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, August 28, 2016

#Gems Of #Strength #Anthology: Hidden Identities By Jennifer L. Roche!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

Please welcome Jennifer L. Roche today.  Jennifer has joined us to tell us about her story Hidden Identities, which is in the Gems of Strength anthology, along with Any Kind Of VelvetBettina, Angel Strong, Deep In The ValleyFocal PointThe Road To HappinessA Mother's HeartCombustionVanquish, Undeniable Love, Childish Things, Fox, and Burned Toast.  I'll let Jennifer tell you about herself and her story. :-)

Jennifer:



Saturday, August 27, 2016

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


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for you to enter with lots of awesome prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 100 prizes, and the grand prize is $150 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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





Friday, August 26, 2016

A Little #Summer's #Heat For The #Weekend!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

Given the season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere, I just thought I'd share a peek at Roni and Uaine's adventures in the Summer Court of Fairie with you today. Enjoy! ;-)

Excerpt from Intrigue In The Summer Court:
As they strolled arm-in-arm through the forest, he reflected, with amusement, on his Anamchara's protests when he had asked her to change into comfortable clothing and walking shoes without telling her the reason. She was still shooting him suspicious glances out of the corner of her eye. He suppressed a chuckle; his lady definitely preferred being in control at all times…except in bed.

The prince's loins tightened as he thought about what he had planned for the rest of the evening. The thought of his mate tied up and spread out for his pleasure made him want to take her hand and run to the cabin that awaited them. Even when she agreed to submit to him, she always made it a battle of wills. Dominating her was an exciting challenge, made all the more so by the knowledge that he only succeeded because she chose to allow it.

In all his millennia, Uaine had seldom met anyone who could match his princess when it came to tenacity. She could be stubborn, prickly, and demanding, but she also had a good heart and compassionate nature. Not that she would admit to the latter.

At times, her behavior could be maddening! Even now she was refusing to speak to him because he wouldn't reveal the nature of the surprise that awaited her. It took a secure male to deal with such a complicated female. But it was that very strength of will that made her surrender, when it finally came, all the sweeter. Because he knew it was for him, and for him only.

As the two of them walked in companionable silence, each lost in their own thoughts, a cabin slowly came into view. At first, it appeared to be an unprepossessing structure, sitting beneath an overhanging tree and seemingly half-buried in the side of a hill. It was only on closer inspection that it became apparent that the home had been built into the hillside, not buried by it, and that it was larger than it first appeared.

From a distance, the front wall seemed to have been painted green, but when Roni approached she saw that it was actually covered in vines. She would have been amazed to know that the wall itself was comprised of those vines, and that the builder of the cabin had created the entire structure out of living vegetation and earthen walls. The part of the roof that emerged from the earth was made from mushrooms that fed on the vine stalks in the walls. The mushrooms grew in a shelf-like pattern and spread out to cover the top of the cabin.

The entire dwelling was enshrouded in magic and no one knew when it had been built or who built it. As far back as anyone could remember the cabin had been exactly where it was, and had served as a retreat for the Summer royals when they wished a break from their duties. Even Roni, who lacked the Fae sensitivity to magic, could feel the aura of time that emanated from the dwelling.

She reached out and stroked the leaves that surrounded the door. The door appeared to be made of stone, but in actuality it was the outer shell of the vine's seeds. Harder than any known metal, the shell surrounding the nut was nearly impenetrable. Inside the shell, the contents were under pressure and the seeds themselves were hard spheres suspended in an acidic gel. If anyone attempted to force their way past the barrier, and succeeded in penetrating the outer shell, they would find themselves bathed in an explosion of acid and hard projectiles.

The moment Roni's fingers touched the foliage, the heavy door swung inward, causing Roni to jump in surprise. She looked at her Anamchara in question.

"It opens to the royal family," he explained. "It recognizes you as the princess, and so it responds to your touch."

"How?" she asked.

Uaine shrugged. "No one knows. It just always has."

Sighing at an answer she was beginning to realize was quite common in Fairie, Roni stepped through the entrance to look at the inside of the home. As she entered, a candle in a sconce by the door flickered to life, and soon several more candles scattered around the room were also lit. The rising light revealed a cozy living room and kitchen.

In the living room, a love seat and two chairs were arranged around a small fireplace. They looked as though they had been well-stuffed, and the upholstery appeared soft and light. Overall, they looked quite comfortable; as though one could easily sink into their cushions and drift to sleep. The fireplace and its surround was made of gray stone, and a stone mantle hung over it.

On the wall adjacent to the fireplace was a window that was covered with a transparent membrane. Roni could tell there was no glass in the window, but she didn't know what the membrane was. Noticing her interest, Uaine said, "It's from the vines that make the walls. They grow in thick groves in the wild, and they need to let air circulate around them but block insects and other parasites. The membrane lets air through, but nothing else, and is much stronger than it looks."

"Amazing!" she exclaimed, and continued her inspection. The kitchen was small, but contained a stove and oven, a sink with running water, and a surprising amount of counter space. The counters, cabinets, and other fixtures were all made of white stone and were cool to the touch when she ran her fingers over them. Turning the faucet on the sink, she was happy to find that both hot and cold water ran from the tap. "What powers the oven and stove?" she asked as she turned the knob on the stove to see the burner flame to life.

"What powers the lights?" he asked teasingly. "Magic."

She smiled. "Yes, this whole place is magic. What's in there?" she asked, pointing to a door at the back of the room.

The prince smiled wickedly and picked her up in his arms. "Let me show you."



Intrigued? ;-) Great! Get your copy now, so you can read on! It's even free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. :-)



Thursday, August 25, 2016

#APC #Spotlight: Subnormal By Stuart Kenyon!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

My APC spotlight is back to its usual day and today I'm highlighting Stuart Kenyon and his post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel, Subnormal! Stuart is a new member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group, and I thought this might be a nice welcome. Here's the description for Subnormal:
Imagine a utopia where every person has a purpose and not a single life is wasted.
Britain has become a hive-like world, with even the weakest and most vulnerable playing their part in the nation's transformation. Crime is low, employment high.

But all is not quite as it seems. Though the revolution was quiet and bloodless, countless lives have been torn apart before our very eyes. Whilst the silent majority are mysteriously duped into collaboration, dissenters are ignored or punished. Democracy, civil liberties and equality are replaced by corruption, discrimination and segregation.

Paul, who has Asperger's Syndrome, knows slavery in the Zone is intrinsically unnatural. His first personal rebellion at Industrial Zone Four is crushed and he is forced to suffer alone for years in silence. Until his younger brother, Tommy, is also declared "subnormal" and sent to the Zone following an accident.

Allied with a handful of fellow Zoners and free-thinkers from the outside world, the brothers defy the powers-that-be. Can they beat the odds and restore to the British people a freedom few can remember?
Sound good? Awesome! As a side note, the author of this book has promised to donate a portion of his proceeds to a special needs children's charity, so if you purchase this book you'll be helping out some kids too! If you'd like, you can grab your copy here:


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



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 214


Hey Everyone! :-)

The day has come! Agent Thoth is about to find out what being "fixed" is all about, and he has a few other observations to share as well. 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 Two-Hundred-Fourteen:
This entry is being made because it's imperative that DPCIL be made aware of the horrors that the hominids are capable of. I believe my hominid-servant does not have any ill intentions towards me, and may in fact be ignorant of the full atrocities committed at the medical facility she took me to, but just in case I wanted to make sure my experience was on record. I know understand the full implications of the term "fixed."

In all honesty the procedure I was personally subjected to, that of being "fixed," was not terribly traumatic. In fact, I recovered within a couple of hours and I now feel much better without all the conflicting emotions and base urges that had been rising within the body I am using for this mission. I would strongly suggest that all DPCIL agents seek out this treatment, as it will remove many unnecessary distractions. However, I observed many others who were not as fortunate as me.

As it was a medical facility, there were, of course, many individuals there who were suffering from various ailments and injuries. Their suffering was unfortunate, but not the fault of the hominids who were only doing their best to aid the afflicted. But what appalled me was that those same hominids, who seemed so compassionate most of the time, also engage in gratuitous torture and mutilation of some of the patients in their care.

It wasn't clear to me how they selected their victims, but some of the creatures who were otherwise healthy were selected to have body parts surgically altered or removed for no apparent reason. The body parts in question were not diseased or malfunctioning. Unlike the "fixing" procedure I underwent, the mutilations weren't performed for the benefit of the patient. They seemed to be completely arbitrary and done with the sole purpose of causing pain.

For instance, I saw one DPCIL agent and several of the felid creatures the forms we use on this planet resemble have the first knuckle of all of their digits amputated! For no reason! As you know, due to the structure of these bodys' legs, anyone assuming this form is forced to walk on their digits. Imagine the pain that someone who has lost a key part of that small structure will experience, not just from the original wound, but for years due to the weight distribution that is now focused on an even smaller surface area. And the strain on the joints in the entire body resulting from the changes in how the individual would be forced to stand and walk.

And it wasn't just DPCIL agents and felids who were subjected to such torment. Several canids had part of the pinnae of their ears removed, which will inevitably result in circulation problems in the remaining flesh. Even infants weren't spared, as several infant canids had part of their tails cut off. I knew the hominids were backwards in many ways, but I hadn't realized quite how barbaric they could be.


Wow! What an ordeal. I'm glad that Agent Thoth wasn't forced to undergo any mutilation, but I certainly feel sorry for those other animals.

Now that you've all gotten to know Agent Thoth a bit, I was wondering what your opinions might be as to how he looks?  Is he long-haired? Short-haired? Somewhere in the middle?  Is he a particular breed of kitty or is he a moggy?  What color is he?  I'll be putting up polls on the side of this blog to pick various aspects of his appearance and I hope you'll all weigh in. Once we've got the particulars settled, I look for a picture to match. :-)

To vote in a poll, either vote directly or comment with your vote on any Agent Thoth post with your choice of the trait being voted on at that time. :-)  Happy reading!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Good #Friend Is A #Treasure


Hey Everyone!!! :-)

I've got another snippet from my work in progress to share with you today! :-)  It looks like Petri is feeling a bit down, good thing Chessie is around to cheer her up. Do you have any friends you rely on to make you laugh when you're not feeling well? I do and I treasure them. Honestly, having the privilege of knowing awesome people like that are a big part of what makes life worth living. :-)

Excerpt from book two in the Petri Dish Chronicles:
After cleaning up, Petri emerged from the refresher unit to find Chessie waiting for her. Scowling, she asked, "Are you going to lecture me?"

"No, hun." Chessie grimaced. "I think you've had enough of that for now."

"At least one of you does."

"We're not your enemy, hun."

After slipping into the shapeless ship's coverall that she usually wore on board the Ruba, Petri hugged her friend. "I know you aren't. I'm not so sure about him."

"Come on," Chessie chided. "You know better. If he wanted to hurt us, he could easily have done so. You two are just too much alike. You clash."

Rolling her eyes, Petri said, "Whatever. Is Sadaka up yet?"

"I was going to check on her next. Daji said we'll be lifting off soon, and she likes to watch liftoffs from the lounge window. I wanted to make sure she was awake to see it."

"I'll take care of it, and I'll make sure she gets her breakfast. Why don't you go up front and see if Captain Grumpy needs any help."

"Alright." She kissed Petri's cheek. "But he's not the only one who's grumpy around here."

Snorting, Petri just shook her head.

Squeezing Petri's hand, Chessie moved towards the door and then stopped. Turning back, she asked, "By the way, were you able to feed enough? How's your energy level?"

"I was. I should be okay for a day or two, why?"

"I was just wondering if it would be okay for me to steal Daji from you tonight."

Grinning, Petri gave her friend an arch look. "Had fun, did you?"

Chessie grinned back. "Lots."

Petri laughed, "He's all yours."

"Good! Maybe it will give the two of you a chance to cool off, too." Chessie winked at Petri as she left the room.

Chuckling, Petri shook her head. She didn't know what she'd do without Chessie. Her friend could always cheer her up when she was upset; the woman was a lifesaver.

Monday, August 22, 2016

#CoverReveal: #Dragon #Moon By Julie Nicholls!!


Hey Everyone!!

Julie Nicholls is joining us today to show off the beautiful cover for her upcoming novel, Dragon Moon! Julie, take it away! :-)

Julie:
Hi!

Thank you very much for letting me take over your blog today to reveal the cover for my latest novel: 
Dragon Moon. 

This is a Teen & Young Adult Fantasy, and I hope to publish with Amazon’s Kindle Scout program.

The story concerns Scarlett, an almost nineteen-year-old who is undecided about her future. Throughout her school life she has been the subject of ridicule and bullying because of her flame, red hair. While college was easier, because she stood up for herself, she can’t make up her mind if University is the place she wants to be, and is taking some time out from studying to decide. She visits the Nottingham Goose Fair, and meets Dizelli, a psychic, who gives her a gold pendant and instructs her to wear it to bed. Scarlett wakes up the next morning but she’s not in her bed, or her home. She’s in a field. In her pajama’s. Her adventure begins and she’s thrown into a world of dragons and magic. She’s the Dragon Mage, and it’s her responsibility to save the dragons from slaughter, and also bring two warring tribes together. There are just a few days left before the Dragon Moon arrives. All the dragons currently asleep, protecting their eggs could die unless Scarlett finds a way to unite the silver haired, and black haired races together and to stop Lord Ithel from killing the elder dragon who knows the secret location of the dragon eggs.

Here’s a sneaky peek!

No matter what Elyan’s surprise is, at least it’s another lovely day out. The sun is shining and despite the cool breeze, it’s perfect for riding. We set off at a walk but once outside the city walls, Elyan kicks his horse and he’s off. I have a hard time keeping up on Sootli; bless her. Once he reaches the foothills, he slows and when I catch up to him, he pulls off to the left instead of the path through the mountain.

“Where are you going?” I ask.
He doesn’t answer and just waves at me as he trots ahead. He’s in charge again; he can’t help it.
We ride for only a little way, and then the smell hits me.
Vanillian.
Soon we’re looking at a blanket of white flowers. They stretch along the side of the track as far as the eye can see, and the smell is amazing. Elyan dismounts and wraps the reins around a fallen tree. He helps me down and leads me to the huge log where we both sit.
I can’t stop sniffing the air and notice he’s staring. “What?”
He smiles and I notice for the first time how charming he looks when he’s not scowling.
“I know how much you like Vanillium and thought you would like to see where it grows. Am I right?”
“Yes! Thanks.”
I’m smiling as I look at him and see him in a different light. He can be thoughtful when he puts his mind to it. He stares at me for several moments, his gaze unfathomable. Do I want to know what he’s thinking?
“I am sorry for my behavior yesterday with Mostyn,” he says.
Wow! Didn’t see that coming.
“I expect learning he and your sister were an item was a bit of a shock.”
“I learned something else too. From my father.”
“What was it?” I ask as if I don’t know.
“That there was someone else he loved before mother. I am not angry about that. He expected me to be, though. I have a reputation, it seems.”
I can see a hint of a grin forming.
“My father relies on me to protect the town. While I have my warriors to aid, I am constantly on my guard. My responsibility to our people is foremost on my mind.”
“That’s why you’re so wound up, Elyan. You’re stressed out.”
I know how he feels. In my last year of college I was worrying over my exams, the bullying, and concerns about my life after college. My dad said when someone is stressed, they are short-tempered, have trouble sleeping and are unable to see the positive side of things. Elyan ticks all of the above. People don’t realize they are stressed, but once it’s pointed out to them, it becomes clearer.
“What am I to do? This is my life. I am responsible for our people.”
“I understand you have an important role, but you don’t have to do it on your own. You have warriors who follow your lead. They are just as capable as you are. Let them take some of the pressure.”
Elyan narrows his eyes as he looks at me. He’s listening to what I’m saying rather than spouting off. That’s a good sign.
“But will they then act as I do? Become ‘snippety’ as you say?” He grins.
“No, I don’t believe they will. If you divide the tasks between yourselves, it will be less of a burden. Do you see that?”
“Yes, I do.”
It could be my imagination, but I swear he looks less stressed already. He’s a smart cookie and I know I whined about him plenty of times, but he isn’t a bad person. Actually, as he is now--calm and thoughtful--he’s very attractive. He was already ranking high on my “hot men” chart, but it was his attitude that stopped him reaching a higher position.
Oh, I know you think I’m mean, but I bet I’m not the only one who has a score card.
“When we return home after the meeting today, you can gather your warriors and delegate your duties. Start enjoying your life, Elyan.”
“I like the way you think. You are as smart as my father said.”
“Did he say that?”
“Yes, last night after you left. I spoke with him for a while, and he believes you are too wise for your age.” He chuckles.
Ha! I think what the Earl said probably went something along the lines of “she’s too big for her boots.” But I’ll accept it as a compliment anyway.
Elyan is looking at me again. Not quite a stare but his gaze is lingering and I know I’m blushing. My cheeks are on fire. I’d like to know what he’s thinking. Wait...maybe that’s not a good idea. There’s a glint in his eye, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’ve got too much to think about at the moment.
Extremely bad timing.
“Are all the women in your town like you?” he asks.
“No. They are much nicer.” I laugh. “Women are equal to men, though. They share responsibility, work and some earn such a good wage that the man plays househusband and takes care of the children.”
“That is a story you have made up.” He laughs. “It is a woman’s responsibility to tend the children.”
I’m surprisingly calm after that misogynistic statement. In all fairness, he lives in a world where men are chivalrous and women are skivvies, and that’s not entirely his fault. However, I will nevertheless attempt to enlighten him of why a role doesn’t need to be filled by only one sex.
Here goes.
“Elyan, I’m going to explain something to you which you may find surprising. Women are quite capable of fulfilling any job a man is tasked with. The only difference is that some women might struggle depending on the physical strength required, but that does not mean that some women are not a strong as some men. There are some who are stronger.”
He’s shaking his head, so I continue.
“Women are in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Where I’m from, we are ruled by a Queen, as are many other countries. So you see... there’s nothing a man can do that a woman cannot. As for taking care of children, why shouldn’t a man look after his child? There’s no rule that says a woman should be the only person to wipe a baby’s bottom!”
He laughs and shakes his head. “You are making this up, surely?”
“No, I’m not.” 
I look at him and wonder how he would cope if he were to visit my world. Not only because of the women’s issue but all the technology we have as well. I don’t think he could take it all in, although he might have fun playing my X box.
“I should like to see this for myself. Your world sounds interesting. Do you think I would like it?”
“There are some wonders that would impress you, Elyan, but just as you have problems here, we also have them. Countries fight one another and man has built horrendous machines and created poisons that could kill us all. People starving to death live side by side with people who are so rich, they will never be able to spend their money before they die.”
He’s listening closely.
“Our world is full of different races and we are not all the same color. Whole nations have been targeted because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. So you see it’s important that we try and resolve the issues here before they escalate.”
Elyan narrows his eyes. He’s thinking hard, I can see from his expression. He will be the Earl once his father passes and he could help implement changes now that would stop future warring.
“This makes you sad, does it not?”
“Yes, very much.”
“We are from different worlds and yet, we are not so different.”
He takes my hand in his and smiles softly. He’s capable of becoming a great leader, I feel it. He has already made changes to the way he acts based on information he’s acquired. He is a smart cookie.
“We have a saying—‘there’s nothing new under the sun’--and this is so true. Wherever we are in the world, whether we’re black-skinned or white, if we have black or white hair, or we worship the sun or the moon, we are all human beings and we have a right to be free and to live.”
“We shall have that here, Scarlett. I promise. I will do everything within my power to make Lord Ithel understand we must live together in peace.”
Elyan pushes up and pulls me with him. “You will show us how to make a start. Will you not?”


Thank you for taking the time to read the sneaky peek... you can read another on my official website www.julienicholls.com to the page, Dragon Moon where a link will be added once the book is available for purchase.