Chromatic Bells, Strings, Potatoes, and Books

Chromatic Chimes Talk at Bowers Museum

Midst the incessant cold rain dogging us in Southern California, I have bravely ventured out on the slick highways. I visited the Bowers Museum to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year (Boar). While my friend viewed the festivities, I revisited the ongoing exhibit 5000 Years of Chinese History. The ARCE lecture on the last Saturday of the month featured UCLA Egyptologist Dr. Kara Cooney. Interesting talk on the seven female rulers of Ancient Egypt. Yesterday, Sunday, February 10, 2019, I and two friends attended the lecture given by Dr Guangming Li on the Hubei Bells and more.

Although I am no musicologist, I enjoyed the physics of the talk. Harmonics and modulation evoked memories of Shannon’s Theorem and my years as a shuttle and satellite communications engineer. No bells were at the lecture but we heard recordings. He brought a Qin, a modern version of an ancient stringed instrument. I got a closer look when I asked what the ancient strings were made of. Silk and cotton was the answer. I was surprised and still trying to imagine it.

Other electrical engineering tasks this winter included installing new Fire TV equipment and flood lights around the house. Enough said.

Chromatic Deviled Potatoes

I made deviled potatoes today–a satisfying vegan replacement for deviled eggs. I boil halved red potatoes skin on for about fifteen minutes. Let cool or do a quick douse in cold water. Spoon out potato from potato skin. Fork mix potato with dill relish, horseradish, mustard, and vegenaise. Spoon back into potato skins. Refrigerate and enjoy within three days.

The chromatic part? With a light hand, I sprinkle the stuffed potato skins with black lava salt and sweet paprika, which adds a layered, fulsome taste that harmonizes perfectly with the deviled potatoes!

A Cheap Quick Chromatic Read

What I love about Found Dead in Arugula is that you can read it in about an hour and it’s got mystery, gardening, food ideas, and a touch of romance that will add color, harmony, and satisfaction to your lunch or break time. And it’s only 99 cents. Cheaper and tastier than vending  machine chips! Check it out HERE!

Happy playing, eating, and reading.

Michelle Knowlden

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

A Nod to the Past

Knowlden_Cochom_River from Castle

My current work in progress is set in Ancient China. I’ve yet to set the climate. I’ve been feeling the January chill in Southern California’s nights and mornings, so maybe there’ll be snow in the forecast.

The photo to the left was taken from Germany’s Cochem castle’s balcony. The visit was on my 2015 Viking Paris to Prague trip where it was a 30 degF that day. If you missed that report, you can read it HERE.

We’re playing with flash fiction at Facebook’s Charmed Connection in anticipation of the anthology’s release. I submitted a photo of a painting I took at the D’Orsay during that trip. It was so short a time after the Paris bombings that the art museum was lightly attended. Our boat had thinned out as well so portions were huge that Thanksgiving. We had to eat for those who’d stayed home.

I attended Dr. Kara Cooney’s talk at the Bowers museum last Saturday. She’s a UCLA (rah!) professor, Egyptologist, and moderated a Discovery Channel series Out of Egypt. Her latest book for National Geographic talks about the six female rulers of ancient Egypt. Illuminates why it was possible there and not possible in modern USA.

Unlike the MC in Midnight in Paris, I’m not nostalgic for the past. I love to read books set in the past. I love to attend lectures about ancient times. History fascinates me because it sheds light on the present, a place I’m happy to live with its foibles, central heating, and vegan frankfurters.

Happy reading and sharing memories!

Michelle Knowlden

 

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

Three Moments in China

Last August I went to China with four friends. We did Viking’s Imperial Gems cruise, which was a week on land and a week on the Yangtze River. We stayed at classy hotels in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. A truly unforgettable trip.

The photo to the left was inside the Forbidden City, which we visited on our first day in Beijing. A hot, humid day also crammed with visits to Tiananmen Square, an artist’s private home, and lots of walking. Larry was a dream guide filled with information and lots of patient attention for his tourists.

Traveling down the Yangtze River was on my bucket list since I saw a 360 degree show at Disneyland narrated by a poet. The river has changed over the centuries especially in the modern era. I’ve never seen so many skyscrapers or dams or different styles of locks.

The river has a muddy appearance. The bridges were fantastic from ancient to modern.

Lots to do on the boat. I had a nice conversation with a lady selling teas and tried some lovely varieties. I bought a snow chrysanthemum herbal, which is supposed to be great for colds. Our tour group visited a tea house during the land tour and tried even more varietals. I’m a tea drinker from way back so this was a highlight.

Another stop was to see the Terracotta Soldiers. From Wikipedia: The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.

Seemed impossible to take a picture that captured the details of individual soldiers and the vast landscape where they stood. Each soldier had an individual facial expression: cynical, pleasant, watchful, friendly, fierce, bored, etc. There were horses too. Loved listening to what was known of that era and loved watching the archeologists and restorers at work. The museums included in the massive complex were wonderful too.

I had so many terrific encounters with people during this trip. That’d be a long blog in itself.

That’s it for this memory stream. I’m sure I’ll return with more. Have you been to China or going soon? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy writing, reading and traveling.

Michelle Knowlden

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

So California Autumn in January with Recipes and Free Book

Autumn has arrived in California. The Japanese Maples on my neighborhood walks wear their brilliant red and orange cloaks. Bright yellow leaves wind through my yard undressing the fig and apricot trees during this cold, cruel month.

On a less melodramatic note, let’s talk comfort food. Vegan-style. On a rainy day at 55 deg F, it’s where my mind turns.

Last week I pulled my Diablo press from the kitchen appliance cupboard. It’s low tech, well-made, and easy to maintain. I created these pocket “sandwiches.”

Bean and Veggie Pupusas

Based on a El Salvadoran entree, I lay a street taco tortilla (small, made with masa (corn) so GF) on one side of the Diablo press. I spread a spoonful of refried pinto beans then layer chopped onion, a tsp of salsa, and chopped power greens. Lay the second tortilla on top and close the press. Heat over medium heat flame on stove. About 2-4 minutes per side.

Hummus and Tabouli Pocket

Mediterranean this time. I bop back and forth on using either tabouli or olive tapenade. Depends on my mood. I lay flat bread on one side of the Diablo press. If you want to stay GF and not need to trim the bread, stick with the street taco tortillas. I spread a spoonful of hummus, then add sun-dried tomato, a tsp of tabouli, mushroom slice, artichoke, drizzle with dark balsamic, and top with chopped power greens. Lay the second flat bread on top and closed the press. Heat over medium heat flame on stove. About 2-4 minutes per side.

Taste of Jewish Deli

I lay a wheat sandwich thin on one side of the Diablo press. I spread a spoonful of Miy0ko’s cream cheese (Un-Lox Your Dreams), then top with sliced onion, capers, sun-dried tomato, drizzle with dark balsamic, and chopped power greens. Lay the second sandwich thin on top and close the press. Heat over medium heat flame on stove. About 2-4 minutes per side.

I froze the extras. If you have other ideas for these pocket sandwiches, please comment!

LAST MINUTE NEWS

Sinking Ships –the first book in the Abishag Mystery series is FREE this weekend. Grab it now at Amazon. Consider leaving a review if you like it–sure  helps authors and readers.

Off to make vegan sloppy joes and write the Sword & Sorcery Lunchtime Read work-in-progress. Happy writing, walking, reading and eating.

Michelle Knowlden

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

Last Minute CHEAP eBook Ideas

Stuck for an idea for someone you forgot or for a reader friend who’d love a fun read over the holidays? Amazon makes it easy to gift these ebooks with your heartfelt message attached.

How about a 99 cent paranormal novelette The Last Storyteller that is the first book in the Ravenscar shifters series? It’s a second chance sweet romance of raven shifters and a mystery. Miri returns to her small California home town to investigate her sister’s death. Fifteen years earlier, she’d fled when Elise claimed Miri’s fiancé was the father of her baby. Did her sister die in a storm or had she committed suicide. Or had someone killed her over the old scandal?

Or maybe your mystery fan would prefer the first novella in the Abishag mystery quartet? In Sinking Ships,  college student marries a vegetative man in hospice and finds his hospice aide murdered on her wedding night. Set in Palos Verdes, California, it’s a cozy mystery for the young at heart. Another steal at 99 cents.

The Deluded Detective series features an ex-science teacher now private detective who searches for missing children. In the first novella Jack Fell Down, Pam finds an unexpected connection between the accident that disabled her and the hallucination of a missing boy. Also always available for 99 cents.

Looking for a quick read for a friend or family member who has no time read? Found Dead in Arugula, a short cozy mystery that you can read during lunch is the ticket! A Quaker widow who finds a neighbor dead in her garden is accused of his murder. Chock-full of lost love and good eats, it is the first story in the Faith Interrupted series.

And now for the second book in the Ravenscar Shifters series is available for pre-order, a fulllength novel! Delivery on 22 December. Price will increase on a random day between Christmas and 03 January 2019, so grab it now.

Michelle Dutton is the pen name I use for my romance line. For anyone who has visited California’s coastline, you might recognize this spot. The Foreign Story Collector takes place in central California in a raven shapeshifter community called Ravenscar that stretches from the beach to the Sierra mountains. Some of the action takes place on an island used for military defense during WWII.

The Foreign Story Collector’s book description begins with:

A story collector working among raven shapeshifters? It’s got disaster all over it. In spite of the sweet complication of a handsome widower, she shouldn’t have been surprised when it led to her arrest.

The Foreign Story Collector can be pre-ordered now and will be released on December 22. The price will increase after Christmas to what’s reasonable for a full length novel.

Click on the title below for easy access to the Amazon site and four 99 cent books:

The Last Storyteller

The Foreign Story Collector (Special reduced pre-order price)

Sinking Ships

Jack Fell Down

Found Dead in Arugula

If you like the book(s), I hope you’ll consider leaving a review on Amazon or Good Reads. Reviews really do help the author and readers!

Happy reading! Michelle

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

FREE Book and Pre-Order The Foreign Story Collector

The second book in the Ravenscar Shifter series (sweet paranormal romance with spy thriller elements) will be released December 22nd, but is available now at a special preorder price. More on that later. To celebrate, Amazon is giving away the first book, a novelette. The Last Storyteller is FREE for only four days, my special treat to thank you all for supporting me and get you prepped for the second book. Grab it now before it goes back to its regular price of 99 cents

The first book is a second chance sweet romance of raven shifters, but it’s also a mystery. Miri returns to her small California home town to find out how her sister died. Fifteen years earlier, she’d fled when her sister claimed Miri’s fiancé was the father of her baby. Did her sister die in a storm or had she committed suicide. Or had someone killed her over the old scandal? Get The Last Storyteller FREE, 20-24 November!

And now for the second book, a novel!

Michelle Dutton is the pen name I use for my romance line. For anyone who has visited California’s coastline, you might recognize this spot. The Foreign Story Collector takes place in central California in a raven shapeshifter community called Ravenscar that stretches from the beach to the Sierra mountains. Some of the action takes place on an island used for military defense during WWII.

The Foreign Story Collector’s book description begins with:

A story collector working among raven shapeshifters? It’s got disaster all over it. In spite of the sweet complication of a handsome widower, she shouldn’t have been surprised when it led to her arrest.

The Foreign Story Collector can be pre-ordered now and will be released on December 22. The price will increase after Christmas to what’s reasonable for a full length novel.

Click on the title below for the deal:

The Last Storyteller (FREE for a limited time)

The Foreign Story Collector (Special reduced pre-order price)

If you like the book(s), I hope you’ll consider leaving a review on Amazon or Good Reads. Reviews really do help the author and readers!

Happy reading! Michelle

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

NaNoWriMo 2018 Eighteenth Day and Notes On Oceanside and Alice Waters

Although my November has been fraught with interruptions like four glorious days in Oceanside with family and distractions like flu shots, movies (Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (twice)), four USO hats last week, physical therapy, and a Timeless Melodies talk at Bowers museum, I have managed to squeeze out a few words. Drum roll please.

As of Saturday night, November 17th, I reached 30,592.

Woo hoo. No badge for 30K, but I proudly display my NaNoWriMo 25K emblem above.

So it’s the nineteenth day, what have I done in the interim? Started a giveaway campaign. Formatted and published a second book in a paranormal series. More on that in my next blog post.

Side note or a cheesy way to show pretty pictures: Oceanside was gorgeous. We ran outside or stood by the condo’s “wall of window” to watch the breakers crash during high tide, scrambled down rocks, steep stairs or ramps to walk long sandy beaches during low tide or just took in incredible sunsets.

Two highlights of Oceanside? Visiting Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (shown here) and discovering Little Cakes vegan cupcakes.

Must add a final note of a glorious November distraction–Alice Waters’ Philosophy of Food MasterClass was a reverent, illuminating, and delightful experience. I’m sad that it’s over. I began the class with a passion of food from the garden, an appreciation of handling veggies while cooking, and loving the taste of fresh, organic, sustainable produce, but I was open to walking new territories. My boundaries have expanded. Thank you, Alice Waters.

Please share your own November distractions whether or not you’re doing NaNoWriMo. It helps knowing that I’m not alone.

Watch for exciting news in tomorrow’s blog!

Happy eating and noveling, Michelle

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