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

Friday, April 28, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: A #Symphony Of #Heart Strings By T.E. Hodden!



T.E. Hodden:
My story, A Symphony Of Heartstrings, is a return to familiar territory to me. Not just because it is short, romantic, and has a fantastical slant, or because it plays around with the rules and conventions of the Romance Genre (a game some would say I over indulge in), but because in a more literal sense, it is set in London.

I should explain. I grew up in Kent, an hour and a bit from London by train. I can not pretend to be a native to the city, but I have visited, as a tourist, for job interviews, and for work. I have visited often enough that I should have had the sheen dull, and to start to lose the feeling of being awed. But I never quite have. Even as London becomes more familiar, I always know I am just passing through. I have to admit, I am just a little bit in love with the city. It lends itself to Romance.

Symphony is the tale of the man behind the scenes of every Romance you ever read. For hundreds of years he has roamed the city, plucking on the invisible web that binds us all, encouraging all the little coincidences that make the right people bump into each other. In essence it could be in any city. But for me it had to be London. It would be folly to try and explain all the locations and influences in one short blog spot, so instead, I hope you don't mind if I concentrate on just three aspects of the city, that make it resonate quite so perfectly for the genre.

1: Cities in Cities, and wheels within wheels.

You probably know that when we talk about London, we are mostly talking about Greater London, the Metropolitan area. The City of London itself is a square mile, the Square Mile in fact, called the City, and is essentially the financial centre of the UK. Tradition has it that London was founded by an escapee from classical mythology called Brutus. As the city has grown it has consumed other cities, like Westminster, along with towns and villages. Like very many other cities around the world it is this tapestry, this patchwork of influences, that makes London beautiful. Like other cities, it is not just the streets that have their own identities, there are many different cultures within London, from many corners of the world. They have had time to put down roots, and to be woven into the fabric of the city. London is not a city of chimney sweeps and cockneys, it is not a city of one identity, it is a city of people, and of peoples. It is a complex knot of history, culture, myth, legend, and stories. If you try to learn about Jack the Ripper, you will end up learning about sweatshops and Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. Try to learn about tea, and you will learn about The East India Company, and the Empire.

Start walking from the Houses of Parliament, along the banks of the Thames, and you will see landmarks that are testament to the railway, the Great Fire, the City Of London, the Arts, the Docklands, and a relic of Ancient Egypt. Speaking of which...

2: Free Museums.

There is a reason why so many stories have dates in Museums in London. There are an awful lot of museums, and some of the greatest are absolutely free. You can walk into the British Museum, the Science Museum, or Natural History Museum, and some others, and just start exploring. You have to pay to see some exhibitions, but there is a lot you can see without spending a penny. (You should of course make a donation, or buy something from the gift shop, but... the simple pleasure of history is free to you). They are a legacy of the Victorian age, and more specifically to Prince Albert. He had a grand vision of an area of the city purely for informing, and educating the population. Some would argue that London itself is a museum. There are buildings of all ages, from many different periods, rubbing shoulders and jostling for space. There are strange monuments, statues, blue plaques, and buildings that are scattered through the city. Stray into a park, and you might find concrete dinosaurs, or an observatory. Wander around the river, and you will see a renovated sailing ship, or a retired battle ship. In dark alleys you might find an antique lamp post, or some curious relic of the building of the Underground.

3. The Underground.

I know people who hate the Underground railway system. I love it. I love that many of the stations fit a modern system in antique buildings. I love how quick it is, and I love being able to get from the centre of the city all the way out to Ealing Broadway. I love the map, I love the design, and I love the trains. I hate rush hour with a passion, and will do anything to avoid the crushing crowds, and if I am completely honest, I would rather walk than take a train. But, when you have to use transport, in London I will descend into the labyrinth rather than take a bus or a taxi. I can't quite put a finger on it. I have no reason to assume the trains in New York, or Paris, will be any less charming, or any more comfortable, and lets be completely honest here: Travelling the underground is a "warts and all" kind of experience. But it's one of those things. To me it is one of the threads that makes the city complete. Without it, London would not quite feel the same.

So, there you have it. Three threads in the tapestry, that help make the city fit my story. It is a cliché to say that the city is a character. But it is worth considering things become cliché because they are so often true. I have absolutely no doubt that many of the writers I have the honour of occasionally chatting with, will feel exactly the same about the cities they inhabit with their fictions. I can not claim, and would never claim, that London is any more of a character than Edinburgh, or Paris. I have seen the character of those cities for myself, and I know how vibrant and beautiful they are. I know how well they lend themselves to the stories of others. No. London is not a bigger or better character, it is just one that I know a little of, and that resonates for me.

I hope I have allowed that character to shine through some of my works.






Thursday, April 27, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: #Lust With A #Bite By Brenda Stokes Lee!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Brenda Stokes Lee in my APC spotlight, today!  Brenda is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her erotic, paranormal short story, Lust With A Bite, looks great! Here's the description:
Leo and Jan Harmon were very much in love with each other, but sometimes they needed the warmth and comfort of other lovers to keep them passionate and satisfied. Recognizing this early in their relationship, they agreed to maintain an open and honest marriage. They had a unique marriage which allowed them to freely fuck whomever they wished... There was just one stipulation. The other partner had to know about it.

Life held too many wondrous opportunities to share and experience pleasure. So, the Harmons resolved to love without limits, but remain faithful to their commitment to each other. Sex was sex, but what the two of them shared transcended that by miles. This mutual understanding and truth was instrumental in allowing their love for each other and their marriage to grow stronger with each passing year.
Leo was ecstatic when their wealthy neighbors invited to a sexy party. Jan was leery, but the sexy couple graciously accepts. Little do their neighbors know the Harmon’s were hiding a secret. Nor did their hosts know the couple had something a bit more sinister and kinky in mind than wife swapping. Find out what happens when you invite strangers to a sex party.
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, April 26, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 539


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-Thirty-Nine:
My hominid-servant keeps a collection of paints with which she decorates the epidermis of her face. I consider this a strange habit, but have concluded she feels the need to compensate for her lack of proper facial fur. Many of these paints are stored in containers that make for a pleasant distraction when they are rolled across a flat surface. However, in spite of their tempting form, my hominid-servant has made it abundantly clear that she does not approve of her paint containers being used in such a way.

Today, while I was napping on the lap my hominid-servant recently restored my access to, the infant felid uncovered her store of paint containers. He also discovered the amusement value inherent in their construction and availed himself of it with abandon. The result was the floor covering in my hominid-servant's sleeping chamber becoming irredeemably stained with a multitude of types and colors of paint.

When my hominid-servant discovered the results of the tiny pest's activities, she vocalized extensively in her loudest and shrillest tones and chased the creature from one end of my domicile to the other. I observed the uproar with a sense of both glee and vindication. Once she caught the irritating beast, my hominid-servant locked him in the same small box she uses to express displeasure with my behavior.

Though I know it is petty, I feel a strange satisfaction when I think of his expression when he realized he was unable to escape from the box. Perhaps my extended exposure to the creatures on this backward planet is having a deleterious effect on my maturity level. Still, it remains an undeniably pleasant memory.


Ha! Seems like Agent Thoth is just as immature as the rest of us. ;-) 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, April 25, 2017

Bombing For #Peace...


...is like fucking for virginity.

Hey Everyone!

I'm sure you've all heard that old saying before, and it seems to be particularly relevant now. Honestly, I'm kind of disgusted with the leadership of my country right now, and I'm not really in the mood to write a long rant. So all I'm going to do here is quickly point out a little bit of recent history.

In the 1980s, Reagan helped fund and supply the Mujahideen in Afghanistan so that they could fight the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden -- you all remember him, right? -- took over that well-armed, well-trained, combat-experienced group of religious warriors and formed the Taliban.  And then in 2001, he used that US-supplied jihadist militia group to carry out the largest foreign-born terrorist attack on US soil since the British burned DC in 1812.

In 2003, the US attacked Iraq and toppled the Hussein government. The excuse for this was that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Then, when that turned out to be false, it was that Hussein was aiding al Qaeda.  Then, when that turned out to be false, it was that Hussein was a bad dude. Well, yeah, Hussein was a bad dude, no question. But when his defeat created a power vacuum, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi rose to fill it. al-Zarqawi organised al Qaeda in Iraq. Later, after al-Zarqawi was killed and a series of other events took place, al Qaeda in Iraq split off and became ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Now, the US under Trump is trying to topple Assad, another bad dude, and is funding and supplying rebel groups in Syria, who are mainly comprised of various jihadist groups including ISIS. At the same time, Trump is bombing ISIS in Afghanistan. The only reason ISIS is in Afghanistan is because they are fighting the Taliban there.

So...given the last forty years, or so, of history concerning US involvement in the Middle East, what would you say the likely result of Trump toppling Syria's bad dude coupled with sticking our nose into the conflict between two Islamic jihadist groups will be? Any guesses?  Personally, I don't think you need a crystal ball to see that it's not likely to be good.

Does that mean I think Assad is good for Syria? No. I don't. I also don't think that it's the US's place to unilaterally decide to remove him from power. If the people of Syria want a different leader, then they certainly have every right to replace him with someone more to their liking. But it's their prerogative to make that decision, not ours.  As for ISIS fighting the Taliban, can anyone tell me why we would want to stop that? They're both enemies of the US, I say let them fight. Maybe they'll get it out of their system and they won't be so eager to send suicide bombers to our shores.  At the very least, it will give them something to think about other than getting revenge on America.

Anyway, that's my two-cents worth.

Peace!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This shows a clip of an interview with Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez, and I think the host's analysis is spot-on. Please take a few minutes to watch it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. :-)




Sunday, April 23, 2017

#Crockpot #Strawberry #Jam #Recipe!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

Since it's springtime and the strawberries are starting to ripen, I thought I'd share my easy, crock-pot strawberry jam recipe. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
4 lbs fresh strawberries
3 tbsp fruit pectin
1.5 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Wash the strawberries, remove their stems, and cut them in half. Then place the halved strawberries, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice in your crock-pot, stir together, and cook on high for three hours. Use a potato masher to mash up the strawberries. Transfer the jam into the container, or containers, you want to store it in, and then place it uncovered in the refrigerator to cool. Cover and store in the refrigerator or freezer to avoid spoilage.

Now, go get your jam on! ;-)


Saturday, April 22, 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, April 21, 2017

#Spotlight: Amstel Girl By Marco Marek



Marco Marek:

Book Title: Amstel Girl
Genre: thriller, romance, suspense

Blurb:
It's a quiet life in the Amsterdam's canals, but Wesley didn't know what to expect, just released from being unfairly locked away at Haan Psychiatric Hospital.
He met Megan right after, a beautiful but quirky girl, with passion for a high-risk life.
Together they will be involved in lots of spy intrigues, adventures, and they begin to flirt with each other, will they fall in love? And will Wes succeed in solving all the troubles these criminals have involved him?

A man, a quirky girl, a stolen drug formula, plus a turbolent love and hate passion between them in the amazing background of the Amsterdam canals

A wicked love and dangerous encounters with criminals of the underworld, that's what Wesley gets just after his exit from the psychiatric hospital...will he be able to get through it and end up on top?

A thriller story mixed with romance, suspense. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and with trips in Monte Carlo and Astana, Kazakhstan. Wesley will face the underworld of international crime and the femme fatale Megan will help him to contrast this powerful organization.


Buying Links:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MSJW0BD
https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/amstel-girl-playing-destiny/id1171033005?mt=11
https://www.kobo.com/it/it/ebook/amstel-girl-playing-with-destiny
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amstel-girl-marco-marek/1125060040?ean=9781540661203
https://www.createspace.com/6750045


Social Networks:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marco-Marek/745394818879202

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10943506.Marco_Marek

https://twitter.com/1MarcoMarek

https://www.instagram.com/1marcomarek/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMmIKvBRisA

http://marcomarekauthor.blogspot.it/

Bio:
Marco Marek was born in Italy. He always had a fervid imagination and a passion for fantasy stories, medieval magicians, ancient history, and unexplained mysteries. While he was visiting a castle in Eastern Europe, he had the idea of writing Hyperearth. Apart from writing, Marco is also a painter and photographer, he likes digital artwork on Photoshop. The cover of Hyperearth is his creation. He loves traveling when he has some free time.




Thursday, April 20, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Carved Wooden #Heart By Elizabeth Horton-Newton!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Elizabeth Horton-Newton in my APC spotlight, today! Elizabeth is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her contemporary, new adult romance novel, Carved Wooden Heart, is awesome! Here's the description:
A sexy encounter with a talented native artist, a broken heart, and a knight in shining armor are just the beginning in this passionate romance. Dani Stone never expected to fall in love with carver Jesse Wolf Carver. She certainly didn't foresee the results of her intense one night stand with the sexy hunk. From the wealth of New York City to the southern city of Knoxville, Tennessee, follow Dani as she journeys the winding path fate has laid out for her. Will she ever forget Jesse and the passion she felt in his arms? Can any man replace him in her heart? And most importantly, will her secret be revealed? This is a story of passion, love, loss, and courage.
I've read this book, and I can tell you it's fantastic. 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, April 19, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 533


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-Thirty-Three:
As I feared, the infant felid's antics have caused my hominid-servant to reevaluate her lap-sharing policy. After having my rest disturbed for the tenth time in a single planetary rotation, I lost my temper and thrashed the tiny pest. My hominid-servant reacted hysterically, locking me in the small box she uses to express her displeasure with my behavior and showing extreme concern for the well-being of the small beast. Despite the fact that, though I was exceedingly provoked, I was careful not to seriously injure the creature.

Now, my hominid-servant is denying me access to her lap and giving me the hurt, disappointed looks she uses when she believes I have done something egregious. It seems to me that my show of restraint has gone completely unacknowledged. So, perhaps, in the future I will simply express my feelings without moderation. That way, she will have a measure of comparison on which to base her future reactions.


Poor Agent Thoth! He never seems to be able to catch a break when it comes to that pesky infant felid. ;-) 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, April 18, 2017

#April2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!


Hey Everyone! :-)

It's the 18th again and I'm back on schedule, so here's my monthly #IndieBooksBeSeen indie author book review. Enjoy! :-)

Cro-Magnon by Robert Stimson:

Two scientists on opposite sides of a scientific debate are thrown together and forced to work together to unearth what may be one of the most significant scientific discoveries in human history. As they work, it becomes clear that science isn't the only motivation for the people who are supporting their research and more than just knowledge may be at stake. Will they succeed in preserving their discoveries for the good of humanity, or will greedy corporate interests win out in the end? You'll have to read to find out!
I enjoy this book. It was a complex topic that touched on multiple disciplines and the author clearly did his homework. There were quite a few typos, but that's something that could be solved with a good proofreader, and so isn't a big deal.  Overall, it was an interesting subject that gave a fresh perspective to some of the questions surrounding how much of human behavior is based on genetics and out much on other factors. The characters were well-developed and engaging and the plot moved fast enough to keep things interesting. Five stars and I think I'll be checking out what else the author has published.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  Just in case anyone was wondering if the smear campaign against Bernie Sanders and Progressive in general was working, I thought this might help clear things up. ;-)



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easy #Crockpot #Taco Filling #Recipe!


Hey Everyone! :-)

Today, I wanted to share a really easy vegetarian taco recipe. :-)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried lentils
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa or rice
1/4 cup frozen corn
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 small tomato diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 drop liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a crock-pot on low for about 7 hours, or so, and check to see if liquid has been absorbed and beans and grain are soft. Adjust liquid/cook time as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. When beans and grain are soft, remove the bay leaf, spoon filling into your favorite taco shells, and top with your favorite salsa, guacamole, cheese, and other taco toppings.

Bon Appetit!










Saturday, April 15, 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, April 14, 2017

#Peeks And #Teases


Hey Everyone! :-)

I thought I'd brighten your Friday with a little peek inside Intrigue In the Summer Court. But remember, things can get pretty hot in the kingdom of the Summer Fae. ;-)

Excerpt from Intrigue In The Summer Court:
Sneering, he advanced on her, barely leashed power evident in every line of his body. Pulling his tunic over his head, he dropped it on the ground and smiled in satisfaction as her gaze dropped to his well-muscled chest. When she raised her eyes to meet his again, he gave her an evil, mocking grin.

Cassie's mouth went dry when her lover revealed his upper body. Her hands itched to trace every ripple of those pecs and abs, and it was all she could do not to bring their game to a finish too soon. Seeing his teasing expression, she laughed and tried to dodge around him.

Laughing derisively at his prey's ludicrous attempt to elude him, the Huntsman caught the fleeing woman around her waist with one arm and lifted her off of her feet. The other hand he slid between her jeans-clad legs to cup her concealed pussy. He buried his nose in the sweet-smelling curtain of her raven-hued hair, and nuzzled her tresses aside so that he could find her neck. He laid his lengthening fangs against her throat just where it met her shoulder, and bit down lightly. "This is mine," he growled around the mouthful of her flesh, squeezing the hand that held her intimately. "Don't ever try to deny it to me."

Going limp at the feel of his mouth against her skin, Cassie moaned with desire and squirmed against the hand that gripped her between her legs. She knew her mate well enough to know that at his core he was a predator, and spirited prey only intensified his desire. It was the thrill of the chase he loved; the struggle and challenge of the pursuit were what drove his appetite.

Part of her wanted to surrender and agree, but a larger part of her wanted to please the male who had introduced her to these games. Besides, she had finally admitted to herself that she enjoyed them too. Something about resisting his demands and refusing to submit, but knowing he would never harm her, flipped every switch in her being. "'To the bold go the fair,' baby. You'll have to prove your worth," she breathed.

He laughed scornfully as he carried her into the bedroom. "And you believe you're 'fair'?" He dropped her, seated, on the end of the bed, her feet dangling at least a foot above the floor.

"Why don't you tell me?" she asked, a challenge in her eyes as she looked up at him.

Taking both of her hands in one of his, he kept his grip as she tugged lightly against him. Gently pulling her up to her knees on the bed, he held his Anamchara's wrists against the carved post of the bed. The carving's depiction of a chain of leaves gave him inspiration, and he brought the picture to life, binding her to the pillar with a magical garland. Moving his hands to her shoulders, he took hold of her shirt and bra and, with one jerk, ripped them from her body.

Studying the expanse of creamy flesh that had been revealed, he reached out with one hand and lightly trailed a finger from her shoulder and over the mound of one breast to circle her nipple. The sensitive bud drew up and tightened with his gentle exploration and he mumbled, "Oh yes. Stunning."



Thursday, April 13, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Honor Among #Thieves By Larry Singleton!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Larry Singleton in my APC spotlight, today!  Larry is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his murder mystery, suspense thriller, Honor Among Thieves, looks interesting. Here's the description:
Honor Among Thieves is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that gives the reader an in-depth look at inner-city life. The plot revolves around the Alexander family, a vicious crime syndicate, and a detective hell-bent on bringing them to justice. The Alexander family has been a main focal point of local law enforcement, but after the brutal murder of an undercover narcotics agent, a federal task force is assembled to dismantle the family once and for all.
After the family’s patriarch, Clarence “Blue” Alexander, is apprehended by detective Hopkins, the head of the task force over the Alexander investigation, the heat is turned up and the family’s prowess is put to the test – a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
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, April 12, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 527


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-Twenty-Seven:
As I discussed in my last entry, there is a recent development that is negatively affecting my ability to obtain sufficient rest. Per my description, I enjoy sleeping under the textile my hominid-servant covers herself with while at rest, but on top of her body. In this way, I attain maximum warmth and comfort.

However, the infant felid seems incapable of comprehending the advantages of this arrangement. When I am trying to sleep, he either lies on top of the portion of the textile that covers me, or he pounces on me and strikes me with his tiny paws through the textile. Naturally, I do not suffer any injury from this, but it does make it impossible for me to rest.

I have tried explaining to the small pest what my preferences are in this regard and why but, as I said, he seems unable to comprehend. I have even offered to share my hominid-servant's lap with him, if he would but choose a different section of it on which to recline himself. However, my attempts at negotiation have gone unheeded. If he continues to disturb my rest in such a way, I will have no choice but to resort to violence. Which will undoubtedly distress my hominid-servant.


Poor Agent Thoth! He never seems to be able to catch a break when it comes to that pesky infant felid. ;-) 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, April 11, 2017

A Hard Look At Some Hard #Truths


Hey Everyone!

The other day, I was speaking with someone who voted for Trump and I couldn't help but ask them why. Their answer both surprised me and it didn't. You see, they freely admitted that they didn't like his hateful rhetoric about Mexicans, Muslims, and other racial, religious, and ethnic minorities. That's actually the first thing they said when I asked them why they voted for Trump. But, they told me, they tend to vote on one issue and one issue only, healthcare. They want universal healthcare and Trump said he would find a way to do that.

In light of the recent Trumpcare fiasco and how it was obvious that he didn't care a thing about making sure every American has health insurance, I asked them why they believed him when he said that he was in favor of universal healthcare. Because he did say that on more than one occasion, but I found it hard to believe that anyone actually thought he was telling the truth.  You know what that person told me?  They said they didn't really believe that he meant it, but they hoped he did, and they did believe Hillary Clinton when she said she wasn't in favor of universal healthcare.

You see, that right there is the problem.  The American people want certain things, universal healthcare is one of them, but neither party is offering the things that the American public wants.  Why? Because neither party actually represents the voters. The only ones they represent are their rich donors and corporations, and the interests of the elite are in direct opposition to the interests of average, everyday Americans.  And that's something that's not going to change unless we force it to change.

I've had several people ask me why I constantly harp on problems with the Democrats when there are so many things that Trump and the Republicans do that are horrible.  They're right. Trump and the Republicans in power are absolutely deplorable on every level. Frankly, I just don't think there's anything there to work with. They are my enemy and they are perfectly honest and up-front about that fact. They want the opposite of what I want, so why should I try to find common ground with them? It's a waste of time.

The Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans in some ways. In other ways, such as on social issues, they are better. But, even more important, they claim to be on my side.  In practice, they aren't, which is why I criticize them so much. But they pay lip-service to the same values and principles I hold dear. It's a place to start, which is more than what I have with the Republicans, so that's what I'll work with.

Would I prefer to just chuck the whole system out the window and start over with a new party? Sure. But the political system as it currently exists in the US makes that almost impossible. Perhaps, maybe, with a lot of hard work from a lot of people over the next couple of decades, we could build enough momentum behind a third party that it would be able to overtake and replace one of the major parties. But are you willing to cede control of the country to the lunatics in power now for the next twenty years? I'm not. Which is why I think the only reasonable solution is to force the Democrats to actually become what they claim to be, the Party of the People.

What does that mean?  It means taking a hard, critical look at the Democrats in office and calling them out when they fail to live up to the principles they claim to stand by. If they respond, great! We've won. If they don't, then we need to get them out of office and replace them with people who will listen to the voters and not the donors.  Practically speaking, that means getting big money out of politics, which is a goal that several organizations, such as Move To Amend and Wolf-Pac, are working towards.  Other groups, like Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, are taking a more direct approach by using grass-roots movements to fund and support primary challenges to incumbent candidates who refuse to listen to what their voters want.

Personally, I think both of these approaches are needed. They complement each other and the success of one greatly enhances the chances for success of the other. That's why I support groups in both camps. Unlike establishment-run political action committees (PACs), groups like these rely on donations and activism from nobodys like me. Which is why they represent the interests of nobodys like me. Tell me something, "Are you nobody too? Then there's a pair of us!" ;-)  Seriously, though, there are an awful lot of us nobodys out there. And if we work together, we can force those in power to do what we want them to do.

 But that's the crux of the matter, working together. Neither of these approaches, nor any others, will succeed unless the rest of us start pushing the establishment in Washington. Because there's an awful lot of inertia in DC and, as anyone who is even passingly familiar with Newtonian physics knows, an object at rest tends to stay at rest...unless acted upon by an outside force. We're that outside force, my friends, and I'd say it's well passed time for us to start acting.

Peace!



Monday, April 10, 2017

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  I saw this the other day and I thought it made a really interesting point. It's only about three minutes long, so please take a look and I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.




Sunday, April 9, 2017

#Overnight #Oatmeal #Recipe!


Hey Everyone!!

This one is about as easy as it gets. And, oh, so good in the morning. :-)

Ingredients:
1 cup steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or sliced almonds
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Put all the ingredients except the blueberries in the crock-pot before you go to bed at night and turn on low. Cook for approximately 8 hours. When you get up, turn off the heat, stir in the blueberries, and enjoy.

If you'd like, you can lightly toast the nuts in a skillet before adding them to the crock-pot.  You can also substitute any dried fruit you'd like if you're not into raisins.  If you like your oatmeal really sweet, you can stir in honey or sugar when you add the blueberries but, in my opinion, it's sweet enough with just the fruit.

Bon Appetit!




Saturday, April 8, 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, April 7, 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, April 6, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Province Of A #Thief By Scott Borgman!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Scott Borgman in my APC spotlight, today!  Scott is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his sci-fi action/adventure novel, Province Of A Theif, looks great! Here's the description:
For as long as she can remember, Jaelyth has been a thief. And she's good. But when a successful job suddenly turns sour, the thief finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of events that forces her to flee the only city she's ever known in a desperate search for answers. Even the shadows that have always been her greatest ally will not help her. They hold the greatest danger of all.
Along with an unlikely group of allies, the search for answers will take them from the only city Jaelyth has ever known to the far corners of the Province as they discover that things are not what they seem, and that there are more questions than answers.
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, April 5, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 522


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-Twenty-Two:
My hominid-servant's favorite waking resting posture is reclined on a cushioned, textile-enshrouded piece of furniture that allows her to elevate her feet and rest her head simultaneously. She then, generally, places a flat section of textile, with dimensions somewhat longer and wider than her body, over herself. It is in such a position that she spends many of her waking hours when she is not otherwise occupied with tending to the domicile or food preparation activities. From this perch, she is able to complete many sedentary tasks, everything from mending the occasional damage to the textiles with which she covers her body, to creating new textile products with various uses, to tapping on several different electronic devices that she seems to have developed an obsession with.

I make it a point not to interfere this habit of my hominid-servant for several reasons. First, she is generally reluctant to abandon her restful pose once she has adopted it, which makes it easier for me to conduct my research without having to concern myself about her reaction to it. Second, when I break from my work, this position is convenient for me to take my periodic measurements of her vital signs, since she will generally remain still long enough for me to record the results.

The third, and perhaps most important, reason for my encouragement of my hominid-servant's resting habits is that, in such a position, she makes for a comfortable napping place. Her body releases heat energy at a relatively stable rate and contains sufficient adipose tissue as to make a soft and malleable sleeping platform. If I insinuate myself between her body and the flat textile covering she uses, the warmth and tranquility afforded by this napping location increases exponentially.

Overall, except for a recent development, it is the ideal situation to allow for maximum rest and recharging for a DPCIL agent. I will wait until my next log entry to discuss the change that is negatively affecting my ability to enjoy this small perk of owning a hominid-servant.



Aww! A warm lap, who could resist? Certainly not most of the kitties in my acquaintance. ;-) 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, April 4, 2017

#CoverReveal: Intrinsic #Connections! :-)


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I promised you a cover reveal for Intrinsic Connections, and here it is! ;-)  Julie Nicholls is the artist and she's incredibly talented. Julie not only creates book covers, she's also an author! :-)  If you'd like to see more of her fantabulous work, you can check it out here: Julie's Website.

At the moment, I'm working on edits, but I promise I'll keep you posted on how that's going. I really hope it won't take more than a month or two to get this book polished up.  In the meantime, here's a little taste. ;-)

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections:
Thoughts and questions spiraled through Petri's head faster than she could register them. She felt like if she could just catch hold of one, the spinning ball would unravel and everything would make sense again. But try as she might, she couldn't seem to follow any one train of thought to its conclusion. Indecision paralyzed her.

She knew what she wanted; to get herself and her friends away from the terrifying alien as quickly as possible without anyone getting hurt. But things had changed too fast for her to process the new situation properly, and she didn't know where to start. All she could do was stand and wonder at the weight of menace such a small, unprepossessing, apparently innocuous creature could convey.

Petri had never seen an Arcanum before. Few had and lived to tell of it. But, in spite of their reclusive nature, every now and again a member of another species would escape with their life from an encounter with the Arcanum. So, there were plenty of tales about what they looked like. And, Petri noted, some of those stories even approached the truth.

On its surface, the Arcanum didn't appear dangerous. It was short, much shorter than even her own four-foot-two-inch height, and exceedingly slender. The creature's arms and legs looked like delicate twigs that could easily be snapped in two by an average-sized human. But its head was enormous, bulbous with large, lidless eyes, slits for a nose, and no mouth. Perched atop its reedy neck, the head had an almost farcical appearance. Like a child's balloon with a face drawn on it.

But, in spite of its almost comical appearance, the Arcanum was shrouded in a miasma of danger. It wasn't hostility so much as supreme indifference. There would be no threat from the Arcanum. It would simply exterminate them. With no more thought than she would give to stepping on a bug.

The alien was cadaverously slender and, since it wore no clothing, Petri could see that it bore no obvious signs of the being's gender. Its skin was pale and sickly looking, like one of the corpses that were pulled from the underworld gutters every morning, and it added to the eerie quality of the creature. A baleful, golden glow smoldered in the Arcanum's eyes. Those glowing eyes were one of the few elements that were consistent between the scattered accounts of encounters with the Arcanum. Petri's own eyes glowed when she was in the grip of strong emotions and when she used her power. That trait was what had betrayed her on Upworld. No other known species had such eyes, and now Petri knew why others found them so memorable. The light in the alien's eyes held her transfixed; as if she were looking into the fabled torment that awaited sinners in every religious mythology anyone had ever tried to sell her. But, unlike those stories, the Arcanum's eyes made her believe.




Coming Soon...




Monday, April 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! :-)




Sunday, April 2, 2017

#Interview With A. E. Lowan!


Hey Everyone!

I've got A. E. Lowan here today to talk about their new book, Faerie Rising. A. E., can you tell us about yourselves and how many books you have written?

AE:  A. E. Lowan is the pseudonym of three authors who collectively create the dark urban fantasy series, The Books of Binding.
Kristin Vinck:  Raised as a Navy brat, Kristin Vinck began writing as a child on the West Coast, learning her love of words at her mother's knee. Kristin won her first writing award for urban fantasy in Seattle at eight-years-old for a story about a city on a boat pulled by dinosaurs. In her teens, Kristin moved from learning at home from her satirist mother to formal writing education at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Kristin studied medieval studies and creative writing at Truman State University and now writes from the beauty of the Missouri Ozarks.
Jennifer Vinck: Raised among musicians in Kansas City, Missouri, Jennifer Vinck came to writing from another direction - poetry and song. Poetry was her primary creative endeavor throughout childhood and when Jennifer was twelve-years-old she was asked to write the lyrics for a song used for All Species Day (a precursor of Earth Day) in Kansas City. She auditioned for the creative writing department at the Kansas City Middle School of the Arts and there discovered a new passion - speculative fiction. Jennifer met Kristin on the first day of school at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. They began developing epic and urban fantasy worlds and have been collaborating in fiction and in life ever since. Jennifer studied linguistics and classical languages and literatures at Truman State University and spent many years as a bookseller before moving to the Missouri Ozarks to concentrate on writing.
Jessica Smith: Jessica Smith found her passion for fantastical storytelling where so many young writers do - through the masterpieces of fantasy's renowned matriarchs. As the pile of worlds inhabited by dragon-riders, wizards, and fair folk caused her bookshelves to plea for mercy, the constellation of worlds inside her waiting for their story to be told grew. With enough ideas to fill the state of Texas where she was raised, Jessica first took pencil to paper before she hit double digits. Jessica's love of the complexities of the universe and the intricacies of the human mind led her into study in the medical field. Her passion for writing took her to the internet in search of others who kept whole worlds in their minds. Jessica has been active on many online writing communities over the years, but it was on a fantasy-specific site, Mythic Scribes, where Jessica met Kristin and Jennifer in 2013. Her worlds and theirs collided as a whirlwind of collaboration began. The Books of Binding is the first project that partnership has unleased on the world.
We have released two short stories together, but Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding is our first full-length novel.

Me:  Cool! It's nice that you ladies get along so well. :-)  What inspired Faerie Rising?

AE: Our first novel, Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding, comes out April 1, 2017. The Books of Binding is a project that has been developing for more than fifteen years, so at this point it is very difficult to recall what triggered the idea, but we do know where. On vacation at a lake house in the Missouri Ozarks, we were talking about magic and a character began to take shape - a very sad woman with long white hair who was close to giving up on her world. Over the years the cast has ebbed and flowed around this character, who we will introduce as Winter Mulcahy this spring, but this series, and all the work we have put into bringing it to the world all started with the sad eyes of a defeated young woman.

Me: Sounds interesting! What are you working on now?

AE: Our current project is Ties of Blood and Bone: The Second Book of Binding. You can expect to see many of the characters from Faerie Rising, and more of the city of Seahaven as we introduce a brand new protagonist to the ensemble. We are very excited to introduce him to the world and will be releasing tidbits of flash fiction and some longer looks at this new character and the rest of the cast via our website and blog this year. Ties of Blood and Bone has a tentative release date of Winter 2018.

Me: Wonderful! :-)  What authors, or books, have influenced you?

AE: There have been many authors who have shaped us over the years. We certainly owe a debt of inspiration to authors like Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Sherrilyn Kenyon, but for all three of us, our most formative fantasy inspiration was the same - the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. For Kristin and Jessica, it was Dragonflight that set them on the path to writing fantasy. For Jennifer it was Dragonsong. But for all three of us, the Pern series was our gateway drug into speculative fiction.

Me: The Pern series is one of my favorites! Anne McCaffrey has written quite a few really interesting series, but I think Pern is arguably the best. :-) What are you reading now?

AE: Kristin is plowing through the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon at a frantic pace. She can't put them down. Jennifer is reveling in some great fantasy new releases: Mackenzie Flohr's The Rite of Wands, Felicia Beasley's Nephilim Falling, Leah Chiasson's Marked for the Hunt, and champing at the bit to get to Z. V. Hunter's Calamity Rising. Poor Jessica is up to her eyebrows in textbooks like Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation: An Evidenced-Based Approach by Brotzman and Manske, but she is managing to sneak in a novel here and there. She is currently reading Brood of Bones by A. E. Marling.

Me:  Sounds like some great stories there, textbooks notwithstanding. ;-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

AE: Faerie Rising is the first in the Books of Binding series. The Books of Binding has an ensemble cast and is a multigenerational story about the importance of found families and the impact that a small, dedicated group can have on the world around them. In Faerie Rising we meet a young wizard whose life is falling apart. Her family has been suffering a long string of tragedies; she is a healer who is suffering from an addiction to stimulants; and politically, she is in way over her head, trying to hold together the fractious political factions among the preternatural residents in Seahaven. She is joined by a faerie prince desperate to find a lost friend and a faerie knight who just wishes the world would leave him alone. The Books of Binding cover a lot of hard subjects - loss, hate, despair, suffering, and perhaps worst, apathy, but at their core are about one family and their drive to create a better world.

Me: I agree, apathy can certainly be one of the most destructive forces known to man. Sounds like a complex story. What is your favorite part of being an author?

AE:  Aside from getting to work in our pajamas we love getting paid to dream about the world not as it is, but as it could be. We think that every writer of speculative fiction indulges in some degree of wish fulfillment. Who wouldn't want to have the chance to make the world a better place? Through our characters, we get to do just that.

Me:  That is definitely a perk of being an author, I agree. :-) Do you have day jobs as well?

AE:  Kristin and Jennifer concentrate on full-time writing, but Jessica is determined to make the world a better place, one injured person at a time. She is currently studying Physical Therapy every minute that she isn't in Seahaven.

Me:  Sounds like you all know what you want out of life. :-) What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

AE:  Probably the hardest part about being a fantasy writer is knowing when it is time to stop tinkering with your story and set it loose in the world. We spend so much time world building, plotting, developing, drafting, and revising - it is very hard to let go of the keyboard and say, "It's ready." The easiest part about being a writer for us is finding the motivation to work. We love our story and the world it is set in. We can't wait to get up and play in our sandbox every morning, and we can't wait to share it with all of you.

Me:  It's fantastic when the words just flow, isn't it? :-)  What genre do you place your book in?

AE:  Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding is a dark urban fantasy. In our series, we blend mystical elements into real-world settings to create a world where you might never know that your next-door neighbor is sometimes a cougar or the cute guy tending the bar on ladies' night once fought with Charlemagne.

Me: Wow! Sounds like a fun read! :-)  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

AE: We love the world of The Books of Binding and have many more stories than could ever make it into the novels in the series. We will be releasing extras, ranging from flash fiction to novellas, maybe even the occasional stand-alone novel to readers who crave more and follow us on our website, blog, and social media. If you like Seahaven, and the characters you meet, we have much more in store for you.

Me:  That's awesome! :-)  And so these fine folks can find your wonderful stories, are there any links you'd like me to post?

AE: We would be honored to have you follow us online. You can find more of A. E. Lowan and The Books of Binding at:

http://www.aelowan.com

https://www.facebook.com/aelowan

https://www.amazon.com/author/aelowan

https://www.goodreads.com/aelowan

https://aelowan.tumblr.com

or follow us on Twitter @AELowan

To purchase Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding: http://getBook.at/FaerieRising

Me: Perfect!  Thank you so much for stopping by today. And thank you to everyone else who joined us!  Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings. :-)









Saturday, April 1, 2017

#Food For #Thought


Hey Everyone! :-)

I'm posting a link below to a Washington Post story about some recent legislation that was passed by Congress, though not yet signed by the President, and some of the public reaction to it. I think it's interesting not just on its own merits, but because it illustrates the attitudes and mentality of our lawmakers and the rising resistance to the status quo among the public.

As I've said before, people in the US are angry. And they are finding new and creative ways to express that anger. Frankly, the anger is justified, in my opinion, and I think the ingenuity demonstrated by reactions like the one described in the article is admirable. The phrase, "Hoisted on their own petard," comes to mind.

And I think that's probably a good strategy. Perhaps the main reason our lawmakers are willing to pass such outrageous laws is because they don't think they'll personally suffer the consequences of doing so. If we can show them that their assumption in that regard is in error, it's possible they might think twice about screwing over the American public in the future.

At any rate, I thought it was an interesting article and worth sharing. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments. Happy reading! :-)