Lillian in the Doorway

Popular blogger and author Debra Young, reviewed my 1920s suspense romance. I’m thrilled, humbled, and dancing a jig.


Lillian in the Doorway by Michelle Dutton is Book One in the Orange Ranch Brides series, a charming sweet romance spiced with danger set amid the orange ranches and oil derricks of 1924 southern California. As Shakespeare wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” proves all too true for intrepid Lillian Spratt, on the run from Chicago gangsters, hiding in the sanctuary of Gilda Axtabal’s Boardinghouse in Fullerton, California. Lillian’s roommates at the boardinghouse think she should marry first and provide them with a proper parlor in which to meet gentlemen. They finagle a meeting between Lillian and the widowed German pharmacist Jens Schreiber, an honorable man with secrets of his own, devoted to his six-year old son Leo and doing his best to avoid the matchmaking efforts of his housekeeper and her friend the mayor’s wife determined to see him married to…

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August 2017 First Friday Breakfast with Author Greta Boris

On the first Friday of August 2017, we are having breakfast with author Greta Boris.

Greta Boris is the author of the 2017 releases, A Margin of Lust and The Scent of Wrath, the first two books in her 7 Deadly Sins domestic suspense series. She’s also the Director of O.C. Writers, a community of over 800 published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California.

She’s published articles on culture, health, and entertainment for a variety of national magazines including Victorian Homes, Zombies, 50 Scariest Movies, Exodus, and Women of the Bible. She’s also the author of the Amazon Kindle Bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life.

She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno.

For this hot August breakfast, I’m having a green smoothie with power greens, broccoli, mango, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Iced green tea. Greta, what are you having?

Hi Michelle! This morning I’m having a cup of cafe au lait, a flaky spinach and cream cheese croissant, and a veggie omelet. I might have a little champagne to top things off if I’m not too full

I can so see you having this breakfast in Paris! So tell us about your writing process from concept to draft to revision.

Since my series is based on the 7 Deadly Sins, I usually begin my planning by exploring all the ways the particular sin I’m working on impacts people’s lives. For instance, in the first book, A Margin of Lust, I tackled what we most often think about, sexual lust. I thought about the effect it has on married couples, families, or children of straying parents first.

But lust isn’t only about sex. Lust, in my mind, is an insatiable craving for something, often something that becomes an obsession. Some people lust for power, or money, or prestige. I tried to show all those elements in the book.

Next I get some kind of plotting done. Sometimes I walk my dog and dictate emails to myself about things that might happen.

Once I have a loose outline, I begin writing. This is always a one step forward, two steps back process for me. Each book takes four or five major revisions before I send it to my editor. Then she comes up with a couple more!

Tell us about A Margin of Lust. Why did you decide to write this particular one?  

If you’re going to write a 7 Deadly Sins series, why not start with lust? It makes for an eye-catching cover. Also, to one degree or another, I’m moving down the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Lust, believe it or not, is punished in the first circle and treated pretty sympathetically. Pride, on the other hand, is way at the bottom and will be my last book.

Since each of the stories has a different protagonist but takes place in the same world and shares many of the same characters, I wanted to start with a story that anchored the series. I feel Gwen and Art, the couple this book revolves around, are kind of the mama and papa of my world.

What did you find fun/intriguing about writing A Margin of Lust, and what was difficult?

The whole story grew from a single scene that’s now about three-quarters of the way through the book. That’s what I wrote first, and it just flowed. Filling in what came before turned out to be the most challenging thing. I wrote and discarded a number of plot lines before I settled on the published version.

It’s not easy to show a flawed character, which is necessary for this series, and still have her be likable. Gwen, in A Margin of Lust, is very ambitious. She doesn’t always make the kind of decisions you or I would approve of, but she still has to be sympathetic. That took a lot of rewriting.

Tell us about your next project and when it may be published.

The Scent of Wrath is the second book in the series, and it’s in its final revision phase. It will be out in December. I’ve also written a short story available as a free download on my website, June Gloom, set in Laguna Beach which is where A Margin of Lust is set. And, last but not least, I’m in the early writing phases of The Sanctity of Sloth, out next year.

Thank you for visiting with us, Greta.

Thanks for inviting me to breakfast.

Dear reader, I hope you check out her book. Let me pour us another virtual café au lait before you rush off to Amazon to purchase A Margin of LustI bought four copies!

Sign up for Greta’s News and Views and you’ll get June Gloom, a Deadly Short, as a free PDF, Mobi, or EPub file.

Learn more about Greta Boris at:


Amazon Author page:

You can order her books at your local bookstore or on Amazon by clicking: A Margin of Lust.

Happy reading!

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I Finished July’s Camp NaNoWriMo & Links to Three Space Stories

I finished Camp NaNo last week. I took a NaNoWriMo manuscript from years ago and revised the first 55,000 words. The science fiction novel is better for it, and I’ll wear my badge proudly.

In celebration of science, space, and heroes with the right stuff, I’ve tweeted a few stories that may interest you.

Astronomers Might Have Found the First Alien Moon

This week, astronomers released tantalizing early results that a humongous moon the size of Neptune orbits a giant planet roughly 4,000 light-years away.

Right Stuff, Wrong Gender: The Woman Astronauts Grounded by NASA

In the early 1960s, 13 trailblazing American women participated in a secret program to become America’s first female astronaut.

Water Found Deep Inside the Moon—Get the Facts

Satellite data suggest that water inside the moon is widespread, and that volcanic rocks may be a valuable resource for future explorers.

More NASA stories at my Twitter site @ebainink

Happy reading!

Michelle Knowlden

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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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