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

Monday, April 6, 2020

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Yes, this is an ad, but I think it's a powerful one. Especially now, when Bernie is the only one of the prospective presidential candidates who is actually displaying any leadership ability, and who is the only one fighting for regular Americans. He doesn't just talk the talk; he walks the walk. And that's something that's so rare and precious in a politician, I really hope we don't blow our chance at having it, just so we can put a racist, corporate-sellout, rapist in the White House. And if you can't tell if I mean Biden or Trump by that statement, consider the implications of that as you watch this video and think about what we could have if we fight for it. Peace!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Quick And Easy Pan #Sauce #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is just a really quick, easy pan tomato sauce that's good served over almost anything. Enjoy! :-)

6 tomatoes diced
2 zucchini chopped
1 fennel bulb cleaned and chopped
1 onion chopped fine
1 28oz package button mushrooms sliced
2 cups fresh basil chopped fine
2 cups fresh oregano chopped fine
1 cup fresh parsley chopped fine
8 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp fennel seeds
4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep-sided skillet, put a quarter cup of the olive oil with the onion and saute until the onion starts to caramelize. Remove the onion from the skillet, reduce the heat, and add the rest of the olive oil, the fennel seeds, the garlic, and the red pepper flakes (optional) and heat the oil gently until the seeds start to perfume the air. Add the zucchini, fennel bulb, and mushrooms to the skillet and increase the heat slightly. Cook until the vegetables start to wilt and add the onions back to the skillet. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and water and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the oregano and half the basil and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes break down. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the rest of the basil and the parsley. Serve hot over pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, or a nice, toasted crostini.

Buon appetito!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Exciting #Opportunity! #SummerTime #Giveaway Signup!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

If you're a fellow author and/or blogger, and you'd like the opportunity to grow your social media following without spending a lot of $$$ on advertising, check out the details in the image above. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, click the link below and answer the questions. Happy writing! :-)

Friday, April 3, 2020

#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 2, 2020

#APC #Spotlight: Valkyrie: Darkness Awaits By Mark McQuillen and Mara Reitsma!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Mark McQuillen in my APC spotlight, today! Mark is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his epic, dark, mythological, horror, fantasy novel, Valkyrie: Darkness Awaits, looks great! Here's the description:
Time was but a moment. Past, present, future: it mattered not. The mirror was supposed to give the viewer a look into these moments and prolonged use could lead to insanity. Many had succumbed to the mirror's effects, but Tisiphone, the heir to the Valkyrie throne, had promised herself not to let it get that far. She had no choice, she had to find her mother. She had to learn from the past to prepare for the future, and that mirror was her only option, but the only story she can see is the tale of her Uncle Gil and Aunt Mist... 
An ex-soldier, suffering from a bad case of P.T.S.D, falls head over heels for a Valkyrie, and embarks on a mission to save her realm, from none other than Tisiphone's mother, Malice. Can Tisiphone unlock her mother's secrets through the story of her Uncle Gil? Can she handle what she sees in the mirror?
She's going to have to if she hopes to figure it all out...
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, April 1, 2020

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 1112

Hey Everyone! :-)

Happy April Fools Day! :-) 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 Eleven-Hundred-Twelve:
My hominid-servant has spent the day setting up silly pranks for my fellow quadrupedal residents of my domicile and myself to fall victim to. For instance, she set up a device that projects laser beams at random. She did so knowing that the dancing dots of light would prove completely irresistible to any living being whose instincts haven’t been dulled to the point of nonexistence by the type of overly-controlled, artificial environment hominids seem to prefer.

After my youthful companion and I had exhausted ourselves chasing the ephemeral lures, my hominid-servant deactivated the machine and bellowed the words “April Fools!” as if they were an incantation. She similarly tricked the canid by miming as if she had thrown a bauble the canid is particularly fond of. When the idiotic creature dashed away in an attempt to follow the nonexistent treat, my hominid-servant made the same declaration, “April Fools!"

April, in case anyone there at Agency Headquarters is unaware, is the designation the hominids from the part of this planet that I’m stationed on have given to a certain portion of the planet’s revolution around the central star of this solar system. However, the connection between astrometry and my hominid-servant’s foolishness escapes me. Once again, I find myself despairing over the increasing unlikelihood of ever finding definitive proof of intelligent life on this planet.

Hominids can be so illogical! ;-) 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, March 31, 2020

Plausible Deniability...

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I just thought I'd share a little snippet from Alyce's adventures. If you're looking for a rabbit hole to explore, this one might suit your taste. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Answers from Alyce:
It was pretty clear what the exhibit was trying to portray even without the narration that was playing in the background, especially when combined with what was going on in the forest scene. Part of the forest had already been razed and giant earth-moving machines were digging up the ground with large pipes being laid in the troughs that were created. The rest of the forest was being cut down and the trees loaded onto large, smoke-billowing trucks. A little farther down, where the pipes had already been buried, black sludge was pouring out of the end of one and into a river.

It was all so real I thought I could smell the water and the chemicals polluting it. "How do you make it look so realistic?" I gestured towards where the river seemed to simply disappear into a wall.

"It is a hologram with supplemental environmental control equipment to complete the experience."

"So, I really am smelling the river? I thought it was just my imagination because the image was so real."

"Yes. Scent stimuli are incorporated into the exhibit so that the effect is complete. Some species rely more on their sense of smell than they do on sight or hearing."

"That makes sense." I gestured at the office scene. "So that's supposed to be a politician taking a bribe from the company that is causing this destruction?"

"Correct. We thought that displaying the two scenes side-by-side would help make the connection between them obvious."

"Well, the end result is what happens, but it's not quite as obvious as just shoving a bunch of cash at someone. Usually, the closest most politicians come to taking cash for favors is if they own a business and someone¾generally a corporate lobbying group or a rich individual who wants a favor¾chooses to patronize the politician’s business, which results in them giving the politician money. But it’s under the guise of being a customer and receiving a product or service for their money. Though, under those circumstances, it’s fairly common for the price of the product or service to be quite a bit higher than comparable products or services from other vendors, conveniently enough. Then the politician might look favorably on legislation that might benefit their valued customer or unfavorably on legislation that would be detrimental to them. But even that's not the most common way people bribe politicians. There are other ways that are even less likely to come under legal scrutiny."

"What do you mean?"

I pointed at the office scene. "There are laws prohibiting that kind of thing, and even the type of laundered bribery I just told you about is iffy. Some politicians might break those laws, but there are ways around them that don't carry the risk of going to prison, so that's usually what they do."

"Can you elaborate?"

"Well, the most common way for people to legally bribe politicians is to make campaign contributions to them. They give them money the politicians can use to help them get elected again. But there are laws limiting how much money people can give directly to politicians so, a lot of the time, corporations and rich donors who want favors from politicians will give money to PACs¾Political Action Committees¾that work to help get politicians elected. Technically, politicians aren't allowed to be directly involved with PACs or to coordinate election strategy with them, but they can usually get around that because it's hard to track. Not that anyone tries all that hard."

"So wealthy people give money to these PACs and then politicians allow them to pollute your planet? And why does no one attempt to investigate if a politician is not following the laws regarding these PACs?" asked Squid-boy.

"Mostly no one investigates because the investigations would be done by either law enforcement or the media. Law enforcement works for, and is controlled by, politicians. And almost all politicians skirt those laws, so they don't want to encourage investigations of that kind. Large corporations that sometimes want to be able to legally bribe politicians own the media; at least, they own the media that has the largest audience. So, they don't allow their employees to pursue investigations into violations of those laws, either. Or, more often, they just don't hire people who would be interested in doing those kinds of investigations."

"As for your first question, it's not quite that direct, either. It's not so much that politicians allow certain companies to just pollute, usually. That can happen, but it's not how it's usually handled. What they do is either repeal or refuse to pass legislation that would regulate manufacturing practices, limits on emissions, and waste disposal. So, since there's no law against dumping chemicals in rivers, and it's cheaper to just dump the chemicals in the river than to dispose of them safely, corporations end up polluting. Because from their perspective, there's no reason not to."

"But don't your people wonder why their representatives allow such a lack of regulation when it results in danger to your populace and damage to your planet? How do they justify not having those laws?" asked Yax.

"Well, that's kind of complicated, too."

He gave me his Devil's grin again. "We have time."

Want to find out what else Alyce has to say? Grab your copy at the link below! Happy reading! :-)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. So... Y'all ready to die for the benefit of Wall Street? I mean... I can't with this. I just can't. Just watch the video.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Versatile Pasta #Salad #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes because it's something you can serve either warm or cold. Enjoy! :-)

1 lb Orecchiette or Farfalle pasta
4 cups asparagus cleaned and chopped
4 cups crimini mushrooms sliced
1 bell pepper chopped
1 onion diced fine
1/2 cup green onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup parsley chopped
1/4 cup basil chopped
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated
1/2 cup olive oil
1.5 cups Italian salad dressing (your choice of brand or homemade)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the pasta in boiling, salted water and cook until just tender. Drain and set the pasta aside. In a large skillet, place the olive oil, salt and pepper, onions, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus. Saute until the vegetables start to soften and add the basil and parsley. Stir to combine and remove the vegetables from the heat. Toss the vegetables with the pasta, cheese, and salad dressing. Serve warm or chill and serve cold.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Slow-Rolling Disaster In Progress...

Okay, I'd like to take a minute to talk about why a Biden nomination will mean a second Trump term. Yeah, yeah, I know, heresy. I'm going to tell the truth anyway.

First, no one is excited to vote for Biden. He's completely uninspiring. The only things he brings to the table are knowing Obama and not being Trump. Now compare that to Trump's base and how rabidly fanatical they are. That's what we're up against, and Biden just doesn't measure up.

Now, Trump voters don't make up the majority of the country. Not even close. They don't even make up the majority of registered voters, which is still a smaller number than the number of US citizens who are eligible to vote. The thing is, neither do registered Democrats.

So... A quick summary of the way our political system works, so you can understand why a Biden nomination hands Trump the election even if Biden wins the primaries. There are two major parties in the US, Democrats and Republicans. There are also a handful of other parties, but it's rare they have any real impact on national elections, though occasionally they win in smaller, local or state races. But even that isn't terribly common.

The majority of the people in this country *despise* both major parties. There are three main ways to register to vote in most states. You can register as either a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent/unaffiliated voter/third party. And, again, that doesn't even get into the people who don't register to vote at all but could if they wanted to.

Now, of the people who are registered to vote at all, more people are registered as independent/unaffiliated than as a member of any party. And the reason for this is, as I said before, most people *despise* both major parties. For the majority of Americans, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two parties.

And, unfortunately, for the most part, they're correct. Both parties serve their rich donors, and they both screw over regular people. Which means, unless a candidate offers something different that gives people hope, most Americans don't bother to vote in most elections.

Now, when parties run primaries, in most states, only the people who are registered to vote as a member of that party can vote in their primaries. There are exceptions to this, but that's how it works in most states. This means only a very, very small percentage of voters choose who runs as the nominee for the major parties.

Then, and this is the crazy part, once the parties have locked the majority of Americans out of the process in selecting the candidate, they then turn around and demand everyone they told to screw off during the primaries show up and vote for the candidate they didn't get a voice in choosing. Predictably, this often does not go well.

How does this translate into Biden losing to Trump? Well, right now, Democrats are in the process of choosing their nominee. There are two choices left in the race. Bernie, who whatever you think about him, indisputably has an enthusiastic base of support to rival Trump's. And Biden, who no one but oligarchs is excited about.

But, since it's those oligarchs who are controlling both the primary process and the mainstream media narrative, Biden is doing really well. In the primary. But once the primary is over, if he's the nominee, he'll have to win the general election. And he won't be able to do that.

Why? Well, several reasons. First, as I've said, no one is really excited about Biden. Some people are excited about getting rid of Trump, but the majority of people really just aren't all that engaged in politics. The system is broken, probably beyond repair, and most regular people just don't have the time and energy to invest in something that is designed to frustrate anyone who wants to challenge the status quo. Not when everyone is so busy just trying to survive.

And, as is human nature, when a problem doesn't seem to have a solution, most people just check out. They turn their attention elsewhere and try not to think about it. Because what good will it do other than to make their lives even more unpleasant?

So, taking all of that into consideration, what's going to happen if Biden is the nominee? Well, first, Trump will clobber him with Ukraine and his son's involvement there. That will be a major focus of the election. And Trump will have the advantage of being correct, Biden's son being put on the board of an energy company when he had no qualifications for it, and being paid ungodly amounts of money, is corruption.

It doesn't matter if it's illegal. It doesn't matter if it's a common form of corruption that all the oligarchs engage in. It doesn't even matter that Trump is guilty of much worse corruption because his base doesn't care and pointing that out just makes most people shrug and say, "Okay, there's no difference between them, so why should I take the time and trouble to vote?" This means the only people voting will be the people who are enthusiastic about Trump, no matter what.

Then Trump will run compilation videos of all the times Biden has sounded incoherent and confused. Like when he didn't know what state he was in or whether he was running for the presidency or the Senate. Or when he didn't know his wife from his sister. Or when he forgot Obama's name. Or one of dozens of other examples. Trump will say this is evidence that Biden is in the early stages of dementia. And he might be right about that.

Then Trump will bring up all the times Biden lied egregiously. Like when he said he participated in civil rights organizing, he didn't, or when he claimed he was arrested for trying to see Nelson Mandela in prison, he wasn't. And, again, it doesn't matter that Trump is a notorious liar himself because his base doesn't care and all bringing that up will do for everyone else is reinforce the idea that there's no difference between the parties. They're all liars, so why should anyone exert themselves to vote?

And Biden can't even use policy positions to argue his case, because Biden has been on the wrong side of almost every major piece of legislation for the last forty years. Trump will run videos of Biden saying he wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, defending segregated schools, pushing for legislation that made it harder for regular people to get themselves out of debt, crafting legislation that led to the incarceration of millions of people of color for minor offenses, arguing in favor of trade agreements that were devastating for working people, arguing against legislation to protect unions, and arguing in favor of the Iraq war.

Trump will also attack Biden's character. He'll bring up the fact that Biden didn't believe or protect Anita Hill. That Biden seems to have a hard time keeping his hands to himself, especially with young girls. Trump will use all that to paint Biden as a misogynist a pedophile. Trump will say that Biden's record of defending segregation and pushing the Crime Bill that resulted in the mass incarceration of people of color proves that Biden is a racist. And, while Trump might not say it himself, the GOP slush fund PACS will run ads with videos about how Biden said he didn't think women should have the right to choose what we do with our own bodies. Which just happens to have the advantage of being something he actually did say.

Again, it won't matter that Trump is also wrong about all these things. His base *doesn't care*. Either they see him as an agent of change and they're willing to overlook anything if it means their lives might get a little easier, or they are racist and love the fact he's persecuting the people they hate, or both. And Biden won't be able to defend himself. He'll babble about Cornpop, or letting little kids play with the hair on his legs, or he'll make up stories about himself that never happened. Or he'll just forget what day it is, and where he is, and what office he's running for and come off as completely addled. And if he avoids the public entirely or hides behind a spokesperson, he'll look weak and like he's hiding something.

And if you're a Democrat or someone who is deeply engaged with politics, it doesn't matter if you think this is a fair representation of Biden and his history. Though, I would argue that at least some of it is completely fair. But, regardless, it's what will be said and how those things will be perceived by most people who aren't paying close attention. And, at best, those people will decide they were right, there's no difference between the parties, and they'll stay home. At worst, they'll decide Trump is the lesser evil and show up to vote for him.

So, what's the good news? The good news is that Biden isn't the nominee. Right now, Biden and Bernie are both still very much in this race, and there are a lot more primaries to go. So, it's still entirely possible that Bernie will get the nomination.

Now, if Bernie gets the nomination, will Trump attack him? Abso-fucking-lutely! Mercilessly and relentlessly. But Bernie has something Biden doesn't have and will never have: a base of support that's just as enthusiastic and unrelenting as Trump's supporters. And Bernie has another advantage against Trump that Biden doesn't have: he can speak to the policies.

Unlike Biden, Bernie has been on the correct side of most legislation over the past few decades. So, he's consistent and that gives him something else Biden lacks: credibility. When Bernie offers voters hope, they have reason to believe he means what he says and will fight to make it happen. And that's something that penetrates down even to some of the people who don't really pay attention to politics.

Bernie, unlike Biden, has the ability to make people think there might actually be a difference between the parties. That taking the time and trouble to vote, and it can be a lot of time and a lot of trouble, might be worth it. Because it might be a chance to make their lives better. And when you combine those voters with the voters who would walk across hot coals to vote for Bernie and the voters who will vote for anyone because they detest Trump so much, the prospects in November start looking quite a bit brighter.

So, if you're in a state that hasn't had your primary yet, and you're registered so you can vote in the Democratic primary or have the ability to so register in time for your primary -- check your state's election rules to find out, if you don't know -- think about what you want to happen in November. And vote accordingly.


PS: There are also multiple credible accusations of sexual harassment against Biden and Tara Reade has accused him of raping her when she worked as his staffer. #BelieveWomen

Friday, March 27, 2020

#CoverReveal: Destiny Series By Victoria Saccenti!


Is proud to reveal the NEW book covers for the epic Destiny saga.

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Book Description: 


DESTINY’S PLAN An empty seat and a love that can withstand the trials of fate… When Raquelita Muro takes the empty seat on the bus to avoid sitting beside her mother, she doesn’t expect to find the love of her life. But as the hours pass by on the journey from Texas to Florida, Raquelita knows that Matthew Buchanan is the one for her. But fate, the US Military, and an interfering mother stand between the young lovers and their destiny. Exchanging letters in secret is their only hope as Matthew ships off to Vietnam and Raquelita and her family make a new life for themselves in Florida. And when tragedy strikes they will each be brought to the edge of what they can survive. The course of true love never did run smooth, but will Matthew and Raquelita find each other again when half a world and an ocean of pain stands between them?

Editorial Review Destiny's Plan is a romance novel by Victoria Saccenti and the first book in the Destiny's Series. Set during the Vietnam war, the plot recounts the first meeting of Raquelita Muro and Matthew Buchanan just as he is about be recruited and sent off to Vietnam. These innocent and idealistic young lovers encounter a world that seems to no longer believe in love, and their relationship is tested by war, distance, hardship, and family interference. Through it all, however, they try to remain strong, and it's up to them to see whether they can handle what fate throws at them, or whether it will tear them apart for good. An innocent tale of love at first sight takes a serious twist as war looms. Victoria Saccenti has created a charming and naïve heroine in Lita, who learns the harsh lessons of the real world and grows up through the readers' eyes. The Hispanic culture is vividly presented with lively characters that make up Lita's family, and though Destiny's Plan is quite a long book, it is easy to read and keep turning pages. Matthew's hardship and shocking consequences of his time in Vietnam presented a really interesting and unexpected twist to the story, and I can safely say that the plot line is not what you would usually expect from a historical romance. The political backdrop of 1960s America takes a back seat to the secrets in the Muro family, the two atmospheres combining in a very satisfying and engrossing way.

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DESTINY’S CHOICE He’s older, his PTSD wounds run deep, and doesn’t believe in second chances. She does... As a naïve young woman, Marité Muro nearly drowned in a maelstrom of confusing emotions stirred by two very different men. One whose tortured soul tugged at her heart, another whose scorching touch made her innocent body want…more. Vietnam left scars on Brian MacKay, some visible, some invisible—and nearly impossible to heal. His war buddy’s sister-in-law has ripened into a tempting, irresistible woman, but their age difference makes her forbidden fruit. After four years in a Spanish prep school, Marité’s come home ready to fight for the man she’s never been able to forget. But when Michael returns out of the past, he threatens everything Marité and Brian have started to build.

Editorial Review: Destiny's Choice is Book 2 in the Destiny's Series by Victoria Saccenti, a riveting tale of a love that is as powerful as it is dangerous. Marité Muro might have been infatuated with Brian MacKay when she was very young, but after four years of prep school in Spain, she comes back to Florida different, feeling mature and sure of what she wants, and if there is anything in the world she'd die for, it's to be enfolded in the arms of Brian MacKay. Things could have been easy if MacKay hadn't served with her brother in Viet Nam. Brian Mackay might be a war hero, but now he has to face a new kind of war; he has to wrestle with the powerful emotions the young Marité Muro stirs in his heart. He knows he shouldn't want her, but all his defenses are being weakened. How long will he keep up the fight before he finally crumbles under her charm? You'll love Destiny's Choice if you're into romance and if you love the kind of setting that mimics the world of Eden, with a serpent tugging at the hem of your clothes and a forbidden fruit that is infinitely inviting. Victoria Saccenti creates beautiful characters and tactfully draws readers into their minds through her powerful and vivid descriptions. Marité Muro is one of those characters readers want to follow in their growth process. She is stubborn and reckless, the kind of character who'll do anything to get what she wants, but she's come a long way. The psychological conflict is well-developed in the story, and while it helps the plot to move fast, it also allows readers to connect easily with the characters. It's a very entertaining and engaging read, a hard-to-put-down kind of book for romance lovers.

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DESTINY’S WAY One disastrous night rips the lovers apart. All is lost, until Fate intervenes. Brian’s love for Marité burns with the heat of an eternal flame. However, when Michael makes a play for her, Brian’s PTSD-fueled demons convince him Marité’s better off with someone younger, less damaged—anyone—but him. Anger tears at Marité’s heart. Anger at Brian for giving up so easily. At Michael for trying to reignite an old infatuation. Mostly, anger at herself for her part in the debacle and for not having the strength to fight for the only man she’ll ever love. But Destiny is not quite finished with the lovers…

Editorial Review: Destiny's Way is the third book in Destiny's Series by Victoria Saccenti, an absorbing contemporary romance that will provoke the most compelling and powerful emotions in readers. When Brian McKay inadvertently catches Michael, his cousin, trying to kiss the love of his life, his jealousy boils over. In a quick moment of insanity, he boards a plane and flies to Round Rock. Marité Muro, the woman he'd loved passionately, would be better off without him, so he thinks. Meanwhile, Marité is left devastated as she moves to her home in Abuela. She hates Brian for leaving. She blames herself for not taking control and acting maturely, and Michael for not being able to set the limits. Read on to discover the delightful twist in the story and the surprising and powerful workings of love. Destiny's Way is a story that brilliantly highlights the power of love, a story with a strong conflict centered on characters that are beautifully explored. I enjoyed the way the protagonist, Brian, is imagined. A character with a serious personality flaw -- his anger is aggressive and he seems to be haunted by his past. But the transformation that takes place within him is what stunned me. I enjoy books in which characters grow and positively evolve, and this is one such book. The other elements of the storytelling craft are beautifully accomplished -- the vivid settings, the fast-paced, gripping plot, the strong conflict, and the awesome writing. I loved the prose and excellent paragraph breaks which create strong, dramatic ripples. Victoria Saccenti has the gift to make each character's emotions come alive and this aspect of her writing will allow her readers to easily connect with the characters. This was an enjoyable read.

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About the Author: Award-winning, multi-genre author Victoria Saccenti picked up pencil and paper the moment her childhood book heroes started conversing with her. Sounds a little crazy, but there’s no rhyme or reason for inspiration. She writes romantic women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. Her stories explore the twists and turns of human interaction, the many facets of love, and all possible happy endings. After thirty years of traveling the world, she’s settled in Central Florida. However, if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores.

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 Tour hosted by Author Assist 14192123_291374887905084_8934348183651967026_n

Thursday, March 26, 2020

#APC #Spotlight: Wolfgang (The Wolfgang Trilogy Book 1) By F. D. Gross!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got FD Gross in my APC spotlight, today! FD is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his gothic, vampire, horror, fantasy novel, Wolfgang, looks great! Here's the description:
Sixteen years have passed since the death of Lord Egleaseon, the vampire lord who sought to be human again, defeated by the famous noble lord, Wolfgang. One day after cleansing the surrounding countryside of vampires, Wolfgang returns from his latest expedition only to be faced with the horrible reality that everything he held dear to his heart has been taken from him. His wife is dead, his home is burned, and his son is nowhere to be found. Only the smallest inclination leads him to believe his orphaned servant is somehow responsible.He is desperate and provoked, and will do anything to get his son back, even if it means journeying the path of darkness. Thus begins the story of Wolfgang.
 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, March 25, 2020

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 1108

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 Eleven-Hundred-Eight:
I, once again, attempted to discuss my concerns with my hominid-servant regarding the shortcomings in her performance. Unfortunately, as per her usual habit, instead of taking my critique seriously and altering her behavior accordingly, she picked me up and ruffled my fur! With complete impunity! I was so shocked and appalled at the bold impudence and disrespect, I utterly failed to even consider deploying the C.L.A.W.S. until she had already released me.

And, upon further reflection, I believe the use of the C.L.A.W.S. would have been counterproductive. That’s what so frustrating about dealing with my hominid-servant. Despite the complete lack of regard for courtesy and decorum she displayed, I believe she meant well. The impudence inherent in her treatment of me, I believe, is instinctive, and that she only means it as evidence of her affection. And since she refuses to learn how to communicate properly, I’m at a loss as to how to make her understand how deeply offensive her actions are. Which leaves me with nothing left to report, at this point, other than to reiterate that dealing with hominids is both exasperating and exhausting.

Hominids, can't live with them, can't kill them. ;-) 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, March 24, 2020

Carrots And Sticks...

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Here's a little bit more of the third installment in the Petri Dish Chronicles! As always, the disclaimer is that this is a draft and, as such, it's unedited and likely full of errors and is subject to revision, revamping, and being completely scrapped and rewritten. But, with that in mind, I'm reasonably satisfied with the basics of it, at least at the moment, or I wouldn't have bothered posting it. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from the third Petri Dish book:
Chessie moved closer to Petri, so Petri reached out and took her hand. She turned to the screen and nodded. “Hello, Vlad, I hope you’re well.” The strange being had always seemed to respond positively to courtesy, and she figured with the shit they were in piling up the way it was, it couldn’t hurt to try to score a little good will.

“Per Dish, a pleasure as always.” The enigmatic intelligence nodded to her. “And your friends, of course, delighted.” He nodded to Chessie and Daji. Chessie clutched Petri’s hand tighter, Daji just looked wooden.

There was also a Ndogo in the room. They were a species known for their skill in diplomacy, and were normally marked by the deep intelligence and empathy that was ever-present in their large eyes. But this male’s eyes were disturbingly empty.

Petri looked from the Ndogo to the lead Arcanum, and the alien answered the question in her mind. “That is my interface with the entity you refer to as Vlad.”

Daji stirred, and Petri knew he had also heard the Arcanum’s explanation and was preparing to do something unfortunate. She looked at Chessie, who squeezed her hand and then moved closer to Daji. She stepped hard on his foot, just as he was about to speak, and his objection turned into a noise of pain and surprise. He whipped his face around towards Chessie, but she put a hand on his shoulder and gave a minute shake of her head. His eyes tightened and his jaw clenched, but he didn’t try to interfere further.

Petri didn’t bother to pursue the matter of the Ndogo any more than she had the Arcanum’s method of bringing her here. She knew it wouldn’t matter. No matter who or what the male had been before, the Arcanum would hold him in no more regard than she would a set of taps. And nothing was ever likely to change that. Arguing about it would only endanger him, and the rest of them, more.

“Why have you brought us here?”

“I will allow the digital entity to explain, as much of the issue still escapes our comprehension. We hope you will be able to assist us in remedying that.”

The Ndogo repeated the Arcanum’s words, and the entity in question gave one of his cold smiles. “Happy to.” He nodded at Petri, Chessie, and Daji. “Per Dish, you and your friends, were brought here because we hope you will be able to help us solve the dilemma of how to sync the electro-chemical energy signatures of an organic mind with the digital energy signatures of a computer network. We know this is possible because it is what the alien species you refer to as the Hatari do, but as yet the Arcanum have been unable to duplicate the feat. I hypothesized that a link might be required, a mind that combines the flexibility of the human psyche with the power and control of the Arcanum. Someone who can learn by doing instead of only through formal experimentation. In short, you, Per Dish. And if you are able to uncover the secret to the trick, the Arcanum believe they will be able to gain understanding through you.”

“I’ve been banished from the Collective. I’m no longer allowed to meld with them.”

“The banishment would be lifted for this, child. In fact, were you to succeed in this task, you would be welcomed back into the Collective permanently.”

Petri crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t want to live melded to the Collective. I’m happy with the life I’ve made for myself.”

“The choice would ultimately be yours, of course. As an adult, sentient being, you have the right to determine your own direction in life. But the option would again be open to you.”

She shook her head. “There's got to be more to it." Looking over at the viewscreen, she met Vlad’s gaze directly. “Tell me all of it, please.”

He gave a small shrug. “There is an element of risk. To do what we need you to do, you will have to blend your mind with the ‘mind' that is the rainbow. The rainbow is far vaster than your mind, obviously. Which means…”

“Which means there’s a good chance that if I succeed, my mind will dissipate and be lost. I’ll be diluted by the rainbow to the point of non-existence.”

Vlad nodded. “That is a possibility."

“And if I refuse?” Petri was pretty sure she knew the answer to that question, but she wanted it all spelled out so everyone knew where they stood.

“This is a response I expected from you, though many of the others claimed I was being foolish since any other member of the Collective would sacrifice themselves without hesitation for the good of the whole. But you are not truly one of us. Perhaps you never will be.” Petri thought she could hear a trace of something in the alien's mental voice in the last sentence. Regret? Remorse? She wasn’t sure, but she thought something was there. “No child has ever been raised away from the Collective before you. We had not considered the strength of influence the lesser beings would be capable of exerting on someone who had known nothing else. Nothing greater. The damage that has been done, the wrong inflicted upon you, we have no one but ourselves to blame for any deficit in your understanding of what it means to be a part of the Collective.”
“But I'm not a part of the Collective; you threw me out.” Petri murmured. She was stunned that the Arcanum, who seemed so alien and cold to her, were capable of such depth of feeling towards any, one individual. Their concern had always been focused on the entirety of the Collective before. Was this sudden shift of focus part of an effort to manipulate her? Was she now supposed to act as though they hadn’t abandoned her to fend for herself when she was just a baby? But the lead Arcanum wasn’t finished speaking.

“Which would have been a devastating punishment for anyone other than you, child. Any other individual would have spent every moment since seeking readmittance to the Collective, and would now rejoice at being offered the chance to earn redemption. But you have been minimally affected by your banishment, and now balk at the opportunity offered to you.”

Petri crossed her arms over her chest and opened her mouth to speak, but the alien continued.

“But, as I stated, I anticipated this might be your reaction. Your lack of attachment to your people saddens me, and I freely acknowledge it is we who are to blame for it, but the current threat to the Collective is too great to allow sentiment to influence us."

Narrowing her eyes in suspicion, Petri said, “So, you’re saying I don't have a choice. You'll send me into the rainbow, no matter what I say about it, and kill me if I don’t do what you want?"

The alien shook its head sadly. “No, child, you still do not understand us. You are an adult, sentient person. We cannot force you to do anything you do not wish to do. And you have committed no crime against us that would create extenuating circumstances. Therefore, the choice to undertake this risk will be yours and yours alone. However, your pets,” the alien pointed at Daji and Chessie, “we have no such restrictions towards. Their minds will be sent into the virtual world their species have created, and they will be kept there until we have the knowledge we require, or until their bodies give out."
Petri’s whole body clenched and she felt like she’d been gut-punch. In point of fact, she had suspected this would be the method they’d use to gain her compliance, but she had hoped to head it off by suggesting the threat be applied to her directly, thereby sparing her friends. Unfortunately, as much as the Arcanum claimed not to understand her, they knew exactly what buttons to push to move her.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. To be honest, I'm writing this about a week ahead of time. Tomorrow, several more states will how their primaries, so I'm not sure how that will go or what the state of the race will be when this post goes live. But this video is still something everyone should see. Because this is exactly why I'm not going to vote for Biden, regardless of whether or not he wins the nomination, and I think everyone else should understand exactly who this corrupt, corporate shill is before you cast your votes, as well. Peace!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

#Vegetarian Tortilla #Soup #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I'd like to share a really easy, but really delicious, spicy soup recipe. Enjoy! :-)

5 cups vegetable stock
1 20oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup brown rice
1 14oz can hominy drained
1 14oz can black beans drained
1 14oz can kidney beans drained
1 14oz can corn drained
3 chili peppers chopped
1 jalapeno pepper chopped
1 poblano pepper roasted and chopped
2 onions diced fine
1 cup cilantro chopped
6 cloves garlic minced
4 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups peanut or corn oil
6 corn tortillas
1 lime cut into wedges
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the olive oil and onions in a soup pot and saute until the onions soften and start to brown. Add the rice, peppers, dry spices, and the garlic and stir continuously until the onions are caramelized. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the beans, corn, hominy, and half the cilantro and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and stir periodically.

Put the corn or peanut oil in a small frying pan and heat to approximately 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the tortillas into strips or wedges and drop them into the hot oil until crispy. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove the tortillas from the oil and toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as necessary. Stir in the remaining cilantro and remove from heat. Serve hot garnished with lime wedges and crispy tortillas.

Buen provecho!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

First Remove The Rafter From Your Own Eye...

Hey Everyone!

I first posted this on Facebook, last month when the Republicans in the Senate publicized their decision that party loyalty is more important to them than the country they vowed to serve or their own personal integrity by their acquittal of Trump's impeachment. As that sentence might indicate to you, I do not approve of that decision. But I'm not sufficiently hypocritical to ignore similar behavior on the other side of the aisle. And though I originally wrote this post about the Senate impeachment hearing, it's an ongoing problem and applies far more broadly than that. So, I've decided to share it here, as well.

You know, I'm seeing a lot of posts from Democrats clutching their pearls and wringing their hands over the "shredding of the Constitution" by Republicans in the Senate and acting as if the Constitution hasn't been in tatters for decades. Republican Senators are ignoring corruption and criminal behavior because it benefits their "team." I have news for you, Democrats do exactly the same thing.

Any time a Democrat dismisses corruption by a Democratic politician, they are using the same justifications as Republicans in the Senate are using. Have you lectured anyone about "divisiveness" or "Vote Blue no matter who" when someone has pointed out the fact that a Democratic politician has taken money from lobbyists, corporate PACs, and/or rich oligarchs and then voted on legislation in a way that benefits those donors? Have you made excuses for that sort of corruption or dismissed it as "business as usual" in politics? Congratulations, you understand the thought-processes of those Republican Senators perfectly.

They're making a calculation that it's better to have a corrupt person on their "team" in power, rather than risk that the other "team" will be able to use the fact that the politician they're defending is corrupt to take power. Because the other "team" is just so horrible. I guarantee you that's exactly what those Senate Republicans are thinking.

So, next time you're tempted to downplay corruption in the Democratic Party, remember how you feel about those Republicans right now. Your moral outrage will carry a lot more weight if you hold your own side to the same standards you're demanding from Republicans. Because, either we hold them all accountable for their corruption or, as we're finding out now, we won't be able to hold any of them accountable.


Friday, March 20, 2020

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 1102

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 Eleven-Hundred-Two:
My efforts to investigate my young companion’s motivations when it comes to his interference with my research have been thwarted by my hominid-servant. Whenever I attempt to observe the little idiot unobtrusively, my hominid-servant sabotages me by drawing his attention to my presence.

For instance, today, I spent a significant amount of time making a stealthy approach to his usual base of operations beneath my hominid-servant’s sleeping platform. As soon as I had managed to position myself so that I could monitor his actions without simultaneously being seen by him, my hominid-servant loudly exposed my hiding place by knocking over the piece of furniture beneath which I was concealed. And this was not the first such example of such a betrayal!

More than once, my hominid-servant has alerted the diminutive nuisance to the fact that I was watching him. At this point, I cannot help but wonder if the two of them are working together in this and there is some larger conspiracy to prevent me from conducting my studies. Clearly, this is a deeply disturbing possibility, and one that I will have to explore further. As always, I will report back with any new developments.

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

Thursday, March 19, 2020

#APC #Spotlight: Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding By A. E. Lowan!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Kristin Vinck, one part of a three-person writing team who publishes under the pseudonym A. E. Lowan, in my APC spotlight, today! Kristin is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her paranormal, urban fantasy, magical, intrigue novel, Faerie Rising, looks great! Here's the description:
Winter Mulcahy is the last wizard in the city of Seahaven, WA and all that stands between the fractious preternatural population and total chaos.

Holding the city together by the skin of her teeth, the blood of her friends, and an addiction to stimulants that is slowly killing her, the young wizard is approached by a pair of sidhe lords. They claim that her city is harboring a fugitive who has kidnapped a sidhe prince, and that they are on a mission to rescue the boy. Winter must investigate this fugitive to get to the truth of the kidnapping, discover the cause of the surges of wild magic tearing open rifts between realms across her city, and navigate the deadly waters of preternatural politics before Seahaven both figuratively and literally rips itself apart.
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, March 18, 2020

#March2020 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Beyond the Hidden Sky (Star Trails Tetralogy Book 1) by Marcha Fox:

Have you ever had to go through a big move? Have you ever lost something during that move? How about someone? That's the situation Laren Brightstar faces when he accepts the position of Chief Terralogist on a planet that's across the galaxy from Augustus Troy, the man you don't say "no" to, after refusing to work for him. Will Laren locate his daughter before anyone else does? You'll have to read to find out!

I enjoyed this story. The characters were well-developed and realistic, making it possible for the reader to empathize with their struggles and immerse themselves in the story. The family dynamics that play out through this tale are utterly familiar. Anyone who grew up with a love/hate relationship with their siblings will be able to identify. But the situations and backdrops are interesting and new, and the world-building is refreshingly original. Overall five stars, and I look forward to reading more in this series.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

#StPats #Giveaway! $42 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for St. Patrick's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Lucky Readers St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 28 prizes, and the grand prize is $42 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! :-)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This is something that I think everyone should know, so of course the mainstream media is hiding it. But, this video is a quick summary of the problem, so please take a few minutes to watch and form your own opinions. Peace!