Who Is Mistral Dawn?

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

#Interview With AJ Renee!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

AJ Renee is with us, here, today. AJ, will you, please, tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

AJ: Hi! I’m a romance author, mom, and air force wife. I’ve moved around all my life and love experiencing new areas and people. I have five novels in my St. Fleur series and two pieces that were part of anthologies, one of which is published separately. Becoming a writer has been amazing! I wouldn’t have met so many people if not for the book world.

Me: Yeah, there are a lot of really amazing people in the book world. :-) What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

AJ: Taxed by Love is my latest release. The characters came alive as I wrote the previous stories. As new people join the St. Fleur cast I’m left wanting to know more about them.

Me: It's funny how characters can do that to you. What are you working on now?

AJ: I have a side project that I’ve kept hush-hush and I’m adding onto the St. Fleur series. I know my readers will have so many questions after Taxed by Love and if I don’t get the next one going I’ll be hearing from them. Ha.Ha.Ha.

Me: Ha! Well, better get writing, then. ;-) What authors, or books, have influenced you?

AJ: We tend to write the stuff we like to read. I love the easy-going characters of Kathleen Brooks fictional town of Keeneston. I also love Julie Garwood’s contemporary series that follows the Buchanan Family. Books that are engaging, sexy, and leave you on the edge of your seat.

Me: Cool! :-) What are you reading now?

AJ: I’m in between books right now. I haven’t had a lot of reading time with my girls being home from school.

Me: Ah, busy, busy, busy. I know that feeling. For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

AJ: They can expect strong women, alpha men, and steamy love scenes. The stories will make you laugh, cry, and might even leave you hot and bothered.

Me: Woo-hoo! :-) What's your favorite part of being an author?

AJ: Meeting people. Hands down it has been the best part of all the ups and downs. If not for falling into this wonderful rabbit hole I wouldn’t have met some pretty cool people.

Me: Awesome! Do you have a day job as well?

AJ: I’m a stay at home mom so when I’m not writing I’m managing my family’s activities and keeping everyone sane.

Me: Ha! The many hats of a mom. :-) What are the hardest, and easiest, parts of being a writer?

AJ: The hardest part is marketing yourself. I don’t do well with the “look at me!” The easiest part is listening to the characters in my head and getting their story out. Finding time to write with a full house does make the easier part a bit more complicated though.

Me: I think you'll get a resounding "Amen" from the indie community on the marketing thing. ;-) What genre do you place your book in?

AJ: Romance and Romantic Suspense

Me: Wonderful! Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

AJ: Thank you for taking a chance on me. There are so many amazing stories out there for you to read and it means so much to me that you’ve read mine.

Me: Definitely, the readers are what make it all worth it. :-) And so these fine folks can find your amazing stories, are there any links you'd like me to post?

AJ:
TAXED BY LOVE
Released: August 29, 2018
Amazon: https://www.smarturl.it/TBLAmzn
Nook: https://www.smarturl.it/TBLNook
iBooks: https://www.smarturl.it/TBLApple
Kobo: https://www.smarturl.it/TBLKobo

Social Media links:
NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: http://bit.ly/2bdqx9f
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ajreneeauthor
TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/ajreneeauthor
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ajreneeauthor
WEBSITE: https://www.ajrenee.com
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2fmR0Wj
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/aj-renee
Books +Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/users/20529
GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2hxp3dY
St. Fleur Belles Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2bmtFmI
EMAIL: ajreneeauthor@gmail.com

Me: Perfect! Thank you so much for dropping by, today, AJ. And thank you to everyone else who joined us, too! :-)  Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings.




Thursday, August 30, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Fire in the Dawn: The Twin Skies Trilogy, Book 1 By Justin Fike!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Justin Fike in my APC spotlight, today! Justin is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his sci-fi/fantasy, Asian mythology, folktale adventure novel, Fire In The Dawn, looks great! Here's the description:
A prince in hiding. An empire in turmoil. A gathering storm.
Kyren e'Cania is the last son of a fallen House, raised in secret in the shadows of the city his family once ruled.
Trained by his father in the ways of his people, Kyren has avoided the notice of the tyrant who murdered his family by never giving anyone reason to suspect he is anything more than a nameless peasant.
But when an ambitious noble sets dangerous events in motion, Kyren must find a way to reclaim his heritage and unite his people, before everything he loves is swallowed by fire and sword once again.
 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, August 29, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 815


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 Eight-Hundred-Fifteen:
I believe the juvenile felid has concluded that the habit my hominid servant has developed of filching the offerings he collects and tormenting him with them to the point of exhaustion is an attempt on her part to make a bid for his attention. Which is a conclusion that, surprisingly, contains a sort of twisted logic that I can appreciate. The tactic he has settled on to dissuade her from her sadistic entertainment is to simply give her what she, apparently, so desperately desires.

Towards that end, he has taken it upon himself to make several stops throughout the day to find my hominid-servant and spend several minutes discussing his interests and activities with her. Naturally, since she is incapable of comprehending civilized language, my hominid-servant does not understand what the tiny creature is telling her. But she acts as though she does and responds to his verbalizations with nonsense of her own, which makes for an entertaining, if unenlightening, conversation.

To my amazement, this strategy from my young companion appears to be effective. As my hominid-servant has not engaged in her penchant for taunting the small beast with the baubles since he began making an effort to converse with her regularly. Frankly, I find the evolving dynamic between the two of them to be fascinating and hope to be able to make further reports on the development of this situation, in the future.


Hominids are clearly very odd creatures with murky motivations. ;-) 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, August 28, 2018

Asking The Right Question


Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"You're right, this is a complicated debate," said Squid-boy.

I shook my head. "No, it's not. Some people like to make it complicated, but it's a much simpler question than the one they're asking."

"How so?"

I gestured at the robots that were poised to scream at the other robots. "A lot of people like to make this into a question about when life begins. But that's not the question, at all. You can have that debate, and it's a fine intellectual exercise, but it's immaterial to this issue."

"What is the question, as you see it?" asked Yax.

"The one I told you before. Who gets to control whether a person has to give of their body to aid the survival of another person?"

"Interesting. Why?"

"Because this," I pointed at the demonstration, again, "isn't about making people who don't want to terminate their pregnancies do so, though that is another facet of the debate that we haven't talked about, yet. But, this is about whether or not the government should force people to loan their bodies out for nine months, jeopardizing their own health in the process, whether they want to, or not."

"That seems like a complicated question, in and of itself," observed Squid-boy.

I nodded. "It would be if we as a society hadn't for all practical purposes already decided it."

"I'm confused. I thought this," Yax gestured at the exhibit, "was still being debated by the people in your society."

"It is. But only because they refuse to apply the same standard that's applied to everyone else to pregnant women."

"Interesting. Please explain."

"Gladly. In our society, people can't be forced to donate their organs to other people. If someone dies and their organs could be used by someone who is still living, their organs can't be taken unless they agreed to it before they died or the person making decisions for them at their death agrees to it. Otherwise, no matter how much someone else might need their organs or how perfect their organs might be for transplant, their organs go with them either to be buried or cremated."

"That seems like a waste."

I shrugged. "A lot of people think so, and they might be right, but that's what the law requires. Also, if a parent has a child who is sick or injured and needs an organ transplant, the parent can't be forced by the government to give their organ to their child, even if it’s a perfect match for donation and even if donating their organ won't substantially negatively impact their own health. A parent can choose, of their own free will, to donate their organ to their child, but it can't be taken from them by government mandate."

"Even when it comes to blood donation, the same principle applies. Our hospitals are perpetually low on their supply of donor blood, but the law still requires that blood donations be made voluntarily. Even though many people's lives depend on their receiving a transfusion of donor blood, if injury or illness causes them to lose too much of their own. And even though enough blood can safely be taken from a healthy, adult donor to save another person's life, with minimal pain and inconvenience to the donor. And even though the volume of blood that's extracted can and will be replaced by the body of a healthy, adult donor within a matter of weeks with no lingering deficit. Still, the government cannot force anyone to donate blood against their will."

"So, how does it make sense that the government would be allowed to dictate to pregnant women that they must donate the use of their bodies to a fetus, whether they want to or not, simply because they are pregnant women? Why should pregnant women be granted less right to self-autonomy than we allow corpses?"

"Put that way, it doesn't make sense, at all," answered Yax.

"Then why do so many people in your society continue to insist on restricting the rights of women?" asked Squid-boy.

I sighed. "Because people who do things like this," I pointed at the robots holding signs, "usually aren't reasonable. Even those who mean well, who are otherwise good people, and who think they are only trying to save lives refuse to consider the matter rationally. And for the people who aren't generally good people, well, it can get pretty ugly."

"How much uglier can it get than this?" asked Yax. He pointed at a particular sign-holding robot that had grabbed the shirt of one of the robots trying to get into the clinic and used his grip to pull her closer to him and out of the line of robots trying to get past the fence. He had shoved his sign into her face and his teeth were bared in a hateful snarl. The expression of fear displayed by the other robot's features was incredibly life-like.

I grimaced. "Oh, sugar, it gets much worse than this."




Monday, August 27, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. I think this kind of legislation is exactly what this country needs. Yes, getting it passed will be a fight, but that doesn't mean we should just give up. I've already called my Senators and told them I want them to support this bill. So, please take a few minutes to watch this video, and then consider calling your Senators and telling them what you think. Peace!





Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tasty Sandwich Spread #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is an easy-to-make, fill-you-up quick spread for sandwiches. If you use canned beans, you don't even have to cook, which is perfect for those too-hot-to-think-about-standing-over-a-stove summer nights. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
4 cups chickpeas cooked (drained and rinsed if you use a can)
3 cloves garlic minced fine
2 tbsp dill chopped fine
1 small onion or 2 shallots chopped fine or grated
1 carrot shredded
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise substitute
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the chickpeas in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together until completely mixed and evenly distributed. Serve chilled on toast, bread, or use as a dip for vegetables.

Bon appetit!



Saturday, August 25, 2018

#Summer Lovin' #Readers #Giveaway! $80 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Summer!  Please take a moment to check out the Summer Lovin' Readers Multi Author/Blogger Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 27 prizes, and the grand prize is $80 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, August 24, 2018

Light At The End Of The Tunnel... ;-)


Hey Everyone!!

I don't know about you all, but I'm about sick of summer weather. How about a little taste of winter to get this weekend started off right? ;-)

Excerpt from Captivated by the Winter King:
Kate knew they were approaching the end of the tunnels because light filtered in from the opening. After so much time in the dark, her eyes were sensitive enough to pick up the slightest increase in illumination. As they emerged from the cave, she looked around and her breath caught in her throat.

The world around her had been transformed into a fairytale winter wonderland, and it was dazzling. They were in a forest, and the trees rose around them like majestic pillars. Ice coated their limbs and trunks and reflected the sunlight in a thousand dancing rainbows. Snow covered the ground like a soft, white blanket and completed the charming image. It was the kind of picturesque spot where she thought she might meet Santa and Frosty.

When talking snowmen and reindeer failed to appear, she turned her attention to studying the forest. Laughing to herself, she realized she already had the Elves, but they were far from jolly.


Want to know who Kate is and how she ended up in an ice-covered forest? Go ahead and grab your copy of Captivated by the Winter King at the link below and you can find out. Happy reading! :-)





Thursday, August 23, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Mirrors (Curse of Lanval Book 1) By Rebekah Dodson!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Rebekah Dodson in my APC spotlight, today! Rebekah is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her humorous, time-travel, sci-fi/fantasy novel, Mirrors, looks great! Here's the description:
You probably won’t like my story. Heck, I’m not sure if I even like it myself. Between getting burned at the stake and being drowned, almost twice, it’s quite a lot to swallow. But this is the story of how I bedded a queen and married a poet, all to end the family curse. My name is Guillaume, but you can call me Gill, and despite what you hear, this story is all my sister’s fault.
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, August 22, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 811


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 Eight-Hundred-Eleven:
My hominid-servant has recently started taunting the juvenile felid with the offerings he enjoys hoarding. I'm not certain if this is a newly developed sadistic streak in her personality, or if there are legitimate motivations for her actions. Either way, I believe it is possible that she may drive the young creature into an emotional breakdown.

In spite of the apparent cruelty, I must admit that my hominid-servant has been rather clever in her tactics. She waits until the small annoyance emerges from his lair beneath her sleeping platform to eat, and then she gathers the offerings and brings them into the common area of my domicile. Once the irritating beast is finished with his meal, my hominid-servant shakes one of the offerings that contains a bell to get his attention. Once he realizes what she has done, my hominid-servant proceeds to scatter the offerings throughout the common room so that the little idiot feels compelled to gather them up again.

Unfortunately for my youthful companion, he lacks the opposable thumbs that allow my hominid-servant to carry many of the offerings at one time. Instead, he is forced to take each offering, one-by-one, back to his hiding place before returning to recover the next offering. My hominid-servant takes shameless advantage of this fact by waiting for him to gather several of the offerings and then retrieving them from beneath her sleeping platform, once again, when the poor youngster is occupied trying to find the rest of his treasures.

Generally, my hominid-servant repeats this pattern several times until her victim comes to her and begs with pitiable cries for mercy. She does usually relent, at this point, and the exhausted adolescent is allowed to reassemble his baubles and return them to his collection. But, I am baffled as to why she feels the need to engage in such a seemingly spiteful display to begin with. I will continue to monitor the situation and report back with any further developments.

Hominid behavior can be so bizarre! ;-) 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, August 21, 2018

I'm A Little #Snowflake...Hear Me #Roar


Hey Everyone!!

Just a short post, today. This is something I've wanted to say for a while, but never seemed to get around to it. So, now I have. ;-)

I remember one winter when I was a kid where we had a snow storm seemingly every week. The first storm of the season hit in late November, before Thanksgiving, and dropped three feet of snow on us overnight. It wasn't a wild storm, no real wind or anything that would make any noise, I remember thinking when I woke up in the morning that I had slept really well. Everything was so quiet and still, like the world had been put on pause, it was perfect for sleeping.

Then I got up and got dressed to go outside and I couldn't open the door. Because three freaking feet of snow were piled up against it. My whole family was trapped in the house until a neighbor came and dug out our door enough to open it. I don't know how he got out of his house, maybe he climbed out a window. Just like that, in a single night, with barely a whisper to announce their coming, and snowflakes made it so people couldn't even leave their houses.

By New Years, we'd had so many snowflakes that there were banks of them piled up taller than a man, three feet deep on both sides of every road. The city had to send backhoes and dump trucks around to collect those snowflakes and cart them all off, so that there would be room for cars on the roads, again. People were climbing up on top of their houses to shovel all those snowflakes off their roofs to keep them from collapsing under the weight.

So, go ahead and call me a snowflake. I don't mind, at all. Because I'll never forget how a few snowflakes can bring society to a screeching halt simply by showing up and refusing to leave. And winter is coming.

November 6, 2018
#GetOutTheVote
#MidTerms2018
#MidTermsAreComing


Monday, August 20, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This video makes some really good points about what it means to be an American and a patriot. If you love this country, why wouldn't you want to support it? If this country has benefited you, why wouldn't you want to pay back into the system you've profited from? Shouldn't we have patriots running our country instead of robber-barons?






Sunday, August 19, 2018

Don't Forget The Greens #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is an easy, versatile dish that can be made in just a couple of minutes. You can use it as a side or mixed with rice or pasta and make it into a main course. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
4 cups broccoli florets
6 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp olive oil

Add the oils and broccoli to a saute pan and cook until broccoli starts to wilt. Add the garlic, sesame seeds, soy sauce, pepper flakes (optional), and vinegar and cook until the seeds are toasted. Remove from heat and serve as a side or mix with cooked rice or pasta and beans and eat as a main course.

Bon appetit!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

#August2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Lodestone: (Witch-Hunt) by Wendy Scott:

In a time without magic, Sabrina is a new healer who has had a sheltered life at school learning her craft. But events conspire to place Sabrina at the center of an adventure that will very likely end in her death. Accompanied by the story of her ancestor, Lauren, and a sliver of the Lodestone, Sabrina must find and destroy the rest of the Lodestone and restore magic to Valloaria before the anti-witchcraft militia murders everyone she holds dear...if her crush on the prospect monk, Micah, doesn't distract her.

This was an interesting story. The characters were well-developed and fit the people they were supposed to be. Sabrina was a bit of a brat, but she was a kid put in an impossible position that she was completely unprepared for, so it made sense that she had a little bit of an attitude. Lauren's story was heartbreaking and showed how bad things can go even when people are trying to do what they think is the right thing. The story was a little slow in places; it took a while for all the parts to wind themselves together, sometimes. Still, four starts, it was a fun read and I'll probably check out any more books that come along in this series.






Friday, August 17, 2018

#Summer Lovin' #Readers #Giveaway! $80 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Summer!  Please take a moment to check out the Summer Lovin' Readers Multi Author/Blogger Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 27 prizes, and the grand prize is $80 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! :-)





Thursday, August 16, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs Of The ‘60s By Eva Pasco!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Eva Pasco in my APC spotlight, today! Eva is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her humorous, biographic memoir, 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the '60s, looks great! Here's the description:
Toni Home Perm, Flexible Flyer Snow Sled, Hula Hoop, Mercurochrome, Fishnet Stockings, Beatles, Mohair, Go-Go Boots, Aluminum Christmas Tree...and, the beat goes on. 
While the mushroom cloud of the Cold War hovered over us, my sister and I carried on as kids do regardless of world events. Since the daily minutiae of life provides the magic for memories to MUSHROOM WILDLY--feed your head my nostalgic recollections of growing up during the '60s counterculture. 
Serious, sentimental, or silly revelations set aside: you know better than to duck and cover under a school desk for protection against nuclear fallout.
 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, August 15, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 807


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 Eight-Hundred-Seven:
The local weather patterns have been tempestuous, of late, which has negatively impacted the behavior patterns of both the juvenile felid and the canid. Whenever an atmospheric low-pressure system moves into the area and results in sufficient atmospheric friction to generate electrostatic discharges and their auditory accompaniment, the two annoying beasts seem to lose their wits and engage in the most bizarre activities.

The canid often vocalizes in response to the audible portion of the storms, until the noise reaches an arbitrary level perceivable only to him and he changes tactics to instead hide beneath the horizontal platform my hominid-servant has placed in the food preparation room. My young companion, on the other paw, races from transparent portal to transparent portal in what can only be a futile attempt to monitor the rate of H20 droplets falling from the clouds from all possible vantage points. I have attempted to explain that there are instruments we can set up to record such data from all the portals simultaneously, if he is so interested in studying this natural phenomenon, but thus far my entreaties to reason have fallen on deaf ears.


Oh, my! It seems a storm may be brewing. ;-) 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, August 14, 2018

Identifying The Factions


Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"So, there is a side that is in the wrong, in this. There are people who wish to persecute women whose options are limited due to their financial constraints."

I nodded. "That's one of the end results, yes, and some of the people on that side seek that outcome intentionally, but not all of them. Some of them genuinely believe they are helping other people, though they aren't usually the people who are out screaming at women and trying to grab them as they walk by. Usually, people who act out of a desire to help just vote for laws and politicians that make life harder for women, instead of harassing them one-on-one, like this." I gestured at the exhibit.

Squid-boy cocked his head at me and gurgled in the back of his throat. "I believe you are correct, understanding this will require more than just explaining what's here. Please tell us about the different factions of people on the wrong side of this issue and what their arguments are."

"Well, this is where it gets a bit tangled. You see, there's a long and deeply entrenched history of misogyny in my country. A lot of it is based in the dominant religion, but not all of it. And a lot of well-meaning people act in ways that are misogynistic because it's what their faith says they should do. And, as we've already discussed, there's also a long and tragic history of discrimination based on race and on income level. And all three types of discrimination intersect in this issue."

"There are people who believe that life begins at conception and that God prohibits the termination of pregnancies because of this. Many of them claim this belief comes from their religion, though if you read their holy book you'll find that they're mistaken as it promotes the termination of pregnancies in certain circumstances. But most of these people pick and choose what parts of their scriptures to uphold and what parts to ignore based on nothing more than what they want to believe and what they find convenient, so arguing with them about it is pointless. It also doesn't do much good to point out that what their religion requires is only required of them, and that no one else is obligated to live under the restrictions of their religion, and that, in fact, our Constitution prohibits our government from taking a side in arguments of religion."

"Why would that be pointless? It seems that those are all perfectly rational and valid arguments to make," said Yax.

"It's pointless because most of those people have decided that what they believe is what God wants and you can't argue with God."

"That's…"

"Irrational. Yes, I know. As I've already told you, not an uncommon state of affairs for humans."

The big alien grunted but said nothing else.

"So, you have these people who are convinced they're right because they know what God wants and anyone who disagrees with them is on the side of evil, and that's one faction. Then you have people who have personal experience with terminating a pregnancy, either their own or someone's who is close to them, and it was a bad experience. And they want to prevent other people from going through what they went through. Unfortunately, these people invariably fail to grasp the concept that what they experienced isn't what everyone experiences, and even if it were, it wouldn't give them the right to take control of other people's bodies. And then you have the people who are just jerks who hate women and want to control them."

"That seems like a group with rather diverse beliefs," observed Squid-boy.

I nodded. "It is. And it doesn't help that the groups often overlap, as well."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, since misogyny is such a big part of so many people's religion, it's not uncommon for people who just hate women and who want to control them to use their religion as an excuse to make laws that persecute women. And since some of the people who have had a bad experience with terminating a pregnancy subscribe to a religion where their religious leaders tell them that terminating a pregnancy is a sin, it's not uncommon for those people to feel bad about terminating their pregnancy because of their religion."

"Self-fulfilling prophesy," murmured Yax.

"Exactly."




Monday, August 13, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Naturally, this is something that the mainstream media won't be reporting on very much, so I thought it was important to share. But I'll let the video speak for itself. Peace!







Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sweet And Spicy Salad #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is a light, refreshing salad recipe that's perfect for those hot, summer evenings when even turning on the stove is out of the question. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
1 granny smith apple cored and chopped
1 cup raisins soaked in apple juice
1 cup walnuts chopped
1 large onion chopped fine
1 bell pepper chopped (your choice of color)
1 large tomato chopped
1 20oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
4 cups arugula, kale, or romaine lettuce rinsed and drained
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp garum masala
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp honey
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, turmeric, garum masala, pepper flakes, honey, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. In a larger bowl, toss the remaining ingredients together until evenly distributed. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is coated. Serve chilled.

Bon appetit!


Saturday, August 11, 2018

#Summer Lovin' #Readers #Giveaway! $80 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Summer!  Please take a moment to check out the Summer Lovin' Readers Multi Author/Blogger Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 27 prizes, and the grand prize is $80 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, August 10, 2018

#Interview With Camilla Ochlan!



Hey Everyone! :-)

The exceptionally talented Camilla Ochlan is here with us, today. Camilla, can you please tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

Camilla: I am a teacher and writer. I've been an actor, a waiter, a shop girl, an office temp, a bookstore clerk, a martial arts instructor, and a bartender. I am a perpetual student and love books, movies, and TV. I am a great dog lover and devoted cat servant. And after over 20 years of struggling with it, I finally call myself an Angeleno. I love telling stories. I have written six books in the Of Cats And Dragons series with Carol E. Leever, and two books and three novellas in the Werewolf Whisperer series with co-author Bonita Gutierrez. I've also published a short mythpunk noir called The Seventh Lane.

Me: Sounds like you've been busy! :-) What's the name of your latest books and what inspired it?

Camilla: The latest book is Summer's Fall, the third in our fantasy adventure series. My best friend Carol and I have roamed the Of Cats And Dragons world for over three decades, creating our stories in the telling -- from our high school Dungeons & Dragons games to a database where gathered over three hundred of our stories and story fragments. A couple of years ago we decided it was time to share. It wasn't easy, sorting through generations of characters, plots long and short, episodes half-forgotten and threads of tales never completed. From the moment Carol and I decided to write that first Of Cats And Dragons novel, it took nearly a year of combing through storylines, weighing character arcs, before we arrived at a starting point. Other decisions had to be made as well. While our stories range from grimdark to slapstick, we had to pick one path. Ultimately, we had to go with what the core really was -- heroic fantasy with a touch of whimsy. Game Of Thrones without the naughty bits. And while we had literally dozens of possible protagonists to choose from, we agreed that Omen and Tormy were at the center of our fantastical universe. And from where should we launch the tale of their beautiful friendship? After a couple of false starts and at least another year of trying to figure it out, we decided to begin — at the beginning. Night's Gift is the pilot to our new series, followed by Radiation, and now Summer's Fall, which begins a new quest trilogy.

Me: A labor of love, then. ;-) What are you working on now?

Camilla: Having just released Summer's Fall, Carol and I are working on the edits for The Hollow Season, and The Autumn King, which should be released at the beginning of August and sometime in the late fall respectively. We will also be breaking the outline for the next book this month. The idea isn't so much rapid release, but timed release. We'd like to offer new installments from the world Of Cats And Dragons every six months or so.

Me: Cool! What authors, or books, have influenced you?

Camilla: I'm probably most heavily influenced by mythology, folk and fairytales. I look up to Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury as storytellers. But I've been influenced by so many writers, it's really hard to pin down exactly. Anne Perry and Elizabeth Peters both created long mystery series with fantastic characters. The kind of characters you think of as friends, not just people on a page. I know that is the kind of experience I want to give my readers.

Me: There're some great authors on that list. :-) What are you reading now?

Camilla: Back for another round of Edith Hamilton's Mythology (just can't stay away). I am also reading some of Brian McClellan's short stories, getting ready for the release of his next Powder Mage novel. I'm reading a lot of nonfiction as I research future projects. I am planning two historical fantasies – one in the Werewolf Whisperer universe, which focuses on the character Kai and takes the reader to ancient China; the other is a secret ;)

Me: Sounds interesting! For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Camilla: Of Cats And Dragons is a fun fantasy adventure for the whole family. You've got heroic quests, dragons, monsters, tons of magic, and talking cats. It's where the epic meets the adorable — and may even serve as a gateway into fantasy literature.

Me: The best kind of fantasy, then. :-) What's your favorite part of being an author?

Camilla: The mental practice of constant storytelling. I love disappearing into the writing, hitting that flow. And when it's all done, you have something that wasn't there before. And with Of Cats And Dragons, it's such fun to finally share the contents of my head. Carol and I have been living with these characters for three decades. So, it feels good to release them into the wild. And I am thrilled at the positive response we've gotten.

Me: That's awesome! Do you have a day job as well?

Camilla: I've been an elementary school teacher for a very long time. To make time and room for my writing, I substitute teach day-to-day now. That way, I can be of service but am not tied down to one classroom or one school. And if I need more writing time, I can adjust my schedule easily. I really enjoy when I get the chance to teach writing. That is the best part of my day job.

Me: Sounds like the best of both worlds. :-) What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Camilla: I love telling the stories, that's the enjoyable part. The hard part is coming to terms with having had a late start as an author. I always wanted to write, my degree is in English, but I didn't have the confidence or the discipline to write — not for decades. It's hard to fathom now. Why did it take me so long? I was doing a lot of other things — figuring out the world around me and my place in it. I had to feel settled before I could make a serious start. And gather experience. It would have been great to publish in my twenties, but I wasn't ready. Other people are ready much earlier, but I still had a lot of my #^$%@ to work out.

Me: Well, I guess we all start writing when the stories inside use are ready to be written. :-) What genre do you place your book in?

Camilla: Epic fantasy. Heroic fantasy. Young Adult fantasy. Coming of age fantasy. Comedic fantasy. #Gleedark. In a pocket somewhere between Stardust and The Hobbit.

Me: Wonderful! Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Camilla: The Of Cats And Dragons books are pure fantasy. The world Carol and I created is extensive, so we plan on keeping the series going for a long time. And if you love audiobooks, our Of Cats And Dragons audiobooks take the fun to a whole new level.

Me: I'm sure that's excellent news to all of your fans. :-) And so these fine folks can find all your amazing stories, are there any links you'd like me to post?

Camilla:
Connect with me:
Twitter: ‪@CamillaOchlan https://twitter.com/CamillaOchlan
Seething Brain Blog: https://seethingbrain.wordpress.com
BookBub:https://www.bookbub.com/authors/camilla-ochlan
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Camilla-Ochlan/e/B00OBOOBF6/
Of Cats and Dragons: http://ofcatsanddragons.com

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)

OF CATS AND DRAGONS:

NIGHT'S GIFT(book 1)
US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075MW21HL
UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nights-Gift-Cats-Dragons-Book-ebook/dp/B075MW21HL
Audible:https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Nights-Gift-Audiobook/B074CKTHVJ

RADIATION (book 2)
US: https://www.amazon.com/Radiation-Cats-Dragons-Book-2-ebook/dp/B075MTM9KJ
UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Radiation-Cats-Dragons-Book-2-ebook/dp/B075MTM9KJ
Audible:https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Radiation-Audiobook/B075Y6VL51

SUMMER'S FALL (book 3)
US:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CZQ2VB4
UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Fall-Cats-Dragons-Book-ebook/dp/B07CZQ2VB4
Audible: coming soon

THE HOLLOW SEASON (book 4) PRE-ORDER
US:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CZNNBR3
UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Season-Autumn-trilogy-Dragons-ebook/dp/B07CZNNBR3

THE SEVENTH LANE (not OF CATS AND DRAGONS - mythpunk, stand-alone audiobook): https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Seventh-Lane-Audiobook/B00QJD1CVS

Me: Fantastic! :-)  Thank you so much for stopping by, today, Camilla. And thank you to the rest of you who joined us, as well. :-) Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings!




Thursday, August 9, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: The First By Lisa M. Green!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Lisa M. Green in my APC spotlight, today! Lisa is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her fantasy, mythological, dystopian sci-fi, fairy tale novel, The First, looks great! Here's the description:
A tale of myth, mystery... and a past long forgotten...
Rinni and her brother have been raised by their grandmother ever since the violent death of their parents at the hands of the Shadows, creatures who lurk beyond the walls and kill anyone who attempts to leave. But the biggest threat lies within their own village. Everyone and everything is dying, slowly and without hope of salvation.
When a series of disturbing events leads her to question the intentions of their leaders, Rinni discovers just how far some will go to cover up the truth. The history of their beginnings is starting to unravel, the threads hopelessly bound up with the fate of those who left the village long ago.
She discovers that her most vital beliefs are based on a deception that will rock the foundation of her entire people. To save them, she must learn to open her heart and sacrifice... everything.
You may think you have heard this story before, but be warned: You haven't.
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, August 8, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 802


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 Eight-Hundred-Two:
The juvenile felid has recently decided that the container that my hominid-servant uses to provide us with potable H2O is unacceptable. His reasoning in this matter quite escapes me, as I cannot perceive any appreciable change in the container or its surroundings. However, he seems resolved in his refusal of it, even going so far as to allow himself to suffer from thirst instead of drinking from a readily available source of H2O.

Fortunately, my hominid-servant is rather vigilant in such matters, and it didn't take her long to notice the young annoyance's desperation. She also tends to be rather practical in these instances, so rather than insisting small beast get over his seemingly irrational reluctance to utilize the container, she quickly provided him with an alternative. Thus, though the tiny irritant's predicament was of his own making, it has now been resolved in a manner that he seems to find satisfactory.

Though I, myself, have not observed any legitimate reason to reject the original container, I will monitor the situation and report back with any further findings. My youthful companion has proven himself to be quite capable of bizarre and inexplicable conduct, but I prefer to be thorough in my investigation and so will not rule out the possibility, however unlikely, that there is a valid explanation for this sudden change in his behavior.


It's ghosts, I tell you! ;-) 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, August 7, 2018

#Interview With Katherine Gilbert!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

Please join me in welcoming Katherine Gilbert! Katherine, will you please tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

Katherine: Well, "written" and "published" are two different things. I've completed five novels altogether, but I've only recently had the first one published. As for me, I've been born and raised in South Carolina (unofficial state motto: Please Don't Blame Us for Our Lunatic Fringe. We Know They're Nuts). I was raised in some pretty gothic homes, so I come by my interest in the weirder parts of life honestly.

Me: Ha! Well, we all have people in our lives that we feel the need to apologize for, at times. ;-) Congrats on publishing your first novel! What's the name of your book and what inspired it?

Katherine: It's Protecting the Dead. As the blurb says, "After a childhood filled with demons and her devil-worshiping parents, Lydia longs for a quiet, normal life, a safe haven somewhere blissfully dull. Being the manager at the Roanoke Apartments seems to fit that bill. But Lydia soon learns that you can't leave the past behind so easily. She finds herself faced with unclogging drains for werewolves, conducting nightly vampire counseling sessions, and caring for two talkative cats. Then there's the distraction of Geoffrey, the hottest, and most angelic, boss anyone ever dreamed of. As if that isn't enough, the demon who nearly killed her shows up to finish the job. So much for a peaceful, simple life..."  As for its inspiration, there was, until recently, a real apartment complex in Decatur, GA (where my novel is set) which my sister and I once visited on an apartment hunt. Unfortunately, there was just an odd, gothic air about the whole place, especially the apartment she was shown which gave a definite feeling that anyone living there would never quite be alone. When she asked about the turnover of tenants, as well, she was told, "Oh, our residents never leave." This seemed such a strangely evocative answer that I wrote it down as soon as we were in the car. A few weeks later, I started writing.

Me: That's an awesome opening for a novel! :-) What are you working on now?

Katherine: I can't say a lot about what I'm working on, or I won't actually write it (I don't know why I have this tendency as a writer, but I do). Let's just say that it takes place along the coast of Georgia and involves a secret society, a girl with a shocking personality, a boy she's flummoxed, a gryphon, a vampire, and a couple of revenants--and that's just the part I've written so far.

Me: Ooooh! Mysterious! What authors, or books, have influenced you?

Katherine: I adore the characters and humor of Terry Pratchett. I always wish I could get a line to sing the way his do. If I could convey a sense of place like Barbara Hambly, I'd . . . well, have to be Barbara Hambly. There are certainly many others, as well.

Me: I agree, those are a couple of amazing authors. :-) What are you reading now?

Katherine: My sister (who, if she kept up a Goodreads page, would have at least tens of thousands of books on it--but she doesn't, because she's too busy reading in all her spare time) passed on the YA Heist Society novels, by Ally Carter, to me. I've really been enjoying them, at least whenever I can get the time to read.

Me: Ha! Your sister sounds like a woman after my own heart. For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Katherine: I've always been drawn to the comic, the gothic, and a good romance, so you'll definitely see all three in my novel--along with angels, demons, werewolves, vampires, succubi, ghosts, and many other things which go bump in the night.

Me: Sounds like fun! What is your favorite part of being an author?

Katherine: Being able to finally put into some tangible form the stories and characters which are playing in my mind. Of course, the usual struggle is to try to encapsulate those vivid images into something both as simple and as devilishly complex as words. The really happy days are when I can get somewhat close to that mental ideal.

Me: Ah, wrestling with language. Every author's bane. ;-) Do you have a day job as well?

Katherine: Oh, yes. I teach English at a community college in South Carolina. This can be alternately inspiring, heartening, tedious, sad, or infuriating--depending on the semester.

Me: Cool! So your love of literature must run deep. :-) What are the hardest, and easiest, parts about being a writer?

Katherine: Hm, I can really only think of hard ones. Despite what non-writers occasionally seem to think, this isn't an easy job. Among the harder parts, there's: trying to craft and shape into words those worlds I see so clearly, finding the time around real-life demands to actually sit down and write, and going through the many rejections of trying to get published. My new hardest part, though, is marketing. I'm terrible at it! I have no social media savvy, and I always feel like I'm running my hardest just to be three miles behind. I also never knew that I would need so many other skills to try to sell my novel. So far, I've had to learn to make jewelry and create computer graphic banners for giveaways. I don't know if anything's easy about it, but it is very satisfying when I can capture some part of that mental picture well and have written something I actually enjoy rereading.

Me: Oh, yes, the many hats an author has to wear. Don't worry, you're not alone in trying to catch up on that learning curve. :-) What genre do you place your book in?

Katherine: The definitions of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance seem very close to me. Still, I saw someone's definition the other day that PNR is more about the Happily Ever After, so I suppose that's probably me.

Me: One of my favorite genres! Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Katherine: I like reading fiction which helps me escape from this world into another where I enjoy spending time with all the characters and getting the chance to share their lives. My fervent hope for any readers of my novel is that they will have a moment at the end when they smile and sigh and feel like they've made new friends.

Me: And so all these fine folks can find those new friends, are there any links you'd like me to post?

Katherine: You can buy Protecting the Dead in digital format at any of the following (it will hopefully be out in print sometime in the future, but I don't know the details yet):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FG1VPHZ

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/842470

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/protecting-the-dead

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-the-dead-katherine-gilbert/1128969519?ean=2940162107453

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Katherine_Gilbert_Protecting_the_Dead?id=lFhgDwAAQBAJ

You can also find me any of these places (Please come say Hi! I get lonely!):
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Katherine-Gilbert-Author-102573417043950/

Goodreads pages:
Book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40583130-protecting-the-dead?from_search=true
Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18141907.Katherine_Gilbert

Bookbub:
Book: https://www.bookbub.com/books/protecting-the-dead-by-katherine-gilbert
Author: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katherine-gilbert?list=author_books

Amazon Author's page: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Gilbert/e/B07DWFDT92

Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/katherinegilbert

Me: Great! How about a teaser?

Katherine:
She was left in her usual state of confusion, as they pulled up in front of another of the buildings, a gray stucco one.

Geoffrey shut off the cart before turning to her. “Glory is a fairly normal resident in appearance.”

Linda fervently prevented herself from analyzing that statement.

“The next two will be a bit harder for you to handle.”

He got out of the cart without allowing her to answer or beg for a reprieve. It was probably for the best. While she wanted desperately to believe that he was just referring to some physical disability they might have, the day so far had taught her not to go in utterly unprepared. After all, her boss was probably right. Any more fighting, and her mind might get pulled right off its last hinge.

She kept this truth close to her, tried to plant a smile on her face, as they approached the apartment door. It was only once he looked at her as though she was suddenly juggling gerbils or something that she realized her smile was undoubtedly fairly manic. She took a deep breath, trying to remain calm. It wasn’t easy. Given all that had happened so far, there was no telling what to expect. If some undead guy wrapped in bandages loped his way toward the door…

She did her best to repress the hysteria her life was teaching her, as Geoffrey rang the bell. Hard not to notice that it sounded out something that resembled the opening bars of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” Those hours listening to classic rock radio were taking their toll.

Tragically, the person who answered the door didn’t make her feel any better. She supposed she should just be glad that there were no trailing bandages that she could see.

The new resident was not the type of monster she had feared, however. They were met, instead, with a wide, but disturbingly carnivorous, smile. Yellow eyes alighted on her boss, and the smile grew even wider. “Geoffrey, darling!” the man exclaimed, pulling him inside. “Get yourself and your delicious little assistant in here.”

Hairy. He was just hairy. Nothing more to it than that. Okay, so his beard, hair, and mustache all seemed to have completed the sort of forays the earlier applicant’s had started, matching up with each other to form more a fur mask than anything else. But there was no reason to panic. That was probably perfectly normal, right?

She repeated this mantra, as another voice met them from the kitchen. “You’re late, the pair of you!” The fact that she couldn’t see the man who said it didn’t make her any less nervous.

“Sorry!” Geoffrey called back before turning to the first resident. “Glory kept us a bit.”

Both men rolled their yellow eyes slightly, as the second entered the room. “You always were her favorite.”

Despite her efforts, the panic was beginning to truly set in now; Linda looked back and forth between them, trying very hard not to go mad. If the first resident had been hairy, the second looked more like a bag of fur that someone had attempted to construct a human shape out of. She tried really hard to believe that they were just suffering from the sort of disease that had put some nineteenth-century unfortunates into freak shows as “dog-faced boys.” Her mind reeled, denial dissolving. But that sort of thing had been eliminated long ago, right?

She decided not to believe in such science, finding that explanation far easier to accept than any of the alternatives.

Geoffrey turned toward her, as she was attempting to keep her eyes from rolling back in her head. “These are some more of our longer-term residents. This is Hugh Baskerville.” He pointed from the first to the second, as she did her best to tuck all the escaping parts of her sizzling brain back in. “And this is Laurence Cheney.”

“But my friends call me—”

“No, don’t,” she begged, knowing what was coming, her face buried in her hand. First, it was… well, everything, and now it was Lon Chaney and a Conan Doyle character. Good grief.

She knew she was being rude, knew she certainly wasn’t being a good assistant to Geoffrey, but she couldn’t quite force herself to look up again. If she did, she was going to see things she couldn’t wholly deny. She couldn’t take that. Whatever its dangers, denial felt safe. There was only so much oddity her brain could withstand, before it just started to explode.

She found herself sitting on the couch a moment later, knew that all these men were watching her, knew that she was direly failing whatever test she was being given. But she just couldn’t help it. It was too much, was far too weird. If only life could be all picket fences and well-tended lawns and SUVs and…

Okay, so she really wasn’t dumb enough to think such details meant an utter lack of misery, but they just seemed so nice, compared to her life. She felt someone sit on the couch beside her, knew it was Geoffrey, even before he spoke.

“Give her a minute,” he whispered, tenderly stroking her blue hair.

That only made her sigh all the more. There were times she truly wished she could be a stereotypical vapid blonde.

That wish, of course, was part of the reason why she’d ended up with the hair color she was now stuck with, but she wasn’t up to such analysis.

One of the residents sighed softly. “I guess we are a bit much for a first day. Especially with our moon phase coming up and all.”

She wished she lived the sort of life which made it impossible to guess what they were talking about.

Geoffrey’s soft touch made her raise her head again, her eyes a little misty, as she gazed at the two residents’ worried yellow eyes. Their normal clothing only made the situation weirder. The one who had greeted them, Hugh, dressed much like her boss tended to. The second one was even wearing a business suit. She was trying not to scream.

Fortunately, Geoffrey surprised her out of the impulse, pulling her close, his arms tender, mouth by her ear. Into it, he whispered a series of soft, soothing sounds. Like at her lunch with Glory, none of them were quite recognizable, except for her name. “Lydia,” he would breathe, before those only half-hidden words began again. “Lydia.” It made her real name so darn tempting that she couldn’t quite remember why she’d ever chosen another, and it finally made her sanity begin to piece itself slowly back together.

She wasn’t certain how long they were like that, knew nothing except his touch, his comfort. Some final spate of words settled inside her as a sort of hope for the future, a thought — even if she had no conscious access to it — that comforted her even more. She felt his soft kiss there, before he finally leaned back. She didn’t really know what to think, after that.

Me: Perfect! Thank you so much for stopping by, today, Katherine. And thank you, also, to the rest of you who joined us. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)