I had been dating Roy for a while, and he decided the time had come for me to meet his children, Jill and James. Very apprehensive but knowing this was the essential next step, I flew down from New Jersey to Atlanta with him.

You wouldn’t think a six-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy could terrify a thirty-plus-year-old woman, would you? I’d never been around children much, other than an occasional babysitting job while I was in high school. And having the approval of these two kids meant everything.

We went to Chuckie Cheese for the afternoon and for dinner. Even though the place was warm, Jill wouldn’t take off her furry, plush coat. Roy went off with James and left me alone with Jill. Oh, boy, what to do? She shook her head “no” at everything I suggested until skee ball.

We played skee ball for what seemed like an eternity, but when Roy and James came back, Jill had more winning tickets than anyone and had warmed up enough to the room (and to me) to take off her coat.

Their tradition at Chuckie Cheese was to have pizza (cut into kid-sized squares) and Cokes. After we’d devoured most of the pizza, Roy and Jill started a food fight with each other with the leftover pieces.

I was horrified! While scooting over to distance myself from the two of them, my sleeve caught on my Coke. The Coke tipped over, right into my lap. Now who was misbehaving! Laughing at myself and my clumsiness, I finally relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

This family was one I could certainly fit into with my penchant for mishaps and love of funny situations. I’ll never forget my introduction to Jill and James, skee ball, pizza fights, and fun.

 

DebHaggertyphoto

Deb Haggerty

Deb Haggerty is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Elk Lake Publishing Inc., a traditional, royalty-paying Christian company that “Publishes the Positive.”

She’s a Christ follower, wife, mom, and “Nana.” Deb is the author of These Are the Days of My Life and co-author of Experiencing God in a Broken World.

 

Deb Haggerty Days of Our Lives cover

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By Donna Schlachter

When I think about books from my childhood, I recall books like Black Beauty and Call of the Wild. What really sticks with me is both told stories of heartbreak and joy, of separation and reunion, or defeat and victory. Throughout these two books in particular, bad things happened for no good reason. People got sick. Died. Animals were mistreated. Lives were shattered.

But then. . .

In the end, all was set right with their world.

When I sit down to write a book, I ask myself, “How bad can things get?” And then I put my characters into more and more danger physically, while also straining their moral judgment, their emotional well-being, and their spiritual journey. Sometimes the journey seems to impair them more than make things right. But that’s life.

In Double Jeopardy, I took a city girl completely out of her element. Or did I? Becky Campbell didn’t really fit into society life in New York, either. She was much more like her father, who she adored. Zeke Graumann believes that his family’s ranch is worth everything, until he meets a girl who shows him that home is where the love is.

Other characters are changed, too. Matilda Campbell, the controlling matriarch of the family, figures out she can’t always direct every situation. Even the land title clerk has a change of heart (think of the tax collector’s in the temple during Jesus’ day).

The theme of this book is that we are never truly alone, if we’re willing to give God room in our lives. But it won’t happen by osmosis. It can’t be forced. We must choose, not because we have nowhere else to turn, but because we do and we choose God anyway. It took me a lot of years to figure that out, and our second—and third—and fourth-chance God patiently waited for me.

So next time you don’t know what to do or where to go next, remember: The God who pursues is still there.

 

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts

Donna Schlachter

Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests

New Release: Double Jeopardy January 7th, 2020.  Join our FB event

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Please visit www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com | www.LeeannBetts.com

@DonnaSchlachter | @LeeannBett

double jeopardy

double jeopardy

 

 

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Linda Rondeau

Linda Rondeau

But where’s the fun in that?

“She’s going to kill him!” my writer friend said, in a loud of enough voice and with convincing enthusiasm to be heard across the lobby while we waited for the elevator in my apartment building.

We had just returned from a brisk, evening walk while we  brainstormed her newest Christian suspense.

A neighbor entered the area just as my friend finished illuminating her plot and announced the crux of her heroine’s dilemma. The poor man’s eyes bugged. I can only imagine the thoughts going through his mind. “What have I just overheard?”

We reassured him we were not grandmotherly-type terrorists, nor were we plotting a horrendous murder … well  … we were plotting a killing … a literary one. We gave him our business cards and did our best to explain that writers are insane, but we are normally harmless.

A writer needs to be  careful where they verbalize their story ideas or add explanations to their contrivances. Fortunately, our neighbor did believe us and didn’t report us to local law enforcement.

While on a group trip to a Christian women’s event, I gave an explanation to a devotional I wrote that expounded my extreme dislike of Lima beans. I did so dramatically, miming my explanation … “They stick in my throat and make me choke.” An illustration to point out the negative impact of crammed religiosity in our children.

A few minutes later, we stopped to eat at a Cracker Barrel. The waitress efficiently and politely informed our group the vegetable of the day was Lima beans. We burst out laughing.

I gave the girl an extra tip with my explanation for our rudeness.

Yes, a writer’s life is never dull. A funny thing always happens on the way to and from our manuscripts.

 

Rondeau-Prayed-for-Patience-Book-Cover-Dec-2019

I Prayed for Patience Book Cover

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“She’s cute, and perky, and all the things I’m not.”

That’s how my real life persona, Donna Schlachter, describes me.

I’m not sure why, because she’s a pretty swell person herself. Still, I suspect it’s because she likes to live vicariously through me. Kind of like a split personality.

Maybe all authors are that way. We live our lives through our characters. Putting them in situations most of us would never experience.

When I wrote the first book in this series, I had a character, an occupation, and a murder—but I didn’t know whodunit, or why. I got to within two chapters of the end of the book and realized I’d written myself into a corner. So I picked one of the secondary characters, made that person the killer, ended the book, and went back and gave that character a backstory, put in some other suspects with good motives then gave them alibis. Needless to say, if I’d sat down and done an outline, I’d have known the answers to those questions and saved a lot of time.

Well, thankfully, I learned a lot since then. I grew to love my heroine (she’s actually a lot like me, only she takes way too many stupid chances and is much faster on the quippy comebacks than I’ll ever be). So I wanted to write more about her. At first, I thought three books. Finally I made a deal with her that she would tell me when she’s done.

Carly has done a lot of growing over the intervening years, too. And now she has told me, “One more. Twelve. Nice round number.” So next year’s book, Risk Management, will be the last.

Whew. That’s a little scary. After all, who am I unless I’m writing about Carly, who wants to prove to everybody that accountants are more than bean counters? Hopefully I’ll have a better idea of the answer to that question in the new year.

For now, I’m celebrating the release of Book 11, Missing Deposits.

 

Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, CAN, and SinC.

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.

Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

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Books: Amazon http://amzn.to/2dHfgCE  and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2z5ecP8

Missing Deposits cover

 

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Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

I realized recently that a few of my favorite things and creatures have names beginning with the letter C. A fine example is Capsized by Death, the fourth of my Jo Oliver thrillers releasing Dec. 2, 2019.

My dog’s name is Christie—short for “Christie, The Christmas Pup.” Well into her eleventh year, we’ve been a tight team since she first crawled up my leg like a little kitten when she was six weeks old.  She rocked my world in the earliest days of a long period of pain in my life. Experiencing her little heartbeat and loving personality remains a sweet blessing.

My horse’s name is Clara—she came already named. Meeting Clara truly was a love at first sight experience. If you’ve never been in love with a horse before, I highly recommend it. Horses invite you into a slower, surer world with gentle, knowing eyes and whisper soft muzzles. You can’t be in tune with your horse if your mind, heart, or soul is divided. They have a miraculous way of bringing balance and peace amid a noisy, fractured world.

Last but not least, comes Cosmo—my pint-sized camper. Cosmo is cool. He provides a sense of safety, and the promise of adventure, without breaking a sweat. He’s an easy to maneuver home on wheels, making it easy for the aforementioned C’s, as I travel around the country seeking adventure, competing at horse shows, attending conferences, and discovering the occasional independent bookstore. Sure, he has a lot of parts, and he can be rather cranky and complicated (usually late at night during inclement weather.) Other than that, he’s the perfect gentleman.

How about you? I’d love to hear about a few of your favorite things…

 

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