Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Moral Red Lines...

Hey Everyone,

When I was a kid in school learning about the Holocaust, I used to wonder how anyone could bring themselves to work in a concentration camp. I mean, how fundamentally broken did SS guards have to be to do what they did? What part of their humanity were they lacking and how did they lose it? How does one human being do such awful things to other human beings and just consider it another day at work?

Think of it. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, maybe argue with your kids, kiss your spouse goodbye, go to work, punch the time clock, torment innocent people, maintain indifference to human suffering -- or maybe revel in it? -- tear crying children away from their parents and take them off to be "processed," remain stone-faced to the people begging you for mercy, clock out, go home, eat dinner, ask the kids about their days, wash up and brush your teeth -- look at yourself in the mirror -- and go to bed. How do you sleep at night? How do you function at all in the face of such cruelty? What flaw in your character allows you to walk through such evil without even a crack in your psyche?

Now we've got Americans working as guards in concentration camps on US soil and as ICEstapo agents rounding up "undesirables" and taking them off to be locked up indefinitely without trial. My neighbors, people I know, seeing families torn apart, children ripped away from their parents and put in dog cages, and these Americans, "good Christians" that they are, are more concerned with paperwork than they are about the atrocities being committed in all our names.

And I think back to the confusion that I felt when I was a kid. How I thought that someone would have to experience something truly horrific in their lives to be damaged to the point that they could regard such systemic, deliberate, and obvious violations of basic human rights with equanimity. And now I realize that isn't the case, at all. I realize that such a catastrophic failure of human empathy only requires that people allow their fear of an "other" to overcome their common sense and common decency. And that the instigation of that fear comes from an authority figure.

Instead of the country of strong, proud, resourceful, brave, independent, and free and fair-minded citizens that I thought I lived in, I find a collection of frightened, spiteful sheep incapable of thinking for themselves. It's a profoundly disappointing realization. I really thought you were better than this, America.

For those of you who aren't mindless drones frightened of your own shadows, and who do give a damn about other people, there are still thousands of children in concentration camps because of the policies of the Liar in Chief and his swamp creatures. ICEstapo may have stopped separating families, for the moment, but these kids haven't been reunited with their parents. If we allow this to stand, if we allow the disgusting people who came up with such a policy to extract tax-payer money for their pet projects in exchange for the children they've taken hostage, then what you need to ask yourself is, when will they be coming for your children and what will they demand in return if you want them back?

Call your Senators and tell them to let the children go: (202) 224-3121
Call your House rep and tell them to let the children go: (202)-225-1904

Don't know who they are? Click on this link and enter your zip code to find out: https://www.callmycongress.com/


Friday, June 29, 2018

A Royal Welcome... ;-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Since Summer is almost here, I just thought I'd share a little reminder about how much fun Winter can be. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Captivated by the Winter King:
As they continued down the path it seemed to grow narrower, and the trees that lined it thicker. Soon they reached a point where vines hung across the path barring their way. Kate looked at the growths, and then at Ankou. But he just stood there patiently. After a moment, his patience seemed to be rewarded, as the vines began moving. At first, they seemed to clear the way, but then they whipped out and entangled both Kate and her guide.

"Remain calm," he said.

Kate fought to hold still. It wasn't long before a tendril extended itself toward her face. At the end of the extension was a brown, shriveled-looking pod. She looked at it with suspicion.

"It won't hurt you, just let it learn who you are."

She waited. The pod rattled and then brushed against her cheek. Withdrawing, it hovered in front of her face and bloomed into a spectacular black rose. Kate thought she heard a chiming sound move through foliage, and then she was free. The vines drew back to form an arch over the trail. On the far side of the rose-lined archway, Kate saw an enormous tree rising into the night sky.

The tree was set on a slight incline and was so massive she couldn't make out the topmost branches. It had no leaves, and its roots were thick and twisted over each other at its base. She had never seen a more forbidding looking tree. "What's that?" she whispered.

"That is the palace. The vines are part of its defense. If they had not recognized us, they would have dispersed acidic spores into the air that would have dissolved even our bones."

She stopped and looked at him, appalled. "Do you mean to tell me that anyone who gets near the palace has to be someone the vines recognize? What if you have visitors?"

Laughing, he replied, "No. The vines only protect this approach. This is a hidden way to the palace. The main approach is also protected, but it is not barred to all but palace residents the way this one is. We do not murder others just for dropping by."

Mollified, she started forward only to stop when another thought occurred to her. "How did the vines recognize me? I've never been here before."

"The Siorghra bond is recognized by all. You are my Anamchara, and so queen of the Winter Court. The magic that imbues the vines recognizes that. It's the reason they gave you roses; they don't do that for everyone."

Looking at him in amazement, she said, "I think I'm going to have a lot to get used to."

Want to find out what happens next? Then, go ahead and grab your copy at the link below. Happy Reading!! :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Chicanery By Barbara Chioffi!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Barbara Chioffi in my APC spotlight, today! Barbara is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her paranormal, sci-fi, suspense, thriller, horror short story collection, Chicanery, looks great! Here's the description:
Chicanery is a collection of eight horror tales, each with a little bit of underhanded deceit and enough of the macabre to have you looking over your shoulder.

Who knows what awaits us as we go about our daily lives, unaware of what exists alongside us. In these tales, you will find a bit of betrayal, a snippet or two of terror, and a lot of comeuppance. Oh, and a good dose of helpful spirits.
If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 773

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 Seven-Hundred-Seventy-Three:
The adolescent felid has become obsessed with the trinkets my hominid-servant periodically makes an offering of and has taken to hoarding them all under my hominid-servant's sleeping platform. He meets any attempt to approach the trinkets with an impressive threat display complete with snarling and puffed out fur. The young irritant has even taken to sleeping on top of his pile of trinkets, the point of which escapes me utterly. I cannot help but wonder if his recent injuries and subsequent trip to the healer have unsettled his mind. I will continue to monitor this situation and report back on any further developments.

Ah, who doesn't love the occasional trinket? ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

#Interview With Jamila Mikhail!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

The fabulous Jamila Mikhail is here with us, today!  Jamila, will you tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

Jamila: Hello everyone! My name is Jamila Mikhail, I’m 22 years old, I’m a human rights student from the capital of Canada and earlier this year my dream of publishing my first book finally came true! In January I published Innermost which is a collection of poems written over half a decade. In February I was also one of the people awarded the title of Top Writer for the year 2018 on Quora. That was quite a shock (but a good one) because I never in a million years would have imagined that my writings about World War II, Islam and my bad experience wearing braces for 4 years would ever earn me such a title! 

Me: Congratulations! What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it? 

Jamila: The only book I currently have published is Innermost, my collection of poems that includes both free form and fixed form poetry. It’s about a variety of topics but mostly the human experience; the good and the bad, from romance to war and everything in between. For most of my life writing poetry (and just writing in general) was the only socially acceptable way to express myself so I did it a lot. I’ve also written a few short story compilations (about just as many topics as my poetry book) and novels that are available for free download on my website. I’m also very much working on some new projects that will be released shortly right now as well! 

Me: Wow! Sounds like you've been busy. :-) What are you working on now? 

Jamila: I’m working on my first young adult novel called Don’t Let Me Go that is currently available for preorder on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. It’s only $0.99 (USD) for a limited time too! It officially comes out in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats on August 1st and I actually have quite a list of people already anticipating it. While I’m at it let me share with you guys the blurb! On top of battling the normal teenage angst that everyone goes through, Joanie is also reeling from her parents’ bitter divorce and having to cope with her mother’s new boyfriend and father’s new family. Alone in a new town and without friends, she turns to passing the time by indulging in her longtime hobby of making toy models of soldiers and is both amazed and shocked when one of them comes to life. Despite her millions of unanswered questions and having to make sense of new mysteries every day Joanie comes to find a loyal and trustworthy companion in Adler, a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht and a member of the German Resistance during World War II who must also find a way to handle living in modern times on top of being invisible to most of the population. The two of them will have to fight several battles on many fronts in both the physical world and unseen realms as they both try to comprehend Adler’s new existence and piece Joanie’s broken life back together.

Me: Sounds interesting! What authors or books have influenced you? 

Jamila: I could probably write an entire book just about the other books that have influenced me in life! I especially like to read non-fiction, in particular the memoirs and autobiographies of those who lived through major or unbelievable events. I’ve been particularly influenced by Elie Wiesel and Irene Nemirovsky since I am a huge history buff who fully intends to write historical fiction in the future. Stories about war always have a profound effect on me because my grandfather served in both WWII and Korea and it’s in large part his stories that have motivated me to get into human rights. 

Me: Cool! What are you reading now? 

Jamila: Aside from my own proof copy of Don’t Let Me Go, I’m only reading a few books about 20th century history for school. My final essay is due extremely soon but this is in fact quite boring and irrelevant because I’d much rather be reading the books of a fellow indie author! Last month I’ve just began a free review program for my fellow indie authors where I get a free book and they get an honest review posted to Amazon, Goodreads, my book blogs and other social media pages. 

Me: That's kind of you. I'm sure there are a lot of authors who are grateful. :-) For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect? 

Jamila: I’ll say straight up that my work isn’t for the faint of heart! I like to write about important and relevant issues in society and I don’t shy away from hard topics either. I don’t write to escape reality, I write about reality. My poetry book is for mature audiences only, but Don’t Let Me Go is geared towards the 13-17 age group (though adults will be able to enjoy it as well) and deals with domestic violence, bullying at school and teenage anxiety with a bit of history and a twist of fantasy! 

Me: Sounds intriguing. ;-) What’s your favorite part of being an author? 

Jamila: It’s definitely being able to push boundaries. Your writings don’t have to be socially acceptable. You can write whatever you want, create worlds that would otherwise not exist and experiment with whatever you want as much as you want in a safe environment. When I’m writing nobody can tell me what is right or wrong, or what I can and cannot do. 

Me: I agree; writing is definitely liberating. What motivated you to become an author? 

Jamila: It was my therapist that suggested that I begin writing seriously actually. While I was being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2011 and 2012 I told him that writing journals and snail mail letters he challenged me to write a full-length novel. And so I wrote what is now known as The Distant Factory available for free on my website but it was many years before it went from a messy file to an actual book. 

Me: Yeah, there's certainly a learning curve when it comes to writing books. :-) Do you have a day job as well? 

Jamila: No, I’m still a student actually. I’m currently studying human rights and it’s a small job in itself. For many years my “job” was caring for my grandmother but she recently passed away in March of this year so you could say that I am in a transition phase in my life, actively looking for what to do next. 

Me: I'm very sorry for your loss. What would you tell up and coming writers? 

Jamila: I would simply say to go for it. A world of opportunities and amazing things is waiting for you out there. Believe in yourself and let the world know about your book. I honestly didn’t think that I’d make it in a sea of authors but my first book did much better than I ever could have expected, and poetry is just about the hardest thing to sell! The sky is the limit as I don’t believe they have books in outer space.

Me: Yep. You never know unless you try. :-) And so all these fine folks can find your awesome books, are there any links you'd like to share?


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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This is one I'm pretty sure I've shared before but, given recent events, I think it's worth a repeat. I'll let it speak for itself. Peace!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cheesy Brussel Sprouts #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is a really simple recipe that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. Enjoy! :-)

4 cups brussel sprouts
2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese grated
6 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the brussel sprouts in salted water until just slightly tender. Drain the sprouts and place them on a baking tray. Smash the sprouts into disks using a spatula or the bottom of a cup. In a bowl, mix together the cheeses, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the sprouts and then sprinkle the garlic on them. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top of the sprouts and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until cheese browns. Serve warm with a side of crusty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Small Actions; Big Results?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today's post will be pretty short. I just want to make a suggestion for all of you to consider. At least, those of you who live in the US might want to consider it. For those of you who live outside the US, you might want to take a look at your own country's laws and find one or more that you think are worth keeping at the back of your mind.

Last year and again a few weeks ago, I took it upon myself to print out several copies of the First Amendment, laminated them using those peel and stick laminating kits you can get anywhere stationary supplies are sold, and sent one to each of my elected representatives -- local, state, and federal. With these cards, I included a short note explaining that, especially with all the attacks on the First Amendment recently, I wanted them to have the opportunity to read it and reflect on why our Founding Fathers thought these rights were so important that they listed them before all the other rights protected in the Bill of Rights.

I have no idea if doing this had any impact on any of those individuals, or even if the cards made it into the hands of the representatives, themselves, or just their office staff. But, I figure, with so many people making so much noise over a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, it was important to remind my elected representatives about what the First Amendment says and why it was written first. After all, if someone holds a public office, they have sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution. It just makes sense for them to think about what's in that Constitution, from time to time.

So, my suggestion to you is that you all do the same. Again, I don't know that doing so will do much, if any, good. But I'm pretty sure it won't do any harm, either, and it doesn't take much time or effort to do. And, after all, who knows where the ripples from this small act might end up? For your convenience, I've pasted the text of the First Amendment below, so all you need to do is copy it.  Of course, if you wanted to take a few moments to read and reflect on it, as well, that would be perfectly fine, too. Peace!

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Actually, there are two videos. They're about the swamp creatures currently inhabiting the White House, and I'm pretty much just going to let the videos speak for themselves. Peace!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Innocent Retribution By Jack Kregas!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Jack Kregas in my APC spotlight, today! Jack is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his action/adventure, mystery, suspense, crime thriller novel, Innocent Retribution, looks great! Here's the description:
The novel Mystical Glasses, tells the story of Joey Moretti as a young man departing New York City in harrowing circumstances and in his fifties becoming an accidental hero after finding the mystical glasses. This interquel fills the gap of the missing years.
This encounter finds Joey as a lost soul wandering aimlessly through the Western United States until a life changing meeting with Coyote, a Native American. It brings changes to his life that rekindles his spirit, bestows him with love, peace, and fulfillment, invigorating Joey to a level he never dreamed possible.

Circumstances bring him in contact with the unscrupulous Alex, a re-connection with the Moretti family’s expanding empire, and an unimaginable event, which combine to deal a blow few men could withstand.

Joey Moretti becomes the face of Innocent Retribution.
 If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 768

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 Seven-Hundred-Sixty-Eight:
Though he refuses to communicate to me the specific cause(s) of his disturbance, the adolescent felid seems to have made a full recovery and is once again his usual, irritating self. After my previous entry, I kept a close watch on the small pest for several hours, though he did little but sleep during that time. I did notice an uncharacteristic urge on his part for close physical contact with my person. And, after several futile attempts to maintain some distance between us, I gave in to his inexplicable need wallow against me. Perhaps he was simply attempting to replace the stench of the healing facility with my own, clearly superior scent.

After his extended nap, during which time the effects of the drugs that had been administered to him apparently abated, my young compatriot indulged himself by meticulously bathing every last inch of his body. A measure I can only imagine was a further effort to divest himself of the reek of terror and disinfectants. The areas of his person where the fur had been removed to enable access to the wounds beneath seemed to be of particular concern to him. However, after a thorough inspection of the areas, he seemed to resign himself to the temporary disfigurement and regained his normal aplomb.

Once his grooming ritual was completed to his satisfaction, the annoying beast went to our food bowls where he proceeded to eat nearly half his weight in the dry pellets my hominid-servant leaves out for us. For her part, my hominid-servant merely looked at him as he ate and stated that she was gratified that he had recovered from his ordeal sufficiently to allow his appetite to surface. She did, however, assume a seated position so as to allow him to recline on her lap, which enabled him to add her scent to the layers of fragrances he was attempting to bury the odor the healing place under. But he soon settled down and since then has been the annoying creature I have become accustomed to.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Can The Pressure From Below Overcome The Pressure From Above?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got a little more of Alyce's adventure to share with you, today! Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"So the pressure your people put on your government worked," observed Squid-boy.

I nodded. "And that's not the only recent example. There's also gun control."

"What's that?" asked Yax.

I sighed. "There are some people in our society who don't want there to be any restrictions on who is allowed to own guns or what types of guns civilians are allowed to own."

"That sounds unreasonable. Why would they make such an argument?"

"Because of a misinterpretation, which I often think is deliberate, of something written by the people who initially formed our government."

"I don't understand."

I felt a headache building again and rubbed the back of my neck. "When the United States was formed, the people who wrote our Constitution also wrote a list of amendments to our Constitution called the Bill of Rights. The second of those amendments was about the arming of militias."

"Militias?" said Squid-boy.

"Yes. At the time, my country was too new and poor to be able to afford to have a professional standing army. So, the way defense was organized was for individual states, and even local communities, to organize a way to call people to arms if they were needed to defend against a threat. And, so that those militias would have the necessary arms to call upon, the second amendment was written, which guarantees the right of people to have guns in order to serve as part of a well-regulated militia. To defend the country."

"But you do have a professional military."

I snorted. "Sugar, we have the largest professional military the planet Earth has ever seen in all of human history. A lot can change in more than 200 years. We even have a militia; it's called the National Guard."

"So then how does this amendment apply to guns in your current day society?" asked Yax.

"As I said, a misinterpretation."

"How is it being misinterpreted that would make some of your people think that there should be no rules about who can own weapons or what types of weapons non-military personnel should be allowed access to? That seems extreme, to say the least."

"Well, some people claim that the militias mentioned in the second amendment were intended by the people who wrote it to mean militias that would be available if our own government overstepped its authority and needed to be removed by force."

"Is that what it meant?" asked Squid-boy.

I shrugged. "Honestly? I don't know. It's possible. The amendment itself doesn't say anything about that, but there are other writings by the people who founded our government to suggest that at least some of them felt that way. Those writings aren't part of our legal code, but they do exist. And the people who wrote our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were revolutionaries who had fought a war to overthrow the government that had ruled over them, so it would be entirely within their character to worry about governmental excess. But, again, none of those writings were included in the legal code they wrote, only in their personal correspondence."

"But, if that's what they intended, even if they failed to explicitly state it, would that give credence to the argument being used by those in your society, now, who seek to keep your government from regulating weapons?"

I shook my head. "No. For a couple of reasons. First, even if that's what the founders meant, there's still the fact that they stipulated that guns be kept for the purpose of a well-regulated militia. Which means that being part of a militia is necessary, which most people who own guns aren't, and that the militia can and should be regulated. And part of regulation is defining who can safely be allowed access to guns and what guns are appropriate for non-military members."

"And, second, and most importantly, as I said before, a lot can change in more than 200 years. At the time the Bill of Rights was written, it was realistic to think that a citizens' militia possessing only small arms would have a chance to prevail over a professional army if the members of the militia were dedicated enough and had enough support from the populace. That's no longer the case. The advancements in weapons technology mean that, no matter how many guns regular people have or what kind of guns they are, they'll never be able to mount an effective defense against missiles launched from hundreds of miles away or bombs dropped from the sky by unmanned drones or poisonous chemicals deployed in clouds of gas or dozens of other weapons that a professional military run by a government has that a civilian militia will never have."

"So, these people you're talking about seek to rectify the problems in your society through armed insurrection?" asked Yax.

I sighed. "There are some crazies who think that way, yeah. Other people just think it's fun to play with guns. And there are other people who just want to bully people they don't like and think having guns will garner them respect they haven't earned."

"But there are people in your society who are seeking to ban guns?" asked Squid-boy.

I rolled my eyes. "No. And now you sound like the gun nuts."

"Then how does the recent increase in civil unrest apply to this issue?"

"Because there are people who are trying to get legislation passed that will regulate guns in sensible ways."

"Why not ban them, altogether?" asked Yax. "If they have caused enough trouble in your society that people feel the need to protest them, why have them at all?"

"Because the people who are protesting are generally reasonable people who just want to decrease the number of mass shootings that take place on a regular basis in public places in our country. And that can be achieved by regulating the types of guns that can be owned by civilians as well as doing a better job of making sure those who will use guns to harm others aren't able to get access to guns."

"But wouldn't it be simpler to get rid of guns completely?" asked Squid-boy.

"No. Because some people need guns to protect themselves and their livestock against predation by wild animals, or to hunt animals for food, or any number of other legitimate reasons a person might need a gun. And most of the people who have protested for better gun control laws are aware of those reasons."

"And their efforts have been successful?"

I wagged my hand back and forth. "A little. Remember when I compared our current situation to boiling water? Well, there's a lot of pressure being exerted by the corporations that manufacture guns to keep better laws from being passed. They don't seem to care how many people are murdered, so long as they keep making money. And they use quite a bit of that money so that their lobbyists can influence politicians through campaign donations."

"The corruption you talked about, before," murmured Yax.

"Yep. But the marches and other political pressure that the people who want better gun control legislation passed is starting to be strong enough to push back against the gun lobby. There have been some laws passed, at the state and local level, to try to help regulate guns more effectively. And even some politicians at the national level are starting to talk about it, which is more than they've done in the past."

"But will it work? In the final analysis, will these groups that are marching and advocating for change achieve their goals?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. What's happening now is just a start, not a finish. A lot can, and I'm sure will, happen before anything is really decided. Like I said before, we'll have to wait and see what happens."

Monday, June 18, 2018

#June2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

The Watchmage of Old New York by C. A. Sanders: 

Nathaniel Hood is a good man who raised a good son, Jonas. Both men have dedicated their lives to protecting others, though their spheres of influence differ greatly. When a baby is kidnapped and Jonas is brutally attacked by the supernatural creatures Nathaniel is charged with controlling and disciplining, father and son find themselves working together to solve the crime.

As a former New Yorker, I loved this story. I found myself comparing my recollections of The City with the descriptions in the book and, at times, trying to decide if my memory was at fault or if the differences were due to the changes that have happened since the 19th century. Still, it was a fun mental exercise and an enjoyable trip down memory lane. The descriptions in the book were vivid; I could almost smell the tang in the air that is distinctly New York.

It's also clear that the author has done his research, both into the history of New York City and its neighborhoods and into the mythology he used to create his fantasy creatures. I'm not sure if this book should be classified as urban fantasy or steampunk or something in between, but whatever it is, it's a fantastic read and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Savory #Crockpot Oatmeal #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is a really easy recipe you can just throw into the crockpot before you leave for work in the morning and you'll have a hot meal ready for you when you get home. Enjoy! :-)

2 cups steel cut oats
6 cups water
2 cups milk
1 cup pecorino romano grated
2 cups sharp cheddar shredded
8 cloves garlic minced
1 cup fresh sage chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 onions chopped fine
4 tbsp old bay seasoning
2 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except the cheddar cheese to the crock pot and stir to combine. Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 7-8 hours. Turn off the heat, remove the stems from the rosemary, and stir in the cheddar cheese. Serve straight from the crockpot or spoon some into a baking dish and brown under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

When adding salt, be careful because the cheese is salty and you don't want to over salt your oatmeal. You do, however, want to add a good amount of black pepper. Also, feel free to stir in any vegetables or meat you might like to add when you stir in the cheddar cheese. For an alternate version, add a can of crushed tomatoes to the crockpot in the morning, substituting it for 1-1.5 cup(s) of water.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #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 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

#NewRelease #Announcement: Stolen Gypsy By Elizabeth Horton-Newton!

Hey Everyone! :-)

My good friend, Elizabeth, is here to tell us about her new release novel, Stolen Gypsy. Elizabeth, take it away! :-)


Her parents are dead. The government has failed her. Now she doesn’t even know who she is. Terza Blackstone is rescued by handsome Irishman Tristan Devlin and that begins the search for her true identity. When everything you thought was yours has been stolen from you, there’s only one thing to do. Steal it all back. What do gypsies, the Witness Protection Program, a drug cartel, and a young girl running for her life have in common?

Advanced Reviews for Stolen Gypsy

“A real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down. Imagine waking up to find out you weren’t who you thought you were. ” Kathy Broggy

“Fascinating. Mind-blowing plot twists. I was up all night reading, unable to set the book down” Michelle Martin

“I learned so much about gypsies and their traditions. Best part was the action scenes and the Feds. The part when the drug cartel shows up was so well written I could smell the smoking guns.” Nick LeBlanc

“…it’s fantastic! I totally loved it! So much was stolen from her, but… she stole her life back again! Terza’s life starts to peel away, and an array of shattering truths rise up from a past, she hardly realised she’d had. With the help of a handsome Irish hunk Tristan, Terza faces off with ruthless drug cartels, mysterious Romany gypsy gangs, the local police and the FBI, all the time fighting to get back the life that was stolen from her. ” Michelle Medhat, Author Connected: The Calling and The Shift

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: In Times Of Violence By Karina Kantas!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Karina Kantas in my APC spotlight, today! Karina is an active and supportive member of the Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her young adult, motorcycle club, coming of age, romance novel, In Times of Violence, looks great! Here's the description:

Jade had been sheltered most of her life. Living in an isolated village with only sex and drugs to entertain. Her mother is an alcoholic and her father doesn't give a damn.
Her only way out is to beg her Aunt to allow her to stay as a guest in their London house.
Jade meets fate head-on in the form of Marcus, president of the Tyrants MC. She finally finds a family that loves and respects her and they are not BLOOD. Nothing comes easy to Jade and she is forced to fight to keep her title and status. Then just when life starts to go right, one-night changes everything.

If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 767

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 Seven-Hundred-Sixty-Seven:
My hominid-servant was unable to adequately repair the wounds the adolescent felid sustained in his combat with the strange felid, and so she took him to a professional healer for assistance. He returned from this excursion a short while ago. Aside from reeking of the chemicals used by the healer to sanitize their work area and the fear and emotional turmoil experienced by their numerous victims, I mean patients, the small irritant also seems to have sustained additional trauma during the trip.

His scent indicates he has been drugged, which may account for the change in his demeanor. However, the extent of his reserve and withdrawal indicate to me that there is more to his altered mental state than a simple case of intoxication. I will monitor the situation and report back on any further developments.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An Extreme Example Of A Normative Attitude

Hey Everyone,

Not long ago, a man in Toronto, Canada ran over a bunch of pedestrians with a van because he was angry that he couldn't convince any of the women he wanted to have sex with to have sex with him. To him, apparently, that was sufficient cause to murder a bunch of innocent people. For a while, the incident was the subject of a lot of online jokes. After all, there's certainly a macabre absurdity in what happened. But, when I heard about this terrorist attack, and that is absolutely what it was, only one thing came to mind: what he did is just the logical outcome of how our society views and treats women.

I know, a lot of you are now probably saying that's hyperbole, but I don't think so. To me, it's just indicative of the way our society values women. And, yes, that incident was Canada and not the US, but we have a similar culture between our two countries. And, quite often, in that culture, women are looked on more as commodities, objects with no right to autonomy, than people. Don't believe me? Well, let's look at a couple examples.

We can start with what I consider the most egregious example: the debate over women's health choices. To begin with, how is this even a debate? Why do women need to justify or even explain our decisions regarding our own bodies to anyone?  How can any rational human being even think that any other person's personal choices regarding their health and body could in any way be a viable subject for public debate? And, yet, women are time and time again forced to justify and defend not only the choices we make but even our right to make such choices at all.

I mean, just look at how women's bodies are regulated. Consider how many laws have been passed restricting our right to determine how our own bodies will be used. Last year alone, in the US, 17 anti-choice bills were passed. That's not to say that there are 17 laws in the nation governing women's health choices. That's 17 new laws just passed last year, to be added to the thousands of such laws that were already on the books, solely to tell women what we can and cannot do with our own bodies. Compare that to the 300, or so, laws total that exist nationwide to regulate firearms. It's no exaggeration to say that pussy is subject to far more government control than guns are.

But it's not about women's choices; it's about protecting human lives, cry the anti-women bigots. Oh, really?  Well, we'll leave aside the debate over when life begins and what qualifies as human life. Though, I can't help but mention that with cloning technology, every time you cut yourself shaving or get a paper cut you're "murdering" potential human beings.  But, as I said, that aside, how many of these same people are advocating for government mandated and enforced living-donor organ donations? Hmmmm? Because that is, essentially, what being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy is.

The fact is, no one is crying out for the government to mandate the donation of organs. Not even when the people who need them will die without them. Not even when those organs can be harvested from cadavers. No. In order for a person's organs to be used as donor organs, that person, or the person making end-of-life decisions for them, has to agree to their organs being used for such a purpose and sign paperwork confirming and documenting their agreement.

And it has nothing to do with parental responsibility, either. If a person has a child -- an actual, extant child, not a theoretical potential child, but a living, breathing human being -- and that child needs an organ transplant in order to survive, that person cannot, by law, be forced to give their child their organ against their will. Even if their child will die without that organ and donating that organ won't substantially negatively affect the parent's health or safety. The parent can voluntarily decide to donate their organ to their child, but they cannot, under any circumstances, be forced to do so by the government.

Even blood donation has to be completely voluntary in this country. Even though blood can be collected with virtually no risk and minimal discomfort to the donor. And even though enough blood to save another person can be taken from a healthy adult with no adverse effects to the donor. And even though the blood that is taken from a healthy adult donor can and will easily be replaced by their body in just a few weeks with no lingering deficit. We still do not allow the government to force people to donate their blood if they don't want to.

No. Anti-choice legislation has nothing to do with protecting human life. Its sole purpose is to control women and deny them their right to self-determination. Hell, the way the laws are in our country, we give greater personal freedom to corpses than we do to living women.

But laws denying women sovereignty over their own bodies aren't the only examples of in our society of how women are looked at as property instead of people. There are also the numerous "rules" that women are expected to follow or be judged negatively by others for failing to follow. Rules regarding what kind of clothes they're supposed to wear. After all, we don't want to look too prudish or unfashionable, but we daren't risk others thinking us too slutty, either. In either case, we'll be subject to public comment and criticism...and possibly blamed if we're assaulted. It's not as though our bodies are our own to cover and adorn as we choose; societal expectation is that we purchase our right to exist in public spaces by making ourselves aesthetically pleasing to others. Just not too pleasing.

There are also the rules about who, how, when, and how often we're allowed to have sex. And how much we're allowed to enjoy it when we do. Failing to adhere to these rules can result in both personal and professional consequences. For the women reading this, have you ever felt the need to lie to a partner or potential partner about the number of partners you've had in the past in order to salve their feelings or because you think they'll look down on you for your experience? And what do you think might happen if your boss found out you visited a kink club on your personal time?

And, as the person who ran over strangers out of a frustrated sense of entitlement is a prime example of, there are plenty of people who also consider women to be under obligation to have sex simply because they happen to find us attractive. Our feelings on the matter, clearly, have no bearing on the equation. After all, we are simply objects that exist for the comfort and convenience of society.

Is what happened in Toronto an extreme example of the pervasive misogyny in our society? Yes. And is it true that there are plenty of people in our society who don't consider women to be chattel in need of government and/or religious regulation? Obviously there are. But there are enough people in our country who still view women as less significant and worthy of autonomy than men that it should be of major concern to the rest of us.

After all, I've barely even scraped the surface with this little rant. I haven't even touched on the continuing disparity in pay between men and women in many fields. The fact that there are still few women in positions of higher management and in the highest levels of our government when compared to the number of men. And, in the interests of intersectionality, I should also mention that when considering the debate over women being allowed to control our own bodies, I never talked about the fact that the regulation efforts can also be used in the other extreme. While some women are forced to be baby-making machines against their will, other women have their choices taken from them through forced abortion or forced sterilization. And that's an abuse that is far more often visited on women of color than on white women.

So, yes, there are many levels and facets to this debate, and I've really not done the topic justice with what I've written here. But what I'm hoping to do is start a conversation. Maybe if people start talking about this issue more openly and in greater detail, we might be able to make some meaningful changes. Not just in the law, but also in the general attitude about women among the population.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This one is about the results of last week's primary elections and the wins and losses for progressives.  It also talks about the challenge progressive candidates face due to the fact that establishment media outlets refuse to cover their campaigns, which makes it difficult for voters to learn about them. So, please take a few minutes to watch this video, and then check out the websites for organizations like the PCCC, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats to see what progressive candidates you might be able to vote for. Also, there are several states that have their primaries tomorrow, June 12th, so check to see if your state is one of those states or if your state's primaries might be coming up in the next few weeks. It's a long, hard climb up the mountain of bullshit that the establishment keeps shoveling up for us, but we can get past it if we all put in the effort to keep ourselves informed and vote for candidates who really want to change the system. Peace!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Italian-Style Potato #Salad #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is one of my favorite potato salad recipes and it's perfect for a picnic because there's no mayo to go bad. Enjoy! :-)

6 large potatoes scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 zucchini chopped
1 yellow summer squash chopped
1 large carrot peeled and shredded
1 red onion chopped fine
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 cup broccoli florets chopped
1 cup pickled pepperoncini peppers chopped
1 cup black olives pitted and sliced
6 cloves garlic minced
1 cup fresh basil chopped
1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1.5 cups olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, drain the water from the potatoes, and cool the potatoes completely.  In a bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, pepper flakes (optional), and salt and pepper. In a larger bowl, toss the potatoes, olives, and vegetables together and then pour the dressing over them, tossing to coat. Serve chilled.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #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 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

Just A Peaceful Stroll Through The Forest... ;-)

Hey Everyone!! 

I just thought I'd share a little Fairie fun to brighten up your Friday. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Bound By The Summer Prince:
Looking around for the cat one more time, and failing to find him, Roni quickly started off into the jungle; seeking to put space between herself and her pursuers. She had to be careful about how she placed her feet in order to keep her heels from sinking into the soft, moist ground. More than once her shoes got stuck and she had to stop and free them before she could continue. Because of that she made much slower progress than she'd hoped and she began to worry that it wouldn't take long for the men to catch up to her.

As if to confirm her fears, she heard her pursuers crashing through the underbrush and moving closer to her. She started to panic and looked around for somewhere to hide. Unable to help herself, she turned and looked over her shoulder and saw that one of the men was nearly upon her.

Roni tried to stretch her legs to run faster but one of her shoes caught again and she went sprawling on her face. The man chasing her missed his grab at her when she fell, but turned to take advantage of her helpless position. As she looked up, expecting to feel his hands on her at any moment, she saw a blur of motion approaching him from above.

While Roni looked on, a vine whipped out from the tree above and severed the man's head. She gasped as his head flew off into the underbrush and a second vine dropped down to grab his body and quickly haul it up into the tree's branches. The whole procedure had happened between one breath and the next and left Roni blinking in astonishment.

Scrambling to her feet, Roni desperately tried to avoid looking at the place where the man's head had disappeared. She kept a wary eye on the branches overhead as she scuttled underneath them to continue her flight from the remaining two men. She could still hear them not far away, and she didn't have time to contemplate the fate of the man who had nearly caught her. She'd have to think about that later.

As she ran, she tried to keep an eye on the surrounding forest as well as behind her for signs of pursuit. Her caution cost her speed, and it wasn't long before another one of the men caught up to her. She looked around for something to use as a weapon as he advanced on her. This man seemed to have learned from the examples of his two unfortunate companions and kept part of his attention on their surroundings, which slowed him down somewhat.

Roni picked up a stone she found lying on the ground near a tree, intending to use it to defend herself, and was startled when it suddenly sprouted a plethora of legs and began squirming and chittering at her frantically. With a yelp, she threw it away from herself, and it happened to land on the leg of the man who was chasing her. They both watched in astonishment as the rock-creature quickly climbed to the top of the man's head and latched all of its legs around the man's cranium.

The man started screaming as if the rock-creature were burning him; Roni, unable to help herself, raced over to try to help him. The man was running in circles and waving his arms around hysterically, and he knocked her several feet away from him with his frantic flailing. Before Roni could gather her feet under her again, she saw that the man was bleeding badly.

The bleeding started underneath the rock-creature, from the top of the man's head, but the man quickly began bleeding profusely from his eyes, ears, and nose. Horror-struck, Roni continued to watch as the man’s insides appeared to melt. First, his head seemed to deflate and sink into itself, as if his skull had ceased to exist, then his neck sunk into his chest and his chest seemed to run down towards his feet. Mercifully, the man's gurgling screams ended quickly, and it was only Roni who was left to be horrified as his bones seemed to liquefy and what had once been a human being turned into a skin sack leaking red, viscous fluid.

Once the man was a puddle of skin and goo on the ground, the rock-creature settled in the middle of it and extended what looked like a straw to Roni. It inserted the end of the straw into the puddle and began making slurping sounds. Fighting her rising gorge, Roni ran off into the forest.

Want to find out what happens next? Go ahead and click on the link below to grab your copy. Happy reading! :-)