair, she grabbed two handfuls of it and pulled his face closer to hers. Reaching up, she placed her lips gently against his and inhaled deeply. This was what she needed.

Cassie pulled her captor even closer and wrapped her legs around his waist. She opened her mouth and probed his lips with her tongue. When he opened his mouth, she slid her tongue inside and kissed him passionately.

Using her hands, she searched until she had found a gap in his clothing. She slid her arms around him, skimming her hands up the bare skin of his back, underneath his shirt. Sinking her fingernails into the flesh of his back, she held him close to keep her prey from escaping.

She didn’t know why she needed this so badly, but she felt like she would die if the male on top of her didn’t help ease the pain she was feeling. Frantically, she worked her hips back and forth, grinding the center of her body against his stomach. She groaned in frustration, and then in satisfaction when she felt him touch her there with his hand.




Thursday, June 8, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Wild Violets By Trisha Sugarek!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Trisha Sugarek in my APC spotlight, today!  Trisha is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her contemporary women's fiction novel, Wild Violets, looks great! Here's the description:
It’s the roaring twenties in San Francisco, a decade famous for hot jazz and bath tub gin. Violet is a beautiful, single woman with children of her own. She has left her small home town in the Pacific Northwest to pursue a successful basketball career and with her earnings, she bought a bar and grill. She is a ‘flapper’ in every sense of the word; working all day and playing all night. While her teenage daughter raises her seven year old son, Violet is out on the town with her latest man de’jour. Dressed in her signature red dress, she is the toast of the town and owner of a speakeasy where she hosts the cream of San Francisco’s society, city politicians, bishops, and Hollywood celebrities.

But there is an underbelly of corruption, grifters, the mob, excess, and neglect in Violet’s life. Her two children are an afterthought and she chooses her men over their well being time and time again. Their childhood needs are always trumped by her self-indulgent desires. The two children are possessions that she can put down or pick up again on a whim, showing them off to her current beau or friends and then forgotten. And when they get in her way, she gets rid of them.
If you think this sounds like a story you'd enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


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



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 563


Hey Everyone! :-)

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


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

Day Five-Hundred-Sixty-Three:
The invading hominids have, thankfully, departed. My hominid-servant has returned my domicile to its proper state and peace reigns once again. That is, except for the antics of the infant felid.

The tiny beast apparently found yesterday's disturbance to be terribly exciting. While they were here, he endeavored to entertain the wild hominids with feats of acrobatics and supplicating poses. They rewarded him for such self-abasement by treating him to edible delicacies. They also imposed on his person with uninvited caresses and demeaned him with overly simplified language spoken in condescending tones. But, from his reaction, it is clear he did not find this to be too high a price for the treats he received.

I'm afraid I cannot agree with my young associate. Hominids cannot be allowed to believe themselves to be superior; it leads them to take outrageous liberties and to forget that their purpose is to attend to our every need and desire. Still, it has been enlightening to see how much the felids of this world have in common with the canids.

Naturally, my hominid-servant's canid companion gloried in the opportunity to grovel before so many hominids. And he was likewise rewarded for humiliating himself in such a way. I suppose it is to be expected that a species as incompetent as the hominids of this world are would gravitate towards those who are willing to make them feel better about themselves.

Still, I cannot help but think my hominid-servant respects me more for my refusal to partake in such behavior, even for the promise of rewards in the form of exotic consumables. She certainly has gone to some length today to reassure me of her devotion to myself and my work. As if I had ever held any doubts as to the extent of her admiration for and adoration of my wonderful self.


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


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Intrinsic Connections #News And #Announcements! ;-)


Hey Everyone!!

By now I guess you've figured out that I didn't manage to get Intrinsic Connections released last month. Sorry about that, my day job sort of blew up and I just ran out of time. However, you might have noticed that pre-order links have been up on the side of this blog for the last couple of weeks, and that's because I now have a firm release date, June 17, 2017!  Yep, I promise it will be out on June 17, and you know I never promise unless I'm sure. ;-)

To hold you over until then, I'll post another little peek below. I'll also post the pre-order links, you know, in case you want to make sure you get your copy ASAP. ;-) Love you all! And thanks for your patience. :-)

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections, book 2 of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
Jerking his head back, he glared at her in astonishment. He clenched his jaw and shook her a little. "I am in no mood to be gentle or submit to you."

She laughed and yanked at her wrists, twisting in his grip. "I didn't fucking ask you to! Just fuck me, already." Using the leverage her legs gave her, Petri ground her core against the front of his body, feeling his growing interest.

Growling, he leaned in close to her and bared his fangs. "Do you remember the safeword?"

Petri nodded. "Kuacha."

Closing his eyes, he let out a breath and paused.

Petri waited silently, watching him.

When he opened his eyes, his expression sharpened. "I will try not to hurt you."

Tightening her thighs around his waist, Petri drew him closer and gave him a hard smile. "Do your worst. I will," she whispered.

Daji's eyes widened for a moment, then narrowed. Growling, he tightened his hold on her wrists, grinding them together. He grabbed her hair with his other hand and tilted her head to the side so that he could trail his fangs down her throat. A sharp sting came when he nipped her where her neck met her shoulder, and Petri felt a warm trickle against her skin that told her he had drawn blood.

Pulling back a little, Daji held her eyes as he pointedly licked her blood from his lips. He cocked an eyebrow at her, and she laughed. Using her power, she healed the tiny wound he had made, and said, "Come on, you can do better than that."



Monday, June 5, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. If you needed further evidence of the corporate takeover of America, this Modern-day Pinkerton Gang bullshit would be it. This kind of fascism is how Democracy dies. I hope you'll all take a few minutes to watch this video and then join me in calling and writing our elected representatives to put a stop to this. There's no excuse for this kind of activity in what is supposed to be a free society.





Sunday, June 4, 2017

#Spicy Warm #Weather #Treat!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I wanted to share another of my favorite summertime meals with you. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked rice (whatever kind you like)
4 cups water or vegetable stock
4 tbsps curry paste (whatever kind you like)
1 cup raisins (whatever kind you like)
1 onion chopped fine
1 cup halved, seeded grapes (green or purple)
2 cups toasted pine nuts
1 bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cucumber peeled and grated or chopped very fine
2 cloves garlic grated or minced
2 cups unflavored greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Put rice, water or stock, curry paste, raisins, onion, and salt and pepper to taste in your favorite rice cooking appliance, pot, or dish and cook as the variety of rice you chose would normally be cooked. When done, fluff with a fork to separate grains, mixing to distribute ingredients evenly. Refrigerate overnight.

When rice is completely cooled, add the grapes, pine nuts, chickpeas, and pepper, and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix the cucumber and garlic with the yogurt. Stir thoroughly.  Serve the rice cold, as a salad, with a dollop of the yogurt mixture on top or on the side.

Bon Appetit! :-)






Saturday, June 3, 2017

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 60 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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




Friday, June 2, 2017

#Animal #Rescuer's #Guide To #Staying ( #Relatively ) #Sane! #Free! :-)



Hey Everyone!! :-)

Just a reminder, for those who haven't checked it out yet, I've collected all my animal rescue/care posts together and published them as a small book.  If you'd like, you can download the book for free from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes.



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


Thursday, June 1, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Code Wolf: A Macconwood Pack Novel By C.D. Gorri!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Christine Gorri in my APC spotlight, today! Christine is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her paranormal romance novel, Code Wolf, looks great! Here's the description:
"He never thought of himself as a family man, but sometimes things changed... "
Randall Graves spends most of his time writing lines of code in his air-conditioned office at Macconwood Manor. He’d rather be alone than risk involvement of any kind. Everything was going fine, until his Alpha sends him on a forced vacation.
It's all good with Randall, as long as there's WIFI at the small, beachfront, bed and breakfast in Bloody Point, South Carolina. He could work and get some sun at the same time, but he wasn't counting on Tulla Nirvelli. The beautiful single mother owned and operated the small B &B with her seven-year old son.
Charmed by the small island and the young family, Randall finds himself enjoying his time at the Sea Mist Bed & Breakfast. When trouble starts brewing for Tulla and her son, Randall is ready to jump in, but that means revealing his secret. Will she accept the truth about him?
Sound good?  If you think you'd like to give it a try, go ahead and grab your copy here:


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



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 562


Hey Everyone! :-)

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


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

Day Five-Hundred-Sixty-Two:
My hominid-servant has allowed multiple other hominids to invade my domicile and has thus far ignored all of my efforts to express my displeasure with this development. At first, I thought it would be only one or two of her kind; individuals I have met and approved of in the past. But as I am recording this log, there are no less than seven wild hominids in my domicile, most of whom I have not been allowed to properly vet!

I am not certain as to the purpose of their presence here. To this point, their activities seem to have centered around making excessive amounts of noise and doing everything in their power to step on my tail. I attempted to make the best of this invasion and use it as an opportunity to study hominid interpersonal interactions. But every time I got close enough to observe, inevitably one or more noticed my proximity to them and either attempted to pick me up or shoo me away. The indignity of it all!

I am currently concealing myself beneath my hominid-servant's sleeping platform in an effort to evade the attention of so many hominids who have clearly never been properly schooled in how to treat DPCIL agents. While I have no wish to harm such obviously unintelligent creatures, if they discover my hiding place and persist in trying to take liberties with regards to my person, I will be forced to deploy the C.L.A.W.S.



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


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#Journal Of #Sins And #Secrets!




Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I thought I'd share a little something that some friends and I have been working on. Enjoy! :-)




Monday, May 29, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  Redacted Tonight did a good job here of using humor to point out how out of touch the mainstream media is in this country. In the future, maybe if we can do a better job of acknowleding the problem, we'll be able to fix it. So, take a look and have a laugh. ;-)






Sunday, May 28, 2017

Snag That #Snack! ;-)


Hey Everyone!

Today, I thought I'd share a quick and easy snack/on-the-fly lunch idea. It's doubly useful because it's easy to adjust the number of roll-ups you make whether you're feeding just yourself or a team of hungry kids after a game. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
1/2 banana per roll-up
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter per roll-up
1 tbsp toasted rolled oats per roll-up
1 tsp honey per roll-up
1 slice whole wheat bread per roll-up

Put the bread on a flat surface and roll it out with a rolling pin to flatten it. Remove the crusts (optional). Spread the peanut butter over the bread in an even layer. Sprinkle the oats over the peanut butter. Drizzle the honey over the oats. Place the banana half at the edge of the bread and roll it all up into an easy to hold and eat treat.

Obviously, you can replace the whole wheat bread with any kind of bread you'd like. You can also use whatever kind of peanut butter you'd like if you don't want to use crunchy peanut butter. Adding a layer of jelly or chocolate hazelnut spread can also be a tasty option.

Bon Appetit!








Saturday, May 27, 2017

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 60 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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