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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 694

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-Ninety-Four:
Despite my many reservations about having so many hominids in my domicile, it was clear that the canid did not share them. In a shameless display of self-abasement, the creature begged and cavorted among the hominids for both food and attention. Frankly, it was embarrassing to watch, though I cannot argue with his success rate. Still, I cannot foresee such methods ever being employed by a DPCIL Agent; we have far too much dignity to resort to such disgraceful tactics.

The juvenile felid, on the other hand, clearly shared my qualms, and so spent the majority of the evening in full retreat beneath my hominid-servant's sleeping platform. Since none of the invading hominids entered that room, I must admit that it proved a safe refuge for my young companion. However, due to the removed nature of the position, I cannot believe he was able to gather much useful information regarding this particular hominid ritual. Overall, I believe that I was the only one who found an acceptable compromise between the two extremes preferred by my compatriots.

Well, was the superiority of DPCIL Agents ever in doubt? ;-) 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, February 27, 2018

Fixing The Bug In The System

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
I nodded. "And this barely even scratches the surface. The color of a person's skin, or the country that they or their ancestors originally came from, can affect not only their chances of getting a job, but also where they are able to live, what schools they and their children have access to, what jobs they have available to apply for in the first place, and how society, in general, interacts with them. I've already told you a bit about how a person with darker colored skin is more likely to be treated unfairly by the police and the courts, but that's just the beginning. Like I said, this kind of unconscious societal bias colors almost every aspect of life for people with darker colored skin."

"I find it hard that your people are so willing to squander their resources that way. Especially, when the reason is so absurd."

I shrugged. "Humans can be exceptionally stupid, sometimes."

"And none of the people with lighter colored skin are willing to combat this miasma of inequality your society exists in?" asked Squid-boy.

"Some are willing to fight it. Others refuse to even acknowledge that change is necessary. And some of those become actively hostile towards anyone who points out that inequality in the system exists."

"How can they deny the existence of a problem that affects so many?" asked Yax.

"Because it doesn't affect them. And it doesn't affect their close friends and relatives. And the system the way it is allows them to have an unfair advantage over other people that they don't want to give up. It's what has become known as 'privilege' and a lot of people are heavily invested in maintaining their privilege."

"That's incredibly selfish and short-sighted of them. Allowing for the maximization of the potential of every individual benefits society as a whole, which improves conditions for everyone," observed the tall alien.

I shrugged. "I agree with you. But you also have to understand that it's hard to explain to people who have almost nothing that they are privileged, even when it's the truth. Many of the people who are the most obstinate in their refusal to acknowledge the systemic inequality are also among the poorest members of society. It's much easier, not to mention safer, for them to blame those who are even worse off than them for all the ills of society than it is for them to recognize the truth."

"Which is?" asked Squid-boy.

"That if anyone is preventing them from getting ahead, it isn't the people who are even more disenfranchised than they are. It isn't the immigrants, the poor people who live in a different part of the country, or the people with different colored skin than them who have rigged the system against them. It's the people in power, the people with money and influence, who have arranged things so that poor people never seem to catch a break. That if they really want to do better for themselves and their families, they'd be much better served by joining forces with the people they look down on and working together to make all of their lives better."

"So it all goes back to the divisions created by the power structure in your society in order to maintain that power," said Yax.

"Yes and no. There are plenty of rich people who are just as hostile about acknowledging that there's systemic bias and that they are the beneficiaries of privilege, but much of it goes back to those in power working to divide people so that they can control them. Honestly, that's something you'll find to be true of pretty much every injustice in our society."

"Will your people ever succeed in fixing that bug in the system?" asked Squid-boy.

I shrugged. "Like I said before, sugar, that's exactly the question that's being decided right now. The more people come together to protest and non-violently resist tyranny, the more likely it is that we'll be able to take back control of our government and put into place a system that's fair for everyone. But it won't be a short or easy fight, and even if we win we'll still have to be vigilant to keep the corruption from getting back in. So, it will depend on if we, as a people, can muster the necessary energy and determination, or not."

Monday, February 26, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This is a story that I think has been largely lost in the background with the current outrage over the fact that large numbers of American citizens continue to be slaughtered in hails of gunfire because our elected representatives can't seem to pull their heads out of their donors' asses long enough to pass sensible gun legislation. And the fact that, since the so-called adults in this country can't seem to get our acts together to do something about the problem represented by unregulated access to assault weapons, our children have now been forced to take action. But I digress.

This is also a really important story that, as I said, has for the most part gone unremarked upon. Frankly, I think another economic crash is inevitable, at this point. It's really just a matter, now, of how deep a hole we're going to have to climb back out of again. And legislation like this just sets the digging into overdrive. So, if you would rather not face another depression, you might want to contact your Congresspeople and tell them to vote against this giveaway to Big Banks and Wall Street. Peace!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

#Wintertime Lentil #Soup #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I've got a hearty soup recipe to warm you up on these cold winter nights. Enjoy! :-)

3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup brown lentils
4 leeks chopped
1 onion chopped
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
2 potatoes peeled and chopped
2 cups kale chopped
5 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp thyme
1/4 cup pecorino romano grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil, onions, and leeks and saute until the vegetables soften. Add the garlic, bay leaves, and butter and continue to saute until the onions start to brown. Add the lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stock and stir to combine. Add the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper, and thyme and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the lentils and potatoes soften, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the kale and cheese. Stir until cheese melts completely and remove from heat. Serve hot with a side of crusty bread.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

#Lucky #Reads #StPatricksDay #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for St. Patricks's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Lucky Reads St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 30 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 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, February 23, 2018

A #Royal #Wedding In The Heart Of #Summer!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I know it's the middle of winter and you're all probably as sick of the cold, yucky weather as I am, so I thought I'd give you all a little taste of summer. Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Intrigue In The Summer Court:
Just then, the queen stepped up onto the dais at the center of the room. For the first time in Jillian's memory, the royal Elf appeared at a Court function without the Summer crown adorning her beautiful, red hair. She bowed to the assembled Fae and then, in a gesture ripe with symbolism, she moved behind the two thrones that had been placed on the stage and stepped off the platform to blend with the crowd.

As the queen stepped down, Roni and Uaine both stepped onto the dais and sat side by side in the thrones. The chairs themselves were deceptively simple, seeming to have been made of plain wood. It was only when the two royals sat in them that the genius of their construction became apparent. In spite of the vast differences in physical proportion between the prince and princess, the thrones somehow made them appear to be of equal size. Once again, the symbolic meaning was clear: the two would rule as equals, with neither more important than the other.

The clothing they wore was also full of meaningful imagery. The gown the princess wore mirrored the shifting red/gold/orange tones of the stone from which the throne room had been constructed. The colors turning her skin a golden brown and her hair into a glowing fiery halo. Jillian had never seen a better representation of the sun personified.

The prince's suit was made of cloth that was a collage of varying shades of green. Somehow the mottled fabric created a strong suggestion of lush, verdant, foliage. It was clear he was meant to embody the life, growth, and verdure that were the heart of the Summer Court. Coupled with the brilliant heat and light of the daytime encapsulated by his Anamchara's outfit, they had captured the essence of what it meant to belong to the Court of Summer. And yet neither was complete by themselves. It was obvious Roni wanted to send a message to the Summer Fae, and would use every means at her disposal, even her clothing, to do so.

The Fae did not have any priests or shamans. Each individual was allowed and expected to find their own path to the goddess. Since there was no one to officiate, the prince and princess made their vows to each other through the simple method of declaring their intentions in front of witnesses. The sound of the two royals exchanging promises to love, honor, and respect each other rang out in clear tones over the assembly. The ceremony had been timed perfectly, and just as the sound of their oaths to each other faded away, the sun reached its zenith in the sky.

The palace had been constructed where it was because doing so put the structure in the correct location to allow the sun to be directly overhead when it reached its peak on the Summer Solstice. The throne room was positioned in the center and at the top of the castle. So, at the exact moment the Summer Court reached the zenith of its power, the sun struck the top of the room and made the ceiling translucent. As the sun crested in the sky, the light of its rays flooded the throne room. Bathing the assembled Fae in its golden glow.

Just as the illumination was at its brightest, Roni and Uaine picked up the crowns that had been placed before them on the stage. Each placed the crown they held on the other's head. Turning to face the Fae who looked up at them, they both vowed to hold their duties sacred, to honor the goddess, and to make the welfare of their people their greatest concern. As the last syllable died away, a deep, gong-like tone, more felt than heard, rang through the room. At the same time, the light in the room shattered, as if by a giant prism, into a million rainbows.

Jillian watched in astonishment as glittering circlets of woven light descended through the air to alight on the heads of the new king and queen and become superimposed over the physical coronets. A hush moved through the crowd, as the Fae witnessed something that had never before happened in living memory. The goddess had spoken. Her will was clear and indisputable. Roni and Uaine were the chosen monarchs of the Summer Court and had been anointed as such by Dea Matrona herself.

As the shock of beholding the goddess crown the new Summer monarchs faded, a roar of approbation filled the room. Many of the Fae fell to their knees, giving thanks to Dea Matrona for her bounty and blessing. It was unlikely that any would continue to oppose the rule of the new king and queen, not when they had received a literal ringing endorsement from the goddess.

After the initial jubilant outcry, the noise began to fade as each Fae reflected on the importance of what they had been privileged to behold. The congregation began to file out of the room in silence, each individual lost in their own thoughts. Jillian herself contemplated the meaning and importance the Summer Solstice held.

Want to find out what happens next? Well, if you haven't done so already, go ahead and grab your copy, today! If you're a Kindle Unlimited member, you can even read it for free! :-)

Happy Reading! :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Spirit Of The Lone Horse By Ani Manjikian!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Ani Majikian in my APC spotlight, today! Ani is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her time travel, military action, mystery sci-fi/fantasy novel, Spirit of the Lone Horse, looks great! Here's the description:
A horse. A woman. A dream. And so much more.
Time travel, drama, military action, mystery, and intrigue. This is science fantasy and a bold initial statement from an author with a passion for words.
Jo Mason was going to be the first woman to raise the USMB International Championship trophy above her head. Double tragedy strikes the beginning of her quest. First, she finds her longtime companion dead in his stall. Second, his replacement almost kills her.
She wonders what she's meant to do with her life. Her fear of horses leaves her estranged from her family as well as doubting and second-guessing herself.
During a quiet walk in the woods, she's confronted by the rogue stallion's son and a choice. Take control or keep running.
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, February 21, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 693

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-Ninety-Three:
I have been the victim of a hominid invasion! After my previous report, my hominid-servant spent an extended amount of time going through one of her cleaning rituals. She then initiated a grooming ritual, in the later part of the day, which is atypical timing for such behavior. She also spent an inordinate amount of time and care in selecting the textile coverings she uses for her body in lieu of the fur that we more civilized species prefer. All of which left my domicile reeking of a strange combination of the artificially scented wax cylinders, the cleaning chemicals my hominid-servant favors, and a chemically enhanced personal scent that she donned at the end of her grooming ritual.

If that wasn't bad enough, not long after the completion of her grooming ritual, my hominid-servant allowed entrance to my domicile by several other hominids! One of her first acts upon their arrival was to offer the other hominids some of the edibles that she told me were poisonous, which indicates a level of duplicity I had not previously thought her capable of. Then, to add insult to injury, she plucked my person from the floor of my domicile and restrained me while the other hominids handled me!

I must admit that none of the hominids harmed me, nor did their intentions seem aggressive. And the attention and compliments my hominid-servant's actions resulted in were flattering, but the presumption is still galling. Once I escaped my hominid-servant's grasp, I withdrew to a position under one of the pieces of furniture in my domicile, which afforded me an excellent vantage point from which to observe the behavior of the hominids while remaining outside their reach. Hominid social interactions are bizarre almost beyond description, but I will do my best.

The first thing one must note about socializing hominids is the extreme amount of noise they generate, not all of which is direct communication. They often make loud honking/barking exclamations or soft humming sounds that do not resemble any of the hominid words I have recorded. What's more, these noises tend to be repetitive. Add to this the exaggerated gesticulation of their upper limbs, and I begin to wonder if there is a secondary hominid language that has heretofore gone unnoticed and undocumented.

It is also worth noting that all hominid social activities seem to center around food. Nourishment of various descriptions was freely consumed throughout the event and when the assembled hominids seemed to grow bored with one kind of edibles, my hominid-servant never failed to produce a new type of fare to tempt them with. Considering how stingy she is when it comes to sharing her food with myself, the juvenile felid, and the canid, I can't help but wonder why she was so generous with the strange hominids. Perhaps she intends to later slaughter and consume them and this was her way of maximizing the resulting meat? If so, it would be completely out of character for her, as I have observed no sign of such cannibalistic behavior in the past.

Aside from the noise and food rituals, I noticed that the hominids liked to move about quite a bit, but only within a limited range. They circled endlessly through the living and food preparation spaces in my domicile, but they avoided my hominid-servant's sleeping room assiduously. Several of them did visit the washing room, but only briefly and only ever in singles, never in multiples. I'm not certain if this seemingly compulsive movement is some form of mating ritual or if it has some other significance. Normally, I would seek additional samples in order to form a more complete impression, but I fervently hope there will not be a repeat of this invasion in the foreseeable future. Having so many hominids in such close quarters is quite unnerving.

Hominids can be so sneaky! ;-) 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, February 20, 2018

#NewRelease #Announcement: Aftermath (Broken Empire Book One) By E. A. Copen!

Hey Everyone!!

My friend, Karina Kantas, is here today to tell us about an exciting new sci-fi novel a friend of hers has written. Karina, take it away! :-)


Soldier. Traitor. Savior.

In an empire where political power is everything, Captain Timothy Val wants one thing: to serve his empire with honor and distinction. But after a mission to quell a revolt goes terribly wrong, Timothy is branded a traitor and barely escapes with his life. His only hope of regaining his lost honor and clearing his family name rests in the hands of a senator planning to use him as the face of a revolution. 

With an intergalactic war looming and civil unrest spreading through the empire, Timothy must tread carefully. Assassins wait around every corner, and his new allies have made him powerful enemies, enemies that may not be entirely Human. 

To save the empire, Timothy will have to betray every oath he’s ever taken.

Aftermath: Chapter One excerpt


E.A. Copen is a prolific speculative fiction author living in beautiful Southeast Ohio with her three kids, three cats, a dog, and a husband. She writes everything from space opera to weird west and all the strange genre mashups in between. When she’s not chained to her keyboard working on her next novel, she enjoys exploring old graveyards and other creepy places. On weekends, you can find her time traveling with her SCA friends, at least until she saves up enough money to leave the Shire and become a Jedi.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Since the establishment, corporate-hack media is trying so hard to keep anyone from hearing about this, I thought I'd do my part to spread the word. Peace! :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#February2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

The Dragon Dreamer by JS Burke:

Arak is a dragon, but he's not like the other dragons. He has a gift that makes him different, and being different is never easy. Wanting to gain acceptance among the other dragons, he sets off on his own to try to help his people and ends up in trouble. Which is when he meets Scree and a beautiful friendship is born. Will these two exceptional individuals overcome all the challenges ahead and succeed in helping their people? You'll have to read to find out!

I loved, loved, loved this story. I literally couldn't put it down and ended up reading through the night. It's not a terribly long book, but it's chocked full of important themes and thoughtful interactions between the characters. Virtues like tolerance, patience, cooperation, empathy, kindness, and open-mindedness are emphasized and celebrated. The characters solve problems by working together and using their differences to complement each other. And, as someone who revels in "exploring" new worlds, the world-building in this book is outstanding. The imagery used to paint a picture of two different worlds, one above the water and the other underneath, is breathtaking. I think this book is perfect for anyone from age 8 to 108 and I can't recommend it enough.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

#NewRelease #Announcement: The Crown By Genevieve Raas!

There is no greater wish than for a prince who is brave, strong, and true…
From international bestselling author Genevieve Raas comes a tale of dark enchantments and wicked secrets.
Whoever solves the mystery of why the princesses’ shoes are destroyed each night will inherit the throne. Princes from all kingdoms have tried. All fail. The punishment? Execution.
Only a soldier is now willing to take the challenge.
Ross Daltry was crippled long ago in one of the king’s many wars. The lavish lifestyle of the nobility disgusts him, not to mention the vanity of the princesses. He is determined to win the throne and end the king’s incompetent rule.
However, when he meets the Princess Octavia, he finds himself taken by her intelligence and kindness. She threatens to unravel his heart.
But behind the princesses’ pretty smiles lies a terrible secret that is more than just broken shoes. In a race against time, Ross must navigate intrigue, tricks, and terrors to save his life.
The Crown is a dark and twisted retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Excerpt from The Crown by Genevieve Raas:
She commanded them all. Power and grace exuded from her every step and twirl. A broad shouldered man bowed and slid his hand behind her slim waist. Her lips parted into a smile. Her cheeks flushed a deeper shade.

I continued along the edge, careful as I maneuvered between the collection of men that stood like trees. I couldn’t help my eyes falling to Octavia. She fell into the arms of an eager partner, only to spin away into the embrace of another.

It was then I noticed a pearl fall from her shoe. It rolled across the floor, passed the men’s pointed leather boots and beside the princesses’ pointed silk heels. It came to a rest right before me. Kneeling down I picked up the smooth orb and placed it deep within my pockets.

A pink ribbon twirled by next followed by a split heel.

The dance continued.

The clock chimed one. The clock chimed two.

Shreds of silk trailed behind the princesses’ spinning feet. Lace was torn and toes peeked through growing holes. Still they danced. The music grew feverish. It infected my bones and my entire body vibrated with the dark melody. It wanted me to join.

It needed me…

I shook it away, focusing on the glittering hail falling from their shoes. Diamonds, gold, and emeralds bounced off the marble floor and rolled beneath cracking soles. Buckles snapped. Seams popped. Strips of fabric disintegrated before my eyes.

Their cheeks were red and lips plump, almost as if they were drunk. They tugged the jackets of their princes, forcing them closer against their heaving bosoms. The men leaned their faces against their cheeks, their arms and hands skating down every arc and sinew. Some kissed passionately.

I couldn’t stop a rush of jealousy as the man with the scar ran his fingers up Octavia’s neck and into her hair. She laughed musically.


I covered my ears. Every clock chimed three as if summoning the horsemen of the apocalypse.

The music ceased. The dance stopped. The princesses were escorted back towards the boats, leaving the remnants of their shoes behind.

My heart raced. I ran across the emptying ball room, careful not to trip on an errant ruby or broken buckle. My only hope to avoid discovery was to board the first boat with Octavia.

I squeezed beside the princes and princesses as they filed out of the doors, but in my haste I came too close to Henrietta’s skirts. My shoe tugged on the silk and a distinct rip tore over their chatter.

“Look what you did, Bertram!” Henrietta scolded her prince.

“A thousand apologies, your grace,” he said. “But my foot was nowhere near your gown.”

“It didn’t tear by itself,” she snapped.

She pointed at the frayed fabric. He just bowed his head in surrender like a dog to its master.

“I told you, there is something odd about this place tonight,” Aloysia piped. “I’ve felt watched all evening.”

I froze.

“You’ve been reading far too many novels,” Octavia said. “We can’t waste time worrying about phantoms.”

As they stood in debate, I took the opportunity to slide past them. Their feet thundered behind me as we traveled back through the twisting bushes and to the dock. Octavia stepped in the first boat, and I slunk in quickly after.

I dared not breath the whole time, and my mind kept swirling with splitting shoes and dark melodies.

Once we hit shore, I jumped out at the first available moment and ran. I sprinted back up the bank and through the diamond forest. Their voices were never far behind, causing me to quicken my pace even more.

I ducked beneath a low hanging golden branch. Swiped past the silver leaves, the faintest rustle echoing out in my wake.

Laughter bubbled behind me. I forced myself to move even faster.

I raced up the stairs, skipping two at a time. My lungs started to burn and my heart pounded into my throat. The breath of youth I experienced withered away. The pain returned. My ankle ground into the surrounding tendons. Bones cracked and muscle coiled.

Sweat ran down my temples. My ankle could no longer support my weight. I gripped the stone walls, plunging into the cracks and crevices to help pull myself along. Ten steps I counted, each agony. My nails split as I dug them deeper into the mortar.

Throbbing and pounding, my ankle snapped beneath my weight. I collapsed onto the stairs.

Voices. Laughter. They were right up behind me now.

Social Media/Website links:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sweet And Spicy Rice And Vegetable #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got another recipe that's definitely hot enough to warm you up on a cold winter night. Enjoy! :-)

2 cups brown rice or quinoa
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
4 tbsp sriracha
4 tbsp chili powder
4 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cardamom
2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup basil shredded
8 cloves garlic minced
2 large carrots peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen peas or pea pods
1 zucchini chopped
1 fennel bulb cored and chopped
1 cabbage cleaned and shredded
3 onions chopped
1 20oz package button mushrooms sliced
1 bell pepper chopped
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup regular raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts chopped and toasted
2 14oz cans chickpeas drained
Salt to taste

Place the rice or quinoa in your favorite rice or quinoa cooking dish or appliance along with the water or stock, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons sriracha, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1 teaspoon honey, and salt to taste. Cook the way you would normally cook rice or quinoa. Cool and set aside.

Heat a large deep-sided skillet or wok to high heat and add the oil, onions, carrots, peppers, fennel bulb, and cabbage. Cook until the vegetables wilt and start to brown. Add the spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, raisins, and garlic. Cook until all the vegetables are wilted and add the chickpeas and the remaining seasonings and spices except for the basil. Deglaze the pan or wok with the vinegar and add the nuts and the coconut. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Add the basil and then stir in the rice or quinoa one cupful at a time so that the grains are coated with the seasoning. Stir continuously until all the rice is added and remove from heat. Serve hot with a side of yogurt or sour cream and flatbread.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Slither 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 supernatural, thriller, paranormal romance, horror novel, Slither, looks great! Here's the description:
We're often told tales of the underworlds to feed the darkest corners of our nightmares. We tuck them away with the sunlight and laugh away the fear our minds created. But the daylight offers no relief for Zari. She's hidden her waking nightmare as nothing more than a damaged past. The venom of her secrets consumes her, as well as those she cares for most. Emmett, the love of her life and the only one with a past dark enough to respect her space, becomes a pawn in the war against the demonic force which is her bloodright. Can Zari overpower those out to get her to feed on the innocent? Can she save Emmett from the evil of Slither?
 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, February 14, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 692

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-Ninety-Two:
My hominid-servant seems to have taken leave of her senses. She has spent the day hanging pink and red colored paper decorations cut into odd shapes from various anchors throughout my domicile. She has also been burning the wicks in several of her artificially scented wax cylinders, which has left my domicile reeking of chemicals and smoke. I do not believe she realizes how disturbing this is to a being with a superior sense of smell, such as myself, as hominid scent detection equipment is notoriously inefficient.

To make matters worse, she has spent hours making edibles that give off intriguing odors, even through the interference of the wax cylinder scents, but she refuses to share any of them. When I attempted to filch a sample of one, she shooed me away exclaiming that it would poison me! Why, by all that's rational, would any being labor so assiduously over an edible that can't be eaten?

Since I was unsuccessful in my attempts to taste the fruit of my hominid-servant's labor, I will do my best to describe it. It was a dark brown color, not dissimilar to the food she habitually places in my bowl but with a much sweeter scent and glossy shine. The texture appeared firm, though my hominid-servant did not seem to have any trouble cutting through it with her cooking utensils. And the scent, though sweet, was also rich and complex. I believe this substance is likely of vegetable origin, though it is clear that it has undergone much hominid processing.

I am not certain what has prompted my hominid-servant to suddenly engage in such bizarre behavior. Perhaps she accidentally ingested some of her poisonous edibles and is suffering ill effects as a result. I will continue to monitor the situation and report back on any further developments.

Curiouser and curiouser! Happy Valentines Day! ;-) 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, February 13, 2018

The People #United Will Never Be Defeated

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
I nodded. "Almost 60 years ago, now, we had a President, named John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while he was in office. During one of his speeches, he said, 'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable'. He was talking about other countries, but it's a universal truism when it comes to human beings."

"Who killed him and why?" asked Squid-boy.

I shrugged. "Ostensibly, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald, though there are several theories that either he didn't do it or he didn't act alone or by his own volition. As for why, no one really knows for certain. Oswald was murdered, himself, only two days after he was arrested. And a lot of what he said sounded crazy, so who knows what was true and what was just in his head? Or maybe it was all true and we just lack the context to make sense of it. Or maybe he didn't do it at all, I don't know. No one really knows, except maybe some government spooks, somewhere."

"Do you have an opinion on the matter?" asked Yax.

Sighing, I shook my head. "Not really. I haven't looked into all the evidence enough to really have formed an opinion; I just know the basics that everyone knows."

"Not even a guess?"

"A guess? Well, if I was going to guess, and if JFK wasn't just shot by a crazy person who got his hands on a gun, then I'd guess that it might have been because he was trying to change things. The speech I quoted was about other countries, but JFK had been championing changes in the US, too. Particularly with regards to how people with darker colored skin were treated. He also supported economic policies that helped the poor, so it's possible he pissed someone off who had enough power to do something about it. But I don't know if that's actually what happened."

Yax nodded. "A mystery."

"The convolutions of your history are fascinating," interjected Squid-boy, "but did you mention that quote because you believe your people are headed for violent revolution?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I hope not. But this," I pointed at where the robots dressed like police wielded their batons and shields and faced off against the robots dressed like protestors, "just makes the people who are disenfranchised more desperate. If the government won't give people room to express their discontent peacefully, then it's pretty much guaranteed they'll do so less than peacefully. That's what people who are angry, frustrated, and scared do. And that's how revolutionary wars get started."

"Might that be for the best?" asked Yax. "Wouldn't it allow your people to restructure your political system into something that works for more people?"

I shook my head. "No. I don't think it would be for the best; I think it would be a disaster. Violent, undirected change? Who knows what we might end up with? Who knows if the disenfranchised would even win that war? Yes, there're more of us. But the people in power are the ones with the fancy weapons and the trained military. The underdog rebels always win the in movies, but things don't always work out that way in real life. In reality, the government calls those who take up arms against it 'terrorists' and it wages a propaganda war against them and villainizes them in public opinion before exterminating them while the rest of the world sighs in relief. And then it passes laws to 'protect the public' that makes it even harder to express dissent. We might end up with something far worse than what we have now. And, no matter who won or whether or not the government we ended up with was better or worse, a lot of innocent people would be dead. I hope with all my being that we can be smarter than that."

Yax nodded. "That makes sense. Though, I'm not sure what means that leaves you with for effecting change."

I gestured at the exhibit again. "This. Eventually."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, this will work, eventually, if the protestors are persistent in both their protest and their non-violence. When videos of police beating up unarmed, non-violent citizens go viral on the internet, it makes for a far better narrative with regards to public opinion than if the government is able to post videos of protestors destroying property or hurting people."

"Ah," said Squid-boy. "I see. The protestors will publicize examples of abuse by your law enforcement in an attempt to sway the opinions of enough people that eventually your government will not be able to ignore the matter or refuse to fix it."

I nodded. "Yes. Though, the government will still use misdirection and disingenuousness to attempt to obfuscate the matter."

"That is when they'll pretend that the problem is something other than what it actually is, like you said before," said Yax.

"Yes. Or they'll try to blame the victims or create a lot of hoopla about some other issue to try to distract everyone. They have a lot of methods for deceiving people, and the public tends to have a short attention span. That's why it's such a battle to get any meaningful change. But it has happened before, so with hard work and persistence we can make it happen again."

Monday, February 12, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  I'm not sure how many of you realize this, but depending on the state that you live in, primary elections for your state may be as early as next month. So, you should definitely Google your state and find out when your primary will be, what elected offices are being voted on, and who the primary candidates are. Also, make sure you're able to vote in the primaries you want to vote in, which may require that you change your party affiliation if your state doesn't have open primaries as many states done. And, of course, make sure you're actually registered to vote. In short, make sure you'll be able to vote for the candidates you want to vote for. If the 2016 election proved anything it's that voting matters and primaries matter a lot. So, let's all make sure we're doing our part this year so we don't drop the ball again.

Towards that end, it's important to know who's running and what they stand for. The Young Turks network has created a series where they interview progressive candidates from all over the country running at all levels of government. These interviews are both interesting and informative and might just help you rekindle some hope for our country. One that I particularly enjoyed was with the candidate who is running against Paul Ryan. Randy Bryce is exactly the kind of working-class, everyday kind of dude that just about anyone can identify with. So, I'll leave that video below, but please also go to the TYT Politics channel on YouTube and check out the rest of the Rebel Headquarters series, as well. Peace!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Grilled Cheese #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Do you ever just want (or need) a quick meal that you can throw together in 10 minutes or less but will still warm you up and keep your tummy full? Well, I've found a grilled cheese sandwich is perfect for this, and this is one of my favorites. Enjoy!

2 thick slices of bread per sandwich (I've found multigrain or whole wheat works well)
2 thick slices of tomato per sandwich
3 thick slices of mozzarella cheese per sandwich
1 clove garlic sliced per sandwich
6 whole basil leaves per sandwich
2 tbsp butter per sandwich
1/4 tsp olive oil per sandwich (basically a drizzle)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes per sandwich (optional)
Salt to taste (light amount)
Black pepper to taste (generous amount)

Butter both sides of each of the slices of bread with a quarter tablespoon of butter. Place the other tablespoon of butter in a skillet and melt it. Place one slice of bread in the melted butter and place one slice of mozzarella cheese on top. Add black pepper, don't be stingy. Drizzle with olive oil. Add half the slices of garlic and half the basil leaves on top. Add a slice of tomato and salt and pepper to taste. Add another slice of mozzarella and pepper it generously. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the rest of the garlic and basil and the pepper flakes (optional) and then the other slice of tomato. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the final slice of mozzarella and pepper generously. Add the final slice of bread and place a heavy, heatproof object (like another skillet or a foil-wrapped brick) on top. Cook for five minutes in the butter, or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, remove weights, and flip over. Cook for another five minutes or until bread is golden brown. Remove from heat, cut in half, and serve by itself or with a side of tomato soup.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Lovestruck #Authors & #Bloggers #ValentinesDay #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Valentine's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Lovestruck Authors And Bloggers Valentine's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 30 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 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, February 9, 2018

#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, February 8, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: The #Dragon Dreamer 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 young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Dragon Dreamer, looks great! Here's the description:
The Dragon Dreamer is a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and an unlikely friendship. It's a science fantasy layered for readers age 9 to 99.
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?
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, February 7, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 688

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-Eighty-Eight:
Today, once again, a cardboard container appeared outside my domicile. After my hominid-servant brought it inside, I dissuaded her from contaminating the evidence through the simple expedient of sitting on the container until she lost interest. Every time she attempted to remove me from my perch, I hissed at her and threatened to deploy the C.L.A.W.S. Once she gave up her attempts to interfere with my research, I undertook to open the container so as to examine its contents.

The first step was to remove the cardboard covering. This proved a challenge, as I lack the opposable thumbs possessed by my hominid-servant, and I was obliged to strip off the covering in shreds and layers until its original structure was no longer perceivable. This did, however, result in successfully revealing the contents hidden within so that I could properly catalog them.

The contents were as follows: 4 books printed on pressed and sliced dead tree remains, 1 digitally recorded video stored on a plastic disc, and 1 scented wax cylinder with a centralized wick in a decorative glass container. Fortunately, the way by which I was forced to reveal these items did not disrupt their integrity, as I am certain my hominid-servant would not have responded favorably such a mistake. However, luck, as they say, is a fickle mistress, and so I will make a note to use more care when opening such packages in the future. As, naturally, it will be necessary to do, since a sample size of one is hardly useful.

As a side note, I do have to say that while my aggression display was successful in dissuading my hominid-servant from interfering in my research, I do feel a bit uneasy about threatening a creature who routinely lavishes a significant amount care and attention on my person. I will have to consider the matter and see if I can devise any equally effective methods that don't cause such a faithful servant to fear for her safety.

Aww! Those hominids can be so endearing ;-) 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, February 6, 2018

But What About...?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I want to talk about a phenomenon that I've recently heard called, "Whataboutism." Whataboutism is when you point out a problem or make an argument and someone else says, "What about.." and starts talking about something that might be tangentially related but is essentially off topic. Basically, it's what you used to do to justify your misbehavior as a child. If you had no real defense, you'd try to deflect attention by pointing out that someone else had done something wrong, too. As if that somehow nullified your own actions. As I'm sure your parents made clear to you at the time, another person's misbehavior in no way absolves you of your responsibility to behave properly. So, it wasn't a sound argument strategy then, and it isn't now, either.

One particular "Whataboutism" I'd like to address is the one that inevitably seems to come up when anyone points out how corrupt and, frankly, criminal Trump and his administration are. It seems the moment anyone mentions anything related to that topic, someone else will say, "But what about Hillary?!?"  Well, I'd like to take a moment and answer that question so that, hopefully, we can all get back to the more germane issue of dealing with the Monster in the White House.

Now, anyone who reads this blog knows I have no love for the Clintons. They're corrupt and they've pulled some seriously shady stunts in their pursuit of power. If someone wants to investigate Hillary Clinton and expose the details of her corruption and prosecute her for it, I have no problem with that. Crimes should be prosecuted. I'd especially be interested in seeing what a thorough investigation into the shenanigans that went on during the 2016 primaries would turn up.

That being said, neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton are currently President of the United States. While it would be fine to investigate them and prosecute them for any crimes they've committed, doing so is, in my estimation, a far lower priority than addressing the rampant and blatant corruption in the current administration.

Do I think that Trump is some kind of Manchurian candidate puppet controlled by Putin? Not really. At least, I've seen no convincing evidence of that. But do I think he and members of his immediate family have illicit financial dealings with Russian oligarchs and powerful elites in other foreign countries including China and Saudi Arabia? Abso-fucking-lutely. They haven't even tried to hide it.

And are these financial ties a concern? Of course they are. They make it extremely likely that Trump will put the interests of these foreign powers over American interests. Frankly, I think there are several instances where he has already done so.

So, if it comes down to a question of where the FBI and other law enforcement agencies should be focusing their resources, I think it makes the most sense to direct them at the greatest and most imminent threat. Namely, the swamp creatures who are currently doing their damnedest to dismantle our government and sell out our people.


Monday, February 5, 2018

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  As you may know, last week Trump gave his first, and hopefully last, State of the Union speech. It was, as one would expect, a complete train wreck. A horrific conglomeration of demagoguery, warmongering, racist and xenophobic dog-whistling, and flat-out lying. In other words, exactly what you would expect from Trump.

But, like Emma Vigeland in the video below, I don't think any of that is really worth talking about. We all know Trump is a monster; there's nothing new there. And, obviously, it's important that we continue to fight him and try to keep him from achieving any of his goals. But, in order to do that, we need to have a viable alternative to Trump. And, as their official response to the State of the Union once again demonstrated, the Democrats are failing in that objective. Miserably.

Joe Kennedy III was the Democrat the Party chose to deliver their official response. And he's just another neo-liberal corporatist, which proves that the Democratic Party leadership learned nothing from Hillary Clinton's humiliating defeat in 2016. Fortunately, Bernie Sanders also gave a response, and it was predictably full of substance and hope, and I would strongly suggest you watch it. In the meantime, the video below will give you some of the particulars on Congressman Kennedy's policy positions and donors. And, as I'm sure you won't be surprised to discover, how the two seem to be mysteriously linked.

So, please take a few minutes to watch. And remember what you learn here, because you can be sure that Kennedy won't be the last neo-liberal disaster the Democrats try to foist on the American public before 2020. And maybe the next one will be a better speaker with smoother delivery and lies, but we can't let them get away with it if we want to save this country from Trump and his minions. We need to learn to tell the gold from the fool's gold, and videos like this that lay out the facts are exactly how we do that. Peace!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Stick-To-Your-Ribs Ratatouille #Recipe!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I don't know about where you are, but it's still pretty cold here. And, right about now, when the weather has been cold and dreary for a couple of months, I like to make something warm and hearty, but with plenty of bright veggies to remind me that the sun actually does still exist...somewhere. ;-) Enjoy!

2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
2 15oz cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 cup dry red wine or 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 onions chopped fine
1 bell pepper chopped
1 zucchini diced
1 butternut squash roasted and diced
1 carrot shredded
1 eggplant roasted and diced
6 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup fresh oregano shredded
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves shredded
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes or chili powder (optional)
1/4 cup cornstarch slurry
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, deep-sided skillet, add the olive oil and onions and saute until golden brown. Add the squash, zucchini, eggplant, pepper, carrots, garlic, chickpeas, dried seasonings, and butter and saute until the pepper softens. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Deglaze the pan with the wine or vinegar and add the tomatoes and the rest of the seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occationally. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the slurry and continue simmering for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over pasta, rice, potatoes, or by itself with a side of crusty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Lovestruck #Authors & #Bloggers #ValentinesDay #Giveaway! $100 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Valentine's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Lovestruck Authors And Bloggers Valentine's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 30 prizes, and the grand prize is $100 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! :-)