Guest author

9 01, 2020

Good Reading – Guest Author – Donna Schlachter

By |2020-01-05T11:13:04-06:00January 9th, 2020|Good Reading Thursday, Guest author|1 Comment

Donna Schlachter’s visiting to tell us the story behind her new release, Double Jeopardy.

Donna will randomly draw one name from all who leave a comment for a free ebook copy of Double Jeopardy.

The Story Behind the Story- Double Jeopardy

The story behind the story is often told in the form of back cover copy on the book, but I think it goes way beyond that. Sure, that bit on the back tells us a little about the main characters, the overall plot, and perhaps some about the decisions the main characters must make, because always—let me repeat this—always the choices they are faced with conflict with each other. At first glance, it seems they cannot have everything.

So let’s delve a little deeper into the story behind the story.

Rebecca Campbell was born in New York City, the only child of wealthy socialite Matilda Applewhite Campbell and Robert Campbell. Her mother is everything Rebecca—Becky to her friends—wants to be. Beautiful. Poised. Confident. Instead, she seems doomed to inherit all her traits from her father, who she adores. Reckless. Impulsive. A daredevil.

Becky’s father is gone more than he’s home. When a year passes with no word from him, she sets out, on her own, for his last known location—Silver Valley, Colorado. On her arrival, she learns he has been murdered. Determined to make his mine a success—his last letter promised that as soon as he struck it rich, he’d send for her and her mother—and to find his killer, she settles in at the mine.

But somebody doesn’t want her to succeed. And after a series of accidents and near-misses, she admits she’s in over her head. And the only person she can trust is Zeke—or can she?

The hero is Ezekial Graumann. Most everybody calls him Zeke. Zeke and his family own a fairly large piece of land in southwestern Colorado near the town of Silver Valley. Zeke has two married brothers, as well as two unmarried sisters. In good years, with enough rain, their land can support the three families if they are diligent and careful with their stock. However, the last few years have seen droughts and not enough snowfall, and the grazing is poor. Zeke wants to build his own house, maybe get married and have his own family, but the land won’t support another household.

Unless he can buy water rights from a spread upstream. But he doesn’t have the money to do that. So he looks around town for some weekly work to earn enough to buy the water rights and receive his share of the family land.

And along comes Miss Rebecca Campbell. She is feisty, stubborn, and doesn’t know anything about mining. Yet her determination to find her father’s killer and her resolve to make his mine successful gnaws at Zeke’s heart. And soon he finds himself imagining what it would be like to have her at his side as his wife. Except she’s obviously not ranching material, either.

But when accidents happen at the mine that threaten her safety, he must acknowledge that his feelings for her are more than mere curiosity. Now he must choose between saving his ranch or saving this woman who has stolen his heart.

So what keeps them from getting what they want? The villain, of course. Suffice it to say, it is a man. This man is one of the longest-term residents of Silver Valley, a man of impeccable reputation. On the outside, he looks wealthy. Wears nice clothes. Speaks well. Sounds well-traveled and educated.

But on the inside, he’s dark, greedy, and lazy. Well, lazy only in the sense he wants to get rich quick. He actually spends a lot of energy trying to cheat and steal his way into wealth. If only he’d use his superpowers for good.

As with any good romance, our two main characters figure out a way through all the hurdles and obstacles in their path to solve the mystery of who killed Becky’s father, as well as resolve the problem of not killing her mother who is coming to town to see her daughter married to the wrong man as the result of switched letters. In the process, Becky and Zeke establish a solid foundation for their marriage of clearing up miscommunication quickly and forgiving promptly.

Which all of us married and want-to-be married folks should remember.

Donna Schlachter loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Home is in Denver with her husband, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan.

A hybrid author, she publishes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense as Leeann Betts. She’s also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction. Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management represents Donna.


Double Jeopardy  is available at, and fine booksellers in your area.

7 01, 2019

Starting 2019 with a Story

By |2018-12-28T08:24:24-06:00January 7th, 2019|Guest author, Make Me Think Monday|6 Comments

To start our new year off on a writerly foot, I’m sharing a Christmas short story by my grandson. Morgan is a student at Southwest Baptist University and writes for their Student Media Organization newsletter INFUSE. “The Bicycle” is a short read – only three minutes – that offers food for thought as we begin 2019. Enjoy!

The Bicycle
By Morgan Hixson

It was the Christmas of 2006. I’m sure I asked for dozens of toys and things, but I don’t remember getting much in particular. I had recently turned 7 years old, and one of my favorite things to do was ride my little blue bicycle all over our subdivision (we lived near Houston, Texas at the time so the weather was in the forties and fifties). It hadn’t been very long since I’d finally gotten my training wheels off, and I was eager to show my older sisters how well I could ride now. The bike was a little small for me and only had pedal brakes, as opposed to the brakes you squeezed with your hand like all the big bikes had, but I loved it more than anything else I had at the time.

Well, December 25th came at last, and as usual our parents made us all wait upstairs while they made the final arrangements with the stockings and gifts downstairs. After they had finished, Mom had us all sit on the stairs while she took what seemed to be a million pictures. Once she finished, we were FINALLY able to gallop down the stairs and take a look at what we got. Our faces were shining with delight as we discovered various presents from our wish lists. Everything was wonderful, until I saw it.

It was as shiny as if it had just been brought home from the store and had a festive bow taped to its handlebars, but there was no doubting: it was my little blue bicycle, resting on its kickstand next to my little brother’s stocking. Immediately my eyes filled with tears and I ran back to my room, slammed the door, and dove onto my bed, the entire time screaming “It’s my bike! It’s MY bicycle!! He can’t have it!”

I don’t know how long I laid there sobbing the sobs of a broken-hearted little boy before my parents came in, and I don’t remember how long it took them to calm me down. I do remember them telling me it was okay, that they understood how much my bike had meant to me but that it had gotten too small for me, then leading me to the garage. Once we got there I quickly became ashamed of myself, for there in the middle of the bay stood a brand new yellow and black bike. It was much bigger than the other one and it even had a brake on the handlebars like I’d always wanted! Needless to say I soon fell more in love with that bike than I’d ever been with my old one.

Sometimes as children of God we all act the way I acted that Christmas day in 2006. We take the blessings God gives us for granted until he takes them away, and then we whine and scream and cry without bothering to stop and look for the bigger picture. Then, when God unveils His plan and we realize how much better it is than our plan, we’re left feeling sheepish and childish because we didn’t trust Him like we should have.

Photo Credit: Wix Images

7 12, 2017

Guest Author – Leeann Betts

By |2017-12-05T13:59:50-06:00December 7th, 2017|Author Interview, Guest author|2 Comments

Welcome guest author, Leeann Betts. She’s here to tell us about herself and her new release, In Search of Christmas Past.

Leeann writes contemporary suspense, and has six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Petty Cash releasing in December.

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.

Check out her answers to the interview questions:

  • When did you write In Search of Christmas Past?

I started writing this book as part of a proposal for a novella collection about scavenger hunts and Christmas. When the story wasn’t accepted, I decided I liked it well enough to write a full book. I love the setting in the Colorado mountains, and since I love mysteries, a scavenger hunt seemed a fun thing to write about.

  • How did you come up with the idea for this book?

The idea came as a result of a call for submissions, an that’s how I get some of my ideas. At other times, a title or a character comes to mind, or a line from a song or a movie strikes me the right way. Most of the time it’s because I’ve been asking “What if _____?”

  • What will readers find appealing about In Search of Christmas Past?

I think readers will find the idea that two people can fall in love and still have completely different dreams and ambitions. The problems come when these two try to frame their lives based on what they want. Figuring out how to do that is important, and without God, almost impossible.

  • Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?

I like to write first thing in the morning, but that rarely happens, so I write when the muse hits me—NOT! The truth about writing for me is that unless I write every day, I lose the story and waste precious time renewing my acquaintance with where I am. I’ve found that writing a three to five-page synopsis really helps, as well as keeping my teaser and my back cover copy in front of my eyes. It’s hard to go off on a tangent when I have a roadmap.

  • What are you working on next?

Next up will be a synopsis for a Hallmark mystery, which I’m excited to get finished. I have most of it done—just a few plot points to work out. Then I have a couple of finished novels done that need a quick polish so I can send them to my agent and friend, Terrie Wolf at AKA Literary Management.


In Search of Christmas Past Blurb

Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.

Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.

Can Grace and Luke solve the clues in her grandmother’s scavenger hunt and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?


Click on either of these links to buy Leeann’s book:




You can also connect with Leeann online with these links:

Her Website (Receive a free ebook just for signing up for her quarterly newsletter.)

Her Blog



16 11, 2017

Guest Author – Donna Schlachter

By |2017-11-14T13:50:26-06:00November 16th, 2017|Author Interview, Guest author, Guest blogger|3 Comments

Welcome fellow author Donna Schlachter. She’s visiting to tell us a little about herself and answer some questions about her two new releases, The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado and Christmas Under the Stars.

Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Home is in Denver with her husband, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. A hybrid author, she publishes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense as Leeann Betts. She’s also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction. Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management represents Donna.

And, here are her answers to the interview questions:

  1. How do you balance writing and everyday life?

It’s not easy. I have learned that with anything that’s important in my life, I have to make time. I will never find it. I am very goal oriented, so if I tell myself I have to write at least one chapter today before I can go on to something else, I do it. Check it off the list. Next thing.

  1. Do you listen to music to set the mood for writing?

I don’t listen to music because then I want to sing along, and those words mess with the ones in my head. If I go to a coffee shop—which is where I am as I write this—my mind keeps drifting back to the music playing in the background, and I try to make sense of the lyrics, which, in this case, is impossible. I like to “hear” the story—to me, writing with music is like going to a movie and trying to listen to a baseball game on the radio at the same time. 

  1. What was the spark that gave you the story idea for Christmas Under the Stars?

I ask a lot of “what if” questions, and the question that sparked this story was what if a man was attracted to a woman he thought was married? Then the challenge became how to keep that misinformation from being straightened out too soon in the story.

I had done a lot of research in Echo Canyon, Utah, for another book and loved the setting. There is actually a place in the canyon where early settlers gathered for church services at the base of the palisades. Once I stood in that spot, I knew I needed a story where they could hold a church service in that same spot.

  1. What will readers find appealing about The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado?

I think readers will find the older characters appealing. So many of our reading population have elderly parents or are contemplating being caregivers to their parents. I wanted to show that just because our age increases, our abilities, our faculties, and our longing for love doesn’t decrease.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the seventh in a mystery series that is published under my pen name, Leeann Betts. Next up will be a month of working on some older manuscripts, and then I will begin in January writing a new novella for a romance collection coming out late 2018/early 2019 with Barbour Publishing.

If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, then add either of Donna’s two new books to your library. Just click on the book cover.

Matthew returns to Christmas Inn to celebrate his fortieth anniversary alone, intending to take his own life so he can join his beloved Sarah, who passed on to glory the previous January. Not certain how—or if—he will go on without her, Matthew learns on his arrival that the old inn will close its doors on New Year’s Eve. A developer has purchased the building and intends to tear it down and put up a chain hotel. Determined to keep his memories and his connection to Sarah alive, Matthew embarks on a harebrained scheme to keep the inn open.

Edith Cochrane, a widow, comes to Christmas Inn because she has nowhere else to spend the holidays. Her children are angry with her because she refuses to choose to live with one of them. Edith and her husband enjoyed a long marriage and a long mission-field ministry, but ever since his passing the previous year, Edith has found herself at loose ends. She comes to Christmas Inn to spend some time thinking about her options.

Can Matthew and Edith save the old hotel—and themselves—or will they run out of time?


November 1858, Utah Territory
Edie Meredith strives to keep her temper and her tongue under control as she heads west with her brother to California. Raised in an itinerant preacher family, she promises she will never marry a man of the cloth.

Tom Aiken, drover of the wagon train, longs to answer his true calling: to preach, and while he realizes not every woman would choose a preacher for a husband, he hopes to soon find his help-meet.

Suspicious ‘accidents’ plague their journey. Is someone trying to keep them from reaching their destination? Or will misunderstanding and circumstances keep them apart?

Connect with Donna Online

Facebook * Twitter * Website * Blog

10 04, 2012

TEMPTATION: a guest blog by author Shay Fabbro

By |2012-04-10T08:35:34-05:00April 10th, 2012|Guest author, Guest blogger|9 Comments

Join me as guest blogger Shay Fabbro discusses TEMPTATION and  her YA/fantasy novel series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport. And, if you share a comment there’s a chance you’ll win a FREE copy of one of her Alexis Davenport’s books!

We’ve all been faced with temptation: that delicious second piece of chocolate cake, that cute guy at the office that is married, purchasing something far too expensive, alcohol, drugs…the list goes on and on.

Some temptations are perfectly harmless, though they may drain your bank account! 

Other temptations can do serious harm to you as well as to your family. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol suffer serious physical and mental problems and this often is transferred to their friends and loved ones.

And still other temptations can do serious harm to everyone on the planet. I’m talking about time travel, of course (you knew it had to come up sooner or later!). I think most people would JUMP at the chance to go back in time. I know I would! There are so many people I’d love to meet and historical events I would like to witness for myself.

But time travel could cause some serious problems. What if you inadvertently killed someone? Their descendants would cease to exist. Can you imagine your spouse disappearing? Your children?

Yikes! Talk about terrifying!

What if that someone that you killed was the ancestor of someone in power? Like the president? Imagine the chaos that would grip the country if our leader suddenly disappeared.

But what if you lost someone, a parent early in life? Surely it couldn’t hurt anything to go back and prevent their demise? This brings me to one of my favorite Dr. Who episodes.

For those who don’t know, the Doctor is a Time Lord that travels through time in a TARDIS (it looks like a police box from 1960’s London).

The Doctor always has a companion with him, a human, which he chooses to go on grand adventures through the universe. Ah, what I wouldn’t GIVE to have the Doctor come whirling down in his TARDIS to whisk me away!

My favorite companion is Rose Tyler. She’s such a little spitfire, smart, funny, and a perfect match for the Doctor.

Rose’s father, Pete, was killed in a hit-and-run accident when she was only 6 months old. After traveling with the Doctor for a time, she wants to go back and comfort him as he dies. However, she can’t fight the temptation to save his life. That one act results in a tearing of the fabric of time. Strange creatures appear and begin killing everyone is sight as they try to repair the damage. The rift in time repairs itself after Pete throws himself in front of a car. Rose comforts him as he dies.

Would any of us have been able to stand by and watch as a loved one was struck down? Rose knew of the dangers of messing with time and yet she figured because her father was just some average person, it wouldn’t hurt to save his life. But that one act has devastating consequences.

In my YA/fantasy novel series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport, Alex must protect the time line from an evil man intent on changing the past. It’s an awful lot for a fifteen-year-old to handle. Especially when she is faced with some tough choices: in one particular case, in order to protect time, she must allow someone to die. Not a very easy choice.

Would you be able to allow someone to die if it was already something solidified in the past? Would it make a difference if it was a stranger or someone you knew?

Weigh in with your thoughts and you could win one of two FREE e-books: Dangerous Reflections or Twisted Reflections!




Connect with Shay and learn more about her!




Shay’s a busy lady today. Hop over to Patricia Caviglia’a blog  and learn more about  The Adventures of Alexis Davenport and Shay as a teenager.

Go to Top