Smashwords Sale

I love this story collection. At this price, you can’t go wrong.


The Alabama spring is heating up into summer, and the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale has landed! Stock up on beach reading and give yourself the chills with a copy of my horror anthology, Grave Shadows, on sale at 50% off, enter coupon code SSW50.

Four tales of fears, desires, regrets–the grave shadows of the human psyche. A young man’s regret leads to disaster; a teen wishes he could change the past; a wife babies her husband in the worst way; and a fearful husband’s desperation takes a grave twist.

Here’s the link:

The Smashwords annual sale is site-wide with hundreds of great reads at 25%, 50%, and 75% off and some are free as well, from July 1-July 31 only.

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More Hikes in Prescott, AZ

Dogs must be walked, a splendid excuse for a morning hike. This trip, my brother and I ventured on hikes that challenged and delighted me. In Prescott, Arizona dozens of rambling opportunities present themselves from our front door or within a short drive. Here are a few walks we did June 2017 .

Willow Lake Trail Hike

A cozy zoo is at the entrance and the park is across the road from the Emory Riddle Aeronautical College. An archeology team is working dig sites for pre-1200 AD adobe huts and masonry pits at one end and the Dells at the other end. Ramadas are located in several convenient settings fir rest and shade. In the photo, you can see the corner of a orange roof of one.

We saw dragonflies! You can see the City of Prescott in the background and a bit of the lake in the photo.

My mother and the dogs like the walks at Willow Lake–a nice variety of easy to moderate rambles.

We have a family pass at the Heritage zoo located at the park entrance. Lynx kittens are the latest draw which were in hiding when I visited, but I did say hello to the fox, marmosets, falcons, miniatures horses, eagles, raccoons and the peacocks blocking the exit.

Thumb Butte

A challenging hike that took about eighty minutes to toil up one side of the Butte from one side and down the other.

In full disclosure, we were not allowed up the final face of the promontory as it was nesting season for falcons.

We saw a woodpecker on the way down. The views were incredible.  Too bad I was more focused on not dying.

From my observation of the other hikers, this appears to be The Venue for pushing the limits and meeting your challenges. You’d be fearfully buff doing this hike three to five times a week.

Lynx Lake

Lynx Lake is a 55-acre reservoir located within Prescott National Forest, approximately 5 miles east of Prescott, Arizona, in the Bradshaw Mountains. The lake is stocked for fishing, mostly rainbow trout, some bass. Mild weather, the cool ponderosa pine forest, boating, hiking, and bird watching are all good draws to the park, but frankly we were there because the dogs wanted a swim.

Entrance to the National Forest at Lynx Lake is free on Wednesdays. We saw walkers, fishermen, boaters, and dogs.  A lovely, peaceful morning.

Constellations Trails

From the City of Prescott: Trailhead is located on the west side of State Route 89, and just south of The Phippen Museum. This series of trail loops traverse more level ground than some of the other Dells trails. Trail surface varies from packed earth to slick rock. Usage is marked for mountain biking & hiking.

We saw beautiful rock formations and scrub oak passageways on this trail.

The trails  are named after a crash that occurred there. On February 28, 1959, a United States Air Force Lockheed C–121G Super Constellation en route from Litchfield Park NAS,  Phoenix crashed at this site during a training mission. The city of Prescott Constellation Trails are dedicated to the memory of the US Navy servicemen who lost their lives while serving our country. The five serviceman are listed on the plaque. Scrap metal from the crash is heaped into a pile near the memorial.

The trails are well maintained and the views are spectacular. Thirty minutes in, I petered out. I’d love to return one day.

Please let me know of your favorite spots and things to do in Prescott.

Trip report respectfully submitted by Michelle K

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Oranges, Onions, and a Margin of Lust: Michelle’s Memorial Saturday Retreat

When overwhelm turned into a noun, I took notice. It no longer modified my life, but had become a thing in my life. As an unrepentant adrenaline junky, I continued on till overwhelm became a verb. Yes, I actually used it as a verb four times. It had moved from unwelcome visitor into a crushing force.

Time to take action.

I prayed, I did self talk, I got cranky with people, I lightened the load where I could, and I made decisions. Then I missed deadlines, prayed more, absolved more, and worked instead of sleeping.

For the holiday weekend, I decided that my one free day, Saturday, would be a retreat and a day to reboot spiritually, mentally, and physically. I would work on only one thing and focus on refreshment.

I went for a walk, did some shopping, did my lower body strength training, read over 170 pages in Greta Boris’s A Margin of Lust (love this book), had a lovely breakfast, lunch, and dinner sitting in the garden, stretched, did bills, and a wee bit of marketing and promotions.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time working on food prep during my retreat, but I juiced half of a papaya with mint leaves. I enjoyed a small glass of it with my lunch and dinner.

Retreat menu:

Breakfast: a slice of manna bread with nut spread, a peach half, and lavender coffee.

Lunch: 3 inches of a Vegan subway sandwich, a chunk of cold boiled sweet potato, and 4 ounces of lentil soup with onion from the garden.

Dinner: hummus, olive tapenade, and tabouli on half of a wheat English muffin with orange and cucumber slices. A small portion of homemade coleslaw made of rainbow cabbage, vegan mayo, and a splash of maple syrup.

Snacks: cherries and roasted peas.

I had forgotten what it was like to eat a meal without doing something else instead. I actually had to tell myself not to bring my computer or a magazine or my phone or a book or the bills or knitting. It was lovely to sit in the garden and think of nothing or of everything. To listen to the breeze or watch a hummingbird in the lavender or a lizard on the wall.

How did you spend your memorial day weekend?

I’m very grateful to feel more centered this week. Wishing you peace,

Michelle Knowlden

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Real Action Heroes

Mother’s Day 2017
I am weary of people complaining about who is in office, repeating commentators’ rhetoric without checking the facts, and wildly extrapolating dire outcomes without doing an objective analysis. If you are one of those people, may I suggest something?

Do something positive.

Instead of wasting valuable time whinging, educate yourself. Read all sides of the issues. Have an informed opinion rather than parroting something you heard on the news.

Then do something.

Campaign for someone you respect and will well serve your community or country. Write a letter. Circulate a useful petition. Work in a polling booth. Donate money to worthy causes. Support by donating time, skills, and dollars to what you are passionate about. Build character in the next generation.

My mother often complains about politicians and issues, but I listen to her even when I don’t agree. Why? Because she’s earned the right to be heard.

She campaigned for Adlai Stevenson. She wrote letters to senators, presidents, and corporations. She sent us kids around the neighborhood to collect signatures on petitions. She supported Caesar Chavez with peaceful protests and boycotts.

She worked at polling booths. Contributed often to worthy causes, sometimes with money, sometimes by volunteering. She was a brownie leader, a bluebird leader, and ran my brother’s Boy Scout troop, worked in the church office, and led ministries at church. She replicated her values in her daughters and sons.

She raised four children, one with Downs Syndrome, and worked outside the home for corporations, non-government organizations, and local governments.

Mom, thank you for making a difference in our lives, in our community, and in our nation. I love you.

And Happy Mother’s Day.

Michelle Knowlden



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Jacarandas in May: An Unforgettable Californian Sight With Tips

The sight of those flaming lavender flowers on the Jacaranda trees in May will freeze one in midstep, but the bloom is so fleeting that I forget all about them till the trees are ablaze again.

I’m sure the tree owners don’t forget. Signs immediately go up on their doors: Remove Shoes Before Entering. The stains they leave on rugs are indelible. I know this because the tan carpet in my first car had dark blotches. All subsequent cars have black interiors.

Not for jacaranda reasons, I called the second book in the Abishag mystery series Indelible Beats.  It takes place at Christmas time. The cover includes a picture of a Jacaranda tree, because I see more of those at Christmas time than I do of traditional Christmas trees.

Do you have a tree that has left indelible memories in you? Please share in the comments.

Other news this week …


Sinking Ships Cover with Eric's pictureMay Good Deal tip: The first Abishag mystery is available at Amazon for 99cents.

May Health tip: Try diced celery in your morning oatmeal. It’s a lovely way to add veggies in your diet and it has a satisfying crunch.

May Recycling tip: Thawing berries? Save the water you thawed the berries in and drink it later. Sixteen ounces of pure goodness and you’ve reduced your carbon footprint.

May Minimalism tip: Use dried beans rather than canned. Your soaking bean water can be re-used in soups. You can prep exactly the amount of beans you need. Less money and waste. More healthy for you.

Happy reading, saving, and eating!

Michelle Knowlden

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I Finished Camp NaNoWriMo and I Love to Plot Three is Live!

I finished Camp NaNo today.  I had meant to focus April on two things, completing a vampire novella and write a suspense romance novel. As always, priorities change. I did start the suspense novel, I approached the 25K mark in the vampire novella, and I heavily edited 29 chapters of my mystery novel Olive Tomorrow.

I’ll wear my badge proudly.

In other news, my I Love to Plot series ended with the posting of I Love to Plot: The Play.  If you’d like to plot the easy and fun way, read all three articles at the OC Writers network.

In The Play, I use Egrets, I’ve Had a Few novella as an example. The second book in the Deluded Detective series is available for $1.99 at

Happy reading!

Michelle Knowlden

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Doing Something Positive on Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017

Forget the hype, the litter left after the fundraiser marches, and the flood of sometimes dicey statistics, graphs, and theories of pseudoscientists. Let’s get real.

Stop talking, protesting, and Facebooking about what everyone else is NOT doing. Take action. Be a good steward. Do something to protect the environment.

Do something!

I have been a vegetarian since 2004. On 02 January 2017, I went hardcore: plant-based, whole foods diet. Mostly because of this:

Did you know that the meat industry is responsible for approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? In fact, producing one calorie of meat requires nearly twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie!

With global meat consumption tripling over the last four decades, the meat industry now emits over 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually and is showing no signs of slowing down. If we want to make a real dent in the world’s carbon footprint and reduce our own personal footprint, we need to eat less meat.

Join us in taking the pledge to not eat meat one day a week and become a part of the Meatless Monday movement!*

I read an odd statistic that said one person going meatless on Mondays was like ten people buying a Prius. Not sure if that makes sense. What does make sense is that I’ve been carrying the load of all the bacon burger eating Prius owners for fourteen years.

You’re welcome.

Going vegan is only one thing I do, but I need to get back to editing or I’d ramble on about kitchen gardens, compost piles, re-purposing clothing, grey water, oat milk, and berry soaks, and other ways I minimize my carbon footprint.

But enough about me! What are you doing to nurture God’s good earth? I really want to know.

Happy reading, eating, and doing something positive.

Michelle Knowlden



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