Monday, June 26, 2017

The Copper Box: the Story Behind the Story by Suzanne Bratcher and #giveaway

The Copper Box: the Story Behind the Story

Today we welcome Suzanne J. Bratcher to my blog. Suzanne is very graciously offering to giveaway an ebook of The Copper Box to one person who comments. Please leave contact information. 

I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for almost thirty years. My day job was running a writing-across-the-curriculum project at Northern Arizona University, but my heart was in fiction, particularly mysteries. Whenever I wanted to dream, I went to Jerome.

The tiny town is about fifty miles from Flagstaff, but the road winds up and down mountains and meanders along the Verde river, so the drive takes a couple of hours. I enjoyed the trip, and once I reached Jerome, I had art galleries, gift shops, and museums to explore. When I decided to get serious about writing a mystery, Jerome was the natural place to begin.                                             


Jerome advertises itself two ways:

·         Billion Dollar Copper Camp

What began as a camp of miners grew to a respectable town of 10,000 in the 1920s. Though the copper mine is long defunct, rusting equipment is scattered across the landscape, and a mountain of tailings looms over the community.

·         Largest Ghost Town in America

Eventually the ore deposits dwindled and the mines closed. By the early 1950s Jerome had dropped to a population of fewer than fifty, a true ghost town. Thirty years later the town began to reinvent itself as an art community, eventually growing to its current population of 400, making it the largest ghost town in the U.S.  

On my rambles through the area, an inhabited Victorian house across the road from a dilapidated shack caught my attention as the perfect site for a mystery. I had the basic ingredients for the setting: history, ghosts, and two houses.


Next I needed characters. I considered the Victorian house. A young woman with long curly copper hair sat on the porch in a wicker swing. She said, “Hi! I’m Marty.” A four-year-old girl with golden hair skipped up the driveway. Marty watched her with a troubled expression. Somehow I knew little Ruthie was dead and Marty was afraid she was responsible. My first ghost.

I turned my attention to the tumbledown house across the road. Historian Paul Russell, needing a haircut and a shave, came out of the front door and collapsed in an old wooden Adirondack chair. Wiping the sweat off his face with the hem of his tee shirt, he said, “My wife Linda had great plans for this house, but she died before we made much progress.” Running a hand through his dark hair, he mumbled, “Car wreck. My fault.” My second ghost.

I knew Marty and Paul were destined to be together, and I guessed they would meet over a dead body. Perhaps the old lady who lived in the Victorian house: Marty’s grandmother, Paul’s neighbor. I saw Marty run out of the house, trip on the porch steps in her high-heeled sandals, and fall into Paul’s arms.


The plot began to develop. Granny Lois was dead, so she couldn’t help Marty solve the mystery of Ruthie’s death. Because Marty couldn’t remember how Ruthie died, she needed to find something that could unlock her memory: an antique copper box.

I was writing a suspenseful mystery, so I knew a killer lurked in the shadows, someone else who wanted the copper box. As Marty and Paul searched the house, dangerous accidents began to happen. If you’re curious about the rest of the story, The Copper Box is available on Amazon.

 links to buy The Copper Box from Amazon: Kindle =

About the author:

A preacher’s kid, Suzanne Bratcher grew up in churches in four states. A passionate reader, she began writing as a young girl. After graduating from Baylor University, Suzanne became a writing teacher. Over the course of her career, she taught high schoolers, college undergraduates, and public school teachers. Suzanne continued to write: publishing professional articles, two textbooks, short stories, and poetry. The Copper Box, mystery shot with suspense and sprinkled with romance, is her debut novel. It is available in eBook and paperback at Visit her webpage at and her Facebook page at

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sharpshooter in Petticoats

Sharpshooter in Petticoats 

Sophie's Daughters #3 

Paperback, hardcover

January 1, 2011

by Mary Connealy

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602601482

Mandy McClellen Grey, has become the focus of a feud thanks to her husband, who made this mess and then died. Far from home, Mandy, the best little rifle woman in the west, has resigned herself to a lonely life under siege rather than call for help and endanger her family.

Tom Linscott is fed up with waiting for Mandy who should have had the sense to come to him as soon as she finished burying her worthless husband. In fact he'd've come fast enough to dig the hole if she'd've sent for him. He goes to round up his little woman and buys into a heap of trouble from a whole clan of outlaws.

Between Mandy's deadly skill with her rifle, her determination to not bring trouble down on someone she loves, and an ever growing crowd of varmints who want to bury everyone named Grey—and anyone who sides with them, Tom may not survive getting himself hitched.

My thoughts:  Catching up on an older book I had in my to-read pile today.  This is the third book in the Sophie's Daughter series, but it stands alone. For those who like to read in order, the books are Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, and SHARPSHOOTER IN PETTICOATS. 

If I read the first two in the series (I think I did) I don't remember them, but this book seems to stand alone. It is pure, classic Mary Connealy, romance/western/comedy. Belief is suspended in this story, and there is a lot of kissing -- about the only attraction hero and heroine had for each other.  She talks, he wants to shut her up. She cries, he wants to stop her. He bosses her around like  a mindless idiot and she believes he is one. Sounds like a match made in Heaven.  Plenty of shooting action, too.  Definitely a historical western with a lot of humor. 

If you like westerns, historical romance, or Mary Connealy and you missed this when it first came out, it's still available. Fans will be delighted.  I received this book free. My opinion is my own 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Spotlight – Hidden Assets By Leeann Betts and #giveaway!!!

Leeann will give away a print (US only) or ebook version of Hidden Assets to a random drawing from readers who leave a comment including contact information. 

Book Spotlight – Hidden Assets
By Leeann Betts

Hidden Assets is the sixth installment in my By the Numbers series, featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant. Carly finds that when she tells people she’s an accountant, their eyes glaze over and they look for someone else to talk to because they think accountants are boring. Well, Carly is single-handedly setting out to prove them wrong.

This story takes place in eastern Wyoming. Carly and Mike travel by train to help another of Carly’s college friends who is going through a nasty divorce. Anne Torbin believes her soon-to-be ex-husband is stealing paintings, coins, and money, and hiding them so he won’t have to split them in the divorce settlement. But when Anne’s husband turns up dead, and she is suspected, Carly must prove her friend innocent. Is the weird couple staying at the B&B involved, or are they up to something else entirely. And can Carly find the missing FBI agent, or did she really see him thrown off the train?

This particular book was spawned because I couldn’t take the Alaska cruise I wanted to feature in Carly’s next book, so I had to think of another location for a different story. We had recently visited Wyoming, and we are venturing out into the world of staying in other people’s homes through an online booking service when we travel—much friendlier, cleaner, safer, and usually a better experience than some of the motels we’ve stayed in. So I decided to set this one in a B&B, in a small town, in western Wyoming and eastern Nebraska.

The whole Carly series, as I like to call it, came from a desire to right the wrongs in the world AND to prove that accountants weren’t boring. Like Carly, I’ve seen people’s eyes glaze over when I tell them I’m an accountant. I had an editor tell me nobody would want to read this series because accountants are boring. So Carly shows them how wrong they are.

Writing this series has really been a lot of fun, for several reasons. My background is in accounting, so writing Carly is fairly easy, except she is a lot quicker on the comebacks, and gets way more exercise rolling her eyes, passing the buck, and jumping to conclusions than I do. I have committed to releasing two in this series each year, so that keeps me focused and writing. I love incorporating things my friends say—and even incorporating them, under assumed names, of course. Also, the excitement of seeing another book in print hasn’t worn off yet, and two a year—well, that’s a dream come true.

Hidden Assets releases June 30th through in print and ebook, and through June 30th in ebook.

Author Bio:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Pony Express in a Nutshell By Donna Schlachter -- and giveaway!!!!

 Welcome, Donna! Today, Donna is talking about her release in The Pony Express Romance Collection.  Donna was here in April and she was wildly popular with readers, so she is giving you another chance to win a copy. 

Donna is very graciously giving away A print (US only) or ebook version of The Pony Express Romance Collection to one commenter. Please leave contact information. 

The Pony Express in a Nutshell
By Donna Schlachter

Most people know something about the Pony Express, but few realize it only operated from April 1860 through to November 1861. The first ride left St. Joseph, Missouri heading west, and from Sacramento, California heading east, on April 3rd, 1860.

The idea for a Pony Express was conceived in the minds of its owners because of the possibility of winning the contract for the overland US mail. Another company, Butterworth, was running a southern route that took up to three weeks to deliver to the west coast, and Majors and Waddell thought they could beat that time by taking the shorter northern route.

The irony of the matter is they never won the contract; instead, they merged with Butterworth to form the Overland Mail Company, and closed the Pony Express over $200,000 in debt.

My interest in this story came about because I met my friend Mary Davis at a writers conference, and I asked her what she was working on. At the time, she was doing the proposal for the book. I said I’d love to be part of it, but she said she had her authors. Still, I did some research, did a road trip, and when she emailed a month later to say one author dropped out, I was ready.

The time period, 1860, fascinates me as there were so many changes happening in America. The train is a near dream; the cross-country telegraph is nearing completion; the country is brewing for civil war; women are campaigning for voting and civil rights. In just a few short years, cameras will photograph the first war ever; telephones will be installed in people’s homes; electricity will light our lives into the dark of night.

Despite the changes, one thing is sure: the Pony Express lives on in our hearts and our folklore much longer than it actually ran.

About Donna:
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and  under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection" released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.

Echoes of the Heart:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Random Acts of Fraud

Random Acts of Fraud

A Holly Anna Paladin Mystery #5 

Paperback, ebook

May 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sweetbriar Cottage

Sweetbriar Cottage 

Paperback, ebook, audio,  

June 13, 2017

by Denise Hunter

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718090487

Sweetbriar Cottage is a story to fall in love with. True-to-life characters, high stakes, and powerful chemistry blend to tell an emotional story of reconciliation.” —Brenda NovakNew York Times bestselling author
When Noah and Josephine discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job and settled at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?
Sweetbriar Cottage is a wonderful story, full of emotional tension and evocative prose.” —Francine RiversNew York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love

My thoughts:  SWEETBRIAR COTTAGE isn't my favorite Denise Hunter book, sadly, and I did so look forward to reading it. It is filled with sexual tension, a strong faith message, and redeeming grace, but wow. Josephine.... 

All I can say is it opened my eyes as to why the girls I went to school with who had her reputation might have gotten it. Made me wish I had been a little kinder to them, instead of keeping my distance--as all the good girls did. I never thought of things like what happened to Josephine happened back then. But maybe it did.  

I warned my fifteen year old that it is a bit graphic is places but if she wanted to read it, it would be an eye-opener. More conservative readers might be offended by some drinking, "soft" swear words, and more blatantly described scenes than most Christian writers use. But the faith message is strong. Tearfully strong. And even though I had serious trouble with Josie (though I 'get' her) I loved Noah, and understood his anger when he lost control. He is a manly man, and so wonderfully kind.  

A good book, even though it is rough, gritty, and has some parts that were offensive to me (a conservative reader).  I received a copy of this book free. My opinion is my own.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Interview with Kimberly Rose Johnson

Today we welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson to my blog. Good to have you! Please tell us about An Encore for EstelleA former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together?

Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with? Forgiveness seems to be the moral of this story—not only the ability to forgive others, but ourselves as well.

How did An Encore for Estelle get started? The idea of writing about Estelle came to me when I was writing the first book A Love Song for Kayla.

Tell us about your research process. Normally I talk to people in the profession I’m writing about and/or I do online research, but in this case I felt like I understood the field. I also had an actress who was a childhood actor on Nickelodeon to read through it for me to make sure I got it right. J

What impact did your research have on you personally? In this particular case I didn’t need to research. I’ve always been into this profession.

How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all? I don’t think I’m anything like Estelle or Blake in personality, but I don’t enjoy the arts. I’m a singer and piano player and growing up I took several years of ballet lessons and was in many children’s ballets, so I have performance experience in that regard.

While you were writing An Encore for Estelle, do you think it mattered where the book was set? Yes, I feel like it worked best in a small town. It’s a tight community and they work together to support the arts.

Share your bio: Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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