Her Last Mission is LIVE and Only 99 Cents

Her Last Mission

Live today, July o2, 2020. Announcing the publication of my Better Late Romance, Her Last Mission!

Twelfth Night meets Mission Impossible when a retired engineer turned agent goes after a tech firm CEO. Masquerading as her twin brother, Sandra must investigate the only man she’s ever loved for espionage.

He’s only known her as his male dorm mate in prep school.

When her missing brother shows up and the CEO announces his engagement, the twists and turns keep coming!

Available for 99 cents and just in time to read over the holiday weekend. HINT: Great gift for those who love to read cyber thrillers or romances.

Side Note on Found Dead in Arugula 

I’d celebrated the publication of my Better Late Romance, Her Last Mission, by giving away my lunchtime read Found Dead in Arugula.  This mystery story is part of the Faith Interrupted cozy mystery series. Like Her Last Mission, it features a woman in her fifties, but this one is a Quaker widow who gardens.

FABULOUS NEWS! The giveaway was a wild success. On Amazon, it reached #1 in 90 minute Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Short Reads, #4 in Literary and Fiction Short Reads, and #14 in Cozy Mysteries. HOORAY!

If you missed getting the book, it’s always and only 99 cents. I recently started working on the second book, Breakdown in Basil.

Found Dead in Arugula at https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07B52B1DV/

Better Late Romances

The Better Late Romances are set in the fictitious Southern California town Rancho Allegro where an earthquake triggers a flood of events.

Only 99 cents for a limited time

My Trashy Romance by Terry Black

Half-Baked by Kristy Tate

Her Last Mission by Michelle Knowlden

Really? At Your Age? by Jacqueline Diamond (preorder)

Coming late summer, new Better Late Romances by Michael H. Payne and Beth Black. Woo hoo!

Thank you for reading my books and those by my fellow Better Late Romance authors. I’m delighted by reviews. Books on Amazon flourish with your reviews and fade without them. Please consider taking a few moments to submit one. Thank you for your support!

Happy reading, Michelle

Posted in hiking, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FREE Book and Prescott Hiking off Jack Trailhead

Free Book

I’m celebrating the publication of my Better Late Romance, Her Last Mission, by giving away my lunchtime read Found Dead in Arugula. Arugula is a long-ish short mystery story written to be enjoyed over a lunch or two. Like Her Last Mission, it features a woman in her fifties. Faith finds a neighbor murdered in her garden and the police think she did it. Her mad skills of listening and the man she’d once loved may be all that saves her from death row.

Her Last Mission will be released on July o2, 2020–just in time to read over the holiday weekend.

Hiking at Jack Trailhead

I’ve dropped from hiking six days a week to two. After Her Last Mission is released, I’m hoping to return to at least three days per week. I have more deadlines looming in 2020 but exercise is important too, right? Monsoon season approaches in the Arizona Highlands, so that may dampen my enthusiasm.

Being in beauty is important. It lifts the spirit and refreshes the soul.

Jack Road Trailhead is the spot for numerous, doable hikes for all ages and abilities. Sometimes you’ll dodge bikes but Arizonans are congenial. Lovely scenery.

Don’t forget! From June 26-30, 2020, find my FREE book Found Dead in Arugula at https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07B52B1DV/

Better Late Romances

Only 99 cents for a limited time

My Trashy Romance by Terry Black

Half-Baked by Kristy Tate

Her Last Mission by Michelle Knowlden

Really? At Your Age? by Jacqueline Diamond

Coming late summer, more Better Late Romances by Michael H. Payne and Beth Black. Woo hoo!

Thank you for reading my books and those by my fellow Better Late Romance authors. I’m delighted by reviews. Books on Amazon flourish with your reviews and fade without them. Please consider taking a few moments to submit one. Thank you for your support!

Happy hiking and reading, Michelle

Posted in hiking, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Half-Baked and Pandemic Quiche

Being vegan, I thought I’d said goodbye forever to quiche in 2004. Farewell also to lunches with broccoli cheese quiche and raspberry butter lettuce salad drizzled with Sicilian lemon balsamic. My sister changed all that with the following recipe she used last month during the pandemic. Not only was it better than I remembered, but it’s flexible and you can use any greens from the fridge.

LINDA’S QUICHE RECIPE
Make pie crust or buy a pre-made one. If you want it vegan and/or gluten free, you may have to make it. For her crust, my sister uses GF oat flour, vegan butter, nut or soy milk, apple sauce and a dash of salt).
Saute vegetables (suggestions: kale, onion, mushrooms, Beyond Bratwurst, broccoli, spinach). Add garlic, onion powder, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste.
In a bowl, mix: one bottle of Just Egg, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 cup oat flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, four slices of Daiya cheese (break into pieces). She mixes cheddar and provolone Daiya cheese. Others may prefer pepper jack and mozzarella.
Add saute to liquid mixture and pour into pie crust.
Bake one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees, until top is light brown and knife inserted just off center comes out clean.
NOTES: If you can’t find Just Eggs (we buy it at a Kroger’s store and for California, that’s Ralphs. Fry’s for Arizona. Fred Meyers for the Northwest.) If you’re okay with soy, you can use tempeh or tofu instead of Just Eggs. If you do, you’ll need to add more nut/soy milk.
As you can see, my family isn’t into specifying the amount of ingredients. Everything is an experiment and to the cook’s taste. My sister prefers bland.  My mom and brother use a heavy hand with seasonings. No one uses salt, although it’s on the table for those who must have it.

I guess I was craving it as I’ve an entire scene in Her Last Mission featuring quiche.

Speaking of seasoned romances, I’d preordered another BETTER LATE ROMANCE: Kristy Tate’s Half-Baked novel. The novel is double-chocolate donuts meets kefir. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for this book. TODAY is its launch day. I finally get to eat this book.

Half-Baked book description

When Stephen Fox, a health food nut, opens a sporting goods store and café across the street and some of Maggie’s loyal customers begin to replace their morning donuts with gluten-free grub, Maggie’s ire, as well as her yeasty rolls, begins to rise.
Stephen is obsessed with a charming masked woman in a butterfly costume he met at a Mardi Gras party. Imagine his horror when he learns Maggie, the obnoxious baker who has been trying to ruin his business from day one, is the masked woman he’s been searching for!
Can two people from separate grocery store aisles overcome their differences?

Family friendly, fast, and fun featuring the over fifty crowd.

Buy Half-Baked for 99 CENTS (not for long!) at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0882LPHQL/

I’m grateful to readers who review my books. I hope you’ll consider writing a review of Kristy Tate’s Half-Baked at Amazon or Goodreads.

Happy eating and reading! Michelle

Posted in Food, health, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pre Order HER LAST MISSION, A Better Late Romance

My latest novel is a cozy corporate spy sweet romance. Yes, that’s a thing. Her Last Mission encompasses new firsts for me. Although it’s my twelfth indie publication on Amazon, it’s my first novel finished after moving to Arizona. It’s my first industrial espionage novel. It’s my first romance written under my name, rather than my pen name, Michelle Dutton.

It’s also my first entry in the Better Late Romances. Check out Terry Black’s My Trashy Romance and pre order Kristy Tate’s Half-Baked in the same line. Currently those books are also offered at only 99 cents. More authors you know and love to come!

Want to know more about Her Last Mission?

Twelfth Night meets Mission Impossible when a retired engineer turned agent goes after the CEO of a tech firm. Masquerading as her twin brother, she has to investigate the only man she’s ever loved for selling secrets. And he’s only known her as his male dorm mate in prep school. When her missing brother shows up and the CEO announces his engagement, the twists and turns keep coming!

During pre order, Her Last Mission is only 99 cents. That’s a deal!

Check out the Better Late Romance Facebook page.

I hope you enjoy this fast, family friendly, and fun novel! I loved writing it.

Happy reading, Michelle

 

Posted in Engineering, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pandemic Eating with a Pinch of Gluttony

I took a cooking class with Gabriela Camara, a chef with a restaurant in Mexico City. It’s definitely one of my top five classes in MasterClass. Growing up in Southern California, Mexican food was my standard American diet. After taking the class, I learned how to make tortillas from scratch and cook beans properly. Many other things were taught, but those two things I learned. With beans, I decided to try many varieties from Rancho Gordo and perfect my skill with beans. With tortillas, I decided to use only street tortillas and buy them at the market, $1.79 for thirty.

I can make three small tacos many ways, but the simplest is with two teaspoons of beans on one tortilla, topped with Trader Joe’s mild pico de gallo salsa and micro greens or arugula or pea sprouts from the garden. Yes, I’m an assembler not a cook. I’m also into keeping life simple. Why bake bread, when there’s a glorious French Bakery down the street? Why mess with masa harina, when Fry’s carries decent, cheap tortillas?

I must tell you about a new thriller released yesterday. Greta Boris’s A Pinch of Gluttony is part of her Seven Deadly Sins Series and its fifth entry. I’m addicted to these novels, like I’m addicted to beans—they’re tasty, surprising, and oh so satisfying. I can’t wait to jump into this book! You can find it at Amazon.

Authors live and die by their Amazon reviews, so please let other readers know why you’d recommend their books. It only takes a minute. You too can be an influencer!

Happy eating and reading,

Michelle

Posted in Food, Garden, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Trash Day!

Hooray and my gratitude to my trash collectors here in Yavapai  County, Arizona. During the pandemic I’ve been grateful for many things, but my heart is full on Tuesday mornings when I hear the trucks coming down the street.

I’m also grateful for my garden that is filled with re-purposed trash and partially hydrated from rinse water from the house. You think of these things in the Arizona highlands. My best producers are (1) English peas, sprouted from a Trader Joe’s produce that I didn’t quite finish and salvaged from my trash bin, and (2) Delicata Squash seeds scooped and planted the same day the squash was baked.

Today is also the launch day for Terry Black’s My Trashy Romance, A Better Late Romance.

Amiable librarian Kelly Sharpe is unlucky in love. After a series of near-misses, she’s surprised when romance blossoms from the unlikeliest of sources – Marty Brower, her trash man, a former stockbroker who left Wall Street for a simpler life of rustic bliss. But Marty’s got a troubling secret, which could trash their relationship – unless Kelly can help him to face his past, when disaster strikes the scenic enclave of Rancho Allegro.

Terry Black has written movies, TV shows, books, stories and comic books. His episode of Tales From the Crypt called “Dig That Cat” won a Cable ACE Award, and his film Dead Heat is considered a cult classic.

My own book in the series will be out in July. This is such a fun series all set in the fictional Southern California town of Rancho Allegro.

I hope you grab My Trashy Romance, a cozy romance novel. It’s only 99 cents at Amazon or free on KU. I’ve waited weeks for its release so I’m hunkering down today with cold brew coffee and a slice of olive bread topped with hummus and pea sprouts, and reading on the porch. Doesn’t get any better!

We authors live and die by our reviews. I’m grateful to readers who review my books. I hope you’ll consider writing a review of Terry Black’s MY TRASHY ROMANCE at Amazon or Goodreads.

Happy Reading!

Michelle

 

 

Posted in FORAGING, Garden, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 OC-Centric Play Festival Ended Today

Today I saw the last performance of the Ninth Season of the
OC-Centric New Play Festival, three one act plays, a privilege to see. Oh if only I could have seen these last week, so you’d have a chance to see them too. Please mark your calendar for August 2020 for OC-Centric’s Tenth Play Festival. It really is lovely to find quality new plays by engaging actors in an intimate theater. Our matinee was sold out, so get your tickets soon. (Side note-it’s wonderful to find a truly user friendly site to read about the plays and buy tickets. Kudos to the site designer!)

The first play BEETHOVEN AND MISFORTUNE COOKIES was based on a true story and a breathtaking solo performance by Rayshawn Chism. A riveting play of horrifying events using the music of Beethoven and Billie Holliday and their lives to dissect their times and ours. Masterful.

The other two plays (STILL MOVING and THUMP IN THE NIGHT) were diverse, fun, and a breath of relief after the intensity of the first play.

I’m thankful for these thought-provoking plays, the accomplished creative direction of Tamiko Washington, reasonable price, and artful sequencing of performances.

I’m looking forward to next year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Emotion: Sunday Philosophies

On Sundays, I walk without my iTouch. Instead of listening to books, I listen to what’s going on in my head. This is what developed today.

I see a worrisome lack of Whole Person self care in people around me. In school, a teacher is trained to address the Whole Child–the human states I’ve abbreviated to Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Social, and Spiritual. Do you nurture these states in yourself? I’m giving myself the challenge to do so.

For this post, I want to consider Emotional–both my own personal self care and for the characters in my latest book.

In child development, students learn to identify negative and positive emotions and coping strategies. I’m not sure what I learned has stuck. This week I plan to pay attention to my emotional states and reactions. I’d like to see if I tend to the more positive than negative, and engineer change if I’m not.

How about my fictional humans? I have a good friend who is writing a book on emotional threads and arcs in writing a novel. I’m seeking to diversify and deepen the emotional tone of my latest book, scene-by-scene, through the characters and actions.

Paul Ekman came up with six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. He later expanded these with the help of two students to: amusement, awe, contentment, desire, embarrassment, pain, relief, and sympathy in both facial and vocal expressions. Other facial expressions showed boredom, confusion, interest, pride, and shame, as well as contempt, interest, relief, and triumph. Robert Plutchik suggested grouping emotions positive or negative, basic to complex to form the full spectrum of human emotional experience. Check out his emotion wheel here.

In my current book, am I showing the full spectrum of my characters’ emotional experience? Or at least something that feels authentic and engaging?

I’m still working on the discovery draft but wouldn’t it be fun to ensure that I show the characters not just happy or sad, bored or in love? I may just challenge myself to address Paul Ekman’s expanded list.

Humans? Are you paying attention to your Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Social, and Spiritual health? Are you content or concerned with your emotional well-being?

Writers? What are your challenges or skills in showing your characters’ emotional states?

In writing my long short story Found Dead in Arugula, I had to take Faith from finding her neighbor dead in her vegetable garden to being the prime suspect in his murder investigation to meeting the only man she’d loved after decades apart to finding the killer and finally to transforming her life. That’s a fertile field for her emotions. The book is sized for a lunchtime read at only 99 cents. Check it out here.

Thanks for tuning in! Happy reading, writing, and feeling.

Michelle

Posted in health, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

August Campers and Thirteen Vegan Meal Ideas

Prescott Dells on the Peavine Trail

Several in our July Camp NaNo cabin had chosen large writing projects. We decided to continue the momentum in a FaceBook group. With the 25K words I wrote in July, I can easily finish this cozy spy romance by August 31st. Keys to success: no road trips (see July’s distraction in the photo to your left), an easy menu plan for the week, a cohort to cheer us on, and keeping my eye on the prize–a completed discovery draft by the end of the month.

A friend who wants to lower her cholesterol asked if there was a supplement you could take for it. I dropped 175 points by adopting a vegan diet. Not sure there’s a supplement that can beat that.

I gave her these meal ideas. It’ll make a good August menu for me too.

BREAKFAST

Fridge Oatmeal: 1/3 cup of oats, heaping tbsp ground flax seed, 1 tsp of chia seeds, cinnamon (I like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom too). Add water. Put in fridge overnight. (I usually do three jars at a time.) Next morning add blueberries, banana, and pumpkin seeds (or walnuts). If it’s not sweet enough, add a tsp of maple syrup. Don’t worry about adding nut or soy milk. It makes its own milk.

Ezekiel English muffin with peanut butter or almond butter. With Fruit.

Toast with mashed avocado. With Fruit.

Instead of oatmeal, I make porridge with leftover rice or quinoa or barley. I add the fruit, nuts, spices as above.

LUNCH

Street tacos with Trader Joe’s canned refried pinto beans&salsa or seasoned jackfruit. Add mango salsa or vegan coleslaw or guacamole or sautéed mushrooms or onions and peppers.

Hummus with veggies

Pita sandwich stuffed with baba ghanoush (or hummus), kosher pickle and salad

A big ole bean burrito with veggies, rice and mushrooms. Usually topped with my favorite salsa. Tomatillo is good.

Neal’s Happy Bento Box

DINNER

Spaghetti with marinara sauce. I can add mushroom, spinach and or veggies to the sauce. I like angel hair pasta and many of the bean pastas.

Buddha Bowl: half cup of mung beans or lentils, 3/4 cup of a grain, add veggies, raw and cooked and top with a vegan dressing. I make a good/easy peanut dressing or a beet/basil/citrus dressing

Vegan chili in a baked potato with a salad

Bento Box: (see photo to your right) veggie patty topped with mustard/sauerkraut or olive tapenade or peppers or salsa. Then I fill the bento box with fun stuff like stuffed grape leaves, roasted potatoes, pickled beets, marinated potato salad, veggies with a vegan dip, pinwheels done with an Ezekiel tortilla and vegan cream cheese and green olives, etc.

Make vegan lasagna with cashew sauce instead of cheese and thinly sliced squash instead of lasagna noodles. Use diced and sautéd eggplant rather than ground meat.

Pinterest is a good place to find vegan recipes.

What are your plans (working, traveling, eating or otherwise) for August? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy writing and eating,

Michelle Knowlden

Posted in Food, health, travel, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winner at July 2019 Camp NaNo

At 5:19 PDT, I completed my Camp NaNo project. My goal was 25,000 words covering the first half of a new cozy spy romance. My final word count today was 25,177 words.

Taking into account that NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo manuscripts are discovery drafts, these were my first lines.

Not the crack in the master bedroom wall. Not the shattered water pitcher in the kitchen. Not the books fallen from the shelves.

It was the child’s shoe that undid her.

This was the last line I wrote tonight:

When she returned from Palomar tomorrow, she’d leave. She’d sneak away without saying good-bye.

I will be doing the following to celebrate:

Eat a large Mother’s Market pluot

Buy vegan sushi

Try a new vegan Thai restaurant

Find a frame for a Channel Islands watercolor

See the Scorpion pilot for the 11th time.

Anyone else a winner tonight? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy reading, writing and eating,

Michelle

Posted in Food, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged | Leave a comment