Dear Readers,
It's been a busy year and I can't believe it's almost over! I've done a lot of writing this year, as well as riding and spending time with my kids and animals. I'm excited to announce a few new things--my new website, which I hope you'll check out at, where you'll find new book trailers, contests galore, recipes, and more. My new women's fiction novel "Happy Hour" is now available, and look for my sweeping saga of the Espinoza and Rodriguez families in El Patron out this month.
In this issue I've included information about new books, upcoming releases, and what's going on behind the scenes in my world of writing, a great holiday recipe, contest information on how you and a friend can win a three night stay in Mendocino, Ca, and information on my new blog with Jessica Park at, as well as a little blurb for our Food Fiction newsletter. 
 I hope you enjoy the newsletter and as always I love hearing from readers, sp please drop me a line when you get a chance. 
Have a wonderful holiday season.
New Books!
Happy Hour & El Patron
I've written two very different books from my cozy mysteries. I will still write cozies. In fact, the next Wine Lover's Mystery, "A Toast to Murder," will be out in April 2010 and is currently available for pre-order on amazon. And, I am currently writing the next Michaela Bancroft mystery! You asked for it, and so I'm writing it, which is thrilling because I love Michaela and all of her friends--human and four-legged.
However, I wanted to spread my wings a bit as a writer and delve outside of my comfort zone. Happy Hour was one of those books that poured out of me. I sat down everyday at the computer to write and the characters came to life and made it easy on me. It's really a book about family, friendships, and faith. I've wriiten about the lives of four women Kat, Jamie, Danielle, and Alyssa. They all live and work in Napa Valley. They are great friends, and come together every other Sunday for Happy Hour.
Each woman is going through some kind of life transformation and they all have secrets they're keeping from one another. However, the bonds of their friendship is what they will need to help them through the trying times.
In Happy hour, I touched on aging parents, the joys and pains of raising teenagers and step-children, the loss of loved ones, divorce, financial crises, and the bonds between mothers and their children. It's a book filled with drama, humor, light, joy, ups and downs. I wanted to write about four women in their forties who have lived a little and who readers felt they could be friends with any one of these women.
Lori Gondleman of Lori's Reading Corner reviewed the book and wrote, "I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I can't wait to share it with my friends."
I hope you'll pick up a copy for the friends, sisters, mothers, etc in your life. It's a great book club book as well, and included are book club discussion questions, along with recipes and wine pairings.
El Patron! 
 El Patron is hot! It's sexy, it's romantic, it's tragic, and very much a saga. For readers who loved The Godfather and The Thornbirds, this is a book for you! If you didn't read those great sagas, but love books with intrigue, romance, power, lust, revenge, and more, then this is also a book for you. Look for it this month on amazon. And if you can't wait for the release, I will be posting chapters on Jessica park and my new blog at over the next few weeks. Here's a little info on the book:
What began as an innocent love affair for one young woman, Marta Peña, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 1969, sets in motion a series of events that spans the next thirty years. This is the story of South American drug lords Antonio Espinoza and Javier Rodriguez, and their violent quest for power. In a sweeping family saga, we meet the women who love them and the children they vow to protect at any cost.
With a complex web of interconnected families, this gritty novel delves into the lives of a power hungry clan, following the rise of their business, the destructive path of their torrid and erotic love affairs, and the struggle to balance intense greed with devout family loyalty.
Strong women face tragedies that test their will and their commitment to the men they passionately desire. As young girls grow into women, their traumatic pasts will drive their actions and force them to make gut-wrenching decisions.
With murder, drug trafficking, dirty politics, illegal gambling, prostitution, obsessive love affairs, and family strife, El Patrón is a whirlwind in the vein of Mario Puzo's The Godfather.

What's up Next?
I'm working on a few things. One thing I'm never short on is ideas for stories, and although that's a good thing for a writer, the bad news is that my mind is always brewing and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get it all done. I enjoy writing in all areas of fiction--from children's fantasy to women's fiction to big sweeping sagas.
I'm currently working on the next Michaela Bancroft mystery due out the end of next year, I'm also writing the sequel to Zamora's Ultimate Challenge (my kids' fantasy), and I'm working on a YA series that involves horses and a young equine telepath who stumbles on to a mystery (that's all I can say for now).
Holiday Recipe from Happy Hour:
With everything being loaded with calories at the holiday table, I like to throw in a yummy but relatively healthy salad. Here's one with all the gourmet glam you can toss in, but easy to fix and tasty to eat. 
3 fresh pears
Salad greens
1 pound cooked shrimp -- medium size
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chipotle or some type of red pepper powder -- or to taste
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
½ cup feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Core pears; cut into narrow wedges. Arrange on lettuce-lined salad plates.
Combine shrimp, celery, green pepper, cheese and green onions.

Blend mayonnaise, garlic, pepper powder, lemon juice, lemon peel and salt. Toss with shrimp. Top the pears with the mixture. Serve with a crisp sauvignon blanc.
Are you Nikki Sands? 

Readers who have followed the Wine Lover's Mystery series have gotten to know Nikki Sands pretty well. I receive lots of e-mails regularly as to why a reader loves Nikki or giving me their thoughts on what Nikki should do, etc. Since my readers are so involved with Nikki and her life I thought it might be fun to run a contest that really "involves" the readers. If you've watched the book trailers of books 1-5, you will notice that you never see Nikki's face, only a profile, her lips, her eyes, but you never really get to see what Nikki looks like. That's where you, the reader comes in!

E-mail a photograph of yourself (color or black and white) and a paragraph as to why you think you would make the perfect Nikki Sands to
It will help if you've read the series!
Four semi-finalists will be chose and their photos and paragraphs will be up on the site on January 30th, 2010. Readers will then have an opportunity to vote on who they think makes the perfect Nikki Sands

The winner will then receive signed copies of all of the books, a gourmet food & wine basket (must be 21 years old), three night stay with a guest at an amazing B&B in Mendocino, Ca at The Brewery Gulch Inn, where the winner and her guest will stay amidst the California, ancient redwoods overlooking the Pacific Coastline and they will receive gourmet breakfasts to order daily as well as afternoon wine and appetizers. The winner will also star in A Toast to Murder book trailer, which will air on this site on March 30th--one week prior to the books release. The trailer will also go out to dozens of other channels, which will also be posted here on the site.

Semi-finalists will receive signed copies of all of the books in the series. Good Luck! Please e-mail contest entries to The contest officially begins November 15th. Semi-finalists will be announced on the site on January 30th, and the winner will be announced March 30th.
One of the best things about being a writer is the friendships that are made. Writing is isolating. It's the writer, the computer and sometimes a dog or cat in our offices. I started the blog a few months ago and have had a lot of fun with it. I felt that it needed some pizazz and I thought there was no better way than to jazz it up with my friend and writing critique partner Jessica Park. For those of you who don't know JP, you need to. She writes the awesome Gourmet Girl mystery series with her mom Susan Conant. There isn't a day that doesn't go by without JP and I chatting on the phone and revving up our writer minds. We've joined together to write the blog (http://www.adventuresnwriting.blogspot), where I must warn you, there are some entries with mature content. And I promise JP will have you laughing. 
JP and I also do a Food Fiction newsletter. This is a lot of fun, as we always have guest authors, foodie folks with great recipes, and lots of book giveaways and then some. I hope you'll sign up for that newsletter as well. You can find us at


Happy Holiday Season!
I hope you've enjoyed this month's newsletter. It's my wish that everyone has a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season and new year. I'm truly grateful for my readers. You make what I do worth it every day! Thanks for yoour e-mails and support.
Michele & Krissy (my big baby)
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