The second book of my Search and Rescue mystery series featuring Gracie Kinkaid, “Murder Off the Beaten Path, releases October 7, 2014.


As a member of a mountain search and rescue team, Gracie Kinkaid routinely volunteers to put her life on the line. But it’s at her new day job at a residential camp in the mountains of southern California where she finds her life is really in danger.…

Murder Off the Beaten Path: A Search and Rescue Mystery tells how Gracie responds to a Search and Rescue call-out for a car that’s gone over the side of a treacherous mountain highway. The crash, which Gracie quickly suspects is no accident, proves to be one in an escalating and deadly series of events that lead her right back to Camp Ponderosa, a church-owned camp where she works. As Gracie probes more deeply into the dark secrets at the camp, she unearths a hidden world of illegal activities, including murder, and finds herself going head-to-head with desperate perpetrators who will do anything to silence her forever.

Murder Off the Beaten Path contains all of the same ingredients that made the first book in this series, Zero-Degree Murder, such a smashing success—thrills, chills, break-neck pacing, and its quirky, fearless heroine, Gracie Kinkaid, on almost every page. Lots of new characters and some returning ones, an intriguing new setting—a residential camp high in the mountains, and an exciting new nightmare for Gracie.

Of “Zero-Degree Murder,” Library Journal wrote: “This exciting, seriously good adventure debut deserves a place in your book carts. With her spunky female leading the way, Rowland dishes out generous portions of adrenaline rush. …Her adventure writing style has real flair.”

“Murder Off the Beaten Path,” and the first in the series, Zero-Degree Murder” are available on my website, http://www.mlrowland.com, and at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

And don’t forget your local brick and mortar bookstore. If they don’t carry it, they can order it for you!

Thanks, everyone!

Happy reading!

Greek Proverb

Maya A

The personification of strength, dignity, perseverance, this great woman has passed from our midst.

I’ve only recently grown to love your words, respect your faith, honor your spirit, strive for your courage.

We mourn your passing and will never forget you.

Lamberts Election Poster


At the risk of boring those who remember this post from Mother’s Day last year, I’m re-posting it again this year, with a few minor revisions.

This post is in honor of my mother, Evangeline Lamberts–my role model for women in a man’s world, my role model for fighting for what is right and just in the world.

In 1961, Evangeline M. Lamberts was elected to the city commission–the first woman in the history of the City of Grand Rapids. She was also the only woman on the County Board of Supervisors along with 87 men.

Those were the days, as the election poster shows, she referred to or addressed not as Evangeline Lamberts, but as Mrs. Austin Lamberts.

Those were the days of the Jackie Kennedy pillbox hats and matching shoes and purses, when we dressed up to fly on airplanes and go to church, and wore only dresses and skirts to school.

I can remember Mom going off to a meeting wearing a pink suit, a little pink hat with a veil, matching shoes and purse, matching pink earrings and necklace.

She used to complain that after every Board of Supervisors’ meeting she would have to have her suit dry-cleaned because all the men there smoked cigars.

When I was older, she told me how men’s wives often shunned her, possibly because they felt threatened by her, because they were afraid she was going to steal their husbands away. Stealing other women’s husbands couldn’t have been further from her mind. She spent time with men because she enjoyed the politics, the excitement, the intellectual stimulation, the experience of working in a man’s world as it was in the early 1960’s.

Mom was unyielding and outspoken about her beliefs which some people found irritating. But that never seemed to bother her. She operated with absolute integrity, always up for a battle, always up for fighting for what she thought was right and honorable and just.

When her daughter’s teacher told his class that women shouldn’t have the right to vote, Mom protested directly to the teacher. He suggested she teach his classes for a day. So she did (much to the teacher’s consternation, I’m sure).

When an exquisite old building in Grand Rapids was slated for demolition in the name of “Urban Renewal,” she fought against it. Years later, the building still stands, now a Grand Rapids Music Center.

I remember her stumping for a friend who was running for Kent County Circuit Court. I remember wearing a pin that read, “I’m for Letts.” I was in 7th Grade. John T. Letts was elected–one of the first elected black judges in Michigan.

Mom stood only 5’3″.

One of my favorite stories about her:

One day a passerby stopped her on the sidewalk of downtown Grand Rapids.

“Are you Mrs. Lamberts?” the man asked.

“Yes,” she answered with some trepidation.

“But you’re so little!”

Little in stature. Great in spirit.

Evangeline M. Lamberts died July 28, 2004. It’s so difficult to believe it’s been almost ten years. I can’t believe how much it feels like yesterday.

And how much I still miss her.

I love you, Mom.

Bristlecone Pine

Meet Methuselah — At 4,841 years old, this ancient bristlecone pine is the oldest known non-clonal organism on Earth.

(Thanks, Mother Nature Network)

Behold! The King Sequoia

What is it about a riderless horse with its master’s boots placed backwards in the stirrups that’s so uniquely moving?

My husband, Mark, and I attended a memorial service today for a man–a horseman–well loved by his family, friends and community. The man’s horse, saddled with the man’s cowboy boots backwards in the stirrups, stood quietly at the front of the room throughout the entire service.

The pastor read this poem, written while watching JFK’s funeral procession.

The Riderless Horse

Oh, where is my rider today?
I miss his weight upon my back.
Reversed and empty, his boots are there,
But the reins have fallen slack.
Where is my rider today.

Where is my rider today?
Which way am I to go?
The hands that firmly led my course,
Signal naught, neither to nor fro.
Where is my rider today?

The Master taught me my jaunty step,
And to hold my head up high.
He kept my wayward thoughts in line,
And kept my courage nigh.
Where is my rider today?

Surely the journey’s not ended,
We’d merely selected a road.
How can I go undirected,
When my back yearns for the load?
Where is my rider today?

The procession I’m in wends slowly along,
And I with my saddle bare,
Trot crooked and jerky, and out of line,
For want of a rider there.
Where is my Master today?

A caisson precedes me with escort afoot,
And bannered casket astride.
The fear that has plagued now settles as fact.
It’s my Master that rides inside.
Oh there is my Master today.

I’m strong and stately and young of life,
And there’s many a road ahead.
But where can I go with no one to lead me?
Now that my Master is dead.
His life has been taken away.

Tomorrow I’ll stand for another to ride,
With boots again stirruped forward.
His hands will signal the course to travel.
And my pace will again be onward.
But I miss my rider today.


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