Monday, August 29, 2016

Was the Wild West Really so Wild? The Story of Curly Bill Brosius

The Wild West certainly earned its moniker. Nonfiction books and documentaries about 19th-century gunslingers are a reminder that truth is often stranger than – and just as dramatic as – fiction. Some may have been good guy heroes. Many were probably complex characters who did both good and bad things. And a few were simply rotten to the core.

Curly Bill Brosius easily fell into the latter category. Here’s an excerpt from my adventure novel, The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, that addresses the subject. Camie and Ryan are hunting for Ryan’s uncle, who disappeared while hunting for the historical Skeleton Canyon Treasure. They follow clues to a museum he visited and meet Jennifer, a local historian. Here she shares some tidbits about one of the gang members from the story of the lost treasure.

Jennifer shrugged. “I told you, your uncle got me curious. This Curly Bill was quite a character, and I don’t mean that in a good way. He was supposed to be a crack shot who could hit running jackrabbits and shoot out candle flames without breaking the candles. But he was a mean SOB whose idea of a practical joke was to make a preacher dance during a sermon by shooting at his feet.”
“Wait, that was a real thing?” Ryan said. “Not just something in the movies?”
Jennifer nodded. “It was mentioned in local newspapers. He also forced Mexicans to take off their clothes and dance naked at a community dance.”
Camie made a face. “Quite the charmer.”
“What do you expect from a murderer?” Jennifer asked. “He killed at least one man in a robbery, escaped from prison, and led a gang of rustlers in Arizona Territory. In 1880, in Tombstone, he killed a popular Marshal named Fred White, although that might have been an accident.”
“I hate when that happens,” Camie murmured. Ryan shot her an amused glance.
“White said he didn’t think Curly Bill was trying to kill him,” Jennifer explained. “The Marshal was trying to take Bill’s gun and it went off. White died from his wound the next day – a shot to the groin.”
Ryan winced and Camie hid a smile. She said, “You’ve really done your research.”

Jennifer gave a little shrug as if to say, Of course. “Let’s see, he was implicated in a couple of other murders during robberies, some revenge killings, and at least one death during a bar fight. He also might have been involved in the Skeleton Canyon Massacre.”
Ryan and Camie both sat up straighter and exchanged a glance.
“A gang ambushed a Mexican trail herd and killed the vaqueros, possibly after torturing some of them,” Jennifer said. “They sold the cattle to some white men who were in turn ambushed and killed by Mexicans.”
Ryan leaned forward. “Wait, cattle, not treasure?”
Jennifer shrugged. “It depends what source you trust. Some say the Mexicans were bandits who had looted Monterrey, Mexico, caring a treasure worth seventy-five thousand dollars, or two million dollars, or eight million dollars.”
Ryan leaned back and groaned. “This is the problem with history. It’s never just straightforward fact.”
“That’s what makes history so interesting,” Jennifer said.
“Does it really matter?” Camie challenged. “We don’t care if there is a treasure, right?”
Ryan gave a grunt she couldn’t interpret. What was he really looking for?
“A lot of Old West history boils down to hearsay or guesses,” Jennifer admitted. “Curly Bill had been wounded six weeks before the Skeleton Canyon Massacre and was supposedly still recovering. He was also implicated in the murder of Morgan Earp, but without proof he wasn’t charged. What is most likely true, but still challenged by some people, is that Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill in a shootout in 1882. Bill was in his thirties, which considering his lifestyle was surprising longevity.”
They pondered this for a minute before Ryan asked, “Not that it’s relevant, but did you find out why he was called Curly?”
“He was said to have dark, curly hair.”
“After everything else we’ve learned, I was hoping for something more dramatic, like his antics would curl your hair, or, I don’t know, he was a devil and the devil has a curled tail.”

The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is a light, breezy action/adventure/romance that's perfect for summer reading.”

If you love suspense and romance, don’t miss this gripping adventure! The Southwest Treasure Hunters novels include The Mad Monk’s Treasure and The Dead Man’s Treasure. Each novel stands alone in this series mixing action and adventure with light romance.

Monday, August 8, 2016

More Reviews on the Adventure #Romance The Skeleton Canyon Treasure

It's not too late for a summer vacation  Go on a Southwest adventure for less than a latte!

Early readers are sharing their feedback on The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, my treasure hunting romantic suspense.

Reader Winnie calls it a “Totally enjoyable treasure hunting story”: This is my first book by Kris Bock and I totally enjoyed it. Treasure hunters, treasure robbers, mystery and suspense, romance and a very sassy cat - The Skeleton Canyon Treasure kept me captivated throughout the entire book. Even though it’s the 3rd book in the series, it can be read as standalone. However, after reading this, I’m definitely going to read the 1st 2 books in the series.

Amazon reviewer Carolyn describe it as “Another great series to read!!”: I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book I have read by this author, but it definitely will not be the last. Although this is the third in the series and there were a few references to the others I never felt like I was messing anything. I loved the suspense, romance, history and a treasure hunt. And what can I say about Tiger the cat, other than I wish he was mine. Now I need to go read the other books in this series.

Check out a free sample or buy the book and judge for yourself.

Author Kris Bock
Camille Dagneau – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t quick to trust, especially when a strange man has broken into her machine shop at night. Ryan MacAllister insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. Camie can ignore the attraction she feels, but she won’t pass up the chance for an adventure. Following the clues in the missing man’s journal will take Camie, Ryan, and the feisty cat Tiger on a trail through the Southwest. They’ll face steep cliffs, twisty tunnels, and worse dangers in human form, but trusting each other may be the biggest challenge. And they’re running out of time …. If you love suspense and romance, don’t miss this gripping adventure! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pass the Pigs and Other #Camping Games

In my romantic adventure novel, The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, Camie and Ryan bond while playing games during a campout.

“I might have just the thing for us tonight,” Ryan said. “You ever play Pass the Pigs?”
“Excuse me?” If that was a sexual innuendo, it was the tackiest one Camie had ever heard.
He rummaged in his backpack and tossed something to her. She examined the small container that said “Pass the Pigs.” Inside she found, of all things, two tiny plastic pigs.
“Ever play?” he asked. “It’s competitive in the sense that you’re going for points, and there’s a winner, but it’s pretty much luck so it’s hard to take it too seriously.”
She narrowed her eyes at him in mock challenge. “We’ll see about that.”
The game involved tossing the plastic pigs on the ground. Players got points based on the way the pigs landed – on their sides or backs, on all four feet, tipped onto two feet and the snout, and so forth, with bonus points for both pigs landing in the same high-scoring position.
Camie quickly accepted that she couldn’t do much to control the outcome, especially on the uneven ground. That didn’t keep her from arguing about any toss where she could possibly debate the pigs’ position, but the arguments were full of laughter and teasing. Tiger decided Ryan’s lap was no longer a stable enough bed, so he joined in the fun, occasionally batting at a pig that landed too close to him. Then they could debate whether the original position or the new position was the one they should count, favoring, of course, whichever gave them the best lead.
Camie wasn’t even sure who had won the most games when they decided to call it a night.

This was inspired by real-life experience. I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon several times, staying at Phantom Ranch at the bottom for two nights and a rest day. It helps to have something to pass the time, but you certainly don’t want to bring anything heavy. A small e-reader or phone is nice for reading books, but it’s also fun to sit in the Lodge and play games. Pass the Pigs suits the bill because it’s goofy fun and the game itself is small and light.

Do you have favorite games that would work well on a camping trip?

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. 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. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

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