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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#Time For A #Change

Hey Everyone!

Recently, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill gave an interview to CNN in which she complained that she may face a primary when she runs for her seat again in 2018 because of a "tea-party-like enthusiasm among the left."  This isn't the first time I've heard similar complaints from establishment politicians and their supporters, and I wanted to add my two-cents worth to the discussion.

If nothing else, the 2016 election cycle proved two things. First, Democratic politicians don't win without Progressives.  And, second, Progressives are not interested in compromising with people who, two decades ago, would have been considered Republicans. Like it or lump it, that's where the country now stands.

As for the first point, Hillary Clinton and her campaign did an admirable job of proving it when they effectively gave Progressives the middle finger and told them they weren't needed.  As the whole world, at this point, is very well aware, many Progressives saw that finger and told Clinton that was fine, she could just go ahead and sit on it and rotate.  Yes, yes. Towards the end, Clinton realized her mistake, though not the true depth of it, and tried to back pedal and throw Progressives a bone or two. But, by then, it was too late. The end result, as you know, is President Trump, which isn't good for anyone except neo-Nazis, Big Oil, and Big Banks.

Now, it may just be my opinion, but I don't think there are many Progressives or Clinton supporters who are happy with that outcome. So, what's the solution?  Well, as I said, the 2016 election cycle also proved that most people in this country are no longer interested in voting for Republican-lite, lesser-of-two-evil type candidates.  Oh, yes, I know that Clinton won the popular vote, but until the Electoral College is abolished, which I think it should be but me and other people thinking it should be doesn't make it happen, the popular vote isn't going to put a Democratic President in the White House.

The only thing that will put a Democrat in the White House again -- not to mention in Congress, Governor's seats, and state and local legislatures -- is to put forward candidates that people want to vote for, not just candidates that some people will vote for because, eh, they're better then the other guy...maybe.  Bernie Sanders was a candidate people wanted to vote for. He energized the Democratic base and got not just Democrats, but Independents and third-party voters excited to go out and vote for him.  Why? Because he's a Progressive and has a populist message that appeals to average, everyday Americans like me and thee. About the only people who don't like Bernie Sanders are far-right-wing loony-toons and establishment elitists.

We need more candidates like Bernie, and there are several groups who are working to find and train candidates who share his values in time for the 2018 primaries.  I'll link you some links to some of these groups down below, but basically what they're all trying to do is work to take back the American political system from the 1% and turn control of it over to the American people, where it should be.  This is the left-wing "tea party" that McCaskill and others like her are complaining about.

It's funny, McCaskill and her ilk use the name "tea party" as a pejorative, but it's not. On the contrary, it's a compliment. Oh, not ideologically speaking, of course. But then none of the Progressive activist groups have anything in common with the Tea Party's ideology. If anything, they are diametrically opposed. But as far as strategy and tactics, what the Tea Party did to advance their agenda within the Republican Party worked splendidly.

Why wouldn't the Progressive movement want to use those same strategy and tactics?  What should they do instead, follow the same failed establishment strategy that lost the Democrats more seats than they have ever lost before?  Because doing the same thing over and over tends to result in a different outcome?

So, what this all boils down to is that my response to McCaskill and other establishment Dempublicans who accuse Progressives of acting like the Tea Party is, "Yeah, and?"  Or, even better, in the immortal words of Ludacris, "Move, bitch. Get out the way."  Because if Democrats ever want to win again, it's time for those who have failed to stop obstructing progress, and for everyone to start following the lead of those who know a winning strategy when they see one.



Monday, February 27, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. I don't know how many of you have heard of net neutrality, but if you haven't heard of it, I'd urge you to Google it and brush up on the subject.  Bottom line, it's vital for the free exchange of information and ideas and it's currently under threat.  Please take a few minutes to watch the video below and see what 45's swamp creatures are up to.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

#Easy #PotatoSoup In A #Crockpot

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back with another lazy cook's dream recipe today. A warning up front, this is not at all a low-fat, low-salt, or otherwise "healthy" recipe. But it's perfect for a cold, snowy February evening when you want something warm, stick-to-your-ribs, and indulgent. Enjoy! :-)

Crockpot Potato Soup:

1 bag frozen hash-brown potatoes
2 packages dried onion soup mix
4 cups vegetable stock
1 16oz can of corn
1 12oz package sliced button mushrooms (or 1 16oz can of mushrooms)
1 finely chopped onion (any color)
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli
1 1/2 pint container of heavy cream
2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 12oz package mozzarella/cheddar blend shredded cheese
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp paprika
5 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Put stock, potatoes, onion mix, paprika, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Add broccoli and corn and cook for another 1-2 hours. Remove the bay leaves, stir in cream and cheese, and cook for another half hour or so. Serve hot and enjoy.

Be careful about adding salt as there is already quite a bit in the pre-made ingredients. Obviously, if you don't like any of the vegetables, you can leave them out or swap them for something else. This recipe works with sweet potatoes too, but you can't always find frozen sweet potato hash-browns, so you might need to use fresh ones and adjust the cooking time. Adding a diced chili pepper gives the soup a little spice, but hot sauce works well for this too. If you don't have broccoli, spinach or kale work well, but you need to add them when you add the cream and cheese. If the liquid level looks too low, feel free to add a little water. A thickener shouldn't be necessary as the potatoes and cheese both thicken the soup already.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

#Luck O' The #Readers #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new Saint Patrick's Day giveaway!  Please take a moment to check out the Luck O' The Readers 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, February 24, 2017

#IndiePride #Facebook #Party!

Fantasy Art, Book Cover Design, and the Indie Author

Everyone is guilty of judging books by their cover. On any given day, you can find folks at the bookstores doing exactly that, over and over and over again.

But have you ever wondered what actually goes into the process of designing a Fantasy Fiction book cover?

Well now’s your chance to find out!

The Adventures in Indie Publishing Newsletter is proud to present:

Fantasy Art, Book Cover Design, and the Indie Author

Location: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/1755073604819356/)

Time: 10am-5pm EST

Date: Friday, February 24, 2017

Whether you’re an indie writer, preparing to dip your toe in the self-publishing pool for the first time, or just a fan of fantasy artwork, this Facebook event is for you!

Join Michael E. Dellert, author of the Adventures in Indie Publishing Blog and the fantasy tales of the Matter of Manred Saga, as well as a slate of internationally renowned independent fantasy, paranormal, and horror authors and artists as they deconstruct their book cover designs!

  • Get a behind-the-scenes peek into the cover design process!
  • Learn what software the professionals use!
  • Hear their stories about the good, bad, and ugly of cover design!
  • Ask questions and get answers from those who know!
  • See some amazing fantasy artwork!
  • Share your own favorites!

Authors and artists on the panel include:

  • Scott Borgman, author of the Tal’Avern Chronicles and The Exiled Trilogy
  • Christie Stratos, author of The Dark Victoriana Collection
  • Karina Kantas, author of eight works of fiction, including Illusional Reality
  • Markie Madden, author of The Undead Unit Series
  • Eric Lahti, author of The Henchmen Trilogy, The Saxton Series, and The Clock Man and Other Stories
  • Ian D Moore, author of Salby Damned and Salby Evolution
  • Tom Fallwell, author of The Rangers of Laerean Trilogy
  • Andy Peloquin, author of The Last Bucelarii Series, and Child of the Night Guild (Book 1 of the Queen of Thieves Series)
  • Rose Montague, author of the Three J’Amigos Series and the Norma Jean’s School of Witchery Series

And more yet to be announced!!

So come on out, meet the authors and artists, ask your questions, and get an eyeful of some of the best fantasy artwork being done today!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: #Heckled By Valarie Kinney!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Valarie Kinney in my APC spotlight, today!  Valarie is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her psychological mystery suspense thriller, Heckled, looks great! Here's the description:
Drinking. Drugging. Cutting.
Exxel Jensen has spent his life finding ways to rid himself of the Heckler, and failed miserably. On the surface, his future is bright: a beautiful wife, a child on the way, and a career he loves as a stand up comedian.Beneath the surface lurks the darkness: crippling depression, anxiety, and alcoholism.
Helena Jensen has seen her husband spiral downward before and feels helpless to stop it as she watches him falling again. She would do anything to help him, anything to diminish the pain that plagues him.

Exxel knows she would, and he also knows she can’t. Because the person fueling his depression and addictions is someone she can’t see.

And how can he explain the Heckler to anyone, when he doesn’t even understand it himself?
Sounds spooky, doesn't it? ;-) If you agree, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 481

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 Four-Hundred-Eighty-One:
It is clear that my hominid-servant does not hold the high regard for me that I once thought she did. She continues to cater to the infant felid while ignoring my needs and has even threatened me with confinement if I dare to demonstrate my displeasure with the current arrangement. For its part, the tiny pest insists on trying to ingratiate itself with me, and I truly believe I may soon become deranged if I cannot escape its determined campaign.

To make matters worse, my will to resist seems to weaken at times, and I find myself contemplating what it would be like to curl up with a warm bundle of fuzz when I take my nap or to lick the liquid bovine secretions from the creature's face when it finishes its treat. Alas, I am betrayed even by my own desires. This minuscule, insignificant, mammalian neonate from an ill-fortuned planet at the end of the galaxy may yet be the end of Agent Thoth. Oh, woe is me!

Oh, poor Thoth! It's hard when you're fighting everyone, including yourself. 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, February 21, 2017

Down The #RabbitHole Again?

Hey Everyone!!

Today, I've got another glimpse at what Petri is up to. This may seem strangely familiar in some ways. ;-)

Excerpt from book two of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
Closing her eyes, Petri concentrated on the city in the distance. It stood to reason, that she would have a greater chance of finding the person she was looking for if she went where the people were. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she seemed to have a bird's eye view of the city, but she hadn't moved any closer. Frustrated, she looked around for inspiration.

It was then she noticed the glowing ribbons that ran towards the city at regular intervals. Cappy had told her they were busses for data. She wasn't quite sure what that meant, but she knew what a bus was, and she wondered if she could hitch a ride on one of these.

Reaching out towards the nearest ribbon, she was startled to find herself next to it before she had completed the motion. It seemed she hadn't lost her ability to move within the rainbow, after all. That was something, at least.

When she touched the ribbon, she found herself briefly within a vortex of energy, which soon resolved into what appeared to be an Under City street. At first glance, it looked like many of the streets in the central area of Southern sector, but it only took a moment before she realized she had never seen it before. Since she knew her sector of the underworld like the back of her hand, the fact that she didn't know this street meant that either it was in a different sector or it only existed in the rainbow.

Looking around, she saw the same kind of clubs, dust dens, retail outlets, fetish houses, and consumables establishments she was used to. The people were also familiar, in a general sense, beat-down, tired, and hungry, the usual denizens of the underworld. She could almost smell the desperation in the air.

And the looks she was receiving made her realize she had caught the interest those desperate people. In the real underworld, that would be dangerous. Here, she wasn't sure what it meant, but she doubted it was good.

Hmm... It looks like Petri is in trouble again. I wonder what will happen next. ;-)  If you're wondering too, you'll be happy to know that I'm nearly done with the first draft of this book, and I hope to have it out to you within the next couple of months. Thanks for stopping by today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  This is a little something that I thought might lift your spirits, it did mine, but it's also a good reminder about what we all need to do. As is said in the video, Bernie Sanders is effective because he is relentless. We all need to be relentless in holding the government responsible and insisting that our leaders represent real Americans and not just the top 1%.  We've already seen what public pressure can do when it comes to lighting a fire under politicians, we just need to keep it up.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nevertheless, #ShePersisted...A #Herald For #Change?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I wanted to talk about something that happened recently that really made me think. During the Senate debate over the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a man who said he would like the KKK if they didn't smoke pot and who called a white civil rights attorney a "traitor to his race," for Attorney General, Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King, widow of the renowned civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1986 when Mr. Sessions had been nominated for a federal judgeship. Ms. Scott King's letter was 10 pages long, so I'm not going to discuss everything that she spoke about in it. However, two things her letter said were that Mr. Sessions "used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters" and "to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens."

While Senator Warren attempted to read these statements into the record, she was silenced by Republicans and banned from speaking on the Senate floor.  In an admirably defiant stand against tyranny, Senator Warren turned to the media and social media to ensure that her message reached the voters, in spite of Republican opposition to free speech.

I confess, I've had my doubts about Senator Warren's commitment to Progressive causes at times due to the fact that she occasionally seems unwilling to buck the establishment and fight for her principles. Still, there have been several instances during her tenure as a Senator when I wanted to give her a standing ovation for her willingness to stand up for regular Americans. Even with all those other examples of her desire to be a champion of the people, I consider her demonstration of strength and determination in her opposition to Jeff Sessions's nomination to be one the finest moments in her political career.

Due to all the public outrage over the way Senate Republicans treated Senator Warren, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was forced to issue a statement about why he thought it was appropriate to deny a fellow Senator her right to speak on the Senate floor. In his press statement, Senator McConnell said, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."  Those words expressed an arrogance and sense of entitlement that infuriated the American people, and I personally believe they may haunt Senator McConnell to his grave.

In fact, the phrase, "Nevertheless, she persisted" became a rallying cry for many on the left; a symbol of an instance when power tried to silence truth, but power lost. Those three words highlight the effectiveness of persistence. And at a time when many Americans are disgusted and disheartened by the hate and fear-mongers who have taken over our government, that symbol provided a much-needed boost for morale.

However, many on the right continue to mock that call to arms.  I, personally, had a neighbor inform me that "Nevertheless, she persisted" is a "weak" rallying cry. I knew immediately he -- yes, of course, he -- was wrong, but I needed to think about it for a minute before I could put into words why he was wrong.

There are several memes circulating that point out those words are a good summation for the history of women's rights, and that's true. But that's not all those words represent.  If you think about it, all human achievements, from the greatest to the smallest, both good and bad, throughout the whole of human history, can be described using almost those exact words. Again, think about it.

Two brothers dreamed of flying. Everyone told them it was impossible. Nevertheless, they persisted.

A group of people who had been treated as inferior for generations were determined to be granted equal rights under the law. They were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned, and even murdered. Nevertheless, they persisted.

A lonely young man, languishing in a prison cell, wrote a book in which he envisioned a Utopian future for his country. Given his circumstances, it seemed impossible that his goals would ever be realized. Nevertheless, he persisted...and in the process murdered millions of innocent civilians and plunged the world into war.

See, that's the thing. Persistence tends to pay off no matter who is doing the persisting or what they ultimately hope to achieve. And people who are evil seldom see themselves that way.

So, far from being a "weak" rallying cry, "Nevertheless, she persisted" neatly encompasses the enormity and indomitability of the human spirit, in all of its terrible beauty. The power of a single determined person is formidable. The power of a group of determined people is irresistible, and it can change the tides of history...for good or ill. It all depends on who persists the most and what target they've set their sights upon. I know which side I'll be lending my persistence to. Do you?


Saturday, February 18, 2017

#February2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!!

It's the 18th again so, you guessed it, I'm back with my monthly #IndieBooksBeSeen book review! Enjoy! :-)

Swiftly Sharpens The Fang by Stuart Kenyon:

Joseph Travis seems like a regular guy. He has friends he likes to hang out with, an intelligent, beautiful girlfriend he loves, and he enjoys living it up on the weekends. His job is soul-killing, but that's not anything that most of us can't identify with. And the hobby he enjoys the most is boxing, a little violent, but he's a healthy young man with a frustrating and sedentary job, and he needs an outlet for his energy and aggression.  All-in-all, he seems like a regular Joe (pun intended) with just enough of an edge to make him interesting.

Joseph is even rather liberal and enlightened in his outlook and attitudes. In a world where bigotry and intolerance are becoming more and more blatant and accepted, he maintains an open-minded position, willing to listen and educate himself about the various viewpoints. But, overall, he isn't inclined to hate anyone or blame entire segments of the population for the problems created by a few. That is, until things start to change.

It's subtle at first, but through a series of unfortunate events, some of them at least partially his fault, Joseph's worldview starts to change. He begins to see malicious intentions where none exist and to ascribe malevolent characteristics to groups of people after observing them in only one or two individuals. In short, his open, tolerant nature changes to one of bigotry and hate. And it's frightening how easily and naturally the devolution of his attitudes occurs.

The thing I liked most about this story is that it illustrates how easily a person's point of view can be shaped by the people and society around them. Most people look with askance at those who subscribe to violent, extremist ideologies. After all, it's hard to imagine how anyone could come to hate others so much that they would be willing to commit murder over a political or religious philosophical difference.  And yet, terrorism is becoming increasingly common, so something must be radicalizing people. Because no terrorist ever sprung up out of a vacuum. Something must happen to turn "normal" people into terrorists, but what?

That's a question that Swiftly Sharpens The Fang attempts to answer, and the method for such a conversion that Stuart Kenyon illustrates in this novel is both surprising and frightening. Because Joseph Travis really is just a normal guy. He has had a couple of severe traumas in his life but overall he's just like most of us, he works, plays when he can, and tries to make connections with other people so he can figure out where he fits into society. There is no burning passion in him; no dominating ideology, extreme or otherwise. He's just a guy living his life and the process by which he comes to adopt extreme philosophies is terrifying because of its very banality and insidiousness.

Joseph isn't a deeply thoughtful or reflective person. He isn't stupid, but he doesn't take a lot of time to analyze the people around him. Like many of us, he's too caught up in his own life and concerns to take much time to research the things he reads in the media or hears from his friends, so he tends to take them at face value. The few times he does take the trouble to fact-check something, he finds that what he had heard or read either wasn't entirely true or wasn't the whole picture. But he fails to keep that in mind when the next heavily biased article or self-interested "friend" presents him with an inflammatory story or statistic.

As his attitudes and actions become more extreme, Joseph loses more and more of the moderating influences in his life. He gives up the job he hates to immerse himself more in the new society he has discovered. Friends who share his previous, more open-minded outlook either avoid him because they disapprove of his behavior, or he avoids them because they now make him uncomfortable. And, instead of viewing that discomfort as the warning that it is, Joseph instead gets closer to his new "friends." Because doing so is easier and it feels better, which is the same reaction that most of us would have, if we're honest.

As his new "friends" become more central to his world, Joseph works harder and harder to earn their approval. After all, it's just human nature to want to be liked by those around us. And he ignores anything that might contradict what his "friends" tell him.  Even his own experiences aren't enough to cut through the fog of disinformation that surrounds Joseph. When something happens that proves the lies that his "friends" are telling him, he rationalizes or dismisses it as a fluke.  How many of us have made excuses for the people we like or admire, even when, if we are honest, we know they are wrong?

Overall, this novel paints a detailed picture of how easily and quickly people can slide into extremism and violence. Mr. Kenyon does a fantastic job of illustrating the dangers inherent in existing in an echo chamber and allowing emotion rather than logic to rule our actions. Simply by failing to verify the accuracy of the information we consume, refusing to entertain the thoughts put forward by opposing voices, and by allowing ourselves to be loyal to personalities rather than principles, any one of us might follow in Joseph Travis's footsteps.  In a world that is becoming more and more polarized, Swiftly Sharpens The Fang is a timely reminder that we need to be careful how partisan we allow ourselves to become. Objective truths do still exist and they do still matter, and it's up to every one of us to seek them out and not allow ourselves to be deceived by those with ulterior motives.

Like Mr. Kenyon's other book, Subnormal, I gave this book five stars and, once again, I'd like to give it more if I could. There are adult themes and situations in this novel that wouldn't be appropriate for children, but I think everyone from juniors and seniors in high school and older should read this story. I think we could all do with the reminders that it offers.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A #MarketPlace For #Fear?

Hey Everyone!!

Something occurred to me the other day that I thought might be worth sharing. The situation in the US seems to get darker and darker as the days progress. People are angry, hurt, and scared. There is civil unrest and have even been isolated incidents of violence. And, of course, all of this centers around Donald Trump, the most unpopular President in US history.

But the question I find myself asking is, why? Why is this orange-faced buffoon, this ignorant man-child with the attention span of a methed-out gnat and the intellectual capacity of your average turnip able to provoke people to such extremes of emotion?  Because that is what's happening.  Whether you're part of the majority of people who are vehemently against Trump or part of the minority who are vehemently for him, it's very unlikely that your feelings on the matter are anything but strong.  But why? Because, on the face of it, Donald Trump is simply not worth all the energy being expended on him.

Well, in my opinion, the reason people are reacting so strongly comes down to this, Donald Trump is a con man, but the snake oil he's selling is something with limited appeal.  So, in an attempt to increase his reach, he's trying to manufacture a market for his product. You see, in order for a con game to work, the con artist needs to appeal to a need or desire that their mark has.

For instance, if you're trying to con people into buying a "miracle cure," you're appealing to their desire to feel better. In the most loathsome examples, your pitch is made to people who are terminally ill and beyond the help of modern medicine. In that case, you're playing on their hope that they can find some way to survive and their fear of death. Ironically, the more desperate a person is, the easier it is to con them. Because desperate people don't think rationally, they react emotionally.

And that's exactly what Donald Trump is trying to do to this country. He needs people to be hysterical, because he wants us jumping before we think. You see, what he's trying to sell us is "safety." Oh, not real safety from actual threats, like poverty, hunger, disease, income inequality, lack of access to medical care, dangerous work environments, etc. No, not at all. Because those are real problems that require complicated solutions that will take a lot of work to implement. And the last thing Donald Trump is interested in is work or actually helping people.

No, what he's trying to do is whip up fear over manufactured threats. I mean, look at the specifics of what he wants to do.  He wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico. But why?  Because Mexican people are a threat to US citizens? Really? Does anyone honestly believe that?  What do you think Mexico is going to do, invade Arizona?  Seriously?  Honestly, people, what the fuck are you afraid of here? In concrete terms, what do you think the actual threat is?

That's not a question that has a rational answer, because there is no actual threat from Mexico or Mexican people. Yes, there are some deranged people who are also Mexican. There are also some deranged people who are also blonde dentists from Chicago. There are some deranged people who are also part of any demographic group you'd care to name, but that doesn't make it rational to fear the entire demographic group. Think about it, it's absurd.

Donald Trump also wants to ban Muslims from entering the US. Again, why?  Because Muslims are a threat?  Really?  A religion with almost two billion followers and they're all a threat?  Every single one of them?  Then why isn't the entire world on fire?  If there were really two billion people bent on annihilating everyone who didn't belong to their religion, I'm pretty sure they'd probably succeed.  The resulting holocaust might take them out too, but if Muslims were really dangerous, we wouldn't be around to debate kicking them out of the country.

Again, yes, there are always the odd individuals in any group who are insane, but that doesn't make the entire group a threat.  No, what Donald Trump is trying to do is make us all believe that there are threats where none exist. Why? Because it's far easier to slay imaginary dragons than real ones. If he succeeds in convincing us that this paper tiger is real, then he gets to be the hero when he comes in and tears it apart.  That's the con he's trying to run on us.

The reason he's getting such a strong reaction is because fear is a visceral emotion. People who are afraid don't think, they react. Which makes them easy to control. If you frighten a herd, you can stampede them over a cliff. Even if there are a few individuals who retain their senses, they'll still be swept away by the mob.

Which isn't to suggest that the real problems I mentioned earlier don't exist, they absolutely do. And what Trump has tried to do is use Muslims, Mexicans, and other minority demographic groups as scapegoats for those real problems. By blaming specific groups for systematic failings, he implies that by eliminating those groups he'll rid the country of the problems. Which is patently absurd but, again, desperate people are easy to manipulate.

Despite that, most people are smart enough to realize that the reason they don't have a job isn't the poor Mexican immigrant who is even worse off financially than them. The majority of people in this country understand that the reason they don't have a job is because the corporations and wealthy elite have rigged the system to make it virtually impossible for the working class to assert our rights. And that's a problem that has nothing to do with the scapegoats Trump came up with.

In an attempt to appeal to people who were smart enough to see through his first deception, Trump tried to convince us that he was a populist leader who wanted to represent the working people in this country.  Of course, since the election, his cabinet picks have proven the lie of that claim, and all he is left with are his scapegoats. Which he is doubling down on.

But Donald Trump miscalculated when he decided on this strategy. He overestimated both his popularity and his powers of persuasion.  Instead of directing all of the fear against others, he ended up with only some of it directed where he wanted it, but most of it directed against himself. He didn't unite the country, he polarized it.

Now, the fear of Donald Trump is at least a fear that makes sense. It's rational to fear what a malignant narcissist in a position of authority might do. But, in order to resist him effectively, we have to also resist our own impulses to react out of that fear. Instead of responding hysterically, we need to mount a calculated, organized opposition to Trump and those who follow him.

Why? Because we can't allow Donald Trump to call the tune that we dance to. If we do, we'll end up dancing the steps he wants us to dance. Instead, what we need to do is remove the market for his product. That fear/safety combo that Trump and his followers are trying to convince us to buy won't work if there's no one who needs what he's selling.

Yes, there are real problems in this country. But fear-mongering about them solves nothing. Real problems have real solutions, and those solutions can be implemented. Instead of trying to make people afraid of the obstacles that we need to overcome, we need to show them productive ways to deal with those obstacles. Because by doing that we give people hope. Real hope, based on concrete actions; not vain hope based on empty promises.

Why? Because if people see realistic plans in action to make their lives better, it will be much harder to convince them to be afraid of shadows or dupe them into chasing pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Most people are smart enough to know the difference when they aren't blinded by desperation.

So, yes, we do oppose Trump's efforts to sell us on his message of fear and hate. Absolutely. But it's important for us to do so with a rational mindset, keeping the end goal in sight. Acting out of fear will only make things worse; we need to act out of reason and a desire to improve the quality of people's lives. Productive solutions and actions that yield benefits are what we need, not hysterical frenzy and random noise. That way, we shut down the market place that Trump is using to pedal his goods. Not by force, but simply because no one will be shopping there anymore.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Pawper To #Pedigree By Angel M!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I've got Angel M in my APC spotlight!  Angel is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her comedy about owning a dog grooming business, Pawper to Pedigree, sounds like a hoot! Here's the description:
Trying to build a mobile dog grooming business can be difficult when your bus is most likely stolen, your flamboyant cosmetologist keeps people guessing as to his sexual orientation, you are dating the cop who arrested your last boyfriend, and you can hear what dogs are thinking. Luckily for Marnie, her clientele has eclectic tastes and she discovers there is a lucrative market for her dog whisperer gift.
From country dogs to city dogs, pedigrees to mutts, Marnie and Aaron take on new clients while helping owners reach a deeper connection with their pets.
If you think it sounds as good as I do, you can grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 468

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 Four-Hundred-Seventy-Two:
The injustice! The absolute, bald-faced double standard! I do not know how much longer I can endure this situation!

My hominid-servant has now begun treating the infant felid to the luscious liquid bovine secretions that she keeps in her refrigeration unit. On multiple occasions in the past, I have attempted to persuade her to share this ambrosia with me, but to no avail. The tiny pest, however, has but to look at her with pleading eyes and the nectar is produced with alacrity.

She informed me that mammalian neonates require such nourishment and that I ought not be envious. I tried to explain to her that DPCIL agents have need of the occasional luxury as well, and the bovine secretions would satisfy this requirement nicely. But, as usual, she ignored my pleas. The state of affairs here is becoming unbearable.

Ugh! Humans can be so thoughtless and cruel! 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, February 14, 2017

A Little #Romance For Your #ValentinesDay! ;-)

Hey Everyone!!

In honor of the day of love, I thought I'd treat you to a little peek at a romantic encounter. Enjoy! ;-)

Excerpt from Taken By The Huntsman:
The look he gave her scorched her from the tips of her toes to the ends of her hair. Cassie had never had a male look at her with such heat. She found her mouth suddenly dry, but she nodded and reached out to cup the side of his face in her hand.

Turning his face into her hand, he placed a soft kiss on her palm. “Cassie, tell me truly, are you ready to consummate our relationship? I beg you, do not toy with me. I am desperate for you, and I do not know how far my control will hold.”

She swallowed against her dry throat and said, “I’m ready to try for a relationship with you. But that’s all I can promise. I’m willing to see where things between us go and if they can work out. Can you be satisfied with that?”

“Satisfied? No. Never satisfied. But I’m willing to accept it, for now, and work to earn your love and your trust.”

Cassie smiled and ran her fingers gently over his cheek and into his hair. Cadeyrn pulled her closer, and she felt the hardness of his body against hers. Leaning down, he kissed her with a passion that left her breathless. His lips were soft and gentle against hers, almost chaste. Until he pulled her closer and deepened the kiss, tracing his tongue along her lips until she opened to him, tasting her mouth thoroughly.

She moaned into his mouth and ran her hands over his broad shoulders and swollen biceps. Grabbing his bulging muscles, she used the leverage to try to pull herself closer still.

Cadeyrn groaned and pulled back. He looked down into the liquid blue eyes of his Anamchara and saw the passion and desire of a woman who knew exactly what she wanted.

“Cassie, tell me simply. Will you allow me to take you to bed this night? Yes or no?”

Looking up at him with a teasing smile, she answered, "Oh, yes. I want you to take me to bed and show me what kind of skills a male can acquire with hundreds of millennia of practice.”

Cadeyrn growled deep in his throat. His eyes were glowing, and he felt his canines lengthen in his mouth. “Female,” he said, in a voice that had gone rough and gravely. “You know not what you ask for. But I will give it to you anyway.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  This is an interview with former US Congressman and Presidential candidate, Ron Paul. I have many deep and irreconcilable philosophical differences with Ron Paul, but I thought this interview was well-conducted and I also thought that several interesting points were highlighted.

I've long thought that Progressives and Libertarians have a lot in common. We have a lot in opposition too, as I've already stated, but just because we don't agree about everything doesn't mean we can't work together on anything.  On the issues on which we have a philosophical overlap, it makes sense to ally ourselves and work to advance our shared agenda. The discussion about bipartisanship that takes place in this interview, I think, is really important, and I hope you'll all take a few minutes to watch it and consider what they are saying.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

It's A #Party!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I'm doing something I rarely do these days, I'm participating in a Facebook party! :-) This fabulous event involves over 100 authors and spans several days. Yours truly will be live today, Sunday, from 2:30pm-3pm EST, and I'd love it if you could join me! The party will be going on for the next few day. So even if you can't make it when I'm there, do yourself a favor and check it out when you get a chance. There are some truly amazing books waiting for you to find them! :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

For The #Love Of #Books #Valentine #Giveaway! $135 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new Valentine giveaway!  Please take a moment to check out the Love Of Books Valentine Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $135 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, February 10, 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, February 9, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: #Life In The #WarZone By Paul White!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Paul White in my APC spotlight, today!  Paul is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his collection of stories and articles about life in war-torn areas, Life In The War Zone, looks really interesting. Here's the description:
THIS IS NOT A ‘WAR’ STORY. Life in the War Zone A collection of poignant, eye opening stories and articles, written primarily as fictional accounts, yet based on true experiences from major war zones around the globe. Each story and article has been formed from interviews, discussions, reports and dialogues from those affected by conflict. Life in the War Zone brings you the emotional truth about the effects and the long lasting legacy of pain and suffering, to both combat troops and innocent civilian lives, devastated by war and armed conflict. Revealed, the cold hard facts; tales from the front line you probably do not want to consider. Situations you do not want to believe are true. Yet these things have happened, are still happening now. For many, the fight continues long after the last shots of the battle have been fired. Physical trauma, disability and PTSD linger for years, even entire lifetimes, following conflict and struggle. These are the sad facts of modern warfare. “In war, there are no unwounded”
I don't know about you, but I think this sounds like a really important book for people to read. It sounds like there are a lot of issues that are covered which could bear more thought considering the current state of the world. If you agree, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 468

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 Four-Hundred-Sixty-Eight:
My hominid-servant has been implacable on the subject of the infant felid. No matter how vociferously I protested or how firmly I insisted, she refuses to budge and the pest remains a constant irritant in my domicile. And to add insult to injury, it seems to have decided to attach itself to me.

I have tried every means of avoidance I can think of, but the tiny annoyance seems to have limitless patience and will simply wait until I return to a level within its reach to continue its campaign to establish itself in my good graces. I have attempted to dissuade it from pursuing this scheme, but have so far been unsuccessful. To be honest, its persistence is daunting.

Even my rest periods are no longer sacrosanct, as the creature waits until I have succumbed to slumber before approaching and satisfying its own need for rest ensconced right up against my person. I have awoken more than once to find the small beast curled up next to me and attempting to use its own P.U.R.R. to lull me. The nerve!

Oh no! Poor Thoth is in danger of being killed by cuteness! ;-) 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, February 7, 2017

What #Price Would You Pay For #Freedom?

Hey Everyone!!

I'm back with another peek at what Petri and her friends are up to. It seems there may be light at the end of the tunnel, but nothing good comes without a price. ;-)

Excerpt from book two of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
Chessie shook her head. "What do you think the Arcanum are going to do now?"

"I don't think. I know."

"How?" asked Daji.

"When I attacked the Collective, I broke through all their barriers. I saw what they are planning."

"You saw all their plans?"

"Yes. I don't understand them all, but I saw them. And I know what they're going to demand in exchange for letting us go."

"You think they will let us go, now that you have attacked them?"

Petri nodded firmly. "Yes. No one was killed or permanently harmed in my attack, and the Arcanum have really strict rules against killing people they consider sentient. They won't kill me, and they won't want to try to hold me against my will anymore."

"So what will they do?"

She sighed. "When I told you before that everything the Arcanum told me was common knowledge among them, that wasn't completely true. Most of what they told me was, but I had to trade to get the information about the Hatari. That's something that only a few of the oldest of them know."

Chessie reached out and gripped Petri's hand. "Will they be angry that you told us?"

Petri shook her head. "No. They don't consider you people, so they don't care what you know or don't know. It would be like if Daji told one of your secrets to Kivuli. You wouldn't care."

Looking over at the tessa in question, Chessie relaxed and let go of Petri's hand. The animal responded to the sudden attention she was receiving by preening and wrapping even more of Sadaka's hair around herself. The silent child reached up to pet and settle the animal down, and the adults at the table smiled, the small injection of humor cutting the tension in the room.

"All right, then, hun, what did you have to trade for that information?"

Grimacing, Petri took a deep breath. "The Arcanum who trained me went through my mind before I learned how to keep it out. It couldn't see everything, which is why it agreed to bargain with me, but it saw some of what happened on Upworld."

"Well, that's not so bad," said Chessie, slowly, a look of confusion on her face. "Unless…"

Hm... Unless what, I wonder? I guess you'll all have to read the book to find out. ;-)  Yeah, I know, I'm horrible. But I'm really hoping to be able to release it in the next couple of months, so it won't be too much of a wait. :-)  Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for another edition of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  If you follow this blog at all, then you've probably already heard me speak about Jordan Chariton, a TYT investigative reporter, and how much I admire his dedication to uncovering the truth. Today, I'd like to share another example of what real journalism looks like. Jordan is back in North Dakota, and he has been covering the sham trials of the water protectors who have been arrested on trumped-up charges. The farce that these kangaroo courts are making of our justice system is alarming, but at least there are a few dedicated people like Jordan who are willing to speak truth to power.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A #Pie In A #Pot? ;-)

Hey Everyone! :-)

I'm back with another recipe to share. This one is for all those other lazy cooks out there. :-)

Pot Pie In A Crockpot Ingredients:
6 potatoes washed and cubed
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1 bag frozen peas
1 large onion finely chopped
1 12 oz package sliced button mushrooms
1 zucchini chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 head of broccoli chopped or 1 bag of frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients except the broccoli and biscuit dough in a crockpot and cook on high for 4-6 hours. Remove the bay leaves, add the broccoli, and stir the contents. Cook for another hour or so. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove the biscuit dough from the can (you know them, they're the kind that pops when you open them) and separate the individual biscuits. Remove the cover of the crockpot and place the biscuits on top of the vegetables in an even layer. Put the whole crock (the ceramic part that sits in the metal part only, not the metal part with the controls) in the oven without the cover and bake according to the directions on the biscuit package.

As always, I prefer my pot pie without meat, but you can add any meat you like. Just please make sure the meat is cooked before you add it to the crockpot because food poisoning sucks. Also, you can of course remove or add any vegetables you like. This recipe is more about a process than about a specific ingredient list. Likewise, you can adjust the seasonings however you like to suit your taste.

Bon appetit! :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

For The #Love Of #Books #Valentine #Giveaway! $135 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new Valentine giveaway!  Please take a moment to check out the Love Of Books Valentine Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $135 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, February 3, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  The question that is on most American's mind at this time is, how do we turn things around and take our government back?  To date, this is the group that seems to have the most concrete, substantive answer that I've heard to that question.  Take a look.

If it sounds good to you and you'd like to learn more, you can find the organization here:

And remember, my friends, #WeAreTheMajority. Peace!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: #Bound To Blackwood By Sharon Lipman!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I've got Sharon Lipman in my APC spotlight!  Sharon is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her vampire paranormal romance, Bound To Blackwood, sounds fantastic! Here's the description:
Would you surrender your soul for the love of the King?
Lena, a vampire and a Guardian of the Order, has been honour-bound to protect human souls all her life. Acting first and thinking second is what's saved her skin time and again in the war against the Fallen, but her disregard for orders soon catches up with her when her boss is seriously injured. Forced to take responsibility for her actions, Lena is thrust into the path of her very own kryptonite; Thorn. The raw power of his soul calls to her and his mere presence lights a fire within her that she cannot contain.
With Vampire magic waning and the race in crisis, can either of them afford to ignore Nature's call? If they do, the future of the race is in jeopardy. If they don't, they will both lose the most precious part of themselves. Their souls.
If you think it sounds as good as I do, you can grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 465

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 Four-Hundred-Sixty-Five:
I remain unable to concentrate on my research due to the continued presence and disruption of the infant felid. I have attempted every means at my disposal to communicate to my hominid-servant that the presence of the small beast is unacceptable. I even resorted to urinating on the creature to express my displeasure, but all that achieved was causing my hominid-servant to flap her arms and screech at me and lock me in the small box that she uses when she considers my actions to be unacceptable.

But it is not my behavior that needs adjustment in this case! The tiny monstrosity has got to go! If it were not for the fact that the felid is an infant of its kind, I would have already challenged it to a duel and ripped out its throat! Such is the appropriate penalty for trespassing in another's domicile. However, as things are, its age precludes any type of violent response, and so I am left to devise other methods to express my extreme discontent. I will see if my ingenuity is up to the task.

Ugh! Hominids can be so dense! I wonder if poor Agent Thoth will be able to adjust to the invasion of his territory or if he'll decide to abandon his mission. 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!