Monday, May 28, 2018

#Romance and Adventure in the Southwest, plus a #recipe by @Kris_Bock

Prepare to be hungry and enjoy a great guest post while you're at it! Welcome to ROP, Kris.

I live in New Mexico, and the Southwest inspires my work, as I bring suspense with a hearty dose of romance to the land I love. My Southwest Treasure Hunters series involves wilderness hiking and horseback riding (The Mad Monk’s Treasure), visiting fabulous geological and historic sites (The Dead Man’s Treasure) and rock climbing and caving (The Skeleton Canyon Treasure). In my books, readers get a glimpse of the adventurous side of the Southwest – you won't even need hiking boots!

For another easy way to get a taste of the Southwest, here's a recipe for grilled cheese with a Southwestern twist. The refried bean layer makes the sandwich extra creamy, without needing as much cheese. The green chile (and yes, it's chile not chili in New Mexico) gives it a nice zing. You can adjust it to your heat level by choosing an appropriate heat level of chile.

New Mexico Grilled Cheese
2 pieces of bread per person
About 1/4 cup refried beans per person
1 whole, roasted green chile per person, or chopped green chile to taste. If you can’t get green chiles, try poblanos, chopped jalapenos, or salsa. (Drain any extra liquid off the salsa)
1 piece of pre-sliced cheddar or Jack cheese per person, or more depending on the size of your bread

  1. Butter one side of each piece of bread, or spray with spray oil. Place half of the bread on a griddle buttered side down.
  2. Spread refried beans on that piece of bread. Lay a whole, roasted green chile on top, or spread with chopped green chile. Cover with sliced cheddar cheese.
  3. Top with the other piece of bread, buttered side up. Fry at low heat. Cover with a pot lid to help ensure that the refried beans get heated all the way through.
  4. When the bottom side is getting toasty brown, flip over the sandwich and heat the other side uncovered.

For more tastes of the Southwest, check out my novels!

The Mad Monk’s Treasure - 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?

Erin isn’t sure she can trust Drew with her heart, but she’ll need his help to track down the treasure. She heads into the New Mexico wilderness with her brainy best friend Camie and a feisty orange cat. The wilderness holds its own dangers, from wild animals to sudden storms. Plus, the sinister men hunting Erin are determined to follow her all the way to the treasure, no matter where the twisted trail leads. Erin won’t give up an important historical find without a fight, but is she ready to risk her life – and her heart?

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

“Great balance of history, romance, and adventure. Smart romance with an "Indiana Jones" feel. Well-written with an attention to detail that allowed me to picture exactly in my head how a scene looked and played out.”

Each of the Southwest Treasure Hunters books stands alone in this series mixing action and adventure with light romance. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 in the New Mexico treasure hunters series. See the “Books” page of my website for a printable list of recipes for Southwestern dishes mentioned in the book.

Excerpt from chapter 1 of The Mad Monk's Treasure:

   Erin could hardly believe what she was seeing. Could this be it? After all this time waiting, searching, had she finally, finally, found what she was looking for?

   She forced herself to sit back and take a deep breath. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t rush into things. She wanted to leap up and scream her excitement, but years of academic training held. Slow down, double-check everything, and make sure you are right!

   She leaned forward and ran her fingers over the grainy photograph. With that one image, everything seemed to fall into place. This was the clue. It had to be.

   She fumbled in her desk drawer for a magnifying glass and studied the symbols in the photo more closely. At a glance, they looked like your standard Indian petroglyphs. You could find them throughout the Southwest, tucked away in caves or scattered among boulder fields. She’d been on a hike just a few miles outside of town which took her past a wonderful series of handprints and spirals, and what looked strangely like a robot.

   But this was different.

   If she was right—and she had to be right—these symbols were a map. A map that could lead her to one of the greatest caches of buried treasure ever.

Counterfeits takes place near Jemez Springs, a small town in the mountains of northwestern New Mexico, known for its hot springs. 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.

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. 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 smaller site than some, but that’s part of its charm. You can hike and camp without crowds. The lonely location allows for an almost Gothic atmosphere – mysterious lights in the canyon, spooky moaning sounds, and plenty of people hiding secrets.

About the Author

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

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Margo Hoornstra said...

Nice to have you at Roses of Prose. Thanks for sharing your love of the Southwest. Intriguing excerpt. Makes us want to root for Erin.

Jannine Gallant said...

YUM! Sounds like a great take on grilled cheese. I write outdoor adventure romantic suspense, too! Your books sound terrific! Thanks for visiting us today, Kris.

Vonnie Davis said...

Welcome to Roses of Prose! I loved your excerpt. The southwest is always some place I've wanted to travel. Maybe I'll do it by armchair through your books.

Leah St. James said...

Welcome, Kris! Ditto what everyone else said about the excerpt and recipe! I've never traveled to the southwest, but it's one of those places that holds a lot of mystique for me. Your books sound like a great way to get there vicariously, in the meantime. :-)

Kris Bock said...

Thanks for hosting me! And thanks for your comments. I love armchair travel. Real travel too, but it's more expensive and a lot more work!

Andrea Downing said...

Welcome to the Roses of Prose. I LOVE the southwest--notably Santa Fe (of course) so you're books will be welcome on my TBR list. Good luck with them all.

RE Mullins said...

I generally call all peppers "problanos" Putting problano and problema together exactly explains how peppers give me heartburn. :)
Great excerpt. Sounds like an exciting story.

Diane Burton said...

Welcome. That cheese sandwich sounds great. Not sure about all those peppers but a little kick doesn't hurt. Great excerpt.