Share This

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 13, 2018

Author Guest Post - Kris Bock

#MysteryExchange - The Murder That Inspired a Romantic #Mystery Novel, with @Kris_Bock

Many writers are inspired by real events or people in their
lives. This makes difficult situations a form of research. “This stinks, but maybe I can use it in a book!” I write romantic suspense for adults as Kris Bock and middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12) as Chris Eboch. In most of these
books, the connection to real-life experiences isn’t obvious. 

In my romantic
suspense Whispers in the Dark, my
heroine is an archaeology Masters student working at the fictional “Lost
Valley” monument, which is closely based on Hovenweep National Monument, where I once spent a week camping. In Counterfeits, the heroine inherits a children’s art camp, which I based on a camp near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where I’ve attended many writing retreats. Using real locations helps me bring the settings to life even if I did not, for example,
fall into a ravine while fleeing from a bad guy.

But What We Found was inspired by helping to uncover a true case of murder.

Lest you think that makes me some kind of amateur detective, my involvement was purely accidental. Two friends and I were exploring the mountains, looking for some suitable gravel to try gold panning (because, why not?). We found a likely spot and were about to take a sample when the guys smelled something horrible. A glance in the right direction showed them a dead body hidden just out of sight of the path.

The next hour passed in a surreal blur. We'd left our phones
in another vehicle, at the base of the mountain. Once we retrieved them, we still had to find a place with cell reception. We called 911, waited for the police, and led them to the body. Later that night we were interviewed by
detectives.

By the following day, they had identified the body as a
woman who had been missing. Her estranged ex-boyfriend was already a suspect in her disappearance, but without her body they'd have trouble prosecuting him.  Seeing her picture on TV and learning about her family made the situation real in a new way. We wanted justice for someone we’d never met.

It’s All Research

As a writer, I knew I was getting rare first-hand experience
into something powerful. I took pages of notes during that first week, even though I didn’t know how or when I might use them. I was fortunate to be with two men who talked openly about their experiences: the nightmares, the guilt over violence against women, the anxiety that came from now wondering what you might see in the bushes.

Three things struck me most strongly.

First, we all felt deeply invested in the case, even though
we’d never met the woman in life and didn’t know anyone else involved. We followed the news stories, even though they made us anxious. When the murderer was finally sentenced … well, we weren't happy (the sentence of less than 20 years of less than 20 years was not, in our opinion, nearly long enough), but we were relieved that it was over.

Second, it affected every aspect of our lives for weeks.
Even though the likelihood of finding another body, or even witnessing a different crime, was extremely slim, we were on high alert at all times. It was a struggle to put it behind us while still honoring the memory of the victim and holding on to what we had learned.

And finally, someone in law enforcement said that often
people don’t report crime scenes like these. How could someone walk away from that? I started thinking about all the reasons someone might want to cover up their discovery, even if they had nothing to do with the crime. And that inspired What We Found.

Turning Truth into
Fiction

Several years passed before I felt distant enough from the
experience to fictionalize it, but I still had all those notes and memories to draw on. Some elements of What We Found, mainly the emotional ones, are taken directly from that experience. Most character and plot elements are fictional, although some are loosely inspired by the real events.

This isn’t an experience I would wish on anyone, but we’re
glad we helped bring a crime to light and a murderer to justice. And it led to what I consider my most powerful and personal novel to date. After all, one benefit to being a writer is that the worst experiences are still valuable as
research.

That’s the truth behind What We Found.


When Audra goes back to her small hometown after college, she simply wants to fit in, work hard, and protect her 12-year-old brother from their overbearing mother. Finding a dead body in the woods changes everything.

Her former crush, Jay, insists they don’t report the body.  But the dead woman was murdered, and someone starts targeting Audra. She has to
stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

“Another action-packed suspense novel by Kris Bock, perhaps her best to-date. The author weaves an intriguing tale with appealing characters. Watching Audra, the main character, evolve into an emotionally-mature and independent young woman is gratifying.” Reader Ellen
Rippe.
This title stands alone and is not part of a series.

Excerpt:

An engine started.
The battered old truck stood out like a janitor at the prom. It was dark blue, splattered with mud and probably decades old, with a cap on the bed. The evening sun glared off the side window, but as I walked slowly past the front I saw a figure inside – the one-handed man. He had his hand on the wheel but his head back, eyes closed.

 I paused, studying his face. I guessed he was in his twenties, with short, light brown hair and pleasant features in a mask as still as death.

 He opened his eyes and looked straight into mine.

 I couldn’t move as he held my gaze. My heart thumped against my ribs. He studied me without expression, no smile, no frown, nothing in his face but weariness.

 Finally I had to blink, and once the eye contact was broken, I jerked my gaze away and kept moving. I quickly turned between the next two cars, to get out of his view. I’d have to cross behind his truck to reach my car, which might look odd if he was still watching, but I didn’t care so long as I got out of there, fast.

 I noticed the rusty screeching again. It was coming from his truck. I stumbled to a stop, staring at the back of the truck.
What could be making that sound? The tailgate and back window on the cap were closed, hiding the sight inside, but the screech came again and again like someone – something – screaming.

 The screams seemed to echo in my head. I couldn’t take any more. I turned away with a hand over my mouth to hold back my own scream and hurried to my car.


Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. All ebooks are .99c to $3.99 or free with Kindle Unliminted.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com or her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter
for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

THANK You Kris Bock for joining us today.  



Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Review - Pairing a Deception

I reviewed the 1st in series, Decanting a Murder (click here) by Nadine Nettmann - a real-life Sommelier.  I missed the second in the series, but here is the third in the series for you.

Author: Nadine Nettmann

Copyright: May 2018 (Midnight Ink) 240 pgs

Series: 3rd in A Sommelier Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth

Main Character: Katie Stillwell, Restaurant Sommelier prepping for Master Sommelier exam

Setting: Modern, Santa Barbara

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest opinion -Netgalley

Cover Blurb:  "With only a few days left until her Advanced Sommelier exam, Katie Stillwell hopes to balance studying with attending a wine and food festival in Santa Barbara.

The weekend with Detective Dean is off to a great start―until an attendee is murdered and suspicion falls on the festival emcee, Master Sommelier Hudson Wiley. Katie tries to keep her focus on the festival and her last-minute studying, but when she discovers people aren’t who they say they are, she finds herself in the middle of a tangled web where nothing, except the wine, is what it seems."

Katie Stillwell takes most everything in stride, including her boyfriend having to rush back to the city for his job in the middle of their romantic weekend.  She  isn't intentionally investigating, not much, but she is putting together a number of clues.  Detective Dean is the romantic interest who gets called back to his job a few times in the course of this novel.  Thus, there wasn't much revealed about him in this novel other than he is trying to make the relationship work. Hudson Wiley, the Master Sommelier and prime suspect exhibits plenty of strange behavior and you never quite know what his deal is.  This time around there is no wine tasting group or friends in the story, but there is an eclectic group of festive attendees.

The setting of the wine festive works well.  The plot was a little disjointed for me (may just be me), and the pacing stayed steady, perhaps a little too steady.

The climax had a slight killer confrontation that was okay, but I didn't really feel it.  I really prefer a killer reveal that has me flipping pages with my heart pounding - this didn't do that for me.  I have even enjoyed books that have less suspense for more realistic with the police involved in the killer reveal, but that wasn't the case here either. 

This was a fast read in that it seemed short and compact (a mere 240 pages). The story was entertaining enough, but I didn't feel a sense of urgency for Katie to solve the crime.  I would have liked a bit more suspenseful killer confrontation or romance to get the blood pumping and invest me in the story, but others may like the even emotions of the story.  I really enjoyed the wine references and notes throughout and the setting.

Good - A fun read with good qualities for those who enjoy a tamer mystery. 


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Don’t know much about wine? Or perhaps you know a friend
who wants to enjoy wine, but just hasn't found a wine they really love?  Want to understand why you like some but not others?  Want to just know what others mean when talking wine?

Do you or a friend want to understand the wonderful world of wine but the books available are more exhaustive textbooks and loose your interest? 

‘The Little Wine Guide’ spans Cabernet to Chardonnay with tips on how to chill and store wine to buying wine among the vast options.

This jam-packed little book removes the mystery and makes savoring a fine wine fun. Learn the lingo fast through an overview of wine to get you on your feet pronto. Learn about the basic wine types to planning your own wine tasting, the intricacies of restaurant presentation etiquette to an overview of wine in America to assist you on your personal wine journey! Understand your unique taste preferences and what interests you in the world of wine from blogs, movies, documentaries, magazines or books on the people of the wine world.


Buy Here:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | Website

Kerrianne (Goodreads) 5 star  "Great and compact intro into the world of wine. Can't wait to tour some local wineries with my new found knowledge. So happy I was able to win this through a Goodreads Giveaway!"

Cynthia Calongne--Lyr Lobo 5 star  "What a great book - fun content, well-organized and easy to read and digest!"




Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mystery Podcast


Kings River Life Magazine has a brand new mystery podcast called Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast. Episodes will consist of mystery short stories, and first chapters of mystery novels, read by actors in the San Joaquin Valley of California. 

The first one went up in June and is a short story by Nancy Cole Silverman. The 2nd one went up on July 3 and is a short story by Joan Leotta. Coming up we have Jeri Westerson, Dennis Palumbo, Lesley Diehl, Elaine Viets and more. There will be a new one up the first Tuesday of every month, and possibly some bonus ones as well. 

To listen to these episodes and subscribe to the podcast you can go to mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com. We are also on iTunes and Google Play. You can also subscribe to our podcast newsletter to keep up with all of the news tinyletter.com/kingsriverlife.


Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 11, 2018

ICED: Resort to Murder Mystery I on SALE

On Sale for a Limited Time

ICED: Resort to Murder Mystery I
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious
resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

SALE LINK Amazon  

Praise for ICED: 

"Avery Daniels’ Iced: A Resort to Murder is a great beginning to what I hope is several books.  The story was very entertaining with twists and turns that I couldn’t hazard a guess because another motive or clue would be revealed leading to a crescendo ending of 'Oh, my!'  The story was engaging, the characters entertaining, and I love the idea that there will be more at another resort…Her world travels begin!”  King's River Life Magazine

Avery Daniels Links:
Newsletter  
Website
Facebook
Twitter
BookBub
Goodreads
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review - Beyond the Pale

Clare O'Donohue is the best selling author of Someday Quilts Mystery series, Kate Conway Mysteries, and now the new World of Spies Mysteries.  The concept of average citizen's becoming spies isn't new, but professors more accustomed to University students and grading papers gives it a good spin.  Read on to see how well the concept worked.


Author: Clare O'Donohue

Copyright: May 2018 (Midnight Ink) 360 pgs

Series: 1st in World of Spies Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Intrigue

Main Characters: Married college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson.

Setting: Modern, Ireland

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest opinion (NetGalley)

Cover Blurb:  "Married college professors agree to help Interpol in Ireland, but a simple errand leads them into a deadly criminal enterprise

It's a simple, twenty-minute job. At least, that's the pitch from Interpol to married college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson. Going undercover to procure a priceless rare book manuscript means an all-expenses paid trip abroad. A little danger thrown into the mix may even spice things up.

Soon after landing in the Emerald Isle, they realize the job is anything but simple. Their contact is a no show and they're left with fifty thousand euros, some serious questions, and a possible death threat. Ducking and dodging their way across Ireland, Hollis and Finn must hunt down the priceless manuscript and a missing agent while trying to stay one step ahead of a dangerous and unknown enemy."

Wife Hollis is a global politics professor, but she had been through CIA training years ago - but left the agency to marry Finn.  She is bored with her life now.  Finn is an expert in European literature and has settled into his life.  The two come across as on the brink of divorce.  Hollis wants to travel and live a little while Finn wants to sit and watch sports or have his adoring students around him and have his wife travel without him.  Finn doesn't want to travel, it's too inconvenient, and he resents Hollis was trained by CIA.  David, who went through CIA training with Hollis and now works at Interpol, asks the drifting-apart couple to help retrieve a manuscript, supposedly of great value, in Ireland. Several other people appear wanting the same manuscript and who can be trusted is up in the air.

The story takes you across Ireland as Hollis and Finn run from one location to another either trying to get the manuscript or evade being killed.  This became tiresome after a while.  The plot was just okay to me, I never felt the urgency over the manuscript which seemed contrived to me.  The pacing was fast paced once in Ireland, but again the continual running was wearying and a little disjointed. 

The reveal of who was actually the enemy and the final showdown was well done and exciting.  The wrap up left it open for further adventures, if both of them can be persuaded.

I had mixed feelings about this book.  It's a good premise, but I had a hard time with the husband Finn.  My impression of Finn is self-centered and jealous of Hollis and her training so he takes some risks and tries to step up when he shouldn't. The locations used in the story could have been cut down and I think it would have worked better while still keeping the pace.

Rating:
  Good - A fun read with solid storyline and a few areas for improvement.



Bookmark and Share

Related Posts with Thumbnails