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, October 31, 2017

The Complexities Of The Why...

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Happy Halloween!! I hope you're all having a delightfully spooky holiday. To brighten your All Hallow's Eve, I thought I'd share another peek at what Alyce is up to. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"Our records indicate there were some violent conflicts surrounding this incident," said Squid-boy.

I nodded. "There were. But the violence came from the government and from the corporation. The people protecting the water were largely peaceful in their tactics."

"If they weren't violent, what did they do?" asked Yax.

"Well, they formed a large camp near where the pipeline was being built and thousands of people congregated there." I pointed at the exhibit. "That's what you seem to be trying to portray here, but the people in the camp were there to protect the water and the rights of the native people. Not to destroy anything."

"So they just built temporary housing near where the pipeline was being built? Why would your government react violently to that?"

I snorted. "The government tends to react violently anytime anyone points out that what they're doing is wrong. But, no, they didn't just camp near the pipeline. They took action to try to stop construction. Some of them chained themselves to equipment so it couldn't be used. Some of them stood in groups, blocking the way of the construction. There were also marches to try to draw attention to what was going on. Also, after the corporation destroyed the tribe's ancestral burial ground, there was a prayer march."

"Your government allowed this corporation to disturb these people's dead? That's heartless!" cried Squid-boy.

"Why did the corporation object to prayer?" asked Yax.

"They objected to anything that brought attention to what they were doing," I answered. "And considering what the government has done to indigenous people in the past, does it really surprise you that it has no respect when it comes to native cemeteries?"

"But common decency…" objected Squid-boy.

"Isn't something our government concerns itself with too often," I interrupted.

He made a buzzing sound in the back of his throat but didn't reply.

"And all this is the result of the corruption you told us about?" asked Yax.

I nodded. "Probably. The Governor and both Senators of the state the native reservation is in have taken a lot of money from the oil and gas industry." I shrugged. "'One hand washes the other', as they say."

"And this happens often?" asked Squid-boy.

I sighed. "It used to happen all the time, then the laws got stricter and the protections against corporate abuse got stronger. But lately the laws have been going in the other direction again." I gestured at the exhibit, again. "What happened here with private corporate security working hand in glove with the police reminds me a lot of what the Pinkerton Gang used to get away with. These fossil fuel companies are pretty aggressive when it comes to fighting dirty to get what they want from land that belongs to other people. Heck, the fracking boys have even been after me and my land."

"After you? They're trying to take your property?" asked Yax.

"What is this 'Pinkerton Gang'?" asked Squid-boy.

"They're trying to force me to give them permission to put a pipeline under my land. I don't want to, but they're pretty persistent."

"Will they win?"

I looked at Yax and shrugged. "Dunno. I like to think I can protect what's mine, but it's hard to fight people who have billions of dollars and the government behind them. I guess it'll depend on if the people in my country are able to take back control of our government or if we fold and just let the corporations run everything."

"Which do you think will happen?"

I shrugged again. "The jury's still out. Things like this," I pointed at the exhibit that had already been shifted to better show how a group of regular citizens had joined together in peace to stand up against those who wanted to take their rights from them, "will answer that question."

I turned to Squid-boy who was looking at the exhibit with a strange expression on his face. When he realized I was looking at him, he turned his eyes to meet mine. "Your species is at an interesting crossroads. You are a complex people, capable of both astonishing selflessness and devastating selfishness. I hope, for your sake, that the better parts of your nature prevail."

I reached down to pat him on his back. "Me too, Squid-boy. Me too." I took a last look at the representation of some of my fellow citizens' stand against tyranny and turned away.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. With all the calls from the Democratic Party leadership for "unity," I thought this was important. Obviously, they don't want unity; they want obedience. And I, for one, am not interested in obeying people who are supposed to work for me. Please take a few minutes to watch this video, and then click on the links below to sign the petition telling the DNC to stop trying to suppress the Will of The People and then check out the candidates he's talking about. Since the powers that be are so set against giving us what we need, it's up to us to promote and support the people who will if we have any hope of getting actual change. So, watch, share, and then, please, think about what else you might be able to do to help this movement. It's our country; it's up to us to take it back from the oligarchy. Peace!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Easy Cheesy Potato Casserole #Recipe!

Hey Everyone! :-)

Today, I'd like to share one of my favorite cheesy potato recipes with you. Enjoy! :-)

10 baking potatoes peeled and sliced thin
3 large tomatoes sliced
2 onions sliced thin
2 cups mozzarella and cheddar cheese mix shredded (or your favorite melty cheese combo)
1 4 oz package garlic herb cream cheese spread
1/4 cup Pecorino Ramano cheese grated
2 cups milk
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, melt three tablespoons of butter and add the onions. Sautee until onions caramelize. Remove the onions and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the flour and stir together continuously until flour browns. Add milk, salt, and a good amount of black pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add shredded cheese mix a handful at a time, stirring continuously, until all of it is melted and the sauce is smooth.

In a buttered baking dish, spread a layer of the sliced potatoes. Spread with herb cheese spread and sprinkle with black pepper. Add a layer of sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with Pecorino Ramano. Ladle a little of the sauce over it. Repeat for as many layers as you have ingredients for, ending with a layer of potatoes. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the last of the Pecorino Ramano.

Bake casserole for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until top is golden brown, potatoes are soft, and center is bubbly. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Spooktacular #Author #Giveaway! $150 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Halloween!  Please take a moment to check out the Spooktacular Author Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and 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, October 27, 2017

Exploring #Taboos And #Trust ;-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Happy Friday!  Today, I thought I'd help you start the weekend off right with a little snippet from the Winter Court. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt From Captivated By The Winter King:
Turning back to his mate, he said, "Come here." When she approached, he ordered, "Remove your clothing."

In spite of the warmer air, Kate shivered. There was something deliciously naughty about the idea of being naked outside. They were alone and the area was remote, but it was not a private space. Anyone might happen by.

Reaching behind her neck, she tugged at the closure that sealed the dress in back. It had been spelled to release when she pulled at it, and the bodice dropped away from her body. Sliding the sleeves down her arms, she allowed it to pool at her waist as she unfastened the top of the skirt. Once freed, she allowed the dress to fall to the ground and stepped out of it. Seeing that Ankou held his hand out for it, she picked it up and handed it to him.

Standing under the cloudless sky in nothing but her lacy underwear, she felt free. She looked at her mate, who just raised his eyebrows and said, "Those as well."

After sliding the bra straps down her arms, she reached behind herself to unhook it. The cool air caressed her skin and her nipples puckered. She shivered as she handed the bra to Ankou. Taking a deep breath, she removed her boots and stockings. The cold of the snow under her feet was noticeable, but not unbearable. She realized Ankou was using magic to protect her there as well and she smiled. Sliding her panties down her legs, she stepped out of them and handed them to her mate.

"Stay there," ordered Ankou, who took Kate's clothing and laid it on the platform they had slept on to keep it from getting wet in the snow. Walking around the small clearing, he looked for things he could use. He found the remnants of a tree that had broken and fell. Using magic, he smoothed and shaped the stump into a wooden platform. After making sure the surface was polished and free of any splinters or sharp edges, he ordered Kate to join him.

As she padded across the snow, Kate couldn't help but wonder what Ankou had planned. Looking at the stump he had prepared, she was confused. It looked sturdy and came up to her belly button, but she didn't see what it could be used for.

Walking a few feet away, Ankou selected a large stick from the pile of wood Kate had collected the night before. Using magic again, he shaped it into a long, thin, smooth cane. He used both hands to bend it, testing how much give was in the wood. Satisfied, he returned to where his Anamchara waited for him.

When Kate saw what Ankou had in his hand, her eyes widened. Did he intend to use that on her? Searching his face, she found no clues in his blank expression.

Standing in front of her, the Winter king saw the trepidation in his mate's eyes. Cupping his hand behind her head, he threaded his fingers through her hair and drew her body against his. He leaned down, claiming her lips in a possessive kiss. Skimming his lips along her cheek, he nipped at her ear and whispered, "Do you trust me?"

Want more? Join Kate and Ankou in exploring the magic of Fairie by grabbing your copy here:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: In The Presence Of Knowing by Valarie Savage Kinney!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Valarie Kinney in my APC spotlight, today! Valarie is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her fantasy romance novel, In The Presence of Knowing, looks great! Here's the description:
Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
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, October 25, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 628

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-Twenty-Eight:
Lately, my hominid-servant has been rather remiss in ensuring that the level of food in my bowl does not fall below acceptable levels. In the past, the amount of food in my bowl remained fairly consistent; it was only the lack of variety that was a problem. But now, I often find myself wondering if she intends to starve me to death!

I'm not certain she is fully aware of the issue, however. It seems to me that the problem is the result of the rate at which the juvenile felid consumes food. I believe my hominid-servant may not have taken into account the additional demands on the food supply that have resulted from his addition to my household. After all, hominids are not terribly bright.

Since the dangerously low levels of food may simply be the result of inattention on my hominid-servant's part, I have attempted to bring this problem to her notice by sitting by my food bowl and vocalizing loudly. My hominid-servant remains resistant to any attempt to teach her to communicate properly, so I have resorted to utilizing frequencies for my vocalizations that my calculations indicate are painfully piercing to hominid hearing and uttering them at the maximum decibel level that my vocal cords are capable of producing.

In spite of my best efforts, however, my hominid-servant remains stubbornly obtuse. The only response I have been able to provoke from her is to have her pet my head and call me "noisy." When I then run to my bowl, she just smiles and points at it and tells me to "eat up." Argh! If I could be assured of sufficient food availability I would already have "eaten up!"

At this point, I despair of ever discovering any evidence of true intelligence in the hominid species. On a more practical note, I will continue to report back on the food levels maintained in my bowl by my hominid-servant and will issue an immediate alert should they reach critical lows. Assuming, of course, that hunger has not rendered me too weak to operate my recording equipment.

Argh! Hominids! ;-) 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, October 24, 2017

Say What You Mean

Hey Everyone!! :-)

As many of you probably know, there's an ongoing debate about healthcare in this country. The system we have now doesn't work but it replaced a system that worked even worse than the current one. There are lots of ideas floating around about how to make things better, but they basically boil down to two sides. One side, the Republicans, want a free-for-all where only the rich are able to afford health coverage and people who have serious illnesses or chronic conditions would simply be denied access to healthcare. The other side, Bernie Sanders and his supporters, advocates for a Medicare For All type system where everyone would be covered under a government insurance plan, which would be paid for by taxes.

The arguments against what the Republicans want should be fairly obvious. How the so-called "Christian Party" can justify wanting to deny healthcare to sick people is beyond me; I find the notion morally repugnant. However, some of the questions surrounding the Medicare For All option have, in my opinion, a bit more merit. IE: How would it be paid for? How would it be administered? What kind of infrastructure would need to be created for it? As our Idiot In Chief recently discovered, healthcare is an incredibly complicated issue with multiple arguments all around. I know, who'da thunk it? There are answers for some of these questions, but others do remain unanswered. Personally, I think there are reasonable answers for them; it will just take the political will on the part of our elected officials to implement those answers.

But I'm not going to get into the weeds on the whole debate, right now. Though I may go through all of it in a later post, I haven't decided yet. But, today, I just want to address one particularly loathsome argument against Medicare For All that I keep hearing. Namely, the "but what about the wait times?" argument. This argument refers to the idea that if healthcare becomes available for everyone, then the amount of time patients will have to wait to get a doctor's appointment will increase. The evidence used to support this argument is the supposed problems other countries that have universal healthcare systems have with this issue. So, first, I'll give you some basic facts on the assumption that some people may voice this complaint out of ignorance. And then I'll lay out exactly why I find this argument so disgusting.

Let's start with defining exactly what the Medicare For All side is proposing. The Bill that Bernie Sanders introduced is literally an expansion of the Medicare program. It would increase taxes, mainly on the rich, to pay for being able to cover every US citizen under Medicare. It is not, as some have suggested, "socialized medicine." A system like what they have in the UK is more like socialized medicine, with all health providers being employees of the government. I'm not knocking the UK's health system, it's certainly far superior to what we have now in the states, but that's not what Bernie Sanders, or anyone else in the federal government, as far as I know, is proposing.

Just like with the Medicare program right now, all health providers would remain employees in the private sector. If a doctor works for a practice, or owns their own practice, they would still work for their practice or own that practice. If a doctor works for a hospital or a health system like Kaiser Permanente, they would still work for that hospital or health system. None of that would change. Just like with Medicare right now, it would just be a matter of who pays the bills, not a matter of who provides the treatment.

Could some doctors decide not to accept patients with Medicare coverage? They could; some do that now. And maybe some of the ultra-exclusive "Beverly Hills doctors" would make that choice. But if virtually every patient available to them has Medicare, then 99.9% of doctors will choose to accept it. After all, it would certainly be easier for them not having to juggle demands from multiple insurance companies and only having to train their staff to produce billing documents the way Medicare wants them done. That right there would save most practices a lot of time and money, which could then be reflected in the prices.

Since the changes a Medicare For All system would result in would affect only the billing aspects of healthcare, and nothing would change about the practices or the conditions of employment for the providers, we aren't talking about the government dictating doctors' plans of care for their patients or prescribed treatments. Nor are we talking about the government deciding what doctors a patient may or may not see. In fact, since most doctors will accept Medicare, patients will have even more choice with regards to what doctor they see because they won't be limited to private insurance companies' "in-network providers." So there would be greater freedom for both doctors and patients when it comes to deciding on what choices are best for their particular health situation. In fact, as it stands right now, Medicare is the most popular government-run program in the United States, by far, with a greater than 77% approval rating. Try finding a private health insurance company with an approval rating that high.

Now that we've established what it is we're talking about, let's look at the "evidence" used to support the argument that other countries with universal healthcare have delays in patient care. We'll start by acknowledging that in some cases it is true. In some countries with universal healthcare some patients with non-emergency health concerns experience delays in treatment. Emergencies are treated without delay, unlike in this country where someone with an emergency health issue but no health coverage will only be "stabilized" before being turned away from further treatment.

Right now, people in the US who don't have insurance aren't able to access expensive or long-term treatments for diseases like cancer or certain chronic illnesses. If they go to an emergency room, they'll be "stabilized," but they won't be offered the ongoing treatment they need. That doesn't happen in countries with universal healthcare. A patient who needs a joint replacement might have to wait to get it, which is certainly unpleasant for them and not at all ideal, but they won't die from their condition. And, keep in mind, an uninsured person in the US wouldn't be able to get that joint replaced at all.

So, yes, sometimes there are delays in patients being able to see a doctor. It happens in other countries with universal healthcare systems, and it also happens here, right now. It's basically a matter of there not being enough doctors in certain specialties for the number of patients who need their assistance. Now, that is a problem, no question. There are ways we could tweak the system to help alleviate this problem -- expanding the roles and authority of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, counselors, etc, providing free public higher education for people who want to become doctors, incentivizing doctors to move to under-served areas, etc -- but as of right now it is a problem.

But here's the crux of the matter, the argument that universal healthcare systems are bad because wait times might increase is essentially saying it's better to just deny healthcare to some people so that other people won't be inconvenienced. Because, as I pointed out earlier, an expansion of the Medicare system doesn't change anything except who pays the bills. The number of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, urgent care centers, etc. will all stay the same. The only thing that changes is who pays the bills, and so who is able to get the treatment they need.

Now, maybe you really do think it's okay to deny healthcare to millions of people just so that you won't face the possibility of maybe being inconvenienced at some point. According to one study conducted by Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, nearly 45,000 people die in the US every year due to a lack of health insurance, but maybe you think that's a small price to pay so that you won't possibly be asked to wait at some point. Okay, fair enough. But be honest about what it is you're arguing for. If you think it's a good idea for other people to die so that they don't take away a doctor's time from you, then say so. Acknowledge what you're saying and openly embrace the ramifications of it. In short, stop hiding behind coded language and say what you mean: you value your convenience over other people's lives.

Frankly, if that's how you feel, I think you're a despicable human being. But it's a free country and you can be despicable if you want to be. Personally, I'm willing to accept the possibility that at some point I might have to wait for a non-urgent treatment so that millions of my fellow Americans will be able to get the care that they need, but that's just me. I guess everyone will have to make that decision for themselves.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. I think this video does a good job of explaining how fucked we all are when it comes to healthcare thanks to our Idiot in Chief unilaterally deciding that what the American public wants doesn't matter because it makes him look bad. If you live in the US and you have any health issues, or anyone you love has any health issues, this will impact you. So, if you don't want to decide between dying or going bankrupt, you might want to call and/or write your Congress people and tell them to fix it. Now.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Split Pea #Soup In A #Crockpot #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

With the cooler weather, I thought I'd share another stick-to-your-ribs recipe. Enjoy!! :-)

2 cups green dry split peas
8 cups water or vegetable broth
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
2 potatoes peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 onions diced
5 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp sage
3 tsp thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the split peas, water or broth, bouillon cubes, potatoes, dry seasonings, and bay leaves in the crock-pot, cover, and set to high.  In a skillet, put the olive oil, celery, carrots, and onion and saute until the vegetables start to soften. Continue to stir until the onions begin to caramelize and then add the garlic and stir to distribute. Heat the garlic and then stir in the wine to deglaze the pan. Simmer it to allow it to reduce slightly. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender and pulse until pureed. Pour the vegetable puree into the crock-pot and stir to thoroughly mix. Make sure the bouillon cubes break up and are distributed evenly. Cover and continue to cook on high for 5-6 hours or until split peas are soft. Remove the bay leaves and serve the soup hot with crusty bread.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spooktacular #Author #Giveaway! $150 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Halloween!  Please take a moment to check out the Spooktacular Author Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and 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, October 20, 2017

But It's All So #Complicated!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back with another peek at what Alyce is up to, today. Whoever knew it could all be so complicated? ;-) Enjoy!

Excerpt from science fiction satire novel:
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. At least, not usually."

"What do you mean?"

I pointed at the office scene. "There are laws prohibiting that kind of thing. Some politicians might break them, 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 that 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 PACs ̶ Political Action Committees ̶ that 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. And 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."

"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 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."

"It's a lot of things that combine to allow the status quo to continue. First, people are pretty busy just trying to make a living. It's hard for most people to take the time to really look into what's going on and untangle it all. Especially, since, as I said, the mainstream media doesn't do anything to enlighten the public because the companies that own them are often involved in the corruption."

"Since people are so busy, they're mostly dependent on what they hear on the news. And, generally speaking, the news just reports what politicians say. It's rare that they do any fact-checking or challenge the assertions politicians make. So a lot of people just think that what the politicians say is true."

"But it often isn't true. A lot of them pretend that there's no scientific evidence showing that the pollution damages the planet or that the changes in the climate aren't caused by human activity. They lie and claim that contaminated water doesn't make people ill, that there's some other reason for people who live in areas where the water is polluted to be sick. Or they lie and say the water isn't contaminated at all and try to prevent anyone from testing it, or if it is tested they try to prevent the test results from becoming public."

"That's incredible!" cried Yax. "How can anyone believe them?"

"Some people believe them because they don't understand the science and they don't want to believe the government would lie to them. Most people don't believe them, but they're too busy to think about it much if it doesn't affect them directly. And, again, the mainstream media doesn't do anything to bring it to their attention. Anyone who does try to bring public awareness to these problems is discredited as hysterical or unreliable or biased against business. Corporations spend a lot of money ensuring that politicians won't regulate them and they don't want public outcry to override their bribes, so they work pretty hard to make sure that people don't pay attention to what they're doing."

"But I do not understand, how do they hide it? The effects of their actions are being felt by your entire planet," interjected Squid-boy waving his tentacles around his head.

I shrugged. "The effects of climate change are just starting to be felt by most people. And it's not as if what is happening is new; it's just more intense and happening more often. Storms like hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts, floods, wildfires, these are all things that have always happened. It's easy for politicians to lie and say that just because the storms are larger and more frequent, or the wildfires happen more often and in more places, that isn't evidence of climate change. Or, if it is, that it isn't caused by anything humans are doing."

Squid-boy made a gurgling sound. "But that is patently absurd! Even your own scientists are in agreement; the evidence is overwhelming that the pollutants your species has been dumping into the environment for more than a century is a direct cause of the changes in your planetary climate. No rational dispute of these facts can exist!"

I snorted. "And what ever gave you the idea that human beings are rational, sugar? A lot of people don't want to believe it because their political opponents say it's true. And the politicians they like say it isn't true. And the media they listen to either says it isn't true or doesn't talk about it at all."

"So they disregard evidence and deny facts? That's nonsensical!" exclaimed Yax.

I gave him a wry smile. "Welcome to America."

Now Out:
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2J40wLq
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2UODFWv

Thursday, October 19, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: The Pharaoh's Destiny by Markie Madden!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Markie Madden in my APC spotlight, today! Markie is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her Egyptian historical romance novel, The Pharaoh's Destiny, looks great! Here's the description:
The year is 1477 B.C.E. and history is about to change…
Hatshepsut, the Great King’s Wife, is thrust into a world of intrigue and politics when her husband, Pharaoh Thutmose, dies suddenly, leaving Egypt with an heir who is barely two years old. The Queen must step into the role of leader, and there are few whom she can trust.
When Hatshepsut is crowned as Pharaoh, she grooms her daughter, Neferure, to take the place of heir, rather than Thutmose’s infant son from another woman. Neferure, though young, is still older than the boy who should by all rights be king.
The future of Egypt rests in the hands of a single woman, the most powerful woman in the ancient world. Can Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s people accept her unorthodox reign, and her plans to usurp the men’s place as rulers of a Kingdom, decreeing that only women are suitable leaders?
Sound good?  If you think you might enjoy this, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#October2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's the 18th again, so I'm back with my monthly #IndieBooksBeSeen indie author books book review. Enjoy! :-)

Legend of the Walking Dead byJoy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko:

Time-travelers? Walking dead? Alternate but parallel worlds? Sometimes it's hard to keep track of where the folklore ends and the theoretical physics begins. This novel seems to blend them seamlessly, and in doing so weaves a riveting story about a boy and his mother and their journey through time and space...without ever leaving their small village. I wasn't at all familiar with Nigerian folklore before reading this book, but now I want to know more. Five stars and I hope the author writes more stories like this.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 623

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-Twenty-Three:
I have once again turned my attention to an effort to train my hominid-servant in how to give proper homage to her DPCIL overseer. This time, instead of attempting to fight her natural inclinations towards her electronic devices, I have decided to attempt to incorporate my presence into her usual routine. This tactic has been surprisingly effective.

I have found that if, instead of trying to disrupt her ability to use the devices, I instead insinuate myself next to her while she uses them, it is quite likely that she will divert her attention, at least briefly, to give me the acknowledgement and appreciation I deserve. Though, she quickly returns to her devices, I am hopeful that with persistence I will be able to expand the amount of time she spends focused on me instead of them. Eventually, I believe I will be able to coax her into abandoning the devices entirely.

Towards this end, I reward my hominid-servant for responding to my overtures by liberally engaging the P.U.R.R. and also with the slow-blink code of satisfaction that she seems to at least marginally comprehend. Since efforts to forcefully redirect my hominid-servant's attention proved to be an unmitigated failure, I will report back often on the efficacy of this gentler method of persuasion. Perhaps, this will be the key to allow DPCIL agents everywhere to better control their hominid-servants.

Awww! Maybe hominids are trainable. ;-) 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!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This is a rather disgusting bit of hypocrisy that the mainstream media has largely ignored. So, I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch it and think about it next time you hear a politician claim the US needs to invade a new country because the government there has horrible policies.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lentil Soup In A #Crockpot #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!

Today, I've got a recipe to help warm you up on those cool Autumn nights. :-)

8 cups water
2 cups dry lentils
2 onions chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots diced
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup spinach rinsed and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery in a skillet and saute until the vegetables get soft and the onions start to caramelize. Add the garlic and stir to distribute it, and then transfer the vegetables to a crock-pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the lentils are soft. Remove bay leaf and serve the soup hot with crusty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spooktacular #Author #Giveaway! $150 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Halloween!  Please take a moment to check out the Spooktacular Author Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and 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, October 13, 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, October 12, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Legend Of The Boy In The Window by Toi Thomas!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Toinette Thomas in my APC spotlight, today! Toinette is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her science fiction short story collection, Legend of the Boy in the Window and Other Short Stories, looks great! Here's the description:
It’s all about the boy…
The boy who must destroy the world so he can save humanity.
The boy who sweeps the girl off her feet.
The boy who brings two lovers together.
The boy who grows into a bad man and changes a woman’s life.
The boy who won’t let death stop him from getting what he wants.
Everything spanning from science fiction, paranormal, romance, and psychological thriller is here within the pages of this book.
Which of these boys will capture your sense of wonder, rage, romance, or perhaps even fear?
You decide.
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, October 11, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 619

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-Nineteen:
Tranquility has finally returned to my domicile, as my hominid-servant's obsession with moving things has finally calmed, once again. Unfortunately, the juvenile felid has decided to take this opportunity to create mayhem of his own. Apparently, no one in the domicile is capable of grasping the importance of my research!

The small irritation has taken to racing through my domicile at random times, running over anyone who happens to be in his path and pouncing on anything that moves. This is most distracting when I am attempting to concentrate on my studies. Especially, since his activities often have the effect of frightening off the subjects I am attempting to observe.

Just this morning, I was recording a fascinating courtship ritual of the small avians that frequent the area immediately outside my domicile. Two of the strange creatures were engaged in a breathtaking display of aerial acrobatics, which culminated in the male of the pair cornering the female in a tree. He seemed determined to initiate copulation, but she steadfastly refused and eventually escaped his attentions.

But just as it appeared the male might renew his pursuit, the tiny pest ran head first into the glass of the portal, causing a loud thwacking noise to echo across the area outside my domicile, and frightening the avians away.

I attempted to reprimand my young companion on showing the proper respect for scientific inquiry, but I'm afraid my words fell on deaf ears. No sooner had he recovered from having stunned himself with the impact of his head against the glass, then he was once again racing through my domicile. I can't help but wonder if other DPCIL agents are forced to work among such philistines.

Does no one respect science anymore? ;-) 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, October 10, 2017

Getting What We Need

Hey Everyone! :-)

The other day, I spent a morning calling around to doctors' offices, trying to find a new doctor. And would anyone like to guess what the first question from every single receptionist I spoke to was? I bet you don't even need three guesses; I bet everyone reading this can get it right on one try: What insurance do you have?

Yep, that's right. They didn't ask about the reason I wanted an appointment, when was the last time I saw a doctor, what time of day or day of the week might be convenient, or even my name. Nope. The one and only thing they wanted to know was what kind of insurance I have.

And you know what? I don't even blame those receptionists. Not one little bit. For one thing, if they make an appointment for someone who doesn't have insurance or who has insurance that doesn't have a contract with their practice, they're the person the patient will be screaming at when they get their bill.

Plus, I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the doctors they work for all require that they ask that question first. And I don't blame the doctors for that, either. I'm sure the vast majority of them are up to their eyeballs in student loans, and they need to get paid. And, even if they aren't underwater on loans, I don't begrudge someone who spent the better part of two decades learning their profession getting paid for their work. That's only fair.

Now, I am so, so, so fortunate, privileged, blessed, whatever you want to call it, and I actually do have insurance. It's really shitty insurance that hardly covers anything but costs an arm and a leg, and I can't really afford it. But I do have it. And just having it is enough.

It was like magic. I could almost hear them straightening in their chairs and focusing their attention the moment they heard the name of my insurance. The fact that I could give them a policy number was like a golden ticket that changed me from a problem to a person.

Again, I don't blame them. They didn't create this shitty system, and I shudder to think how many times they've been yelled at by people who were desperate for medical care that they were unable to access. It isn't easy to be blamed for things that aren't your fault and that you have no control over, day in and day out. I've worked in enough customer service jobs to know what that feels like. Hell, if I had to guess, I'd say the majority of the people I spoke to would welcome a change in our healthcare system that would allow them to stop asking that question.

No, I don't blame them at all. The people I blame are the people who oppose the change we need to ensure every US citizen can receive the healthcare they need, namely moving to a single-payer system. I blame the people who selfishly say, "I've got mine, so fuck everyone else." I blame the politicians who are more concerned with serving the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that gave them money than they are with doing what's best for the American people.

This country needs a single-payer healthcare system, and we need it now. If everyone has the same healthcare coverage, then doctors will finally be able to prioritize based on patients' medical needs instead of the size of their wallets. And if our elected representatives won't give us what we need, then it's time to replace them with some who will.


#SinglePayerNow #MedicareForAll #EveryYearIsAnElectionYear #VoteLocal #VoteState #BrandNewCongress #GrassrootsRising

Monday, October 9, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. There's actually a couple of videos I think are really important for everyone to know about. They both have to do with the ongoing debacle in St. Lois, which unless you watch or read online news sources, you probably know nothing about. It borders on criminal the way the mainstream media hides important stories from us, and the fact that police are now arresting online journalists with impunity doesn't bode well for the future of our democracy. Anyway, these videos are a little bit long, but they're worth the time, so please consider taking a few minutes to watch them all the way through. Peace!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Button Soup #Recipe! ;-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got another recipe for you, today...sort of. ;-)  First, a story. This one isn't one of my stories. This is an old story; an old folk tale. I don't know who originally came up with it, but I've heard several versions. The title I first heard it called was Button Soup, but I've heard it called Stone Soup and a couple of other titles, too.

It's about a town miser, an Ebeneezer Scrooge-type character, who lives in a town where a lot of people are starving. He's the only one who has money, so the rest of the town comes to beg for food, but he claims he doesn't have any. So, they write to his niece (or sister or other close relative, depending on the version) who comes for a visit. He's inhospitable and tells her she should leave because he has nothing to feed her. She tells him all she needs is a single button (or pebble or ax head, depending on the version) and she can make a delicious, filling soup.

Intrigued, the miser gives her a button, which she puts in a great big soup pot with a lot of water. He's fascinated to find out how this is going to turn into soup, so he stays with her as she stirs the pot. She makes small talk and eventually mentions that while the soup will be fine as it is, it would be an awful lot better if she just had a little salt. He thinks that over and then allows how while he doesn't have any food, he does have a bit of salt put aside. So he brings it to her and she adds it to the pot and keeps stirring.

This goes on for a while, and every now and again she mentions that if she just had one thing - an onion, a potato, a ham bone, a carrot, and on and on - the soup would be just that much better. And each time he claims he has no food, but he might have a little of that one thing put aside. Eventually, she has a ginormous pot of soup.

Then, she tells him the only thing the soup needs is some friends to share it with. So, they invite the whole town, and all the starving people get to eat. The end.

Anyway, Button Soup is what I call it when I have a bunch of bits and bobs left over and I throw them all together into a single dish to make something. Because anything can go into button soup, it just depends what you happen to have on hand.

So, that's my recipe for you, today. Take a look in your fridge, freezer, and pantry and see what you have that needs to be used up.  Then, use a little imagination and create something yummy. It doesn't have to be soup, though soup is a good vehicle for such a recipe, it can be a casserole, a stir fry, a hash, or whatever will fit your leftovers. And, to finish it off, why not invite a friend over and share? Bon Appetit! :-)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Spooktacular #Author #Giveaway! $150 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Halloween!  Please take a moment to check out the Spooktacular Author Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and 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, October 6, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: Dragon Dreamer by J. S. Burke!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Jenny Burke in my APC spotlight, today! Jenny is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her science fantasy novel, Dragon Dreamer, looks great! Here's the description:
Arak is a misfit dragon called "Dreamer". Determined to prove himself he leaves on a dangerous quest, is caught in a fierce sea-storm, and crashes on ice. Wounded and alone he faces death. Then a fearless undersea shape-shifter named Scree heals him and an unlikely friendship begins. When an undersea volcano erupts it triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. Can Arak use his unique talents to save the dragons?
Sound good?  If you think you might enjoy this, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: Thursday's Child By Jolie Mason With #Bonus #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

My friend, Jolie Mason, is releasing a new book this week and she wanted to share a little treat with you that was inspired by her book. Jolie, take it away! :-)

Met Cuisine

Hello, everyone! I’m Char Hamilton, and this is Met Cuisine. Today, we’re preparing a manly favorite, Cheeseburger Quiche, and here to help me is my guest, the hero of the Met this morning, Detective Hayden Thursday. Thank you so much for appearing on the show today.

Thursday: Thank you for having me on.

Hamilton: And you dress so practically. I love it, darling. Now, let’s get right to it, shall we? For the audience at home, here’s our recipe.

1lb Ground Beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
4 eggs
½ cup mayo
½ cup skim milk
2 tbsp of flour
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt.
¼ tsp pepper
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided.
deep dish pie shell (9 inch)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a skillet, brown ground beef and onion; drain and set aside.
3. In a bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the mayo, milk, flour, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Stir in beef mixture and 1 cup cheese.
5. Pour mixture into pie shell.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until eggs are firm.

Hamilton: As you can see, this is simple, so simple. Detective, if you could preheat our oven for us. Thank you, darling. So, you don’t have an easy job, I know. How do you cope with the pressure of home/work balance?

Thursday: Well, I suppose I’m not very good at it. I work a lot. I have two fish, though. Paisley and Delilah. They’re really big fish, so it’s kind of like having a dog… sort of.

(Hamilton continues browning her beef)

Thursday: My partner is like my family. He and his wife are the best. I eat there a lot.

Hamilton: Now, we whisk together the egg mixture until it’s nicely blended. You eat at your partner’s house all the time, dear? Do you cook at all?

Thursday (blushing): Not really. I make sandwiches. I make great sandwiches. (laughter)

Hamilton: (looks at the camera) Well, even the detective can make this dish. (Hands Thursday the bowl and whisk)

Thursday: Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

Hamilton: (prepares the pie crust and pours the ground beef into it) Now we’re going to evenly layer this beautiful cheese throughout the quiche. Keep it even. Detective pour in our quiche.

Thursday: Are you sure you want me to do it?

Hamilton: Of course, darling. It’s not quantum physics.

(Thursday moves closer to pie pan and trips on wires) (more laughter)

Hamilton: Oh, dear. Well, she tried to warn me. Almost anyone can make this Cheeseburger Quiche. Thank you for being here, Detective. It was a good effort. (awkwardly pats Thursday on shoulder)

Thursday: No, thank you. Do you have somewhere I can change?