Monday, August 14, 2017

Hiking at Fenton Lake and Valles Caldera New Mexico

My husband and I recently made a trip to Los Alamos to visit a friend. On the way, we stopped at Fenton Lake State Park New Mexico where we were greeted by this golden-mantled ground squirrel.

Fenton Lake is a popular spot for fishing, and it has campsites, though they're pretty close together. If you prefer a more remote experience and don't need amenities, you'll find plenty of backcountry camping nearby. 
Still, we had a lovely three-mile walk around the lake, admiring the many wildflowers.
Fenton Lake is in the northwest part of New Mexico, a few miles north and west of Jemez Springs. From there, we headed more or less eased through Valles Caldera National Preserve. This circular depression, caused by a spectacular volcanic eruption about 1.2 5 million years ago, is America’s newest national preserve. 
Some areas are restricted or require permits, but parts of the preserve are open to hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. We stopped at a couple of random pull offs alongside the highway. The first trail was temporarily closed (I can't recall if it was fire danger or flooding danger, but both are risks during New Mexico summers.) The second was less of a trail than a few crisscrossing cattle paths, but we had some great views.
Fun trivia – the TV show Longmire is set in Wyoming but it is filmed in New Mexico, mainly in Las Vegas New Mexico and the Jemez Mountains. Sheriff Walt Longmire's cabin is actually an old cabin in Valles Caldera.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#AuthorLove Book Blog Exchange - Whitley Cox and #99c Tropical Tryst Boxed Set


Tropical Tryst Boxed Set
Coming AUGUST 1st
25 Books for 99cents

Escape with these 25 brand new and exclusive sexy reads from NY Times, USA Today and International bestselling authors.

This set is perfect for romance lovers of all kinds. Offering up passionate, and enticing tales set in hot and tropical settings, this collection will feed your need for summer sexiness!

Boxed Set Links

Here's one of the many treasures you'll get:

Lust Abroad by Whitley Cox

Piper Valentine knows all too well that life is short. Off to Peru to heal after a grievous loss, she finds more than solace in the hot, charismatic travel journalist sitting across from her on the airplane. Derrick King’s had a brush with death, too, but he has no idea that he’ll face it again — and again — after giving in to his instant attraction to Piper. Their journey to the top of the world, filled with parties, humor, and fun, is turned topsy-turvy as they’re pursued by mysterious gunmen.

Determined to reach Machu Picchu and fulfill her promise to her dead husband, Piper finds that having Derrick along makes her feel safer, even as his lust for her endangers her heart. She’s never found another man so sensual, and with danger on their trail, they keep ending up in each other’s arms. Derrick’s a man with needs — and secrets. Will Piper find strength in surrender? And can Derrick find a way to believe in a future — for both of them?


I watched Mr. Handsome Photographer Man edit adorable baby sloths and cheeky monkeys, while I pretended to read about how awful a grieving widow I was being. I checked my phone briefly and noticed that the battery was getting low, but all the outlets around me were occupied, so instead I turned it off and picked up my book.

What cologne was he wearing? What was that scent? It smelled exotic, like…warm sand and fresh linen, beachy and clean and incredibly inviting…but also manly, very manly. What was his name? Where was he from? What were his plans in Lima? Was he single? Was I ready to start dating? The book said I needed to move on, meet people, find happiness again…which was why I was currently in the Panama airport and on my way to Lima. To do what Ray and I had always planned to do, and that was visit Machu Picchu. This would be our two-year anniversary, a belated honeymoon, seeing as we never got to go on one after we were married. This had been our dream, this had been the plan, and I wasn’t anything if not a planner and a promise-keeper.

A West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley Cox is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have a spirited toddler and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.

A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role playing, these books have everything we need to satisfy the curious kink in all of us.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Mad Monk's Treasure for #Free - #RomanticSuspense in the Desert Southwest

Happy birthday to me! Having an August 1 birthday is great, because there are no other big US holidays in August, and it's also Swiss National Day. (Not that I've ever been in Switzerland on my birthday, but it's still fun to imagine people there setting off fireworks.) Plus, when I was in grade school, we often visited family in late July/early August, so I got to celebrate my birthday two or three times – with friends at home, with my grandparents, and with whatever aunt and uncle we were staying with on the actual date.

To help me celebrate, please pick up a copy of one of my southwestern romantic adventure novels. (And a great gift would be an honest review on Amazon or GoodReads, or sharing the book with friends on social media or in person!)

How about this one? It's FREE at all ebook retailers!

Praise for The Mad Monk’s Treasure:

“The action never stopped .... It was adventure and romance at its best.”

“I couldn’t put this book down. You’ll love it.”

4.7 out of 5 stars with 38 Amazon reviews

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic—and deadly—New Mexico desert....

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”

This is book 1 in the Southwest Treasure Hunters series. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is book 3. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.

Award-winning author Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Her other books include Counterfeits, What We Found and Whispers in the Dark. To learn more about her latest work, visit oher Amazon page.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Sharing #AuthorLove for Anita Philmar, Her Cookie Recipe and #Romance A Warrior in Me

Today, please welcome Anita Philmar, a romance author who is sharing a quick and easy recipe. I love those!

Anita Philmar likes to create stories that push the limit. A writer by day and a dreamer by night she wants her readers to see the world in a new way.

Influenced by old movies, she likes to develop places where anything can happen and where special moments come to life in a great read.

Naughty or Nice?

Read her books and decide.


We all can use an easy recipe that takes no time to throw together.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal no bake cookies.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 peanut butter
  • 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal old fashion

Melt butter and add brown sugar, stir and microwave 30 seconds. Break up unsweetened chocolate and stir into butter and sugar mixture. Microwave 15 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted.

Add peanut butter and vanilla - stir until smooth. Add oatmeal. Stir until oatmeal is coated.

Then cover cookie sheet with parchment paper, drop spoonful onto parchment paper.
Place pan of cookies in freezer and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Eat when ready.

Other alternatives reduce oatmeal 1/2 cup before add one of the alternatives

  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut  

The Warrior in Me – Erotic Murder Mystery/ Romantic suspense

Special Security Agent Sebastian Berlin is eager to track down his partner's killer. Instead, he’s assigned the job of baby-sitting a scientist. His boss thinks she's the key to an Ancient Warrior Prophecy. Science never interested Sebastian, but the know-it-all female standing at the end of his Alaskan dock could persuade him to do a little experimenting. That is, if he can keep his Neanderthal Warrior genes from taking control.

DNA specialist Lily Sinclair is in need of a vacation, or so her over-protective ex-husband tells her. Arriving in chilly Alaska instead of sunny Cancun, she's tired and cranky and so not in the mood for her bodyguard's he-man tactics. Still, there's something about the sexy eye-candy that makes her want to lick him all over even as she's demanding to go home.

Then Lily's ex is poisoned, and Sebastian is certain the two murders are connected and she could be next. She knows he's hiding something, but with the worldwide release of Neanderthal DNA project only days away, she has no choice but to trust him to protect her. But can she trust him with her heart?

Now available at:

Friday, July 28, 2017

New Mexico's Monsoon Rains

People are often surprised to hear the term "monsoon" associated with New Mexico. But we do have monsoon rains. 

Some definitions of monsoon specifically refer to the seasonal winds of the Indian Ocean and Southern Asia. A more general definition for monsoon is a seasonal shift in wind direction and pressure distribution, which causes a change in precipitation. In other words, the monsoon is not the rain itself, but monsoon patterns can bring rain. (More info here.)

Anyway, in New Mexico, we call the summer rainy season monsoon season. We often get short, very heavy rains in the afternoon or evening. As an example, the following three pictures were taken in a ten-minute timespan. 

It had been raining for perhaps 15 minutes before I took this first picture. The brownish area is muddy water. It rained so hard and fast that the water didn't have time to soak in, so it's flowing off of nearby scrub desert on to the golf course.

 The water is spreading and will soon join the water that is pooling up toward the lower left in the picture.

Now the golf course is half bog and half shallow lake. It won't be much fun for the golfers tomorrow!

Kris Bock lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and watching the sunset from her patio. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.

Kris writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

The Mad Monk's Treasure, “Smart romance with an 'Indiana Jones' feel,” is currently free at all e-book retailers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On Cinematic Scenes, by Mary Reed, author of History #Mystery Novels

Some years ago I lived in Florida and the local cinema showed Gone With The Wind. Naturally I grabbed my chance to see it on the big screen. As the audience waited for the lights to go down, an elderly man took the seat next to me and remarked "Now we get to refight the Civil War".

Mentioning that Civil War comment to Eric recently reminded me of what I refer to as Cinematic Scenes, the topic of this blog. After all, why should he be the only one to suffer?

On holiday in the Lake District years ago, I discovered the local cinema was an upstairs room with benches and a whitewashed wall or perhaps one of those handy screens on a tripod -- the details have faded after all this time. Just about every cinema I've attended was on the second or third or even older run films circuit, and those shown in the upstairs room were no exception. The films were from the sixties, being Farenheit 451 based on the Bradbury novel and Die, Monster, Die! inspired by Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space.

Wherever I've lived, most of the famous films reached local cinemas eventually though as noted sometimes they took a while to show up. On an earlier occasion, I went to see Summer Holiday, a film later mercilessly spoofed in the closing sequence of the last episode of the alternative comedy series The Young Ones. I wasn't a particular fan of Cliff Richard but when it showed up I was keen to see my home city bespectabled lad Hank Marvin, since Cliff's group The Shadows were also featured.

The big disappointment came as the film drew to an end. There was the group, in traditional dress as worn by Greek ceremonial guards, complete with the kilt-like fustanella and black garters under the knees. They were to play what I hear was a redux of the title song, but I never found out because the group had hardly had time to twang a couple of notes and make a few steps when the film disappeared, most likely because the last busses across town would be off soon and the audience or possibly the projectionist didn't care to have to walk home.

Nor was I particularly fond of Elvis, so I'm at a loss to recall why I would go to see Blue Hawaii, unless it was because a friend wanted to see it but didn't want to go alone. This time the disappointment was more personal. I suddenly heard the familiar laugh of my Great Teen Crush and glancing around saw him a couple of rows back with his girlfriend. Well, we all remember how crushed we were when such things happened to us, do we not? I won't mention his name but if he should happen to see this blog, hello Mr Mohair Sweater Who Lived Up The Street!

A coda to this unhappy event. Years later, after I'd long since left the town, I was visiting my mother and as luck would have it met Mr Mohair Sweater again. He was waiting for the same bus as myself at the stop outside that very cinema. He still lived up the street from the old house and we chatted on the journey until I got off. Seeing him again after ten years or so we waxed nostalgic about the old days. If only I could have told my younger self one day I would talk to him again and not skip a single heartbeat!

Yet it wasn't all disasters. Whisper it quietly please, but three of us cut school one Friday afternoon and went to see the Lee/Cushing Dracula. We raved about it so much that the following week Mr. B, our much liked but notoriously hard-marking English teacher, included the topic of A Week In The Life of Dracula as one of three choices for our next essay. He marked ours so high we almost took his oft-quoted advice that, should we get above 8 or so, we were to go home and lie down.

A scene in our new WWII mystery Ruined Stones is set in a Newcastle cinema a five minute walk from where the Reed family lived at one time, but I'm happy to say that particular one was never the scene of a cinematic disappointment!

Eric Reed is a pseudonym for Mary Reed & Eric Mayer. They are the coauthors of eleven books in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, set in 6th century Byzantium.

Ruined Stones, by Eric Reed
In December 1941, Grace Baxter, a new member of the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps, is posted to Newcastle-on-Tyne, northeast England. Her arrival coincides with the discovery of the body of a young woman, curiously difficult to identify, at the scanty ruins of a Roman temple situated across from a church. The bone-numbing cold, the fogs, and enemy bombing, not to mention the peculiar behavior of some of the citizens, test Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. There are many potential leads, and much suspicious behavior to sort through. What role do ancient rituals play in the murder and what follows? What current misbehavior or crimes is someone desperate to cover up? The investigation, carried out through fog and blackout and fear as well as the hostility of her colleagues, tests Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. Will it also endanger her life?

Twitter @marymaywrite

Monday, July 24, 2017

Meet #Romance Author Mia Jo Celeste and Share Some #AuthorLove

OTHER THAN, a Gaslamp Fantasy/ Paranormal Historical Romance

It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.

Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.

Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.


He materialized in the inky shadow.

Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.

Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”

An accusation.

He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”

She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”

He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”

A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?

Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.

She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”

“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”

She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”

“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

Buy the Book

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn.

Find the Author

Mia Jo Celeste on Setting and Other Than

One long, hot summer I worked in a non-air-conditioned dry cleaners. Around noon when the last cleaning loads finished, everyone left because of the stifling heat – except for me, the lowly counter girl. I sat on a stool and, to pass the time, read the owner’s paperbacks between customers. I remember being startled when a white-haired gentleman thumped the counter. I looked up from page 78 of The Wolf and the Dove and blinked. I couldn’t fathom what this man wanted until he thrust his claim ticket at me. Yes, I must admit: I was so engrossed in my book I missed the door buzzer and failed to notice my customer until his counter slap brought his presence to my attention.

I’d been transported to Darkenwald, in Saxon, England – out of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ imagination.

Last night I curled up in my favorite armchair and let my present world slip away so that I could ride shotgun with Stephanie Plum. We cruised the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, in yet another ill-fated Honda CRV. Again, I was transported. It was like experiencing a pleasant dream.

James N. Frey in How to Write a Damn Good Novel II says, “As a fiction writer, you’re expected to transport a reader. Readers are said to be transported when, while they are reading, they feel they are living in the story world, and the real world around them evaporates.”

I’ve often wondered how you cause your reader to slip into your story’s world? James N. Frey suggests using vivid details.

Chrystal McCoy says, “Setting is a great way to allow your reader to become part of your story.”

When I wrote Other Than, the setting was important to me. I wanted it to have a Gothic atmosphere, so I set the story on an isolated island before cell phones, electrical lights and even before America became a nation. Researching the 1800s, I fell in love with the gowns, the candlelight and the buildings of a colonial plantation. In addition, the historical period had an additional benefit because the heroes had only flintlock guns, which fired one bullet at close range, making the zombies they encountered super hard to put down.

I hope that readers will love Other Than’s setting as much as I do, but there are lots of great books and wonderful settings out there. What novel and setting is your favorite? Please share.