Who Is Mistral Dawn?

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Legacy Chains And Subtle Barriers

Hey Everyone! :-)

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

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"First you have to register to vote, which is one place that those in power can put up obstacles. In the past they've had 'poll taxes,' which were fees you had to pay in order to register to vote. Now, that's illegal, but they have other tricks. Part of the Jim Crow laws I was telling you about earlier were things like 'reading tests' and 'civics tests' that people had to pass in order to vote. People would have to either read a passage or answer some basic questions about our government. It sounds good in theory, but the people who ran the registration offices would cheat to allow only the people they wanted to vote to register."

"People with lighter skin would be given simple, basic sentences to read or asked questions that were common knowledge, like who was the first President of our country. But people with darker colored skin would be given long, complicated things to read that were often in languages other than English. Or they'd be asked much harder, esoteric questions, like what do articles III and V of the Constitution of the United States establish? There's an answer, but unless someone is a Constitutional scholar, they probably won't know what that answer is. It was a sneaky way to prevent people with darker skin from being able to vote."

"Is this still going on?" asked Yax.

I wagged my hand back and forth. "Yes and no. It's not going on in that form, anymore, because those kinds of things have been made illegal. But there are other things that are happening that are done for the same reason and have the same effect. They're a bit more subtle, though."

"What things?" asked Squid-boy.

"Well, for one thing, there're voter ID laws. It varies from place to place, but some of the laws are just blatant attempts to keep people who are poor, who are often also people with darker skin, from voting."

"These laws require one to have identification in order to vote?" asked Squid-boy.

I nodded. "Yep. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?"

He blinked at me. "It does. But I have the feeling that something about these laws is not what it seems at first glance."

"Yep, you got that right, Squid-boy. First, the laws generally specify only certain IDs that will be accepted. Usually, they are things like a driver's license that most upper and middle-income people have. But people who are poor, especially if they live in an urban area with mass transportation systems, might not have that type of ID. Add to that the fact that the IDs are often expensive and can only be obtained at certain designated facilities, which are often not located in or near neighborhoods where poor people live, and you have a real barrier for people who don't have a lot of money. Also, the facilities where these IDs can be obtained are only open during the hours that most people work, so if someone needs one they generally have to take time away from their job to get it."

"Which means if a poor person from one of these neighborhoods wants to vote, they have to take time off work ̶ which might get them fired, travel on mass transit ̶ possibly for hours, stand in line ̶ possibly for hours, pay more money than they likely have, and then travel all the way back to their home. So, it's not really surprising that many of these people decide it's just easier not to vote, is it?"

Yax shook his head. "No, that's not surprising, at all. Inevitable, really."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. I just wanted to remind everyone about the Net Neutrality vote that's coming up at the end of this week. It really is vital that you contact your elected representatives now and voice your opposition to this creeping fascism. In the meantime, here's a video that uses humor help us cope with this brave new world we find ourselves in. Plus, it gives some useful information about other steps we can take to try to prevent this travesty. Peace!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Warm-You-Up #Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I don't know about you, but for me this is the time of year I love to make those stick-to-your-ribs, warm you up no matter what the thermometer outside says, delicious like mom used to make recipes. But, as always, my version has a little twist. In this case, a scrumptious shepherd's pie with no meat. I hope you like it as much as I do. :-)

3 cups vegetable stock
1.5 cups uncooked lentils rinsed and drained
4 lbs potatoes peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded (optional)
1 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 onion diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen carrots
1/2 cup frozen corn
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 stick butter (or more if you like)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they're fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot to allow remaining moisture to evaporate. Set them aside.

In another pot, add the olive oil and onion and saute until the onion caramelizes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and hot sauce (optional), and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir to combine. Add the vegetable stock and salt and pepper to taste and stir to mix together. Reduce to medium heat and cover, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft.

Add the butter, milk, and a good amount of black pepper to the potatoes and mash them until they're smooth. Taste them and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Set them aside.

When the lentils are soft, add the remaining vegetables to the pot, stir to mix, and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Make a slurry of the water and cornstarch and add it to the pot. Stir and taste the mixture and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Put the lentil mix in a buttered baking dish and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top of it. Use a spoon to swirl the potatoes and pull them into small peaks throughout the dish. Sprinkle small pieces of butter and/or shredded cheddar cheese between the peaks for additional richness. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown. Serve hot with a side of crusty bread.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Santa's Little #Authors #Christmas #Giveaway! $160 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for the holidays!  Please take a moment to check out the Santa's Little Authors Christmas Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 50 prizes, and the grand prize is $160 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, December 8, 2017

#Animal #Rescuer's #Guide To #Staying ( #Relatively ) #Sane! #Free! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Just a reminder, for those who haven't checked it out yet, I've collected all my animal rescue/care posts together and published them as a small book.  If you'd like, you can download the book for free from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes.

Thanks for stopping in today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Valkyrie On Planet Fury by Lynne Murray!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Lynne Murray in my APC spotlight, today! Lynne is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her science fiction fantasy novel, Valkyrie on Planet Fury, looks great! Here's the description:
At the mercy of the Furies on a planet where assassination is a popular pastime, Sybil must complete an impossible mission or die trying.
An impossible mission. A planet where death lurks at every turn.
Sybil of Planet Valkyrie can’t go home until she confronts the rulers of Planet Fury, where assassination is a popular pastime. The Furies demand that Sybil tap the powers of her familiar demons to find an answer that may not exist—or die trying.
 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, December 6, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 647

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 Six-Hundred-Forty-Seven:
My hominid-servant has still not begun to decorate her dead tree; however, she has begun an intensive aversion conditioning campaign when it comes to anyone approaching the tree. Anytime the juvenile felid or I walk anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the tree, an explosion of water results, soaking us and everything around us. Which is most disconcerting.

At first, I was puzzled as to how she achieved it because she didn't appear to be present during many of these attacks. But I soon located the automated water dispersal system she set up, which seems to be motion activated. It's most distressing because the only way to evade a soaking is to either refrain from approaching the tree or to disable the entire water delivery mechanism, which my hominid-servant could not fail to notice.

My only consolation is that every time a water attack is triggered, my hominid-servant is forced to then clean up the excess water from where it spatters on the walls and floor. Unfortunately, this inconvenience doesn't show any signs of affecting her resolve in this matter. It seems I may have to resign myself to keeping a certain distance from the tree, which means I will lose out on any opportunities it may present to study the local flora. A true pity considering how limited my chances for such examinations are.

But, considering the violence of her reaction to having her dead tree decorations disturbed, and how irresistible both my young companion and I would be likely to find such investigations, perhaps my hominid-servant's precautions are for the best. Still, I will be sure to spend several planetary rotations giving her reproachful looks and withholding from her the pleasure of my company so that she won't begin assuming that denying me access to any part of my domicile is acceptable.

Poor Thoth! Sneaky hominids with their water attacks. ;-) 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!