Who Is Mistral Dawn?

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

#January2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Noemie's Journey by Victoria Saccenti:

Noemie is a biracial woman living in 1968 North Carolina and facing all the racism and bigotry that we like to pretend ended with the era but really still exists to this day. Richard is a man with a past who's looking for a new start. He finds himself in Summitville, NC and, despite his best intentions, is drawn to the beautiful woman with haunting green eyes. Will love be strong enough to conquer hate in sleepy, small-town America? You'll have to read to find out!

I enjoyed this book. It was hard to read, at times, because the bigotry and mistreatment Noemie faces are presented to the reader in all their raw ugliness. But that kind of honesty is important when dealing with topics like racism. If we don't look the monster in the face and call it what it is, we'll never defeat it. The characters are well-developed and the plot moves along at a good pace, never bogging down or getting lost in tangents. Overall, five stars and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

#APC #Spotlight: The Blue Virgin (The Nora Tierney Mysteries Book 1) By M. K. Graff!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Marni Graff in my APC spotlight, today! Marni is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her mystery, suspense, thriller, women's fiction, detective, who-done-it novel, The Blue Virgin, looks great! Here's the description:
Despite a planned move, the mysterious death of photographer Bryn Wallace keeps American writer Nora Tierney glued to Oxford in order to clear her close friend, artist Val Rogan, who has been wrongfully accused of Bryn's murder. Or has she? Nora quickly becomes embroiled in the murder investigation, much to the dismay of two men: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, the senior on the case; and Simon Ramsey, the illustrator of Nora's children's book. Simon's efforts to save Nora from herself become increasingly frantic as Nora is forced to push her way into Declan's case, using her wits and her wiles to prove Val's innocence.
The first in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries based in the UK, The Blue Virgin is a compelling story of love and intrigue. Nothing, Nora learns, is what it seems, and even the most innocent of choices can lead to murder and revenge. Set in the ancient city of golden spires, the setting lends itself to mystery, as any Inspector Morse fan will agree. The novel is written in classic English style, complete with a Cast of Characters and chapter epigraphs which add to its literary feel.
 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, January 16, 2019

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 905

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 Nine-Hundred-Five:
The juvenile felid has caved to the pressure from my hominid-servant to engage with the bauble offerings she presented to us. He has absconded not only with the offerings presented to him, but also with the offerings presented to me, and has added them to his collection of baubles that he stores beneath my hominid-servant's sleeping platform.

I offered a token protest when he began the process of transferring my bauble offerings to his hoard but, in truth, I have little interest in them and did not think much about it. Besides, I intended to retrieve them from his cache when he wasn't looking. But, to my surprise, he has maintained a determined watch over the baubles, and so I have had no opportunity to execute my plan.

I am not certain if his vigilance is due to a concern that my hominid-servant might take up her previous habit of tormenting him by stealing and scattering his baubles, or if he somehow divined my intention to reclaim my baubles. Either way, I find it surprisingly disagreeable to be deprived of my offerings in this way, though I had no previous desire for them. It's a strange feeling, this longing for something I had heretofore not valued.

A pox on small, tricksy 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, January 15, 2019

Professionals Playing The Blame Game

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Excerpt from Answers From Alyce:
"Well, to understand you first need to realize that the people you're talking about are the most powerful individuals in our country. They've been elected or appointed to positions in the highest levels of our government and most of them are also extremely rich, which is another and often more potent form of power than what they gain through their governmental offices. They've gotten to where they are through our current system. The system we have now, as unjust and corrupt as it is, is what has allowed them to attain their current lofty positions. So, why would they want to change it?"

"Logically, there would seem little reason for them to want change," agreed Squid-boy. "But why do they not just say so, rather than engaging in all this senseless noise?" He waved at the now muted display with his tentacles.

"Because, though these are the most powerful individuals in our society, they aren't as powerful as regular people when all those people unite behind a common purpose. The last thing the people running our government want is for regular people to start working together to effect real change. So, this noise," I gestured at the display, "is an effort to misdirect, distract, mislead, and sow enough dissention to keep regular people from working together to change things. Because, if We, The People, ever do get our act together and unite in organized, non-violent civil disobedience to achieve the changes we need, no collection of politicians and billionaires will be able to stand against us. And they'll," I waved at the furiously shouting miniatures, "do everything they can think of to keep that from happening."

"But you have elections!" Squid-boy exclaimed. "You choose the people you put into these positions."

I shrugged. "We've been over this, sugar. Yes, we have elections. But there are so many corrupting influences in those elections, the people who might actually work to change things rarely stand much of a chance of winning."

"And your media really just stands by and allows this," Yax pointed at the controlled chaos they were using to represent our government, "to continue without informing your people of the confidence game being played on them?"

"Well, you have to remember, sugar, the biggest media companies are owned by the same millionaires and billionaires who pay off our politicians. So, why would they want to expose their own scam? And the people they hire to report the news are also quite wealthy…"

"And so also invested in maintaining the status quo."

"Yep. Generally, the largest media corporations try very hard to focus on form over substance and to sidetrack people's attention with irrelevancies, rumors, and sensational nonsense. That way, most people are kept too distracted to pay attention to the fact that most of the people running our government are screwing them over."

"But, at some point, the effects of such corruption must be felt by regular people. Why don't they act then?"

I pointed back at the exhibit. "That's what the blame game is for. So, when people get angry that they're being treated unfairly, instead of working together to change things, they'll fight over who is to blame. The politicians blame their political opponents or make scapegoats out of powerless minority groups, and regular people pick sides rather than uniting. And the large media corporations, rather than providing people with facts and evidence so that they can determine who is telling the truth, for the most part just repeat what each side has said and calls it even."

"But that makes no sense when what people on different sides of an issue say contradict each other," observed Squid-boy. "They can't both be telling the truth. You're people have to know that."

I nodded. "Of course. But which side is right, or are all sides wrong? Is one side telling the truth and the other side lying or are they both lying and the truth is something else? What does the evidence support? What are the facts of the matter? What kind of back-story is involved in the situation? The large media corporations are strangely reluctant to provide that information. And if all most of the media does is repeat what each side says, or at most report what each side says and imply that the truth is somewhere in the middle without any providing any evidence to support that conclusion, what are people supposed to believe? When most of the media is either hopelessly biased in favor of maintaining the power structure or more concerned with being neutral than objective, it's hard for people to find out what's true unless they have the time and energy to do a lot of research for themselves. And, as we've already discussed, an abundance of excess time and energy are luxuries that most regular Americans don't own."

"And so the deception works," said Yax.

I shrugged. "I honestly don't think most people are deceived, but they are definitely distracted. Absent facts and evidence, people tend to pick the side that fits the best with their preconceived ideas and personal biases. Which means instead of uniting to fight for the changes we all need, people argue and fight with each other."

"And nothing changes," observed Squid-boy.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. I've shared this video before, more than once, but given everything that's going on, I thought it bore sharing again. Peace!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is a versatile soup recipe that's delicious but also a convenient way to use up whatever you have in your refrigerator.

6 cups water or vegetable stock
4 large potatoes washed and cubed
1 12oz can kidney beans
1 12oz can crushed tomatoes
1 12oz can corn
1 cup frozen or leftover peas
1 carrot chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup spinach chopped or 1 cup kale chopped or 1 cup broccoli chopped
1-2 cups leftover or frozen vegetables chopped (your choice/whatever you have)
5 cloves garlic minced fine
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cumin
3 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 cup white wine (your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup cheese grated (your choice of kind and optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the olive oil and onion to a large stock pot and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper and cook until onions start to caramelize. Deglaze the pot with the wine and then add the water or stock, bay leaves, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, corn, peas, carrot, Worcestershire sauce, and leftover or frozen vegetables to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the potatoes soften, stirring occasionally. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the spinach, kale, or broccoli and cook until they start to wilt. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the cream and cheese (optional) and remove the soup from the heat. Serve piping hot with a side of crusty bread.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

#BookLovers Authors & Bloggers #ValentinesDay #Giveaway! $135 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Valentine's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Book Lovers Authors & Bloggers Valentine's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 90 prizes, and the grand prize is $135 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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