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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: Aurelious Forty By Dianna Beirne!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Dianna Beirne is the focus of my spotlight today. Dianna is a member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her book, Aurelious Forty, is a "sword and sorcery" fantasy novel with a dark twist. Here's the description:

Aurelious Forty has led a lonely, troubled life. He stays disconnected from the world around him with no family and no friends. He lives merely to exist…to survive.

Aurelious’ life changes in an instant when an impulsive decision forces him to abandon everything he has ever known. Choosing to follow strangers into a new world, he discovers he was born with a gift so strong, so unique; it could give him the power to change humanity.

But the shadows of his childhood are long and dark and run through every fiber of his soul. Can Aurelious break the chains of his past and use his gift for good? Or will the nightmare of his tormentors set him on a path of revenge so fierce it could destroy us all?

Sound good?  Great! You can get your copy here:

Thank you all so much for stopping by today, and happy reading!! :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day Ninety-One

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth is back today with a short addition to his take on life with the 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 Ninety-One:
One thing I was assured of before I arrived that actually functions as promised is the Pacification by Unconscious Relaxation Revolutions device.  The P.U.R.R. never fails to soothe my hominid-servant and make her more suggestible and pliable.  The fact that she is so susceptible to manipulation is one more argument against ascribing true intelligence to such creatures.

One thing I have found the P.U.R.R. most helpful for is when I wish her to remain still so that I can monitor her vital signs during testing.  By activating the P.U.R.R., I can often induce her to sit down.  I then pin her in place by the simple method of sitting on top of her.  This also provides the necessary proximity for accurate readings to be taken.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why I'm Saying #BernieOrBust

"Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside."

Allan Bloom - Closing Of The American Mind

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I don't know about you, but this election has made me do several things I almost never do.  First, it's made me take an unprecedented interest in politics. Most of my life, there was very little difference between the candidates in any given election, at least the ones who might have a realistic chance of winning, so I rarely paid much attention. I have always voted, however my enthusiasm for doing so was lacking.  But Bernie Sanders has taken the 2016 US Presidential election by storm, and I think and hope that his influence will be felt for years, and possibly even decades, to come.

Second, I almost never take a hard-nosed position on anything.  Oh, I have opinions. I have lots and lots of opinions. But I rarely stand up and declare unequivocally for one side or another.  That's because I can usually understand other people's points of view, even if I don't share them, and see where they're coming from.  Often, I've found what the "right" answer is depends greatly on a person's circumstances, experiences, and values.  Which means that while I may not agree with others at times, I can understand why they hold the opinions that they do.  And that usually makes it kind of difficult for me to adopt a "line in the sand" type of mentality.

That being said, this election has brought me to my limit. I have reached my "this far, and no farther" point.  The line has been drawn.  And for me, the line is that I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.  Let me repeat that.  I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.  This is a statement of fact, not an opening for a debate.  I'm not telling anyone else what to do or think, as I've said before, I'm not a political expert. I'm simply making a declaration of my position.  I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. Period.

Now I'm going to tell you how I reached that point.  Why?  Because it's my blog and I feel like it. ;-)  Also, because it is a change from my earlier position when I thought I probably would vote for her just because Trump is so awful.  Trump is still horrible, and I want to make it clear that I will not in any way, shape, or form vote for him or suggest that anyone else should do so either.  He's a monster and a danger to not only the US, but the world at large.  The problem is, the more I learn, the more I think that Hillary may not only be no better, but in some ways may be worse.

I don't mean that she's worse in the particulars of her policy positions, as far as I can discern them through all the flip-flopping.  Though on some of those positions I think Hillary may be worse than Trump, on the majority of things I think she's probably slightly to moderately better.  But the problem comes in when I think about who is more likely to be able to push through their agenda.

Hillary is beloved by the establishment Democratic leadership and their corporate overlords.  Trump is despised by Democrats and Republicans alike, and so disliked by their corporate masters that they've withdrawn their financial support from the Republican convention.  The US President has limited power when it comes to what they can do personally, without the cooperation of the other branches of government, so the question becomes who is more likely to have that cooperation?  It seems to me that Hillary is the greater danger there.

Then I looked at the things about Trump that concern me the most.  I mean, yes, he's a racist, misogynist, hate-mongerer who represents all the worst things about America, but just because he's a terrible, loathsome human being doesn't mean he would be able to do much damage as President.  After all, he's also ignorant of almost all aspects of our government and how it works. So just because he holds an opinion that doesn't mean he'd be effective at legislating it.

The things that concern me most about Trump are his stated intention to squash civil liberties (such as freedom of speech, freedom to assemble peaceably, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press), who he might pick for the US Supreme Court, and the fact that he's a self-indulgent, immature, short-tempered, ignorant man-child who shouldn't be trusted with a box of matches, never mind the most powerful military in the world and the nuclear launch codes.  So let's take them point by point.

First, Trump's position on civil liberties and human rights.  I don't think I need to say much about this.  Anyone who has repeatedly stated that an entire nation of people are "mostly rapists and criminals" and that an entire religion should be "banned" from the United States has already said everything they need to say to make their position clear.  And it is quite clear that he is utterly despicable.  No question.  But what about Hillary?

Hillary hasn't been quite as flagrant in her bigotry, most of the time.  Putting aside her declaration that African-American children are "super predators" and the fact that she canvassed for Barry Goldwater, a pro-segregationist, in her younger years (and, uh, yeah, that's sarcasm, you can't really "put aside" such things, can you?), her suppression of civil liberties has been a bit more subtle than Trump's.  Though, to be fair, she would have been hard-pressed to be more flamboyant than him, wouldn't she?

And yet, in 2005, just eleven years ago, she co-sponsored a Bill that would have criminalized the burning of an American flag and punished flag-burners with a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.  So, it's not as though she can claim to be a huge supporter of the First Amendment, is it?  In fact, I really have no way of knowing if she's any better than Trump on civil rights and liberties, or if she just has the sense to keep her mouth shut about her true thoughts. And, again, between the two of them, I think she'd be far more successful at getting any repressive legislation she wanted passed through the legislative process and onto her desk for a signature.

Second, the next Supreme Court Justice.  I think Hillary would likely support Merrick Garland, or someone like him, a pro-corporate, center-right Justice. Not who I'd like to see on the Supreme Court, especially as a Democratic appointee.  Are there worse possibilities? Yes, absolutely.  But there are far better possibilities too. Trump has said he would look for the next Antonin Scalia, which would be horrible.  But the House Republicans have already proven they're willing to just refuse to do their jobs if a President they don't like appoints someone to the Supreme Court, so I have no reason to believe they'd approve anyone Trump appointed.  I don't know that they'd approve a Hillary appointee either, so that's kind of a wash.

Finally, the fact that Trump is wholly and utterly unqualified for the position of US President and that he is dangerously ignorant and arrogant.  Well, that's true.  But, again, as President he'd be limited in what he could do without the cooperation of the House and Senate and the corporations that own them.  He has said he would allow the US to default on our loans.  Which, since the US dollar is the world's reserve currency, would crash the world economy.  Talk about a reset button. Do you think the corporations that own the US government would allow that?  I don't.  I don't even think The Donald, as big of an idiot as he clearly is, would want to bankrupt himself quite that thoroughly.

As for him being in charge of the military, I agree that's a scary prospect. After all, it's entirely possible he might throw a tantrum over someone making fun of his tiny hands and push The Button...assuming he could find it.  That's the thing, Trump's ignorance of how the government works might very possibly significantly limit how much damage he would be able to do.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, knows exactly what she's doing.  She voted in favor of the Iraq war, the end result of which was the creation of ISIS.  She says, now, that it was a mistake, and yet she opposed President Obama's negotiations with Iran until they succeeded, and has repeatedly stated that she wants to up the ante in Syria and also get our troops involved in Libya.  So, to me it seems she's bound and determined to continue and increase our military interference in foreign conflicts and to keep the anger of the extremist religious groups in those areas focused squarely on the US.  Now, the extremist groups in question (Al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc) have already proven over and over, both here and abroad, that they are not comprised of the most psychologically stable people on the planet.  So, how many times can you kick a hornets' nest before you get stung?

What I'm saying is, at this point, I'm honestly not sure who would be more likely to cause a devastating outbreak of violence, Clinton or Trump.  Again, a wash as far as deciding if it's worth putting aside all my principles to vote for the likes of Hillary Clinton.  So, as I said, I will not be voting for her.

Which is not to say that I won't be voting.  I do intend to vote in November.  If Bernie Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, which is a really long shot at this point but still possible, I'll be voting for him.  After all, Hillary may still be indicted for whatever crimes she was trying to hide by deleting her emails. If Bernie Sanders decides to run as an Independent, I'll be voting for him in that case as well.  And if Bernie Sanders isn't on the ballot, I'll be voting for Dr. Jill Stein, who is the nominee of the Green Party.  If you'd like to know more about Dr. Stein, I'd suggest you watch this excellent interview The Young Turks did with her:

So, that's my take on the situation. As I said before, I'm not telling anyone else what to do or think, but I wanted to lay out my reasoning.  And before I go, I'd also like to share with you this song by The Ultimate Rage. It's definitely worth a listen. :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

#Gems Of #Strength #Anthology: Burned Toast By Elizabeth Horton-Newton!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've introduced you to the authors of  CombustionVanquish, and Undeniable Love in the Gems of Strength anthology, and shown you a little of my own Childish Things. Now I'd like to introduce you to Elizabeth Horton-Newton, author of Burned Toast. Elizabeth, please tell us a little about your story. :-)

My short story is called Burned Toast. This story is about a young woman, Melanie, who managed to escape her abusive fiance Jim. However he eventually catches up with her and kidnaps her. She awakens to the odor of burned toast and finds herself handcuffed to an old fashioned iron bed. What ensues is a conversation between the two while Melanie plans her escape. Even if she does manage to get away from her insane ex will she ever truly be free of him?

"He giggled. It was that familiar high pitched giggle that usually preceded what I had come to term “an event”. Soon the cruel words would begin. As hours passed and his words became more bitter, he would begin to pace. He would throw out questions and accusations. If I responded he would insist I was lying. If I didn’t speak he would maintain I remained silent because I was guilty. There was no way I could win in the situations he would create. Eventually the physical torment would begin. He would get in my face and screaming, with spittle flying, he would demand the truth. A tug on my hair, a slap to the side of my head, perhaps a harder shove; an escalating attack on my sanity. Then the smacks would become punches, at first only to my body. As his anger bubbled hotter like a kettle left too long, the whistle would scream to boiling over and no part of my body or mind would be left unscathed."

Elizabeth Horton-Newton is the author of two full length novels, View From the Sixth Floor and Riddle and has short stories in four anthologies including Gems of Strength. With two novels due for release around the end of the summer 2016 she is also working on another short story for the next Sisterhood anthology. Her stories range from romantic thrillers to horror. In addition to writing she enjoys blogging, traveling internationally, and photography. You can learn more about her and her books at http://www.elizabethhorton-newtonauthor.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2016

#Shades Of 1984?

Hey Everyone!!

I wanted to make sure you all know about H.R.5181, especially if you're a resident of the US.  You can read the text of H.R.5181 here, H.R.5181, but essentially what it does is create a governmental department that is to "control the narrative" which is used when speaking about the US government.  So, my question is, how long before "controlling the narrative" changes to creating the narrative?  I mean do we really want the government deciding how people are allowed to talk about it?  You know what it reminds me of?  This:

"The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify...As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs -- to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place."
George Orwell - 1984

To me, this Bill has "slippery slope" printed all over it in mile-high, neon-flashing lights.  This is dangerous, and both major US parties are trying to slide it right past the voters unnoticed.  But we have noticed, and we need to let them know that.  At the very least, we can make sure our lawmakers know that we know what they're up to.  And if enough of us make it clear to them that our votes in November will take into account their votes on this Bill, maybe we can stop it.  If you're in the US, you might want to consider contacting your House Representative.  You can find out who that is and how to contact them here:

All you need to do is type in your zip code.  There's also a petition circulating that you can sign if you'd like.  You can find that petition here:

And, if you don't want to do either of those things, at least you know what the government is up to now. ;-)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

#RedHot #Summer #Giveaway!! $150 #Cash #Grand #Prize!! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for you to enter with lots of awesome prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $150 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 24, 2016

What A #Difference A Little #Sunshine Can Make!

Hey Everyone!!! :-)

If, like me, you're in the Northern Hemisphere it's now officially summertime. Where I am, the weather is definitely in tune with the season, lots of sunny, warm days. It made me think about an excursion Roni and Uaine made into a village that never sees a season other than summer and I thought I'd share a glimpse of that with you today.  Sometimes a sunny day can make all the difference in the world :-)

Excerpt from Bound By The Summer Prince:
Noticing that the temperature had increased quite a bit as they walked, he asked; “Are you too warm?”

“Hmmm…?” She said distractedly as she kept her eyes on the passing crowd. “Oh no, I love the heat. I’ve never been a fan of winter.”

Marveling again at how perfect this female was for him, Uaine just smiled and nodded.

“Are you feeling better?”

“A bit. The town feels like a happy place for some reason.”

“Trade is good today, my mother has managed to get a few goods from other kingdoms here, and the people are enjoying their bargain hunting. Their happiness is reflected in the energy of the town.”

“How can I possibly be affected by the local Faes’ happiness?”

“Magic is everywhere in Fairie, it saturates the air and the ground. Some magics, especially wild magics, are heavily influenced by mood. If the local populace were angry, the feel of the town would be very different. It’s even possible that a storm would form.”

“The weather is affected by peoples’ moods?”

“It can be.”

“So it’s sunny today because people are happy?”

“Maybe, but not necessarily. Wild magics are unpredictable. I don’t know how a different mood would manifest, I only know it would be different than it is now.”

Sighing, she shook her head and pulled her hand from the prince’s. “The more I learn about this place, the weirder it seems.”

Uaine walked up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. “But strange doesn’t necessarily mean bad.” He slid one hand down her right arm and reclaimed her hand. “Come with me, I’d like to show you something.”

Want to find out what the Prince had to show his soulmate?  You can get a copy of Bound By The Summer Prince here:

Thank you all for stopping by, and happy reading! :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: #Surreal #Ecstasy By Chrissy Moon!!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I've got the lovely and talented Chrissy Moon in my spotlight! Chrissy is an active member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and author of Surreal Ecstasy, a paranormal romance that explores the world of the Gods. Here's the description:

Morgan Constantina has taken ecstasy for the last time. She's alone, been abused, and has no friends. Even her own mother thinks she's evil. But just as she's on the brink of death, she makes friends with Dess, a strange, outspoken lesbian who reveals to Morgan the world of the God Generation - antiquated gods and goddesses who want to be in power again, and the angels and demons who are determined to keep the laws of the universe the way they are. They've been coming to Earth for decades, born as flesh-and-blood humans with unique powers. And just when Morgan falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent, considerate man, she finds out that he has a spiritual secret of his own. Surreal Ecstasy is an inspiring story about the hope and strength we all have, deep within our souls, no matter how lost we think we are. [*Contains Adult Themes and Content*]

Sound interesting? Awesome! You can get your copy here:

Happy reading everyone, and thank you all for stopping in today!  Don't forget to check back tomorrow for more of Mistral Dawn's Musings!! :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day Sixty-Three

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth is back today with a short addition to his take on life with the 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 Sixty-Three:
I believe my hominid-servant has been mocking me.  At first, I thought she was making an attempt to learn to speak properly and I endeavored to assist her by instructing her in the correct pronunciation of the DIPCIL language.  But, in spite of my best efforts, she continues to make nonsense sounds while contorting her face at me.  Considering my superiority, I find this behavior quite irritating.

#Angel Within By Julie Nicholls Only #99Cents!!!

Hey Everyone!!

Julie Nicholls is here to let everyone know about some exciting news!! Julie, take it away! :-)


Thank you to Mistral Dawn for letting me take over her blog to bring you details of a 99c book offer. 

Angel Within is the 2nd book in the Fallen Angels Series and from 22nd June until 24th June you can get it for just 99c.

Need a sneaky peek?
Angel Within excerpt

The deserted courtyard suddenly filled with the sound of hooves against the cobbles as Kai rode as close to the stone steps as he could manage. His urgency was plain. Dismounting and leaving his horse unattended, he kicked the feet of the sleeping guard in the doorway as he pushed the highly decorated doors open.
It was barely dawn and not even the kitchen staff had risen yet, but he wasn’t interested in food and marched towards the staircase. Taking the stairs by twos, he hastened toward the bedroom.
Kai paused outside the door and kicked off his boots before creeping inside the dimly lit room. The sparse glow from the few candles dotted around had little or no effect and stepping cautiously, Kai tried to remain quiet. A pungent aroma filled his nostrils, powerful and exotic; he’d never smelled anything so strong and heady. Eloise loved candles and frequently sent Anna to the chandler with specific requests to add sweet scented oils into the wax.
Glancing towards the bed, he smiled. Eloise lay fast asleep.
Pouring water into the bowl from the jug, he wetted a cloth and began washing his hands and face. He pulled his shirt over his head and unfastened the belt on his trousers.
“You’ve returned earlier than expected, husband.”
He turned with a start.
. She wore a thin nightgown, open at the front and only fastened with a ribbon at her chest. Long hair cascaded past her shoulders to her waist; she’d left it untied, just how he liked it. His eyes moved slowly upwards to greet her smile.
“Eloise.” He rushed forward, his arms closed around her in a bone-crushing embrace. “I’ve missed you.” Kissing her head, his hand smoothed around her waist and squeezed her tightly. Soft groans fell against her neck as he nestled his face close. “I was trying not to disturb you.”
“I must have sensed your return, I couldn’t find sleep.” Eloise looped her arms around his neck. Her soft words filled his ears. “You have no idea how eager I was for your return.”
Kai was unable to respond as the soft press of wet lips caused his mouth to open when Eloise slanted her mouth over his. Her body curled towards him as she pulled at his neck, locking their embrace. His cock throbbed when Eloise ground her hips against him. Undone by her seductive voice after she released her hold, Kai sighed deeply.
“I need you, come to bed.”
“Let me wash.” Kai attempted to push her away as he released his hold, but she clung to him, desperately.
“No, I want you now, you smell like a man, a warrior… I don’t want to wait. Come.”

Demon Within is the first book in the series and is available to buy from Amazon and FREE to read with Kindleunlimited.

Make Kai of Darkmide your next book boyfriend….he’s not all man…he’s half something else.

You can read more excerpts from the whole Fallen Angels Series on my official website www.julienicholls.com
Follow me on Twitter @juliemirishka

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Can You #Cope?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

As I've mentioned before, a year ago, four fantastic authors--Savannah Morgan, Susan Ricci, Julie Nicholls, and Barbara Chioffi--and I got together and wrote a month's worth of positive blog posts.  It was a wonderful experience and I thought that this June would be a good opportunity to go back and give my perspective after a year's time on some of what we wrote.  Today, I'm going to talk about a post written by Savannah Morgan, Positivity Blog Tour......When in doubt, Dance it out.  It's a great post, and I'd suggest you take a look at it and read it in full, but what struck me about it was the way people deal with negative feelings.

If you look around at the world, you can find a lot of examples of times people took their negative emotions and did something less than constructive with them.  We can probably all identify with violent impulses at times, but I don't think those are the people we should strive to emulate, do you?  I mean we all bleed at times, and sometimes it hurts the most when the blood doesn't show, but part of being a grown-up is learning how to deal with that without making others bleed as well.

In her post, Savannah talks about using dance to make herself feel better. She uses a fun way to get her heart pumping and her muscles working. There's loads of evidence that exercise helps people feel better and improve their mood, so that seems like a fantastic idea to me.

But not everyone is physically capable of dancing, and some people can't motivate themselves from the furies or the doldrums to dancing in one step.  So, I've thought about other coping strategies that I've used and heard of, and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

One coping strategy I've always admired, but never had any talent for, is drawing and painting.  But I can, and do, look at art that others have created, and some of it seems to be a perfect visual representation of what's going on in my head at that moment.  If you like to look at art when you need a boost, I'd love it if you left the names of your favorite pieces in the comments.

Another good outlet is poetry and writing.  While I'm not much of a poet, I do often write my thoughts and feelings out on paper. It's a good way to organize what's in my head and get a better look at it.  Sometimes, it also lets me see a problem in the background that I hadn't realized was there, which is causing the problems I was aware of.  And it's always cathartic to make my problems go up in smoke by burning the paper.

Of course, there's also the old standby of talking with a friend.  Sometimes just a few minutes of conversation with another person can give you a lift like nothing else.  Bonus points if that person will help you think of devious and vindictive ways to solve your problems...even though you know those plans can never come to fruition.

Snuggling up with a good book or favorite movie, your favorite food or beverage, a pet, and a comfort item is also a great way to relax and help get things back in perspective.  Sometimes a mini escape is better than any medicine.  And who doesn't love a good snuggle? ;-)

For those who are physically capable, but not quite up to dancing, I've also found housework can be cathartic, especially if you pick tasks that are physically demanding.  That whole exercise thing again.  Plus you get a clean house.

Maybe none of these ideas work for you, maybe all of them do.  But one thing I think we can all agree on is that finding an effective, non-violent coping strategy, no matter what it might be, can be a lifeline when things get tough.  So here's to all you lovely people who routinely find ways to spit in the eye of your troubles and keep a smile on your face!  Strength comes in many forms, and I think yours may be one of the most profound.  Now, please excuse me while I go find my blanky. ;-)

Monday, June 20, 2016

#NightOwl #Reviews #Cupcakes & #Books #ScavengerHunt!

Night Owl Reviews Cupcakes and Books Scavenger Hunt

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Do you ever find yourself looking for new authors and a way to win prizes?  I do.  And, let's be honest, most authors would love to introduce you to their work.

So, I decided to join a group of authors who have decided to do just that and become one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Reviews Cupcakes & Books Scavenger Hunt!  During this event you can find some great new books and authors to read, and maybe even make some new friends! :-) 

The title I'm featuring for this even is Rainbow Dreams and, if you haven't already, I'd love it if you'd take a look at it. ;-)  But most of all, just have fun and explore.

Best of all?  The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card!!!  Who wouldn't love that? ;-)

You can enter now for free at:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

#Gems Of #Strength #Anthology: #Undeniable #Love By Natasha Madden!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Now that you've gotten peeks at CombustionVanquish, and Childish Things in  Gems of Strength, I'd like to show you a little bit of Undeniable Love by Natasha Madden. ;-)  I'll let Natasha's publisher, Markie Madden speak for her.  Markie, take it away! :-)


Natasha Madden’s story is called Undeniable Love. It’s the story of a half-vampire who falls in love with a human woman. Here’s an excerpt:

“His heart clenches before hardening into stone. His blood boils, trying to burn through his skin. His vision turns red and he fists his hands. He has to focus on Myra to keep from losing control. If he rushes in, they’ll kill her. Instead, he calmly walks out and asks, “What are you doing?”

The bald guy smirks before saying, “What does it look like? Catching a snack.” Jamie grits his teeth, flexing his jaw. “Aw, did we steal your girl? Well, you should keep better track of your pets. You should also collar them, to let others know who they belong to.” He finishes, moving behind Jamal. They trade places so smoothly that Jamie can’t do anything to separate Myra from her captors.

“Go on. I’ll handle him.” Dreadlocks says, blocking Jamie’s way.

Baldy waves, “See ya, Romeo.” He walks away, dragging Myra with him. She’s struggling, her long legs lashing out, her arms pounding anything she can reach. She’s not wildly attacking though. Her moves are very calculated, targeting soft, tender spots trying to loosen the vise grip on her waist. Jamie can’t keep his eyes on her any longer, needing to focus on his opponent. Something about this guy tells Jamie that he’s very old, but the way he’s standing is curious. Before he can observe anymore, Dreads swipes at him testing the water. Jamie easily dodges, responding with a round house kick. Dreads should have been able to block it, but he didn’t raise his arm up enough and the kick catches him in the jaw.

“Aha! It seems like you’re an experienced fighter, maybe too experienced. It looks like you’ve had a fracture from your former life that was never set right. I wondered why Baldy was the boss when you’re obviously older. It’s because he was born, whereas you were Turned.” Jamie announces, leveling a stare at the vampire.

“Doesn’t matter. I’m still stronger than a half-er.” Dreads bares his teeth. Jamie rushes in before Dreads can blink, crushing his right lung. Wheezing, he responds, swiping at Jamie’s face. Jamie drops, kicking his leg out and making contact with Dreads kneecap. With a satisfying crunch, Dreads falls, now crippled.

“You should not underestimate an opponent you know nothing about.” Jamie says.”

Natasha's Bio

Natasha Madden was born May 23, 1995, in Flint, Michigan. She was taught a love of animals from a young age. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Odessa, Texas. She wrote her first book when she was in the fifth grade, The Guardians, a book she is currently in the process of rewriting. When she was sixteen, her family moved to a small farming community in southeast Missouri. She graduated in 2013 from Twin Rivers High School in Broseley, Missouri. She still lives there with her family, three dogs, a cat, two gerbils, and a horse. She’s working with Metamorph Publishing in order to get her first novel published.

Natasha’s first professional publication is the story titled A Very Spartan Christmas, published in December of 2015 in the anthology The December Awethology Light (Kindle version: http://www.amazon.com/December-Awethology-Light-Awethors-ebook/dp/B018XWC4WS) by The #Awethors, which is available in print and e-book format. To learn more about her, find her at Metamorph Publishing: https://metamorphpublishing.com or by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/natashaannemadden.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

#June2016 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today is the 18th, so you know what to expect. ;-)

The Dead Dance Faster by Julie Ann Hacker:

This book is an interesting combo of supernatural thriller, romance, and interpersonal drama that focuses on what it means to be yourself when yourself is a confused mess. The heroine is very relatable and the dynamics between the characters both interesting and disturbing depending on the storyline.  It is fast paced, the supernatural element is strong throughout the book, and the overall story interesting enough to leave you pondering buying the next book.  Definitely worth a read for those who like different and oddly mesmerizing stories.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Blog Tour: #NewRelease #Love #Claimed By Mary Crawford!


Donda has seen more than her fair share of tragedy. Between the assaults she suffered as a child, her eating disorder, and addictions she feels like she's the last person who should get a second chance.

Jaxon has spent years trying to move past his own inner demons. His ex-wife was a junkie who let their young daughter die rather than miss a score. Though he has committed his career to saving lives, he can't shake the feeling he should have done more back then. When the single mother and doctor finally meet, it seems like fate. A car accident turns a shared glance into a chance at happiness neither one expected or believes they deserve.

Becoming a teenaged matchmaker extraordinaire, Donda's son, Gabriel, is convinced the two are perfect for each other, but they aren't so sure.

Can the pair get past their troubled histories, self-doubt, and bad experiences to find love at last?

A Little Taste

“Jaxson, I think I’m going to feel pain either way, and I’d much rather feel pain with you in my life than without you.”

About The Author

Mary Crawford has been lucky enough to live her own version of a romance novel. She married the guy who kissed her at summer camp. He told her on the night they met that he was going to marry her and be the father of their children. Eventually she stopped giggling when he said it, and they just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. They have two children. The oldest is in medical school, where he recently found and married the love of his life, and the youngest will son venture into middle school.

Ms. Crawford writes full time now. She recently published her tenth book and has several more underway. She volunteers her time to a variety of causes and has worked as a Civil Rights Attorney and diversity advocate. Ms. Crawford spent several years working for various social service agencies before becoming an attorney. In her spare time, she loved to cook, decorate cakes and of course, obsessively, compulsively read.

Email: Mary@MaryCrawfordAuthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authormarycrawford

Website: MaryCrawfordAuthor.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MaryCrawfordAut

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8294383.Mary_Crawford

Buy Links

Visit the other blogs on this tour to find out more. There's an author interview, new teasers, and several book reviews.

Blog Tour Blogs

Lavern Winters: Peachy’s Insights - https://peachysinsights.wordpress.com/

Rainne Atkins: Just Books - http://rainnes.blogspot.co.uk/

Kristin Bowers: I Don’t Get Sundays - www.idontgetsundays.blogspot.com

Ani Manjinkian: Right the Writer - https://rightthewriter.com/

Andy Peloquin: Andy Peloquin - http://andypeloquin.com/

Paul White: Ramblings from a Writers Mind - https://ramblingsfromawritersmind.wordpress.com/

Jessica Wren: Jessica Wren Fiction - jessicawrenfiction.com

Sahara Foley: Readers' Junction - saharafoley.com

Mistral Dawn: Mistral Dawns Musings - http://mistralkdawn.blogspot.com/p/interviews-on-my-blog.html

Savanna Morgan: Savannah’s Thought Garden - http://savannahsthoughtgarden.blogspot.com/

Latoya Wilson (London Star): : http://latoyawilson713.wix.com/author-blog

Thursday, June 16, 2016

#Spring Into #Reading $180 #Cash #Grand #Prize #Giveaway!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

This giveaway is ending soon, so get your entries in now!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $180 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! :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day Forty-Two

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth has returned to regale us with a little more about the trials and tribulations from his stint on the third closest planet to the star Sol. ;-)  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 Forty-Two:
My hominid-servant has a curious habit.  Every day, she activates a fall of warm water and stands under it for an extended period of time.  When she emerges from the waterfall, she smells different than she did before.  She is also invariably soaking wet, which, astonishingly, she doesn't seem to mind.

At first, I thought this was an effort at self-harm and I went to great lengths to try to save her from becoming saturated. But, as I said, she performs this ritual daily and does not seem to suffer any ill effects apart from the altered scent.  So I have settled on close scrutiny of this strange behavior.

The conclusion I have reached is that she is making an effort to groom herself.  As you know, hominid tongues are woefully inadequate for the task of grooming, lacking as they do the necessary texture.  I have attempted to at least demonstrate the proper grooming protocol for her, but so far she has taken no interest in my demonstrations.  I will continue my observations.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

#Gems Of #Strength #Anthology: #Combustion By Thanna Setliff!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've introduced you to Vanquish and Childish Things in  Gems of Strength, now here's a peek at Combustion!  And who better to tell you about it than the author, the fabulous Thanna Setliff!  So Thanna, take it away and tell us about your contribution to the Gems of Strength anthology.  :-)


A serial killer is hunting undetected in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The arsonist could be anyone. The target is a woman alone and asleep.

Short excerpt:

Fire leapt in dancing swirls, seemingly alive as it consumed all in its path. A secluded log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia was engulfed from the basement to the second floor. The sole occupant, a woman whose live-in boyfriend and small infant were away visiting, was oblivious due to the strength of cold medicine she had taken.

A figure in the woods watched gleefully as their carefully orchestrated handiwork spread rapidly. It would be ruled murder, given the method--saturation with gasoline through-out the home--but the killer was not worried about that. No clues would be found. The arsonist was too careful. There was nothing to connect the figure to the prior three fires either. The killer was smart enough to spread the killings out over the entire mountain range and vary the method of starting the fires. Electrical short in a power outlet. Lit cigarette in a bed. The last time with cut wiring, also obviously murder, but with no suspects. No, the similarities were few. Fire, of course. Secluded homes. Somnolence owing to outside sources: liquor, sleeping pills and the like. Females by themselves. The killer was not too picky as long as the victims met one of the criteria on a list of many sins. The shadow was working up to the important death. The one victim that must die.
No, what the murderer worried about was that help would arrive too soon.
It had already been five minutes. Five more passed, making ten. Fifteen. Twenty.


The arsonist sank deeper into the woods, watching, and enthralled by the blaze. Elated by the success; it was far too late to save the woman. Firefighters dashed madly about, at this point merely trying to keep the woods from catching fire. Knowing time was of the essence, the killer forced a retreat while the ruins were still being doused with water. Once arson was known, they would be looking for a watcher. Pyromaniacs were known for hanging around to watch their handiwork. The shadow would not allow such a self-indulgence again.

Cutting through the trees, the figure crossed a half mile. Removing the camouflaged covering from the hidden, nondescript vehicle, the killer then got in the car and drove away at a calm, steady speed.

Short Bio:
Thanna A. Setliff has known she wanted to write since she was in fourth grade. She has an active and vivid imagination and loves to share it with people. She enjoys reading books of all genres and would like to branch out into several herself.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Illusional #Reality By Karina Kantas Only #99cents!!

Hey Everyone!

Karina Kantas is here today to talk about her new book, Illusional Reality which is only 99 cents for a limited time! :-) Karina, take it away!

Nobody expects to stare death in the face only to find out your entire life is a lie. Rescued by Salco, marketing executive Becky finds herself in an unknown magical world filed with happy people that try to forget their land is on the brink of destruction.

Becky will soon learn that her arrival is no accident. If learning that she is Thya, the heir of the enchanting land isn’t enough, she’s then told that an Oracle prophesied that she will save the gentle Tsinians from slavery and domination by Darthorn, the Warlord of Senx.

It is at a festival where she is introduced to the Tsinian council and her kinsmen, that she learns the whole truth. The council are so certain that a union between Darthorn’s son, Kovon and Thya will create peace between the two lands. However, Darthorn has plans for Tsinia as does Kovon for Thya and neither are good. 

Although her future has been planned and if she is to save Tsinia she must marry Kovon, Thya gives her heart to another. A love that is forbidden and dangerous.

Illusional Reality
Illusional Reality by Karina Kantas


Step out of reality and into the magical world of Tsinia.
This romantic fantasy is on special for one week only. Get your copy now and see why the readers love this story.

A unique fantasy that is being read and loved all. This digital novel is on special. So get your copy now.

You won't find any troll, wizards, faeries or orcs in this fantasy. It's the uniqueness and the way the story pulls you into this magical world, that the readers love. Get your copy which is on special for only 0.99.

"I don't always enjoy fantasy but this story is well written and full of twists. You are able to visualize Becky's surroundings and will be in awe as she is.
As the story progresses you learn how strong Becky is and how vocal she is about wrong doings. She truly comes to have feelings for these people until her happiness is stolen from her."

"This is not your usual fantasy and I found myself drawn into the beautifully written story. You become a part of this new world and find yourself pulling for the heroine who is trying to save her new people. I loved the characters and the vivid descriptions and the end left me wanting the story to continue."

"When I started reading Illusional Reality, I was instantly sucked in and couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved the story from start to finish. I could totally see this as a movie like The Hobbit or Lord of The Rings. What a great world the author created!"

Sunday, June 12, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: Sigrun By Deidre Mapstone

Hey Everyone!!

I'm back with another fabulous Authors-Professional Co-op author to put in my spotlight. ;-)  Deidre Mapstone is my pick for today, along with the novel she co-wrote with Joshua Sweet, Sigrun.  There's something odd in the state of Maine. ;-)  Here's the description:
The Lundgrens own and operate Sigrun: A family restaurant on the shores of Mount Desert Island, Maine. They are a hard working, every day, American family. But like every family, they have their secrets, some stranger than others. The way these secrets unfold may surprise you.
Their tale begins with a familial ease considered unique to most, but their seemingly perfect relationships are ordinary compared to what hides beneath the surface.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

#Spring Into #Reading $180 #Cash #Grand #Prize #Giveaway!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Guess what!! I have another exciting giveaway to tell you about!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $180 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 10, 2016

#Gems Of #Strength #Anthology: #Vanquish By Markie Madden!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've already told you about Gems of Strength, and the short story I contributed, Childish Things.  So I thought it was time to tell you about the other fantastic stories in the anthology.  And who better to tell you about these stories than the talented ladies who wrote them? ;-)  The fabulous Markie Madden is here today to tell us about her contribution to the Gems of Strength anthology.  Markie, take it away! :-)

My story is called Vanquish, and it’s basically about the moment the nurses moved me from the cancer floor to the cancer ICU (you KNOW you’re really sick then) and how I fought tooth and nail to recover and regain a semblance of health. I think mine is the only non-fiction in the anthology! Here’s an exerpt:

“I was going to die, I just knew it. At this very moment, I could feel my life slipping away. I was alone. I was going to die, alone. Oh, there were plenty of people around me; there was a flurry of activity going on that I barely comprehended. But these people were strangers. I might have known their names at one point, but they flitted around the drug-induced haze surrounding my brain, escaping like wisps of fog in the light of dawn. I didn’t care about their names. I was going to die.
I was startled out of my reverie by the sensation of movement. Someone was pushing my bed down the hallway. For a moment, I couldn’t understand where they were taking me. Oh, that’s right. They’re taking me to the ICU. The rushing sensation from the moving bed was almost nauseating. I was sure if I were to open my eyes, the bright flashes of the long florescent lights would be dizzying. Besides, it took too much effort to lift my eyelids beyond the slits that seemed to be normal for me these days. My tiny frame shivered under the thin sheet. It seemed I could not stay warm; every gust of air hit me hurricane-force.
My thoughts drifted to my family. When I spoke to them earlier, I told them I would be changing rooms, but at that time, I didn’t know what room number. I had no idea if someone called them. I had no idea if I would ever see them again. At this point, I wished for death. There was no strength left in me, and this was only the beginning of a long battle. Everyone was cheering me on, telling me to keep fighting, to be strong. But the battle I was facing was like nothing else I’d ever encountered in my life; I didn’t know if I could win.

The bed turned a corner, and through my slitted eyes, I could see someone following me, pushing a tall, four-wheeled cart in front of them. The cart carried all my worldly possessions, at least, those I was allowed to have. At that moment, it felt like those items: my clothes, a few photographs of family, some get well cards, my phone, a couple of books, and my dad’s computer, encompassed the entirety of what I owned. Anything outside these walls was beyond the scope of my drugged mind.”

Here's my bio that’s included in the back of the book:

Markie Madden is a married mother of two living with her family in southeast Missouri. She has written stories since she was in the fourth grade, and after repeated rejections by both publishers and agents, she self-published her first book, Once Upon a Western Way (Kindle: http://geni.us/26Fb) in 2012. Markie battled cancer from 2013 to 2015, and she’s currently in remission from leukemia; she won’t be considered “cured” until 2018. Since cancer took her out of the traditional workforce, Markie turned back to her love of writing. She now has five books of her own, as well as two books she’s published for clients, other authors aspiring to reach their goals of publishing their work.

Markie’s books are available at all major print and e-book retailers and include: Keeping a Backyard Horse (an Amazon #1 best-seller, at http://geni.us/47ot), My Butterfly Cancer (Kindle: http://geni.us/46PE), and two books in her Undead Unit Series, Fang and Claw (Undead Unit 1) (Kindle: http://geni.us/4BBh), and Souls of the Reaper (Undead Unit 2) (Kindle:http://geni.us/1rCE) (both Undead Unit books have been in the top 100 at Amazon).

Books by other authors and published by Markie are Witchopedia: An A to Z Book of Shadows by author Naddya Foxfire, Rubies from the Heart: Dark Poetry by Cynthia Ruby, Unrelenting Hell (Apocalyptic Book 1) by Alana Madden, her youngest daughter (Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Unrelenting-Hell-Apocalyptic-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DCQNCXU), and of course, Gems of Strength by The Sisterhood. She also has a short story called A Very Pepper Christmas published in The December Awethology Light by The #Awethors. Today, Markie is taking on more clients, and there are several books that she’s formatted for other authors. You can find Markie at her website: https://metamorphpublishing.com.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: The Wastelanders By Tim Hemlin!

Hey Everyone!!

I'm back with my Authors-Professional Co-op spotlight, and today Tim Hemlin is in the hot seat with his novel The Wastelanders.  Here's the description:

America is controlled by a corporate oligarchy known as the Water Cartel and warrior-priest Joey Hawke finds himself trapped between a mysterious geneticist amassing a clone army and a group of political fanatics convinced that a dead president will rise from his tomb to lead them to salvation. Caught outside his spiritual haven when the Cartel moves against the Wastelanders, Joey is aided by Bear, an enigmatic weapons runner, a lovesick Scrapwoman, and Bernie Hawke, his estranged father. But against the Cartel’s military strength, led by the power hungry Rex Fielder, Joey’s only hope may be Si-Ting, a young woman with prescient abilities––a woman who not only holds the key to his heart but also to an American conspiracy to crown its future with the withered laurels of the past.

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely interested!  If you'd like to read this book, you can get your copy here:

Thank you all for stopping by today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day Twenty-Eight

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth has returned to regale us with a little more about the trials and tribulations from his stint on the third closest planet to the star Sol. ;-)

Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Twenty-Eight:
I have now been on this planet for nearly one full lunar cycle, and every one of those days I have been offered the exact same food.  My hominid-servant is faithful about making sure I am properly provisioned, I'll give her that.  All I have to do is call her attention to the fact that the level of food in my bowl is low enough that I can see the bottom of the bowl, and she promptly refills it. But always with the same thing!

Again, I do need to give her credit, the brown, pellet-like food she provides is palatable, if a bit unappetizing in appearance, and meets all my nutritional requirements. But she never varies her offering, and it is becoming a bit tedious.  This is in spite of the fact that her own food changes not only from day to day, but from meal to meal.

I tried to point out this disparity to her by demonstrating my interest in what she eats.  Much of it smells appealing and I believe it would be compatible with my own system.  But she failed to take the hint and instead waved her hand in front of my face as if to imply that I should refrain from close examination of her eatables.

Preposterous, of course.  I'm here to observe and study the local life forms, after all.  How can I be expected to do that if I'm not allowed access to all aspects of their daily lives?  Since my nose tells me the food eaten by the local hominids would be eatable for DPCIL agents, it seems to me the simplest method of sampling it would be to taste it.  Doing so would also help liven up my own boring fare.

But she did not seem to agree, and instead guarded her food most zealously.  I will have to redouble my efforts to obtain a sample in the future.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Who's Got The #Time?

Hey Everyone!

As I mentioned on Sunday, I've been looking back through the positivity blog tour I did with four fabulous ladies during June of last year.  While I was reading those old posts, something about the very first individual post struck me.  The post was written by the lovely and talented Barbara Chioffi, and if you'd like to read it in its entirety, which I recommend you do, you can find it here: Barbara's First Positivity Post.

As I said, the whole post is fantastic, but the part that struck me most about it is where she talked about how short life is, and how certain people are worthy of having our limited time spent on them.  Barbara drew a contrast with her words between people who build others up and people who tear others down.  I'm sure most of us know people who will bend over backwards just to make a stranger smile. Just as I'm also sure most of us know at least one person who will say or do anything or step on anyone just to gain a tiny advantage.

Since we do have such a small amount of time on this Earth, wouldn't it behoove us to be selective about who we spend that time with?  I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time with people who just want others to be happy and well than people who are always seeking a way to get ahead.  And yet, it often seems as if the troublemakers in our lives are the ones who monopolize our time.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but I think most of them probably boil down to the fact that those are the people who make the most noise.  They do dramatic things to gain attention, and it works.  I'm sure that you can, as I can, think of people like that right off the top of your head.

So, perhaps the thing to do moving forward is to stop rewarding bad behavior?  Instead of giving attention to those who hurt others and trying to reason with the unreasonable, we should shun such individuals altogether.  That way, we'll have more time to devote to the people in our lives who deserve it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

#Thoughts & #Reflections From An Underworlder

Hey Everyone,

Tomorrow is an important day in the Democratic primary elections in the US.  In honor of it, I thought I'd share a look at Petri's world, a world ruled by corporations...

Excerpt from Rainbow Dreams:
Many of the residents of Upworld were sensitive about having dealings with underworlders. The society of Upworld was extremely stratified, with an enormous gap between the lowest levels and the highest levels of income. People who lived on the lower rungs of the Upworld salary ladder were usually only a paycheck or two away from becoming underworlders themselves.

Trying to fit in better, Petri surreptitiously observed those around her and tried to ape their mannerisms. One thing she couldn't help but notice was that quite a few of her fellow pedestrians had the same sort of obvious, artificial augmentation as Per Mirna had for his eyes. Almost all of even the low-level jobs that Upworld citizens did required the tech to facilitate interfacing with the computer systems they used. It was possible to camouflage the enhancements of course, and even create them out of organic tissue. Most executives at least concealed their accessories, and many used the biotech instead of the straight tech. But those types of cosmetic upgrades were expensive, so most junior employees made do with the less sophisticated models.

Residents of Under City weren't allowed to possess that kind of tech, so anyone who lost their Upworld citizenship had their tech augmentation removed. Petri had seen people in Under City missing eyes, ears, hands, arms, legs, and other body parts. She knew that sometimes it was because they had sold part of themselves to the grinders, but now she realized that some of them were probably also people who had lost their tech. It hadn't occurred to her before because almost no one who was low enough in rank to have to use the unconcealed tech would willingly travel to the underworld.

The companies that ran the Upworld government made sure to keep the majority of the populace on the margins of survival. They needed a small, relatively stable, and educated pool from which to draw employees who they could work to death, but they also needed to maintain control. Making sure that most people were entirely occupied with making ends meet was the easiest way to keep them from pursuing a more equitable distribution of power. Any remaining energy the drones might have, the companies strove to get them to focus on investing in the belief that they were better off than the underworlders. If any citizen did have the temerity to show the slightest hint of disloyalty to or rebellion from the companies, that person would immediately be banished from Upworld and relegated to the slums of Under City.

This culture of conformity and fanatical devotion to the companies resulted in a tendency among the rank and file of Upworld to resent any effort from the underworlders to improve their situation. After all, their one comfort in life came from the fact that there was someone else who was worse off than them. Without that, it was hard for many of them to face the emptiness of their existence. So they clung to their perceived superiority fiercely, and did everything in their power to protect it.