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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

#Soup, It's What's For #Dinner! ;-)

Hey Everyone! :-)

Winter has finally arrived and the weather here has been getting colder. So, today, I thought I'd share one of my favorite soup recipes with you. I hope you find it as delicious and warming as I do. :-)

Meatless "Beef" And Potatoes Soup:
4 large potatoes cubed
3 large onions chopped
2 large portabello mushrooms, stems and caps, sliced
1 14oz container of sliced button mushrooms
2 large carrots chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
3 cups of raw kale chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup red wine (Merlot or Burgandy work well)
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions in the olive oil and butter in a stock pot until they are well caramelized. Add the carrots and pepper and continue to cook to until they soften. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms soften. Stir in the tomato paste and deglaze the pot with the wine.  Add the water or stock, salt and pepper, and potatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for half an hour and stir. Allow to simmer for another 20 minutes to half an hour and stir.  Check to make sure the potatoes are soft and add the kale. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the kale wilts, and serve.

If you'd like, once the vegetables are softened you can transfer them to a crockpot and complete the soup there. Still deglaze the pot or pan with the wine and pour that into the crockpot as well. If you don't like wine, or don't keep alcohol in the house, you can use 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 3/4 cups water or stock to deglaze the pot or pan.  If you don't like button mushrooms, you can use any kind of mushroom you like. If possible, you should use the portabello mushrooms as they add a "meaty" texture and richness to the soup.

You can thicken the broth by mixing 1/4 cornstarch with cold water to make a slurry and adding it to the soup at the end. You can also add any other vegetables you like in your soup. I've made the soup with sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. You can also replace the potatoes with barley or rice. If you like your soup spicy, you can add a couple of chili peppers or some curry paste to the soup. Basically, this is a good basic soup that can be taken in a lot of directions, so don't be afraid to experiment.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rudolph's #Reads #Holiday #Giveaway! $120 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for the holiday season!  Please take a moment to check out Rudolph's Reads Holiday Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Bet's A #Bet, Right? ;-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I don't know about where you are, but old man winter is making himself known with his chilly breath here. Since the weather outside is frightful, I thought I'd try to help warm up your weekend with a little peek from the Summer Court. Enjoy...

Excerpt from Bound By The Summer Prince:
Once Roni was out of the ballroom her head began to clear, but she still had no clear idea what had happened or why. Looking at the grim expressions on the faces of the two women who were with her, she swallowed nervously. Whatever the reason for her outrageous behavior, it was clear that she was in trouble. She just hoped she didn’t end up back in the dungeon.

When they reached Roni’s room, Seren excused herself. Jillian stayed and inspected the room, before turning to Roni; she looked at the human woman with concern. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t know what happened! I can’t explain it at all!” Roni looked at Jillian with fear in her eyes. “Am I losing my mind? Do humans go crazy in Fairie?”

“No, humans usually do not lose their reason in Fairie. Sometimes a human is confronted with a Fae creature too frightening or fantastic for them to accept and their mind will break, but that is not what happened tonight. I’m not sure what happened tonight, but I suspect a spell. Undoubtedly the prince will investigate.”

“A spell? I thought my key chain would protect me?”

“It should have, but there is a sense of magic about you. A healer will have to examine you to be sure, but I suspect you were bespelled.”

Roni sighed. It was going to be more difficult to navigate this society than she’d thought. Just then it also occurred to her that she’d lost her bet with Uaine! She chewed her lower lip pensively, and reflected on what that meant. A shiver moved down her spine, and she barely kept herself from sobbing aloud.

Jillian sensed Roni’s change in mood and regarded her worriedly. She wanted to ask the human what was troubling her, and reassure her that the scene in the ballroom wasn’t the catastrophe she seemed to believe that it was, but the other female had huddled into herself and didn’t seem as if she’d welcome anyone encroaching on her reverie. No matter how well meant the interruption might be.

Just as Jillian was debating on whether or not to disturb her future queen, regardless of if her concern would be welcome or not, Uaine entered the room with Turlough, the Court physician. Curtseying, she excused herself and left the room.

“Roni.” said Uaine, and repeated her name when she did not respond.

After the second time Uaine called her, Roni looked up. “Yes?”

“Do your remember Turlough? You met him at dinner.”

She nodded.

“He’s the Court physician and he’s here to examine you.”

She nodded again.

Turlough smiled at his patient. “This won’t hurt, my dear, I’m just going to scan you to see if there are any remaining spells on you.” When she acknowledged his statement, Turlough closed his eyes and held his hand out towards her. His examination completed, he turned to Uaine. “There are no spells on her currently, but there are signs of three different spells having been laid on her recently. Since there are only the remnants, it’s difficult to determine exactly what the spells were meant to accomplish, but they all seem to have been intended to affect her judgment and behavior. Given what we found in the spilled wine, I think it’s safe to say that someone, or several people, was or were determined to make sure our future queen embarrassed herself tonight.”

Hearing the physician’s words, and seeing him talk over her head to Uaine, finally cut through Roni’s misery. A flash of fury washed over her, and she jumped to her feet. “I’m right here! You can speak to me! Are you saying someone did this to me?”

Turlough turned to Roni and bowed. “I’m sorry, you’re quite right. Yes, we found a spell in the wine you spilled that allowed someone else to take temporary control of your actions. The other two spell remnants seem to have been from spells intended to rob you of judgment and lower your inhibitions. I believe they were unsuccessful because of the iron that you wear. The third spell, the one that had its intended affect, was not placed on you; it was placed on the wine. This allowed the spell-caster to circumvent the protection afforded to you by your talisman, and when you consumed the wine the spell took effect. However, you needn’t worry about any further ill effects, the spell has run its course. Also, I have deactivated and removed all three remnants, just in case the spell-caster managed to hide something nasty in them that I somehow missed. There is no further trace of them on you.”

“Do you know who cast the spell?”

Uaine spoke up to answer her question; “We do not, but we have our suspicions. Unfortunately, suspicions are not enough to act on.”


“She is certainly one of the suspects.”

“How would whoever it was be able to make sure I got the glass of wine with the spell on it?”

Turlough spoke to this question. “Either the server was bribed to give it to you, something I’m sure the prince is investigating.” At Uaine’s nod he continued. “Or they cast the spell from across the room once the wine was in your hand. This would have been difficult, but not impossible; especially for someone as powerful as a noble.”

Roni sighed. “So it’s a dead end?”

“For the time being.” said Uaine. “But we will continue investigating.” He turned to the physician. “Thank you for your assistance tonight, Turlough, your loyalty will not be forgotten.”

Turlough bowed. “It was my pleasure and duty, your highness.” He said, and withdrew from the room.

Roni turned to Uaine. “How bad is it?”

He looked at her and smiled. “It is not terrible. Many of the nobles in attendance examined the spilled wine; it is impossible for anyone to claim you were not bespelled when you struck Deirdra. Also, she has plenty of her own enemies who were happy to see her discomposed. Still, she filed a complaint and has had to be compensated for her injury, and the fact that you could be bespelled does show some weakness. But this is nothing that we cannot recover from.

She sighed. “I guess I’d better be more careful about what I eat and drink in the future.”

“I had meant to warn you about Fae wine; it is much stronger than human spirits. The natural intoxication you would have experience may have made it easier for the spell-caster to take control of your actions.”

Roni thought about that and nodded. “I’ll remember to avoid wine in the future.”

Uaine smiled. “Then I’ll bid you goodnight. I’m sure we can both use some rest.”

As he started to leave, Roni called to him; “Wait!” He turned and she loosened the bodice of her dress, allowing the sleeves to slide down her arms and the top of the dress to pool at her waist. “You won the bet and I owe you something.”

Uaine sucked in a breath at the sight of his Anamchara’s breasts covered in nothing but the sheer half-cups of her bra. He went to her, putting his hands to either side of her on the wall at her back, caging her within his arms. Leaning down he buried his face against her neck, and inhaled deeply. Her breath hitched in her throat.

Want to know what happens next?  There are hours of entertainment waiting for you in the land of Summer here:

Happy reading! :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: Zahara A We Are The #Devil's #Daughters #Story By Mara Reitsma!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Mara Reitsma in my APC spotlight, today!  Mara is an active and supportive member of  the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her paranormal romance novel, Zahara A We Are The Devil's Daughters Story, looks pretty good! Here's the description:
It wasn't easy being a female in The Void, add to that the fact that you were one of three sired by the Lord of Darkness himself, and let's not forget about that curse of hers either... Zahara was the perfect balance of her Mother and Father, giving her the ability to respect the rules, and yet know when some of them needed to be broken. This, and her abilities to get into the minds of others, made her the perfect transporter, ferrying the dead to the Great Courts to face judgement. Not bad for a female of three hundred! Together with her sisters Madrina and Euphamia, a badass attitude named Nyx, and an Angel with a flare for sarcasm, they work hard to maintain order and balance in their The Void, Sanctuary, and everything that lay in between. But an enemy from the past is waiting on their doorstep, and that curse of hers sends her on a wild ride; one that would start and end, with a Vampire named Markus. Zahara will have to figure things out fast!
Sounds pretty interesting, huh? :-) If you agree, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 402

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 Four-Hundred-Two:
My hominid-servant has recently installed a tree on the inside of my domicile. I find this choice to be decidedly odd, however, I do admit to enjoying the opportunity to explore at least one example of local flora in minute detail. Unfortunately, my hominid-servant does not seem to understand the opportunity presented by this tree.  Every time I climb up into the branches to more closely examine the structures of the plant, she exclaims quite loudly and chases me away from the tree.

I am further frustrated by the fact that, instead of transplanting the tree with its root system intact, she has instead chosen to cut the tree near its base and place it in a container of water to extend the amount of time it remains fresh. However, the tree is still undeniably dead and it is just a matter of how long it will take for the corpse to decay. Which, of course, impacts the validity of any observations I may manage to make despite my hominid-servant's interference.

To make matters worse, all of the flora and fauna that normally colonize a living structure as large as a tree have, for the most part, been removed. Oh, there are some, small areas where lichens still grow on the trunk and branches of the tree. And I have certainly made records of those areas and continue to monitor them. But, for the most part, the tree makes for disappointing study. I do not know if my hominid-servant intended the tree to be compensation for her refusal to facilitate my out-of-doors explorations but, if so, I must say that her efforts have fallen flat.

Poor Agent Thoth. Hominids can be so unreasonable. ;-)  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, November 29, 2016

#Mysteries, Bargains, And #Secrets, Oh My! ;-)

Hey Everyone!

I'm back with another look at what Petri is up to. Take a look... :-)

Excerpt from book two of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
Petri opened her eyes to the same stark, white room she had spent so much time with the Arcanum in, but right away she knew she was dreaming. The dimensions of the room had changed considerably and the space around her seemed to go on forever; an endless sea of glowing whiteness. She turned around, trying to find a reference point; anything in that empty space that would let her know why she was there and what was going on. But there was nothing.

As she completed her circuit, the lead Arcanum appeared before her. It was alone, but she could feel the pressure of the Collective surrounding them. Watching them.

"What's going on?"

"You shut me out of your mind, child, this is the only way I can reach you."

"What do you mean?"

"You would not let me past your shields, and I did not want to risk damaging your mind by forcing my way through them. This is easier."

"I don't understand. I told you I wanted to sleep."

"Yes. It is easier to access your memories while you rest."

She could sense the alien testing the edges of her barriers.

"It should be easier, but your defenses are still in place." It cocked its head and seemed to regard her quizzically. "You should not even be aware of my presence. Odd. You are a conundrum, child."

"I told you I don't want you sifting through my mind without my permission. Would you let me do that to you?"

"You are being impertinent, child."

Petri just lifted her eyebrows. She could feel it when the Arcanum reached out to the rest of the Collective and wondered if she had made a mistake.

As if in answer to her silent fears, the Arcanum continued, "Many in the Collective wish to make an example of one of your pets to gain your compliance."

Petri tensed, but the Arcanum held up a hand before she could respond.

"I feel this would be counterproductive, and they are willing to bow to my greater experience associating with you. I have seen some of your memories and understand that much of your life has been spent making transactions with others. Since that is what you are familiar with, I will attempt to find common ground with you that way. I wish to access your memories, what would you ask in return for granting me such access?"

Astonished, Petri chewed on her lip as she considered. "Let my friends go?" she tried.

"I understand enough of these transactions to know that it must be something of equal value. That is not."

"I don't want you just wandering through my mind wherever you feel like it. That's a pretty damn big thing to me."

The Arcanum seemed to consider. "There is specific information I wish to gain from your memories. I could explain my needs and you could provide me with the memories that contain that information."

"Why not just ask me questions and let me answer them?"

"Because I want to see the memories for myself. I do not want them filtered through your perception of what is important from them; I want to see the entire experience."

Petri thought about it. "What memories."

"Your interactions with the being called 'Vlad.' I wish to understand what this being is and what occurred during your interaction with it."

"I don't know what he is."

"Which is one of many reasons why I wish to see the memories for myself."

Chewing her lip, Petri stared at the Arcanum. "Why do you want to know about him?"

"Several reasons. This being may be the answer to a problem."

"What problem? What aren't you telling me?"

"There are many things I have yet to share with you, child. Some you would not understand, some would not be relevant to you, and some I am not certain you are ready for."

"You evaded my question. You've been hiding something important from me, I can tell. I want to know what it is."

"And that is the price you would ask for opening your mind to me?"

Petri shook her head and smiled. "It's the price I ask for sharing my memories of Vlad with you."
She got the feeling that the Arcanum was both amused and grudgingly approving at her correction. It was quiet for several moments and she could feel it as it reached out to the other Arcanum. What that communication contained wasn't clear to her, but she didn't want to lower her barriers in order to hear it better.

After several minutes, the Arcanum's eyes brightened and it said, "The bargain is acceptable. We have an agreement."

"So do I need to wake up, then?"

"There is no need. Make yourself comfortable, child. I will tell you a story."

Startled at the familiar turn of phrase, Petri regarded the Arcanum suspiciously as she settled herself onto the floor with her legs crossed over each other. Had it heard that expression in her mind?

Seemingly oblivious to her suspicion, the Arcanum spoke. 

Hmm... Seems like some secrets are about to be revealed. I wonder what they are. ;-)  Thank you all for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed this little peek and that you'll check back tomorrow to see whats new in Mistral Dawn's Musings. Have a fantastic day! :-)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!!

I'm back with another video for you today.  This one is from the Jimmy Dore show and it focuses on a speech by Harry Belafonte and his thoughts about US politics and the Democratic Party, in particular. It's a moving speech that references several notable figures in American political history, people who fought for, and achieved, real and meaningful change.  One thing that really stood out to me was his description of a meeting with FDR that highlights how vital it is that The People make their voices heard through activism in order to push politicians into action. I found it to be a powerful reminder about the real seat of power in this country, and I definitely think it's worth listening to.