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

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My recent retirement prompted a personal move from Illinois to my home state of Wisconsin—which meant my awesome nine-year-old quarter horse mare and I also moved to a new barn and horse trainer. All of these changes resulted in prepping, practicing, and praying for success on a brand-new horse show circuit this year. We agreed to an aggressive schedule of shows that would take us from Wisconsin to Oklahoma City for our first event; onto Las Vegas for our second show—The Silver Dollar Circuit—and then to Scottsdale, AZ for our final event, the Sun Circuit. This was my first series of horse shows with my new trainer and new barn mates.

Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

In preparation for our training and showing debut, my friends and family lit candles for the poor guy and wished him all the best from afar. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mare, and everything about the showing process, and I appreciate and respect my trainer—but he hadn’t yet experienced me at a horse show. And by that, I mean he hadn’t seen me after too many late nights and early mornings in a row, jacked up on extra strength Excedrin and French Roast coffee, limping around the show pen (me, not my horse) waiting for my next event.

Willie Nelson lyrics rang through my mind as I packed up Cosmo, my 2016 RV built by Pleasure Way—a Canadian company making great use of the Mercedes Sprinter to create a small but mighty road warrior. With nearly 4,000 miles and six weeks to cover together, every aspect of packing was carefully considered. Mostly. Until that critical 24-hour window where a few things may have slipped past me. And definitely around that 10 hours to go mark when I may have accidently thrown in two coffee makers but not one pair of spurs. Oops.

The interesting antics and chance encounters with strangers falling into and out of my life on this journey are already making their way into my latest novel. As I write tonight, melancholy tunes from a country western band staged across the parking lot seep into my little camper, spurring me to write on.

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Sandra Glahn

While I’ve often written for medical publications—both fiction and non—I am not myself a physician. But I’ve been on the receiving end of more than my share of surgeries and treatments, so I can definitely write from the patient’s perspective. When I wrote non-fiction medical information for the trade market, my editors usually viewed my “lack of knowledge” as a benefit. My ignorance meant I naturally said “miscarriage” instead of “spontaneous abortion” and  “bruise” instead of “contusion.”

But when I decided to branch into fiction to explore complex medical issues (Lethal Harvest; Deadly Cure; False Positive), I knew I had gaps in my knowledge that only years in med school, the exam room, and the surgical suite could make up for. So I partnered with an obstetrical-gynecologist. My last novel, Lethal Harvest,was a solo work of medical suspense, but he still edited it for medical accuracy.

One of the good doctor’s “catches” was my lack of knowledge about sterile surfaces. In one scene I had described a gloved-up physician, upon receiving shocking news, grasping the surgical table. But my actual-surgeon reader said, “No way. You just risked infecting the patient.”

But the doctor’s far more memorable catch was actually a typo. I meant to have my main-character physician, who was sitting in his research area, ask his assistant to bring him a glass of H2O. But I accidentally wrote H2O as HO2—hydroperoxyl radical, also known as the perhydroxyl radical. The margin note I received in response was simply this: “Congratulations. You just blew up the lab.”

 

Glahn photo

Sandra Glahn

Dr. Sandra Glahn is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, including four medical suspense novels that explore ethical and theological complexities. Lethal Harvest, now in its second edition, was a Christy Award finalist.

 

 

Informed Consent

Informed Consent

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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

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1pQSOqV

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

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

Missing Deposits cover

 

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by Judith Couchman

At some point in a writing career, most authors entertain the idea of getting away to write. We think about peace, quiet, focus, solitude. No interruptions. And the beauty of working in a seaside condo or a woodland cabin.

Sounds wonderful, right?

It can be. Or it can balloon into disappointment. It depends on how we prepare for it. Yes, prepare. Prepare by setting guidelines for an enjoyable writing venture.

Guidelines can sound like knocking the romance out of a get-away dream. However, if we adopt a laissez faire approach to a writing trip, we can wind up spending too much time watching television, calling up friends, taking long naps, or living at the beach. None of these activities need to be eliminated, but kept in balance related to getting the work done.

 

  1. Truly change your location.
  2. Go alone.
  3. Prepare your family and friends.
  4. Clear internal conflicts.
  5. Create media and phone boundaries.
  6. Set goals.
  7. Make  a schedule.
  8. Don’t take “just in case” work.
  9. Get outside the room.
  10. Eat healthy food.
  11. Rest and take breaks.
  12. Pray.

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