People often ask me where I get the inspiration for my stories. The truth is, I never know! Sometimes, it comes from anarticle in a magazine. Other times, it may be an interesting photo, a visit to a museum, or a treasure scooped up at a garage sale. I once got the idea for a historical romance while touring an abandoned silver mine in Calico, California! But one thing I can say for certain—the best ideas have always come from personal experience. That includes the inspiration for my latest mystery, Dairy Disaster, part of the Mysteries of Lancaster County series from Guideposts Publications.

I was very fortunate to have knowledgeable friends I could reach out to when researching this story. My childhood was spent in a very rural corner of Michigan, a fertile land ripe with fruit orchards and dairy farms. Though many of the circumstances were very different from those in my book, the staff at Country Dairy in Shelby, Michigan, were a huge help in getting some of the facts straight regarding the processing of milk and I am very thankful for their willingness to share information. For example, did you know that a cow’s diet can affect what the milk on your table tastes like? Or thatall females are called heifers until their first pregnancy? After birth they become “cows” and must be bred every year to continue producing milk.

Country Dairy is a family owned business whose history stretches as far back as the 1880’s. Today, the business employs about 125 people in the production of cheese, milk, ice cream and other dairy related products. In 2004, they opened their first retail store on the farm—an interesting tidbit that I incorporated into the writing of my story. Country Dairy’s Farm Store and Moo School have become field trip destinations for school children and a tourist stop for guests from around the world. If you’d like to learn more, please visit https://www.countrydairy.com/ and schedule a tour. Tell them I sent you.

 

Elizabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig is a USA Today bestselling author and speaker. Besides writing, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and curling up with a good book. Recently, she was honored to be named a double finalist in the 2020 Selah Awards, one for Garage Sale Secrets, part of the of Lancaster County series from Guideposts and the second for her contribution to The Coffee Club Mysteries collection from Barbour Publishing. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

It’s 1879, and the Oregon Trail is still ferrying emigrants west to California, Oregon, and Washington. Hundreds of covered wagon trains with thousands of people every year, all searching for something better than they left behind.

The first book, Kate, is a tale of adventure and love filled with secrets, threats, and narrow escapes as Kate and Tom head for Oregon City.

Now, they’ve safely put their past behind them. Or have they? Kate realizes her dream of working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and her first assignment is to find a local missing woman. When she begins investigating, however, she is threatened and their house is set ablaze, then her son is kidnapped.

The basis for this book came from an article I read about an unsolved stagecoach robbery in 1878 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The robbers were all caught and hung, and all the gold dust, gold nuggets, and the gold ingots from the Homestake Mine were recovered, except for a gigantic five-pound gold brick. I started asking those pesky what if questions, and. . .

Then I read about Kate Warne, the first Pink Lady detective.  As a young widow in the 1850s, she marched into the Pinkterton office and said she wanted a job. Alan Pinkerton thought she meant a clerical job, but no. Kate wanted to be a detective. And she turned out to be one of his best “men”, paving the way for many more female detectives in the coming years.

Kate Warne was a feisty woman with definite ideas of how she wanted her life to go, and so is my Kate. While Kate Warne never remarried, I wanted my Kate to balance family and a professional career, a relatively new concept in the 1870s.

Watch for more books featuring Kate and Tom in the future, but for now, check out the first two adventures and my other books at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+schlachter&ref=nb_sb_noss 

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, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Most writers find inspiration in things they notice or read about—I’ve certainly read a news article and thought, “Hmm, that would make a good plot for a romantic suspense book.” For two of my romantic suspense stories, the general plotline has its roots in real life.

I based Dangerous Christmas Memories on a short news item about two celebrities who tied the knot in Las Vegas but didn’t realize it was a “real” marriage until years later. In my story, the heroine literally forgot she had said “I do,” in Vegas, then disappeared while the hero spent years looking for her.

And those two celebrities? They only found out they really were married when one was preparing for his own wedding and an attorney uncovered the previous marriage license record.

Illusion of Love-coverFor Illusion of Love, the genesis was the real-life story of a friend, who had experienced a heartbreaking—and rather horrible—online relationship. When I heard her story, I knew I wanted to write about it but with my own twists and turns. In fact, anyone who knows her story wouldn’t find many similarities with mine at all. But the basic idea, the seed that grew into Illusion of Love, was based on a true story.

But what makes using “true” stories as the foundation for a fiction story so much fun is that we can write our own endings—and our own beginnings and middles too. We don’t want fiction to mirror real life too closely!

 

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child. Her romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder (Seshva Press) and Illusion of Love (Seshva Press). Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, one foster child and three cats. Connect with her at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Watch the CAN Crown Awards Gala Here

Join us by watching this video of the CAN Crown Awards.
Our winners share their success tips for book and brand marketing in the Christian publishing arena.

Great for readers to get to know these wonderful people and the books they write, authors to learn from successful marketing campaigns, and we all get to celebrate with them!

Congratulations to these winners:
Outstanding Broadcasting

Gold: Susan Neal for her book series— The Healthy Living Series
Silver: Bethany Jett and Michelle Medlock Adams for their book/brand—Platinum Faith
Bronze: Dr. Craig von Buseck for his book — I Am Cyrus

Outstanding Web Presence:
Gold: Carla Hoch for her brand— FightWrite.net
Silver: Cynthia L. Simmons for her brand—Cynthia L. Simmons (clsimmons.com)

Outstanding Visual Media:
Gold: Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett for their book—They Call Me Mom
Silver Tie: Laine Craft for her book—Enjoy Today Own Tomorrow
Silver Tie: Andrew Huff for his book—A Cross to Kill
Bronze: Lynn Austin for her book—If I Were You
Finalist with Distinction: Janice Hanna Thompson for her book launch of— Just Roll With It

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

What is your greatest fear? What would it take to face that fear, and make the shift from from fear to love?

Halloween, El Dia de Los Meurtos, All Hallows Eve—these traditions offer a great opportunity to reflect on our faith walk and the extent to which we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move us away from fear into His perfect love. The journey itself could spark a great story.

Anytime I notice myself living a little smaller, a little less joyfully, a little less confidently—I know it is time for me to stop, pray, and reflect. I ask God to show me His truth and to lead me back into His light—and to allow His perfect love to cast out all fear. And then I take the time to backtrack and acknowledge the crooked thinking, or soul woundedness that made me vulnerable to breathing in fear or lies, instead of basking in His love and peace.

This process of uncovering distortions and moving away from fear toward love is embedded in the lives of the characters in the novel I’m currently working on. Asking myself how fear shows up and holds my protagonist back strengthens my writing and creates space for growth and personal renewal as a result of my characters’ struggles. Tonight, as I set up individually bagged candy offerings for my neighborhood goblins, I’ll be thinking about how the Word of God can lift off the mask of our distortions and bring us into the clarifying light of His love.

Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger www.CatherineFinger.com

And tomorrow morning, I’ll be back at my computer, weaving suspenseful tales as my characters move away from fear and back onto the path of His glorious love.

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to write books, ride horses, and serve others through her emerging coaching practice. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

 

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube