Welcome Teatime readers!
Today, Kris is going to tease us with an excerpt from Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: The Accidental Detective Book 1, a humorous #mystery novel.
Tell us about yourself, Kris?
I started my writing career with children’s literature, writing for kids as Chris Eboch and MM Eboch. My first published book is The Well of Sacrifice – historical drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala. I’ve written over 100 educational books, and I’ve been a ghostwriter for some popular children’s mystery series starring your favorite young detectives.
I write for adults under the name Kris Bock. I’ve written romantic suspense and a sweet romance series based around a cat café. I have a humorous mystery series coming out this year, with four books scheduled. The first is:
Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: The Accidental Detective Book 1
War correspondent Kate Tessler has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?
Injured in a bombing, Kate returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age (49), even though she’s living like a teenager again: staying with her father, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still think of her as Kitty.
Seeing her mother in an Alzheimer’s unit is the hardest part – until an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at that nursing home. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.
If Kate can’t uncover the truth, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.
What inspired this mystery series?
Kate spent thirty years traveling the world as a war correspondent. Now back in Arizona, she finds turning fifty as difficult than the mysteries she solves. This character was inspired by my own experiences. Well, the part about turning fifty, not traveling the world as a war correspondent.
As I faced fifty, I wanted to create a mystery lead dealing with some of the same issues: aging parents, concerns about financing retirement someday, and a body that doesn’t recover like it once did. I also wanted to give Kate a reason to be adventurous and fearless, thus the background as a war correspondent.
I didn’t necessarily intend to write humor, but both my agent and my editor said they laughed a lot. That comes from how Kate sees the world, which is how I see the world. Laughter helps with the pain.
Book 1, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven, released April 7.
You can get a free short story and bonus material when you sign up for my newsletter. This collection starts with a humorous ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series. It includes information about the books in the series, with the first chapter of book 1. After that are three fun, short stories originally written for children. Newsletter subscribers will also get a 35-page novella set in the world of my cat café sweet romance series, and “22 Recipes from the Cat Café,” if they choose.
My childhood home had faded in the harsh Arizona sun and now showed its age—rather like me. I’d never dreamed of living here again after thirty years of traveling the world.
This is temporary. You’ll find a way out.
“Do you need help?” My sister had already hinted that picking me up at the airport had been one more burden in her busy life.
“I got it.” I eased out of the car and limped to the trunk to retrieve my travel backpack, still getting used to my new cane. My thigh throbbed where the doctors had dug out the shrapnel and stitched it back together with Frankenstein scars. My usual fast stride was an awkward hobble up the walkway. My luggage might have been “light,” considering it held everything I owned, but it still nudged the airline’s weight limit.
The front door opened, and I forced a smile. Jen disappeared inside, and Dad and I stood face-to-face.
Our smiles faltered. I dropped the backpack and stumbled into his arms. Tension drained out of my body. I blinked back tears and felt his frailty, the tremor in his hands. He smelled like Dad with a hint of a newer scent, something that only seemed to come from old men.
“Welcome home,” he whispered.
“It’s good to be home.” I needed to rest and heal, and where better to do that than in my parents’ house? In a few weeks—I promised myself weeks, not months, and definitely not years—I would be well enough to return to journalism. “How’s Mom?”
“Good. Well, you know. She’s settled in. She can’t wait to see you.”
I didn’t ask if she’d remember me. I hadn’t noticed signs of Alzheimer’s on my last visit, but that had been a year ago, and Jen assured me Mom had faded fast.
“Hey, a friend of yours runs the care home. She gave me a message for you. Said it was urgent.” He shuffled through the mail on the little table by the door.
I couldn’t think of any friends in Arizona. I hadn’t had any here since my childhood. My friends were scattered around the world, wherever news was happening. If she ran the nursing home, she might hope I’d write a story on the facility to promote it, or do some free PR work. Drat. Were people going to treat me like I had nothing better to do than give away my time?
Double drat. I did not, in fact, have anything better to do. And I wanted a nap.
Dad handed me an envelope. I leaned on the door and propped my cane against the table so I had two hands to tear open the envelope. The handwritten message inside was brief:
Kitty—Please come see me ASAP. I need your help.
“She sounded . . .” Dad hesitated. “She asked about your journalism and begged me to bring you in as soon as possible.”
Why did you write the cat café sweet romance series?
I’ve noticed lots of sweet, small-town romance series involving dogs, but few with cats. I think it’s because dogs clearly bring people together – think dog parks, walking your dog, obedience training – while cats don’t.
Until you consider cat cafés. These are a relatively recent trend, but you can now find a few hundred cat cafés all around the world. Typically they partner with a shelter, so all the cats you can visit are available for adoption. This gives visitors a chance to spend more quality time with the cats before they choose one. Those of us who can’t keep a cat in the home for whatever reason can at least visit some.
The cat café series is lighthearted sweet romance. Readers call it heartwarming, fun, and delightful. Visit the Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series page on Amazon US or Amazon UK.
What else do you have in the works?
I’m writing a series with my brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. These are prequel novels set when the movie characters are teenagers. Follow the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie.
Sign up for our romantic comedy newsletter and get Felony Melanie Destroys the Moonshiner’s Cabin. These first two chapters from the novel Felony Melanie in Pageant Pandemonium stand alone as a short story. In the future, you’ll get fun content about upcoming Felony Melanie novels and other romantic comedy news and links. Or find book 1 at Amazon US or All E-book retailers.
Meet Author, Kris Bock:
Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance, often with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. She has lived in ten states and one foreign country but is now firmly planted in the Southwest, where many of her books are set. Kris writes for children under the names Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch.
Where to find Kris: