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Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

The Story Behind the Story of Risk Management     

 

Peru. Its people call me back.

Which is why I set Carly’s finale book in Peru. As a tribute to her, because she kept calling me back, to write yet another story about her. The first time I visited Peru, I learned about hidden temples and jungle monsters. I thought, “Carly could have a mystery here.”

Peru was the perfect backdrop to Carly’s finale book as she made decisions about her future. Forced by health issues to slow down, pushed into a corner until she made a choice about the direction and the content of her faith life, Carly is like many of us: she’s been given a chance to choose something she didn’t want and make it her new norm.

So while Carly doesn’t actually go to Peru, the country comes to her. And she learns more about herself as a result.

And while this is the last book in the “By the Numbers” series, she will join her granddaughter in a segue novella, coming out in September, bridging the gap between readers saying goodbye and those finding the new series.

 

Risk Management CoverAbout Risk Management:

Carly Turnquist, Forensic Accountant, can never ignore a good mystery. Or in this case, three. When her sometime friend tells her a mystery is afoot, with links to a Quechuan temple, a Peruvian jungle monster, and murder, Carly is hooked. But when her investigations come close to home, she must decide whether to step back or continue, because now her family—and her own life—are at stake. Never one to give up without a good fight, Carly finds herself under attack from a third direction—her body is failing her. Will she continue? Or will she retire gracefully? Perhaps she can do both.

 

 

 

About Leeann:

Leeann Betts
Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 devotionals, novellas, and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, Pikes Peak Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and are proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.

 

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Bonanza Books-in-a-Flash: order autographed print copies of books that are shipped directly from the author.

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

 

Categories
Humor

A Vote For Humility

Dianne Neal Matthews

Just before I moved to Salt Lake City in 2011, a librarian friend of a friend asked me to be the featured author at her small Christian school’s Book Fair. After I emailed her my photo and book cover images, she met with the principal and got really excited about the promotional ideas the two of them had planned. But I was not prepared for what she accomplished while waiting for me to fly in.

The school sat at the top of a high hill. As we turned in the driveway at the bottom, a huge sign with my face and name greeted me. At the top, a large easel held a similar poster. Smaller signs dotted the walls in the hallway highlighting my books. As I washed my hands in the bathroom, I looked up and saw my face on the paper towel dispenser. Suddenly, I felt like a rock star.

Book Fair
At the Book Fair

Although many people passed through the halls, book sales were slow the second morning. But after all, it was the day for women’s Bible studies; also, the building was serving as a polling place. After a few hours, I saw a woman walking toward me, obviously intending to talk. Did she want to buy an autographed book? Or maybe tell me how much she loved the one she got yesterday? I eagerly leaned across the table. “Where do I go to vote?” she asked.

You know, pride is a sneaky thing. It can slip into our attitudes without us even realizing it. But on that day, I realized something: When you’re a writer, sooner or later someone or something will give you a wake-up call if your head starts to get too big.

On This Day by Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews is the author of five daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.

 

Categories
Encouragement Humor

Seizing the Moment–and Wishing that I Hadn’t

Dianne Neal Matthews

I attended my first writers conference in 1999, convinced that they’d kick me out once they discovered I had no writing talent. The third year, I gathered enough courage to schedule an appointment with the editor of a major Christian magazine to pitch a personal experience article. While the piece didn’t fit his periodical, John liked the basic story and suggested changes to make before I submitted it. I was thrilled that he didn’t just say no.

At dinner that evening someone asked if I’d had any exciting appointments. I told them about my meeting with John. Joanne shouted, “He’s looking for you!” She had just come from John’s workshop. He’d talked about a woman who had showed him an article he really liked, but he didn’t get her name. I doubted that I was the woman since I had talked with him less than two hours earlier, but Joanne was convinced, and so convincing. I wondered…

A few minutes later, John walked by. My fellow diners urged me to go after him. “There he is!” “Go talk to him!” “Yes, it’s you he’s looking for!” As John and I passed each other, we made eye contact. No sign of recognition. My heart sank, but then I decided to boldly seize the moment—for once in my life. I called his name and asked if he was looking for me. A little confused, he explained he’d been talking about a lady who showed him an article that only needed one sentence changed. He had not taken her name down, thinking she would get back to him. He said that he had been expecting to get tackled in the dining room; I told him that he almost had.

I crawled back to my table, and we all laughed about the misunderstanding. But Joanne felt horrible and I felt worse. Then I realized that editors must meet so many people at conferences––surely they don’t remember every writer who makes a fool out of herself.

In July, John notified me that my article would be in the December issue. I immediately emailed Joanne with the news: “So you were right—he was looking for me. He just didn’t know it at the time!”

 

The One Year Women of the Bible by Dianne Neal Matthews
The One Year Women of the Bible by Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews is the author of five daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.

Categories
Humor

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy   

Risk Management Cover
Risk Management by Leeann Betts

Often, when an author begins writing a series, they have an idea of how long it will be. Knowing in advance when to stop gives the author the opportunity to develop their characters and their series, and to bring it to a logical conclusion with a satisfying character arc and ending.

Which just goes to show how little I knew about writing a series when I began my By the Numbers series. In fact, when I wrote the first title, No Accounting for Murder, I didn’t even know it would be a series. Until I wrote THE END.

Well, last December, she said, “I’ve had enough. June’s book will be my last.” She meant the June 2020 book. And I thought, “Okay. I’ll simply end the series and go on to something else.”

Not so easy. This was a character I’d been writing about for more than fifteen years. I’d published ten books, was just getting ready in December to release number 11. It was like putting down the family dog.

Or worse.

Unable to write this final story, I tried something different. I asked Carly what she’d do with her time once she retired. What would hubby Mike do now? I researched why Carly would retire (health reasons), and I asked her about how she thought her faith journey would look.

In short, we talked.

Now I was excited to share this with readers, because I was excited for her. For the new path she’d enter. The new adventures she’d have—outside the pages of my stories. And the story flowed as I wrote the story of Carly’s heart.

So stay tuned for Risk Management, available now for pre-order here and officially releases on June 30th. And the segue novella, Mysterious Ink, will release in September.

Question for readers: Do you like to read a series in order, or are you happy to read any which way you get the books?

Leeann Betts
Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Risk Management, which releases June 30th, 2020, is the 12th and final story in her cozy mystery series, “By the Numbers”. Watch for a segue novella in August that weaves Carly’s story with the upcoming new cozy mystery series, “Mysterious Ink Bookstore Mysteries”, with its first title releasing in December 2020. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels.

 

 

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Bonanza Books-in-a-Flash: order autographed print copies of books that are shipped directly from the author.

Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

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Twitter: http://bit.ly/1qmqvB6

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

What Can Be Online University: online courses on the craft of writing

Etsy online shop of original artwork, book folding art, and gift items

 

 

 

 

Categories
Humor

The First Zip Line Ride?

Fun trivia: The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883. The first person to cross it was E. F. Farrington, the Bridge’s master mechanic.
Zipline Photo
Zipline Photo
But instead of walking across the bridge, he went by zip line!
I discovered this fascinating bit of trivia while doing research for my novel, A Sicilian Farewell, part of which is set in late 19th-century Brooklyn.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author who writes riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest novel, IN BLACK AND WHITE, a love story about racism, released in November 2019.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

MaryAnn has also written THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES trilogy, a page-turning, family saga revolving around the life of Maria Landro, a woman torn between two worlds, and who must choose between them. MaryAnn’s books for children include five picture books: WHO IS JESUS?, TOBY TOO SMALL, CANDLE LOVE, THE DANDELION PATCH, and POEMS FOR WEE ONES and one chapter book: DO ANGELS RIDE PONIES?

MaryAnn lives in New Jersey with her husband Dom. They’ve been married 50 years and are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to paint, play the piano, and make up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn at maryanndiorio.com.

Categories
Humor

Discovering The Rabbit in the Moon

We welcome Linda Rooks and thank her for today’s wonderful fascinating fact!

Did you know there is a rabbit in the shadows of the moon? In the United States we often talk about a man in the moon, but in other parts of the world—especially Asia—people talk about the rabbit they see in the moon. In fact, centuries ago, storytellers in the East not only observed a rabbit on the left side of the moon but made up legends about him. In countries like India, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and others, legends abound about the brave rabbit whose sacrificial courage was honored by having his image placed on the moon.

Bunny-in-moonSince the moon determines the date for Easter each year, these legends about a rabbit that was willing to give his life for another and can now be seen on the moon, kindled my imagination as a writer. The coincidences were intriguing. Could this rabbit on the moon be connected to the Easter bunny that has always seemed a misplaced icon amidst the profound message of the true Easter story? The tantalizing coincidences about this iconic rabbit resulted in my writing a children’s Easter picture book called The Bunny Side of Easter that uses an adventure about the heroism of a little bunny to point children to Jesus, the true hero of Easter.

The Bunny Side of Easter

Children delight in discovering the rabbit in the moon and love hearing stories of how he got there. In the shadows on the left side of every full moon, they might see a large bunny facing to the left with his ears back and an Easter egg at his feet. Or they might make out a bunny facing to the right with his ears flopped over and his head bowed in prayer. Or they might spot a smaller bunny at the top. He can be seen in three different ways.

It’s a fun addition to the Easter tradition, and you can see it from your own front door when the next full moon appears on April 7 to herald the advent of spring and the coming of Easter.

 

Award winning author Linda W. Rooks takes her life-long love of children’s books and uses it to tell a winsome, but exciting adventure that points children to the real meaning of Easter in her picture book, The Bunny Side of Easter. Linda is best known for her ministry to those in troubled marriages and for her books, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated and Broken Heart on Hold. Her writing has appeared in Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Home Life, and Chicken Soup. She has appeared as guest on TV and radio talk shows across the North American continent. Visit Linda at bunnysideofeaster.com.

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Categories
Humor

A Funny Thing Happened – On the Way to a Story

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts
Donna Schlachter

A book with a cowboy on the cover. Historical.

That’s what the editor wanted. Did I have such a story, she wanted to know.

No. Well, not really. But I could.

After all, I’m a writer. I could come up with an idea, couldn’t I?

Let’s see. Set it in Colorado. In the 1880s. Do some online research. What happened in Colorado in that time? A drought in the southwestern part of the state. For several years prior, in fact. Gold mining. Silver mining.

Wait a minute. Cowboys care about water. And silver mining? Who knew.

So I was off and running on these two topics. Until I ran out of information. And knew this was the story I wanted to write.

But who was my heroine? I wanted feisty. Sparks. Problems. Romantic tension. Danger.

Bring in somebody totally unsuited for either lifestyle. She couldn’t cook. Didn’t know how to ride a horse or rope a calf. Hadn’t a clue how difficult and dangerous silver mining could be.

But why was she there? And where was this idea about a mock marriage coming from? How to initiate that?

double jeopardy
Double Jeopardy

Before you knew it, I had the plot for Double Jeopardy. The tagline is: Mining, murder—and a mock marriage? I sent it to my agent who sent it to the publisher.

Who promptly sent it to another imprint under the same company because she felt it would be a better fit. And guess what? No cowboy on the cover after all!

But they captured the essence of Becky, my feisty yet spunky heroine.

Seems a fine trade-off.

 

About 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, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Categories
Humor

SKEE BALL, PIZZA FIGHTS, AND FUN!

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
These Are The Days of My Life by Deb Haggerty
These Are The Days of My Life by 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.

 

 

Categories
Humor

Double Jeopardy – Why This Story Will Change You as a Reader

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

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double jeopardy
double jeopardy

 

 

Categories
Humor

Be Careful What You Say

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