Guestblog by Amber Schamel and Giveaway of Solve by Christmas!

When Your Character Is Weirder than You

Blog Post for Rose Allen McCauley by Amber Schamel

When I decided to write a detective character based loosely on Sherlock Holmes, I figured he’d be an odd duck. But Jasper Hollock ended up much weirder than even I thought.

It was fun, because he is the strangest character I’ve written to date. But there were some places where I sat back and shook my head. I’m sure my facial expression was scrunched too. As an author, I’m strange in my own right. I get that. In fact, I scare my family sometimes when I talk about my characters and how they told me something about themselves that I didn’t know before. They’re like, “Uh…you’re the writer. The brain. You’re the one creating the character.”

I know. But it’s different. It just is.

Jasper Hollock is basically a prideful grouch. At least at the beginning of the book. He has a bit of an overbite and a fat upper lip. He also has big ears, which he is very proud of. Then there’s his Council of Mirrors that I would tell you about, except I don’t want to give it away. ;) And, oh goodness, if you had heard what Jasper said when I asked him why brown is his favorite color. *I need one of those wide-eyed blushy faces here. LOL*

Anyway, when I began realizing how…ahem…’special’ Jasper is, it raised a question. Can an author’s character be weirder than them? Or does the fact that the author is writing a super weird character make them just as weird? Answer this question for me, (Seriously, sarcastically, comically, satirically…surprise me. *grin*) and best answer wins an e-book copy of Solve by Christmas!

**Amber will pick a winner and notify that person on September 8, so get your comments in soon!**

Author bio:

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. Her title, Dawn of Liberty, was awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year award in Historical Fiction. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

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Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

Solve by Christmas Blurb:

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

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Brenda B. Taylor’s A Highland Emerald and a Double Giveaway

My readers are in for a treat this week. Brenda B. Taylor is doing an eBook giveaway of her book A Highland Emerald and she is also hosting me on her blog today with a giveaway of The Courageous Brides Collection, by myself and eight other authors, so leave a comment here for a chance to win an e-copy of A Highland Emerald, then travel over to her site at www.Historical Heartbeats and leave a comment to win a copy of the historical collection I am in. We both usually run these drawings for 1 week so be sure to leave your contact info in the comment and check back next Friday morning (September 1st, can you believe it?!) to see if  you have won a book!

Blurb: Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.


Isle of Mull, Scotland, 1486

 My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.

He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

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Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

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The Copper Box Giveaway

Last week I did a review of my favorite new debut novel The Copper Box, so this week I have asked the author Suzanne J. Bratcher to share where she got her inspiration for this story! It was very illuminating to me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! And she’s even offering a free eBook copy of The Copper Box to one person who leaves a comment and their contact info. We will run this post for one week so I will have my husband draw a number next Friday morning from all the comments, then post the winner.  Welcome Suzanne!

About the Book by Suzanne J. Bratcher

If you read the review of The Copper Box Rose posted last Friday, you know the story is set in the real town of Jerome, Arizona. More than just the setting, Jerome is the clay I used to model the characters and the energy that drove the plot. Here’s how it happened.

For almost thirty years I lived in Flagstaff, about fifty miles from Jerome. I first visited the abandoned copper mining town in the late 1970s, just before it began to reinvent itself as an artist community and tourist destination. I love wandering around art galleries, gift shops, and museums, so over the years Jerome became a favorite Saturday excursion. I taught a range of writing courses at Northern Arizona University, but my heart was in the mystery novels I wanted to write someday. When I decided to take that dream seriously, I wanted to start with a personal writing retreat. Jerome seemed the natural place. That summer the manager of the Jerome Grand Hotel gave me a reduced rate on a room Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. For four consecutive weeks I spent the first few days in Jerome.

“Write what you know” is important advice for writers. I knew Jerome—its history, its people, and its houses, so I had the setting from the very start. The characters came on stage one afternoon when I was walking along an unpaved road. I paused at a spot where a vintage Victorian house sat across from a tumbledown shack. As I stood there, I imagined a twenty-something woman with long curly copper hair and a thirty-something man needing a shave and a haircut. I had my characters. The plot took shape as I wondered about the personal ghosts these two people were in Jerome to lay to rest.

I wrote The Copper Box as a stand alone romantic suspense novel with a strong mystery element. When Kathy Cretsinger (Mantle Rock Publishing) said she wanted to publish the novel, she suggested emphasizing the mystery and considering writing a series. I was surprised, but the more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me. Jerome is filled with characters and mysteries. Time is layered there: the past is literally the foundation of the present. I’ve always loved present-day stories with echoes of the past, so to my delight, The Copper Box is now the first of a series. I’m hard at work brainstorming the next three books.

Book Blurb

Jerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America. Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: Did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago? Historian Paul Russell is there to face his own horror: Was the car crash that killed his wife his fault? Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a vintage Victorian house. As Marty and Paul search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock her memory, accidents begin to happen. Someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives, they must learn to put the past behind them and run the race God is calling them to.


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, a mystery shot with suspense and sprinkled with romance, is her debut novel. It is available in eBook and paperback at Visit her webpage at Follow her on Facebook at Find her on Amazon at


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Book Review–The Copper Box by Suzanne J. Bratcher

The Copper BoxCongratulations to Suzanne J. Bratcher for the best debut mystery novel I have ever read. When I got near the end I just had to keep reading to finally calm my heart! The characters and setting are so wonderfully drawn, and the story is so well thought out. I can’t think of a thing to make it better except a sequel to come out SOON!

Ms. Bratcher sets this book in the real former mining town of Jerome, Arizona, and you feel like you are living there with the characters whom you also feel like you know. And I love the verse at the beginning of the book which sets the tone for the story:  “But this one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13b-14) A good verse to guide the characters in this story and us–the readers! Continue reading

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Great book by Hannah R. Conway– Up in Smoke

I just finished reading Hannah R. Conway’s latest book today and it is a winner! I read Hannah Conway’s first two books earlier this summer, so jumped at the chance to read this new one from this almost-new author who writes like a pro! Ms. Conway writes with humor, emotion, and passionate, but pure love. She also has a good handle on the military mind, and understands children and writes about them realistically. And the ending for this story is a thriller, so hope you will order an eBook today and you can be reading this great story tonight.

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Great sale on my latest eBook Destination: Romance collection

Continue reading

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