Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Eve

I love to read books about two lonely people unexpectedly forced to spend time together. She gets lost. Maybe he offers her a ride to the nearest phone, then takes the wrong road and his car breaks down. Does a sudden storm comes up? A mudslide? When the river floods and cuts them off from everyone else, they seek shelter in a summer cabin. Does she winds up in his arms?

The heroine of Christmas Eve does. A little-known ski area on Mount Charleston, right outside Las Vegas, Nevada is the setting for my novel. Eve Adore backs her car into a ditch in a blinding snowstorm. A handsome stranger takes her in. His modern cabin is cozy and she soon forgets the cold wind and the snow piling up in deep drifts outside. The two of them might as well be the only people left on earth. No one will know how they spend their time. A romantic dinner? Dancing by firelight? No one need ever know she climbed in bed with Nick and heated up his cold sheets.

Here's an excerpt from Christmas Eve:

Finally. Nick St. Clair took one last look around. Everything seemed in order. Don't let your irritation at your hired date's tardiness show. She might have a reasonable excuse for being late.

Straightening the lapels of his hip-length robe, he crossed to the door. Beneath the robe, black silk pajama pants provided minimal warmth but kept him decent.

"I'm sorry to disturb you," the statuesque woman on his porch said with a bright smile, "but I've done something really stupid and wondered if you—"

"Don't just stand there." Nick opened the door wider, anxious to see what his credit card had purchased this time. "Come in."

"Thanks." After a slight hesitation, the woman stepped gracefully inside. Ice crystals clung to the fine wool scarf wrapped loosely around her neck, and to her stylish boots. She was all bundled up in a long coat, but Nick's mind's eye had no difficulty sketching what he hoped was hidden underneath.

The lady wore far too many clothes.

"I'm afraid my boots are wet." She glanced first at him. His welcoming smile seemed to stun her. She stared at her boots. "Where would you like me to stand?"

"By the fire." Nick indicated the hearth. "You look frozen." Although in need of a woman, he had no desire to bed an icicle. He wasn't that desperate. Yet.

She crossed the room at a slow pace, her fluid movements an aphrodisiac to him, although each tentative step left behind a patch of melting ice. Sex-deprived man that he was, his living room suddenly felt too warm. Things were looking up.

"I've been busy on the computer," he said, surprised by the sudden gruffness of his usually smooth voice. He joined her before the fire. "I hadn't noticed it had begun to snow."

A soft-looking, hooded leather coat covered her to her ankles. What lay beneath all those layers?

To his surprise, the unknown whetted his appetite. "Here, let me help you out of that coat."


No? Her response drew Nick up short.


Flame Arden speaks like a well-bred Southern lady. Nothing could be further from the truth. She claims to write sex scenes with ‘squirm factor’. You be the judge as she opens the boudoir door to one-man, one-woman relationships and gives you a glimpse inside. A happy and long lasting marriage has prepared her to write sizzling love scenes, and she doesn’t disappoint.

Christmas Eve Blurb

In a blinding snowstorm on Christmas Eve, the jaded owner of a posh Las Vegas casino mistakes the stranded real estate agent at his door for the classy call girl he's expecting to heat up his holiday.

Passions ignite. Eve has learned men believe bedding her the most direct route to her wealth. Nick's female companions want the keys to his Ferrari and to his safe deposit box, never to his heart, so he distrusts the entire lot and expects to simply walk away unscathed when his brief time with Eve ends.

Neither expects to give marriage a try, but hearts have a way of going where cautious souls refuse, and after screwing their head off for six days and night Nick and Eve discover without love their former lives were little more than empty shells.

Flame Arden Links
Evernight Publishing

Friday, November 20, 2015


In my latest romance, Triptych, my heroine Miranda wrestles with the question of true love. She also wrestles with recalcitrant sisters, mysterious machines and art thieves.

What is true love? Can unrequited love be true love? Must true love be reciprocal? Can true love be bad for you? Can unrequited love be good for you? If loving someone makes you sad all the time, is it still love? If someone loves you and you don’t love them as much, is it still true love? Does true love have to last forever? Can you find true love more than once? What exactly does “true” mean? Honest? Everlasting? Exclusive?

In my new romantic suspense, Triptych, Miranda Cabot finds out.

Triptych, by M. S. Spencer
Ebook 67,300 words; Print 213 pp.
Romantic suspense/Adventure
M/F, 2 flames

Take lost masterpieces, brilliant inventors, and stolen prototypes. Add the Three Sisters, Indian spirits who guard the Potomac River. Stir in three sisters and their lovers. Result? Jealousy, sex, genius, larceny and love. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend demands?

Buy Links:

Triptych is available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand.

Barnes and Noble

Excerpt (R): The Witness
Triptych, by M. S. Spencer
Excerpt (G) : Captured

Miranda waited for the footsteps to die away and for her heart to stop vibrating like a Chinese gong. She couldn’t believe her luck. In a stroke of providential stupidity, Pongo had tied her hands in front of her. Considering his scintillating conversation, I should have expected no less. She bent from the waist until she could reach the rubber band with her lips and pull it off, reflecting that those endless crunches were useful for more than energetic sex. She untied the rope around her ankles and rubbed the raw skin while she looked around. They were in a small room about four feet square. Mops and pails were hung on the wall, and sponges and bottles lined the shelves.

Luc hadn’t moved. Please let him not be dead. A glimmer of light filtered in from the hall and Miranda shunted toward him. She managed to untie the rope on his feet, but couldn’t tear the duct tape wrapped tightly around his wrists. Still he didn’t move.

She brushed her lips over his. He stirred at last and opened his eyes—and just as quickly shut them again. “Ooph.”

“Oh, Luc, you’re alive!” She kissed him again. “Are you okay? What hurts?”

He smiled, but kept his eyes closed. “Besides everything else? I have a splitting headache. Where are we?”

“In a closet. In Crandall’s house. Luc, I think he’s insane.”

He chuckled. “Yeah I got that feeling too. One doesn’t cross Mr. Adolphus T. Crandall the Fourth.”

“What do we do now?”

“Give me a minute, will you, mon d├ęsir? I am not at my best just now.”

Miranda bit off the tart reply, telling herself they weren’t going anywhere anyway. She sat as patiently as possible, listening to his labored breathing and for any outside sounds.

“[Okay,] can you stand?”

“I think so.”

Holding each other tightly and trying not to knock anything over, they hoisted themselves to their feet. Luc turned the knob. Miranda thanked the makers of closet doors everywhere for not bothering with inside locks. He stuck his head out. “I don’t see anyone.”

The door to the outside stood open. Luc grabbed Miranda’s hand and tiptoed toward it. They saw sunlight glinting on a white van parked in a cobblestone courtyard. Birds twittered in the pines and a train whistle blew in the distance. Miranda felt like Dorothy as she ran out of the woods toward the Emerald City. That is, until something smashed into her skull. Before she blacked out, she heard a nasty, scratchy voice, saying, “Going somewhere, my pretty?”

About the Author

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, one fabulous grandchild, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Linked in

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Amazon Author Page

Monday, November 9, 2015

Kris Bock’s Southwest Inspiration

I live in New Mexico, and the Southwest inspires my work, as I bring suspense with a dose of romance to the land I love. Here are some of my favorite spots - heavy on the adventure.

Socorro: For most people, this town in the middle of the state is mainly a rest stop between Albuquerque and El Paso, except in October/November when huge flocks of cranes and snow geese fly in to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge: But as a local, I know the special sites nearby. Hikes can take you out in the desert or up to the mountains, visiting native petroglyphs or hunting for fossils. Hundreds of rock climbing routes provide adventures for anyone, beginners to experts. Plus, you have a good chance of seeing unusual wildlife, from roadrunners to foxes to great horned owls.

In my treasure hunting adventure, The Mad Monk’s Treasure, the heroine and her best friend hunt for the lost Victorio Peak treasure, a real Southwest legend about a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider. I drew on personal experiences hiking in the desert for Erin and Camie’s adventures – though fortunately I’ve never stumbled on a rattlesnake nest or gotten caught in a flash flood!

Jemez Springs: This small town in the mountains of northwestern New Mexico is known for its hot springs. You can also visit the ruins of an old Spanish church; Soda Dam, a cool rock formation formed from the mineralized water flowing in the river; and Battleship Rock, so named because it resembles the prow of a battleship. (Pictures on my Pinterest page:

I’ve attended many writing retreats at a camp north of the town, and those experiences inspired Counterfeits. Of course, in the book, the site isn’t quite so relaxing. When Jenny inherits a children’s art camp, she discovers that her grandmother’s death might not have been an accident after all. The men who killed her grandmother are searching for stolen paintings, and they think Jenny and her old friend Rob, the camp cook, are involved. Doing research at a real camp tucked away in the woods, and hiking above Battleship Rock for a scene where Jenny gets lost, helped the setting feel realistic.

Hovenweep National Monument: This one is not actually in New Mexico, but it’s close. Located on the southern border between Colorado and Utah, these ruins once housed 2500 people between A.D. 1200 and 1300. It’s one of many sites left behind by the ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi. It’s a small site, but that’s part of its charm, as you can hike and camp without crowds.

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. The lonely location allows for an almost Gothic atmosphere – mysterious lights in the canyon, spooky moaning sounds, and plenty of people hiding secrets.

Lincoln County: What We Found is loosely based the mountain resort town of Ruidoso. The forested town at nearly 7000 feet elevation is not what most people probably imagine when they think of New Mexico. Yet it seemed like the perfect place for the story of Audra, a young woman who stumbles on a dead body in the woods. More than one person isn’t happy about her bringing the murder to light, and in a small town, it’s hard to avoid people who wish you ill.

What We Found was inspired by the true experience of finding a body, as I described in this blog post: I also spent time with a man who raises falcons and hawks (photos on my Pinterest page:, and that comes into play in the story. It’s real-life adventures like these, both good and bad, that make New Mexico a great place for a writer!

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. 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. 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. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page. Read excerpts at, visit her Amazon page:, or sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter:

Visit the Southwest Armchair Traveler blog for weekly post on Southwestern travel, culture, recipes, books and more:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Renaissance Faire

by Jane Stain

I set my time travel romance books at the renaissance faire because I’m a faire person, through and through.

My dad took me to my first faire when I was ten, and I was hooked! I loved playing pretend with ten thousand adults who all wore costumes. Like a giant Halloween party. The joust with the horses all in costume. The jugglers, fire eaters, and sword swallowers. Queen Elizabeth in her big poofy purple gown with her face powdered in white and a huge crown on her head, waving from the chair that twenty men carried her around in.

My love of the faire grew over the years.

In my teens, I loved pretending I was the heroine in one of the fantasy novels I loved to read and running around with friends pretending to be the Three Musketeers. All my geek and nerd friends were into the faire. It was something we bonded over and enjoyed together. All of our birthday parties were at faire or at restaurants that reminded us of the faire or themed with the faire at home or at places like Medieval Times.

In my twenties, I worked at the faire as an actor and spent the night there. That’s when I drank in the secret parties and night shows that Emily and Vange discover in my first book. I also learned there about the modern pagans / druids who provide the paranormal / magical / time travel aspect in my books.

Now in my fifties, I’m on Facebook with all my faire friends from thirty years ago.

It’s incredible how many celebrities we can name that participated in the faires with us! Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Sean Penn, Rob Lowe, Bob Dylan, Cher, Wil Wheaton…

Yeah, we complain that the renfaire of today has lost its focus on historical re-enactment and lets everyone be pirates or fairies. But that’s because someone needs to provide the background for all the fairies and pirates!

Check out our Facebook photo archive projects for Phyllis Patterson’s original Renaissance Pleasure Faires in Northern and Southern California and see for yourself how authentic we looked back in the 1970s and 1980s at Paramount Ranch and Black Point Forest.

Renaissance Faire by Jane Stain

When kilted highlander Dall invites Emily up on stage at the renaissance faire for some Scottish dancing, the butterflies in her stomach are not from stage fright. She's in graduate school to be a drama teacher.

But Dall doesn't have a cell phone. He doesn't seem to know what one is. And no one will let Emily ask him about that. It's like the whole faire is guarding some big secret that has to do with him never breaking character.