I’ve always been a fan of animals. I love watching the foxes, roadrunners, and quail that wander past my home office window. I love to go to the zoo and see which of the magnificent creatures are active that day. I loved visiting a falconer, which inspired a subplot in my novel What We Found.
But when it comes to pets, I have different standards. I’m not really a dog person or a cat person – it depends on the individual. In general, I prefer animals (including humans) that don’t bite, jump on me, slobber, or set off my allergies.
One of my favorite cats of all time was Whizzy, a big orange male. He was skittish of strangers, but showered “his people” with affection. He would carry on long conversations with his meowing, and his purr could be heard across the room. He inspired the cat “Tiger” in The Mad Monk’s Treasure. As far as I know, Whizzy never helped defeat a bad guy, but I’ll bet he would have, if given the chance.
Now my husband and I have ferrets. Ferrets sleep most of the time, but when they’re awake they’re active, playful, and mischievous. This makes them a lot of fun to watch and play with, but you need to keep an eye on them. They’ll get onto and into things you wouldn’t expect.
Ours have a multilevel palace of a cage, with hanging fleece hammocks where they can sleep and cuddle together. Every evening they come out to play in my husband’s office. We try not to leave them unattended for long. Rico learned to crawl up the inside of the desk into the top drawer, and then push the drawer open from inside. This gives him access to the desk, where he wanders over the computer keyboard. We assume he’s trying to order more ferret treats, but his typing skills aren’t too good. He has claimed a stuffed green chicken, which is bigger than he is. He’ll go to great lengths to put it away properly.
Zonks, our now deceased albino, claimed the red balls and toys. We could entertain her – and she could entertain us – by putting them in difficult places. Petri has an obsession with shoe insoles. Leave a pair of shoes around, and he’ll pull out the insoles and drag them into hiding. Marceline is so fast that she can cross the room and slip out the door in the few seconds its open. Each of them will knock over any glass of water, can of soda, etc. left within reach. All the cupboards have child-safe latches now. It’s a good thing the furkids can’t reach the door handle, or who knows what they’d do to the rest of the house. (See some videos here.)
There are, unfortunately, many misconceptions about ferrets. This may be one reason Craigslist always has ferrets listed from people who no longer want them. The ones we’ve gotten have not always previously had the best care. Petri had wiry fur from his cat food diet. He’s much softer now that he’s eating specialized ferret food. Our newest addition, Marceline, is fine with people but afraid of the other two ferrets, which causes her to scream and attack. Maybe she was harassed by a dog or cat in her previous home? She’s slowly learning that cuddles are better than fighting.
They each have their individual personalities. Petri is the most cuddly – he loves to be held and scratched. Marceline is a tiny bundle of determined energy. Rico is mellow except when something (treats, the green chicken) sets off his OCD focus. We love them all.
I haven’t yet written about a ferret, but I probably will one day. In the meantime, they inspire me with their attitude. Though they weigh less than three pounds (Marceline was a mere three-quarter pounds when we got her), they never assume they can’t do something. Determination and joy – great qualities in a pet, and in a writer.
Title: The Mad Monk’s Treasure
Publisher: Pig River Press
Date Published: March, 2011
Genre: Romantic adventure
Word Count: 85,000
Currently priced at $.99!
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….”
Read the first three chapters at www.krisbock.com.
This is book 1 in the Southwest Treasure Hunters series. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with “closed door” romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.
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.
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.
She reached for the phone. In a few seconds a voice said, “Yeah.” Erin could hear the sound of some tool on metal in the background.
“Camie? I found it!”
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 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 www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page.
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Ms. Bock also writes for young people under the name Chris Eboch. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Genie’s Gift; a middle eastern fantasy, The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; and Bandits Peak, a survival thriller. Her book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots. Learn more at www.chriseboch.com or her Amazon page, sign up for her newsletter, or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog.