Tag Archives: Romance

Meet @Kris_Bock and learn about her humorous #mysterynovel and The Accidental Detective #mystery series! #amreading #BookBuzz

Tell us about yourself

I started my writing career with children’s literature, writing for kids as Chris Eboch and MM Eboch. My first published book is The Well of Sacrifice – historical drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala. It’s been in print for over twenty years and is used in schools when they teach the Maya. I’ve written over 100 educational work for hire books, and I’ve been a ghostwriter for some popular children’s mystery series starring your favorite young detectives. 

I write for adults under the name Kris Bock. I’ve written romantic suspense and a sweet romance series based around a cat café. I have a humorous mystery series coming out this year, with four books scheduled. The first is: 

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: The Accidental Detective Book 1

War correspondent Kate Tessler has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?

Injured in a bombing, Kate returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age (49), even though she’s living like a teenager again: staying with her father, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still think of her as Kitty.

Seeing her mother in an Alzheimer’s unit is the hardest part – until an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at that nursing home. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit. 

If Kate can’t uncover the truth, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.

What inspired this mystery series?

Kate spent thirty years traveling the world as a war correspondent. Now back in Arizona, she finds turning fifty as difficult than the mysteries she solves. This character was inspired by my own experiences. Okay, the part about turning fifty, not traveling the world as a war correspondent. I traveled a lot when younger, but not to war zones. But as I faced fifty, I wanted to create a mystery lead dealing with some of the same issues: aging parents, concerns about financing retirement someday, and a body that doesn’t recover like it once did. I also wanted to give Kate a reason to be adventurous and fearless, thus the background as a war correspondent. 

I didn’t necessarily intend to write humor, but both my agent and my editor said they laughed a lot. That comes from how Kate sees the world, which is how I see the world. Laughter helps with the pain.

Why did you set the series in the Southwest?

I’ve lived in New Mexico for over twenty years, three times longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, so this is home. We live in a small town, but I wanted to set the mystery series in a big city. In Arizona, I could create a fictional city within the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. That allows me to use this fictional city government for political issues, and make the mayor an old friend of Kate’s, without stepping on any real toes. 

Arizona also provides tons of mystery opportunities. The large senior population attracts scams and abuse. You have the potential for arguments over inheritance (or even murders to get that inheritance sooner). The border with Mexico creates anxiety over immigration and various kinds of trafficking. Plus you have all the usual potential crimes in any large population. I’ll be able to keep Kate busy for years.

Where can people learn more about the series?

Book 1, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven, released April 7. 

Tule Publishing

Amazon US

Amazon UK

B&N Nook

Apple Books


Google Play



You can get a free short story and bonus material when you sign up for my newsletter. This collection starts with a humorous ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series. It includes information about the books in the series, with the first chapter of book 1. After that are three fun, short stories originally written for children. Newsletter subscribers will also get a 35-page novella set in the world of my cat café sweet romance series, and “22 Recipes from the Cat Café,” if they choose.

Why did you write the cat café sweet romance series?

I’ve noticed lots of sweet, small-town romance series involving dogs, but few with cats. I think it’s because dogs clearly bring people together – think dog parks, walking your dog, obedience training – while cats don’t.

Until you consider cat cafés. These are a relatively recent trend, but you can now find a few hundred cat cafés all around the world. Typically they partner with a shelter, so all the cats you can visit are available for adoption. This gives visitors a chance to spend more quality time with the cats before they choose one. Those of us who can’t keep a cat in the home for whatever reason can at least visit some. 

The cat café series is lighthearted sweet romance. Readers call it heartwarming, fun, and delightful. Visit the Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series page on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

What else do you have in the works?

I’m writing a series with my brother, scriptwriter Douglas J. Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. These are prequel novels set when the movie characters are teenagers. Follow the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie. 

Sign up for our romantic comedy newsletter and get Felony Melanie Destroys the Moonshiner’s Cabin. These first two chapters from the novel Felony Melanie in Pageant Pandemonium stand alone as a short story. In the future, you’ll get fun content about upcoming Felony Melanie novels and other romantic comedy news and links. Or find book 1 at Amazon US or All E-book retailers.

Author Bio: 

Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. She has lived in ten states and one foreign country but is now firmly planted in the Southwest, where many of her books are set. Kris writes for children under the names Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch. She has published over 100 books for young people, including ghostwriting for two children’s mystery series. 

Kris Bock



GoodReads Author Page


Amazon US page or Amazon UK page





Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Kid Stuff & Children's Books, Special Events

“I Matter to Him,” a short story by Lorhainne Eckhart

“Candles, wine, and what’s this?” Marcie lifted a silver plate warmer.

A light breeze drifted in the open patio doors fluttering the thin gauze of her white swimsuit cover. She peered up at Sam when he didn’t answer. He never failed to take her breath away. The way he looked in his white cotton shirt, his khaki shorts as he lit the candles on the small table in their beachfront suite in Mazatlan.

“What’s the occasion?”  Marcie touched the pink roses with sprigs of baby’s breath in the center glass vase. She leaned over and breathed in the perfume and glanced shyly up at Sam. His wavy hair had lightened from the two weeks they’d spent in the bright Mexican sun. His tanned face appeared relaxed as if he’d left all his worries behind. But then she still couldn’t believe he resigned from the DEA. And after the investigation collapsed, he whisked her away protecting her as if he could shelter her from everything.

“Valentine’s Day, did you forget?”

Maybe it was the way she stood so still and watched him that had him striding around the table and lifting her long windswept hair over her tanned shoulder. She leaned into his touch and needed to breathe. He was so damn good-looking, and still turned every woman’s head. But Sam was faithful to her. So it shouldn’t surprise her he’d plan something like this, but old wounds were hard to shake. With Dan, the one who fooled her, she’d told herself a hundred times it didn’t matter each time he ignored her on those special days. And she’d let him.

“Hey babe are you crying?” She reached for his wrist after he wiped away her tears.

“Will I ever get used to what an amazing man you are, I matter to you. And I can’t help this. Because I can’t believe I found you. That you love me. And you never turned your back on me—not once. Even after you found out what I’d done.”

He didn’t smile but the heat from his mesmerizing blue eyes left no doubt he’d move heaven and earth to be with her. Marcie kissed his palm when he cupped her cheek. And she allowed him to pull her into his solid arms as he rested his chin on top of her head.

“So what’s for dinner?” She linked her fingers with his. He slid out her chair— helped her sit, and rested his hand possessively—protectively on her bare shoulder, when the wide neckline of the soft cotton slipped down, exposing the thin purple bikini strap.

“Maybe I should change.” Marcie started to get up, but Sam leaned down and touched his lips with hers.

“No. You look fabulous, all sexy under that sheer dress you got going on there over that band aid you call a bathing suit. It’ll be less to peel off that sexy body of yours.” His smile was intoxicating as he lifted the metal plate warmer. “Rack of lamb, asparagus with hollandaise.”

“Mm” Marcie scooped back her hair and breathed in the fragrant aroma. “I’m starving. Thank you for doing this. I should have thought of it.” The truth was she had but a lingering fear of rejection poked its ugly head, like an unwelcome guest. Take a chance and believe was something she worked on with Sam—every day. Not once had he used her. He was the genuine knight she’d always asked for. And she loved every moment they spent together, whether sleeping, talking, sitting or just holding hands.

The candles flickered in the dim room as the sun lingered at the edge of the ocean—the perfect horizon—the perfect romantic setting with her Mr. Right.

Sam uncorked the light blush wine and filled her glass. The fruity aroma she’d loved the first few times in Mexico, but lately turned her stomach. Sam held up his glass. “To the most beautiful honest woman who turned my life upside down and made me believe once again that truelove’s possible.”

Her throat thickened and she tried to swallow past the lump wedged in her throat. She’d barely shed a tear her entire life, but since meeting Sam it felt as if she constantly blinked back that endless sting of tears burning her eyes. She wasn’t one of those weepy women, so why? Maybe, for the first time in her life she had a man who truly loved her—who truly believed in her.

“I love you. Damn you—look what you do to me.” Her hand trembled as she raised her glass and touched his. When he took a drink she didn’t. She set down her glass, and dropped her gaze to her plate. Picking up her fork and knife she cut into the lamb, took a bite and nearly groaned as the savory tender lamb melted in her mouth. All the while she could feel his eyes burning into her.

She swallowed as she looked up. Sam tilted his head and swirled the light peachy colored wine in his glass. “Something up?”

Marcie blinked and wiped her mouth with the blue cloth napkin.

“You’ve not had a sip of wine in a week. And don’t think I haven’t noticed you turned two shades of gray each time you get a whiff of that Mexican food wafting in from those outdoor stands. And you’ve been tired, unusually so. But then again, after what you’ve been through I just thought…” He shoved an index finger at her glass. “And you’re not drinking again. You feeling okay?”

She bit her lip. Set down her fork and rested her napkin in her lap. Marcie warmed as she met the gaze of the man she loved, who didn’t have a dishonest bone his gorgeous body. “Sam how do you feel about kids?”

Lorhainne Eckhart

Lorhainne Eckhart began her writing career in 2008, when she published her first novel, The Captain’s Lady, a Contemporary Military Romance through The Wild Rose Press. You can find Lorhainne most days on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, contributing posts to her two blogs The Choice of Giving and Illusions while actively promoting her books, The Forgotten Child, The Captain’s Lady, her supernatural romantic suspense series, The Choice, and a children’s illustrated adventure, A Father’s Love.

Lorhainne Eckhart is a member of the RWA, Sisters in Crime and Victoria RWA.  She lives on a small Island in the Northern Gulf. And somewhere in her busy schedule she finds time to write and be a full-time mom to her three children. She is the mother of a special needs child, her greatest gift having to learn organization and how to stay focused on what’s really important in life. She lives by simple rules, the same she teaches her children, stay honest, keep your word always, never take advantage of anyone, and treat everyone with respect. She’s an advocate for children with special needs. Passionate about preserving our environment and much of what Lorhainne advocates finds a way into each of her stories.

Readers can contact her through her Website www.LorhainneEckhart.com or email Lorhainne@LorhainneEckhart.com.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

Romance and Reality: Deconstructing Happily Ever After, by Beth K. Vogt

And they lived happily ever after.

Those may be the silliest six words ever written.

I’m a romance aficionado. Love stories and can’t-wait-for-the-perfect-kiss rom-com movies? Absolutely! And, hey, I’m the author of Wish You Were Here, a contemporary romance novel debuting this May!

But that “happily ever after” sentence? Surely some exhausted writer thought, “How do I end this novel? I’m already 87,451 words in. What do I write?”

And they lived happily ever after.

Let’s break these six words down and see why they don’t work.

And – This conjunction joins the sentence with every prior scene in the book. The meet-cute. Obstacles. Falling in love. We’re past all the fun and games and focusing on the future.

They – In romance, there are only two main characters: the hero and the heroine. Yes, there’s usually a villain. Think the evil stepmother in Snow White. Or Cinderella. Or Enchanted. (Warning: Wicked stepmothers are way-overdone in romances.) But a romance focuses on a man and a woman falling in love.

Lived –This is when the whole sentence starts falling apart. Our hero and heroine, aka “they,” are now married. (I’m assuming they don’t live together. This is my blog post; I decide my characters’ personal beliefs.) I’ve been married longer than some of you reading this blog have been alive, so I know what marriage entails. It goes way-beyond the “we don’t squeeze the toothpaste tube the same way” conflict. Marriage can become all about who is right (me) and who is wrong (my husband). Marriage can be fulfilling – the best thing that ever happened to me – and it can be absolutely exhausting. There are days I fall in love with my husband all over again. But there was a season in our marriage when we were on our knees begging God to restore our faith, our romance, our relationship.

Happily –With synonyms like “jubilantly” and “merrily” this word tells me the writer didn’t have a firm grasp on the realities of life after the wedding. Had he never heard the whole “for better, for worse” clause in the wedding vows?

Ever after – These two words equal forever. Not a bad day coming our hero and heroine’s way. I. Don’t. Think. So. Romance isn’t a pass on real life. Remember all the struggles our hero and heroine had getting together? Those don’t magically stop when the minister announces, “You may kiss the bride.”

I’m not a cynic bent on ruining Romance Week. I believe in a love that lasts forever. Want to see what true romance looks like? Delete the trite phrase “And they lived happily ever after.” Ever-after romance requires: marriage + reality + faith + forgiveness = forever.

So how would I re-write that six word sentence if I were ending a romance novel?

Stay tuned.

Now it’s your turn: How would you rewrite: And they lived happily ever after? Or would you?

Beth Vogt

Beth K. Vogt’s novel, Wish You Were Here, debuts in May 2012. Beth writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than fairy tales tell us. She is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren.

See Beth’s website and her blog, In Others’ Words. You can follow Beth on Twitter.

Connect with Beth on her Facebook Author Page, Beth K. Vogt, Author, or via Email, beth@bethvogt.com.

Beth’s profile photo by John Skiba.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

Red-Velvet Lovey-Dovey Pie and “Scrapbook of Secrets,” by Mollie Cox Bryan

How the pie started  

Recently, I made my first red velvet cake from scratch for my husband of nearly 19 years.  Red velvet cake is his favorite. We’ve bought so many of them over the years that I really had no idea what a homemade red velvet cake would taste like. He asked for a homemade cake and that is what he got. Quite happily.

Southern Traditions

It turned out very well and I fell in love with the process and idea of making cake. But pie is more a part of my family tradition—and it is the subject of my cookbook, even though it’s Mrs. Rowe’s pie, not my own. As it happens, red velvet is such a Southern tradition that it’s also in my newest book—Scrapbook of Secrets, which is set in a Southern town and centers on a group of Southern scrapbooking women.

Pie traitor

So back to making the cake. As I found myself loving the experience of baking the cake, I also felt a little like a traitor to pie. But I learned a lot about the cake by making it from scratch.  It’s not a simple chocolate cake—as some have suggested to me. It’s really a buttermilk-cocoa cake. I’m no fan of sipping buttermilk—but it adds a depth of flavor and tang to cooking and baking that’s hard to beat. As I mixed the ingredients, I thought of Mrs. Rowe’s Buttermilk Pie. How easy would it be to make it into a “Red Velvet pie?” Quite easy, as it turns out. I just added cocoa and food coloring to an otherwise perfect buttermilk pie recipe.

The versatile pie

The pie gets a thin cake-like skin on it as it cools, which is lovely for topping purposes.  It would work with a number of toppings. This recipe is a perfect example of how versatile pie is—once you have a good recipe that works, it’s fun and easy to experiment with it. I call this pie my “Red Velvet Lovey-Dovey Pie” because I’m honoring my husband’s Southern traditions and tastes while also acknowledging my own pie-loving Yankee family and traditions.

Red Velvet Lovey-Dovey Pie

The recipe

Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 pie crust

1 cup unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled

1 cup sugar

½ cup all purpose flour

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 heaping teaspoon of cocoa

1 ounce of red food coloring

Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9-inch pie plate with dough and crimp the edges.

In a bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and flour, and stir well. One at a time, add the eggs. Mixing well after each addition. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir well. Next, add the cocoa and stir into filling. Last, stir in the food coloring. Red, isn’t it?

Pour the batter into the pie crust.

The original buttermilk pie recipe called for baking for 25 to 35 minutes, until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  But it took 45 minutes in my oven for in to get thick. When you insert the knife, there will be a little filling on it—but it continues to firm up as it cools.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, until the filling firms up. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Please note: this is a very rich and sweet pie. You can cut the sugar back and it will still be flavorful.

About Scrapbook of Secrets, cookbooks, and novels

What compelled you to write this story? This idea came to me, actually, when I was going to a lot of scrapbooking events and was blown away by the generosity and quick friendships of other scrapbookers. None of us had the time to commit that the women in my book do—and I always thought it would be great if we did. About that same time, I read “The Secret Life of Bees” and was enamored with it. I wanted to write a story like it about the power of women’s friendships. I also wanted to take a look at the darker side of that—what isolation and secrets can do to people. So when National Novel Writing Month came around a few years ago, I decided to dip my toes in and go for it.

Why scrapbooking? Not only is it one of the most popular hobbies in the US, but it also has a deeper meaning. On one level, of course, it is just about cutesy stuff and preserving memories of your kids and so on. But, what these women and men do is preserve personal history. Many times they journal along with place pictures in books and I often think about how cool it would have been for someone to have chronicled my grandmother’s life, for example, when she was growing up. Also, some people are really taking it to an art form, as well as using it for self-reflection. The social aspect to scrapbooking is also fascinating—crops, conferences, contests, and so on. It’s a subculture. I also think it’s perfect for mysteries—it has this great puzzle and story quality to it.

You are a cookbook writer and food writer, why write fiction now? When I think back to my childhood writing, it was always fiction and poetry. But life came along and I needed to earn a living so I worked as a nonfiction writer and an editor. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a novel published. I wrote many unfinished novels over the years and finished one in high school. And I think there are a lot of writers like me who would like to crossover—one way or the other. And all of my writing is about story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

Has writing fiction been different from nonfiction? In some ways, yes. In some ways, no. With the cookbooks, for example, there was a lot of coordinating between the restaurant, tester and myself in the creation of the books. With writing fiction, it’s just me, which I found kind of freeing and at the same time a little scary. In writing both fiction and nonfiction, you simply have to sit at the computer and get it done. In this regard, I think my nonfiction writing habits influence my fiction. I’m very practical about my writing and don’t wait for the muse to descend.

Will you ever write another cookbook? I never say never. But I am enjoying writing fiction and plan to put most of my efforts into it. There is only so much time in a day, especially when you have a family and a full life.

Why does food figure so prominently in your novels? The simple answer is nobody can write about a group of Southern women without bringing food into the story. The somewhat more complicated answer is food is a great metaphor for life and the stories that make up a life are often punctuated with food. So using food in a story tells the reader a lot about the characters and the setting.

What else do you spend time on? I have very little free time because I’m the mom of two active little girls who have cello lessons, dance lessons and play practices, so I am often in my mini-van carpooling children. But I try to start each day with a run or a walk and have become quite the addict. I’m an avid reader and cook, as well. I love to scrapbook, of course, and get together with my friends and family. I try to write only when my girls are in school so that when they get home, I help with homework or just spend time with them.

Are you working on any scrapbooking projects? I’m always working on something. Right now, I’m trying to catch up on a few of my holiday books—both Halloween and Christmas. I’m also working on getting materials together for a recipe scrapbooking class, which I’ll offer at stores and conferences, as well as on-line at some point.

Do you have any favorite mystery authors? I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so Sir Author Conan Doyle is right at the top of my list. Right now, I’m reading my second Louise Penny novel and I want to read them all! Also, one of my favorites is Elizabeth Peter’s “Peabody” series. (I want to read all of her work, too!)

What’s next for you? Currently I am working on book three of the Cumberland Creek trilogy. Book two, Scrapbook of Shadows, has been turned in to the publisher. The first few months of 2012 will be filled with promotion—guest blogs, book signings, and speaking engagements.

About the book, Scrapbook of Secrets

Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mum in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong…Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets – and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm facade – like a killer with unfinished business…

Mollie Cox Bryan

Mollie Cox Bryan is a food writer and cookbook author with a penchant for murder. Her stories have many forms: cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry and fiction. Mollie grew up near Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Point Park University, where she received a B.A. in Journalism and Communications. Her first real job out of college was as a paste-up artist at a small newspaper, where she was allowed to write “on her own time” and she did.

Mollie moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where she held a number of writing jobs, and has written about a diverse array of subjects, such as construction, mathematics education, and life insurance. While working in the editorial field, Mollie began taking poetry classes at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. Soon, she was leading local poetry workshops and was selected to participate in the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore Poetry Workshop. Mollie still writes poetry— not as frequently— and believes that her study of poetry informs all of her writing.

In 1999, shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Emma, Mollie and her husband moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Va., where he took a job at the Frontier Culture Museum and she stayed at home to take care of Emma and start a freelancing career.

Currently, Mollie is a restaurant reviewer for the Daily News Leader, Staunton, Va., and a frequent contributor for the local NPR-affiliate, WVTF.

See Mollie and all her books on her website and blog. Connect on Twitter, and on Facebook. Scrapbook of Secrets is available on Amazon. 


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events