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, June 23, 2017

The #Best Way To #Start The Day! ;-)

Hey Everyone!!

This is for those of you who have emailed asking me if Chessie would get her chance at romance. And, just so you know, Intrinsic Connections is now out and you can grab your copy at your favorite online book retailer and read all about Chessie's dalliance. ;-)

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections, book 2 of the Petri Dish Chronicles:
She shivered as she remembered how it had felt, feeling him moving in and out of her body at the same time she could feel what it felt like to him to be clutched deep inside her velvety warmth.

The liquid heat of their ecstasy had burst over them both with mind-numbing intensity. To be honest, Chessie hadn't been sure if she had cum once or several times. Suffice it to say, they had both needed more than one damp towel to clean up with before they had been able to return to the bed to sleep.

Chessie's body responded to the memories, and she became lost in the sensations. So, it startled her when a furred grip enfolded her length. She looked up into Daji's crystal blue eyes and smiled. Eyes like that should look cold, but all she saw in them as she raised her hand to cup his cheek was incredible heat. His gaze seared her and she shivered.

"Good morning."

"Good morning," he answered as he leaned down to kiss her.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#APC #Spotlight: When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Myself: Wigu By A. Cole!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Ashley Chambliss in my APC spotlight, today!  Ashley is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her children's fiction novel, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself: Wigu, looks like an adorable story with a wonderful, positive message that celebrates diversity and tolerance! Here's the description:
My story titled "When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Myself" was inspired by myself and many other little girls who struggle to stay unique in a world where most people look and think alike. Naya, the main character is an eight year old girl who feels ashamed that she is not prepared for her class' career day. She has a realization that although she does not know what she wants to be when she grows up, she knows the type of person she wants to be. This book celebrates diversity, uniqueness, fearlessness, and individualism
If you think this sounds like something a munchkin in your life might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 571

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 Five-Hundred-Seventy-One:
My hominid-servant seems to have decided, for reasons unknown, that it is necessary to rearrange the furniture in my domicile. She has spent the last several days moving things and utilizing unreasonably loud machines to clean the floor space under their previous positions. This disruption has made it impossible to continue my studies. Even the small avians that frequent the area outside the portals in my domicile seem to find the noise off-putting. And they aren't confined in a small space with it!

I've attempted to express my dissatisfaction with this state of affairs. But, as usual, my hominid-servant seems incapable of comprehending even the simplest of statements. The infant felid has taken a more direct approach in his efforts to obstruct this activity. He has made it a habit to sit on the objects my hominid-servant is intent on relocating and to walk between her feet as she carries heavy objects from one place to another.

I must admit, his attempt to communicate effectively with my hominid-servant has been valiant, taking his life in his paws as he has, but ultimately ineffective. Due to his small size, his weight is negligible and my hominid-servant simply picks him up with the furniture or relocates him to an alternative perch. His efforts to hinder her locomotion have proven even less effectual, as she reacts with irritation and has even gone so far as to lock him in the small box she uses to express her displeasure with our behavior.

Since it seems my hominid-servant will not be dissuaded from this endeavor, I have decided to absent myself from the site in which her activities are most concentrated. It is my hope that this will facilitate a swift completion to her self-appointed task, and return my domicile to a state of tranquility as quickly as possible.

Hominids! No respect for felid sensibilities! ;-) 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, June 20, 2017

Questions, Scans, And Probes... ;-)

Hey Everyone! :-)

While I've been working on getting Intrinsic Connections ready to share with you all, I've also continued the new story I told you about. Today, I thought I'd share some of the most probing questions with you. ;-)  Enjoy!

Excerpt from Sci-fi Satire Story:
While he was occupied, I looked around the room some more. It really did look like a doctor's office. "I don't suppose you'd like to tell me what in tarnation is going on?"

"Explanations will be forthcoming momentarily. For now, just be assured you will not be harmed. Please climb up on the table so that I may complete a health scan."

"A what, now?"

"A health scan. We must be assured that you harbor no pathogenic microbes or parasites."

I quirked an eyebrow at him. "Is this the part where you probe me?"

That gargling noise again. "I beg your pardon, 'probe' you? My dear young human, I can assure you that the scan does not involve any 'probing' whatsoever. It is simply a scanning light that runs across your body and eradicates any disease-causing organisms so that you do not infect the entire quadrant."

"Quadrant of what?"

"Of the galaxy, of course. What else?"

"Well, how the heck should I know, buddy? Ya'll grabbed me when I was just minding my own business and brought me God only knows where, what am I supposed to think? You sure this doesn't involve any probing?"

Squid-boy's arms waved around his head for a few seconds and his beak snapped open and closed a few times, making a clicking sound that was loud in the quiet room. "Humans! Every single time we interview one of you, it's always the same thing. What is it with your species and your preoccupation with probing? What reason could you possibly imagine we would have for wanting to stick items into your orifices?"

I couldn't help but grin at that. He was right, we humans are a mite obsessed with "probing," though, generally speaking, it doesn't involve being kidnapped by a flashing light and a conversation with a talking squid. But, hey, to each their own, who am I to judge?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share.  I thought this was worth thinking about. Take a couple minutes to watch this video, and then keep it in mind next time you need to decide who to vote for and what kind of legislation you should pressure your elected representatives to pass.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

#June2017 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

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

Fairy Dust: Bedtime Tale #1 by WJ Scott:

When life is full of trouble, sometimes the only solution is a little magic. That's what little Evelyn discovers when she allows the traveling entertainer Farran to draw her away from her sorrow and show her there are still good things in the world...even if they might be hidden.

Overall, this was a cute story. The illustrations were adorable and the plot fast-paced and sweet. It's short, perfect for a bedtime story, and light-hearted. My only complaint is that there were several shifts in the story that happened abruptly, which gave it a jerky quality. These may have been done deliberately in an attempt to give the imagination of the reader room to play, and if it had just happened once I would have dismissed it as such. But it happened several times over the course of a very short book. Still, it's a nice story for young children, so four stars.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: Intrinsic Connections!

Hey Everyone!!

Yep! That's right! It's here! ;-) Enjoy!

Excerpt from Intrinsic Connections, book 2 of the Petri Dish Chronicles:

Chapter One

Dust and grit swirled around Petri as she lifted a hand to shield her eyes from the harsh glare of the star that the planet she was currently on orbited. In truth, it was one of three stars, but by far the largest. The other two had nearly burned themselves out and were well on their way to becoming black dwarves. They did little more than light the night sky enough for most beings to navigate easily. It was rarely completely dark on this world.

Which was good, she reflected as she gazed out across the desolate landscape, since the remaining star made daytime travel difficult. It dried the lone planet that circled it and its older sisters to a world-spanning desert and created convection currents in the atmosphere strong enough to ensure that the parched soil remained suspended in a perpetual, whirling cloud. That is, when the dirt wasn't busy coating anyone hapless enough to be out in it.

Sighing, Petri raised the scarf she wore to protect her airways over her mouth and nose and stepped away from the building she had just exited. It had been almost three days since she had been outside its walls, and she half-expected that her friends would have left her here. It was what they wanted, after all.

Thinking about Chessie and Sadaka, Petri grimaced. She wasn't being fair to them. They just wanted her to stop arguing with Daji so much. Which made sense, considering that they only lived by his good graces. Still, he made her so angry sometimes she couldn't help lashing out. Sighing again as a nearly overwhelming exhaustion washed over her despite the way she had just glutted herself and her power, Petri remembered how frustrated she was the last time she saw him. That had been right before she had stalked off his ship in a fit of temper. Sometimes she thought he was deliberately refusing to try to understand her point of view.

Stopping suddenly, she looked around again and realized the swirling dirt had disoriented her and she was going in the wrong direction. She peered through the haze trying to discern enough landmarks to make her way back to where she hoped the Ruba would still be waiting for her. It wasn't easy, since there were several large, low-lying buildings in the small township, and they all looked the same; low to the ground, with no sharp edges, and coated in the ubiquitous pale gray sand. Most structures only had their entrances above ground, as the constant erosion from the airborne grit wore down anything built on the surface.

The shipyard was similarly underground, with a landing panel that was only exposed to the elements long enough for ships to land on and take off from it. The rest of the time, the landing strip was sheltered beneath a structure that was indistinguishable from half a dozen similar buildings in the area. Huffing, Petri acknowledged that the planet was named appropriately.

It was called Sheol, after an ancient human mythological afterlife full of shadowy souls who ate clay and lacked self-awareness. Petri couldn't remember all the details of the myth; devoting time and attention to learning extraneous trivia was still a new concept for her and she hadn't quite mastered it. But what she did recall certainly seemed to describe this planet with astonishing accuracy. Even down to the lack of sentience in the local residents.

She couldn't blame them; this place was deadly dull, and she'd go brain-dead too if she had to spend a week here, never mind years. That was why she couldn't understand Daji's motivations and determination to leave Chessie, Sadaka, and her on a planet like this. The thought of it was enough to set her temper off again and start a cold ball of panic building in her stomach.

Petri could understand him wanting his ship back. They took up space and it cost money to feed them. That was one of the reasons she spent so much time in the building she had just left; a local bar and flophouse, where a new dolly was a novelty and much welcomed by the locals. Even after she gave the owner of the establishment his cut, her pockets jingled with hard currency, evidence of her popularity. She intended to give it to Daji to cover at least part of the cost of their passage and board.

But what she found maddening was that every time she suggested a planet for him to leave them on, he rejected it. Petri wanted a developed, well-populated world; one with cities that were big enough for her and her friends to lose themselves in. As a trader, Daji traveled to a variety of planets, many of which would satisfy Petri's criteria.

But the kind of world that Petri was thinking about inevitably had a sophisticated bureaucracy with reams of laws regarding who could immigrate to their worlds, what background information was required from applicants, and extensive health testing and communicable disease prevention precautions. It was the health and disease testing that was the sticking point for Daji.

Chessie had the diddling skills to create new profiles and backgrounds for the three of them that would satisfy the bureaucrats, and Daji had no problem with that type of rule breaking because, as he said, it didn't endanger anyone. But he insisted the health and disease tests couldn't be faked.

The tests were no problem for Chessie or Sadaka. As humans, they would sail right through without so much as raised eyebrow from any of the medics. But as a human/Arcanum hybrid, Petri couldn't allow her DNA to be scrutinized by anyone in authority. If she did, she would at best be executed, and at worst be turned into a research specimen.

She shuddered at the thought. One scientist on Upworld had discovered her secret and she'd had the misfortune of spending a few hours in his custody. She still had nightmares from the experience.

Daji's solution to that problem was a world like Sheol, a backwater, sparsely populated planet that lacked the resources and bureaucracy of the more developed systems. On such worlds, there were often few, if any, laws regarding who could immigrate or what standards they had to meet. The only problem was, a planet like that was Petri's own personal idea of Hell.

The idea of being stuck in a place like this made her skin crawl. She had no idea how to survive on a world with as few people as this one had. Yeah, since she was new she had attracted a lot of business over the last couple of days. Novelty went at a premium in such places. But she wouldn't be a curiosity for long, and then what?

Would she be able to make enough as a dolly on such a world to survive? Because she didn't know how to do anything else. Chessie had her diddling skills, but how much demand for those could there be on a planet that lacked even a central global network? Hell, this place still ran on a cobbled together system built off satellites! Petri had lost track of the number of times the lights and air filters failed over the last couple of days thanks to the finicky power grid that was the best the local government could afford.

And what about Sadaka? The girl needed to be in school, and the educational opportunities in such a place were limited at best. In all likelihood, the child would grow up to work in whatever industry had necessitated that a settlement be founded on the world they settled on. Here, that meant she would grow up to be a miner, working in dangerous conditions to extract the rare mineral, trefoil, that was used to make the shielding in spaceship hulls. She would rarely be allowed out of the mines; her life would be lived in darkness, breathing recycled air. That wasn't what Petri wanted for the kid she had come to feel responsible for.

Worst of all, what if the people here discovered Petri's secret? A thrill of terror ran down her spine. There was no place to run. No crowd to hide in. If anyone ever suspected what she was and she was trapped on a planet like this, she would be dead.

Petri had tried to reason with Daji. First, she had argued that Chessie and Sadaka could go through the health screenings, if he insisted, and that she, herself, was in perfect health. She couldn't bring disease to a planet because she wasn't sick. He had insisted there was no way for her to know for sure that she didn't have some latent infection, and that it wasn't just other people's safety he was concerned for. Every world had its own diseases, and part of the screening process involved inoculating new arrivals against whatever endemic diseases were in residence.

He had pointed out that given where she and her friends had lived, they might have been exposed to any number of microbes and toxins and that, when combined with the microflora of a new world, might turn lethal. And that was especially true of her with her hybrid physiology. The only way to ensure everyone's safety was to go through the immigration health protocols.

There hadn't really been any way for Petri to argue the point with him; no one, least of all her, knew what surprises her unique biology held. So, she had shifted the conversation to the fact that planets like Sheol didn't have the resources to combat new diseases the way more developed worlds did. That by coming to a place like this, she would put people in more danger, not less. That was when the conversation had devolved into a shouting match.

Daji had started babbling about something called "population density" and how it affected the way "emerging infections" spread and whether they took hold in a population or burned out. Apparently, the more people there were living in close quarters, the more likely a new disease would be to infect and kill new people. At least, that's what she thought the gist of his lecture had been about. It had been over Petri's head and she had felt stupid for not understanding something he obviously considered common knowledge. It made her angry, and she had stormed out and gone in search of a decent meal for her power.

That was another reason she had been so short-tempered. With her new-found control, she had been able to feed from Daji on a regular basis without draining too much of his energy and endangering him. It was enough to sustain her and keep her power from getting out of control, but feeding in such a way left her feeling constantly hungry. The fact that Daji shared his food with them, and she had enough to eat for the first time in her life helped, but it wasn't enough. She needed to feed her power.

Knowing that her stay on this planet would be short and that she wouldn't be feeding on any of her clients here more than once, she'd had no qualms about feeding deeply from them. The first few may have felt a little tired and in need of a good night's sleep and a meal when they left her, but nothing worse than that. After she had taken the edge off her hunger, the rest wouldn't have felt even that much of a drain. And they all left completely satisfied with her services.

Being fed on by Petri made her prey feel amazing. Daji described it to her as an orgasm that touched every cell in his body and left him floating for hours. And being full again felt just as incredible to Petri. After the last couple of days, her body sang with her power and she felt like she might just have the energy to tackle all the reading Daji and Chessie wanted her to do.

Having time and resources to devote to anything other than getting the basics needed for survival was a new state of affairs for Petri. Her entire life before this had been devoted to getting enough money to put food in her belly, a roof over her head, and protecting herself from those who wanted to take what little she had. Now, she had leisure time and Daji and Chessie were determined to help her fill it.

Chessie lived with her father as a child, and so had a little more security than Petri in her early years. Since she hadn't had to scramble to survive, she'd had the opportunity to learn to use the rainbow. Those skills eventually developed to make her into the diddler she was now, but she had also learned to enjoy learning. She didn't have any formal education, almost no one did in Under City, but she had learned how to research and find things out for herself. Now, she was determined to help Petri learn as well. And Daji cheered her on.

It wasn't just Petri they were after; they both gave Sadaka a mountain of data to process, as well. But the little girl was incredibly smart and took to the education like fur to a Paka. She delighted in telling Petri about what she learned, which only made Petri feel even worse about her own abilities.

Because of her power, Petri had trouble focusing in the virtual world and controlling her surroundings enough to navigate through the material Chessie and Daji determined to be most critical. And the weird resonance that existed between her power and the digital environment made it extremely hard for Petri to concentrate. Not being able to fuel her power properly had only exacerbated the problem.

Sighing, Petri pushed those thoughts aside. Her power was now fully sated, and it was time she found out if she was stranded on this hellish world. She didn't think so. Daji might have been angry enough to leave her, but she knew that Chessie would never abandon her. Still, if he had incapacitated the older woman in some way, it was possible Petri would have to find another way back to civilization.

After studying the town for a few more minutes, Petri thought she had the right building identified. Ducking her head against the ever-present wind, she hurried to find out if she still had a ride.