Out with the old, in with the new — by Donna Schlachter

As we enter this new year, I pray the Lord’s best for you and yours.

As part of the process of looking ahead, Leeann Betts (my alter ego) has decided to retire, and so I’ve committed to continue telling her stories under my own name.

Yes, I’ll be writing and publishing second-chance God stories under my name.

What that means is I’ve got a new website and a new blog, and that Leeann’s sites and the HiStoryThruTheAges sites won’t be udated after December 31, 2021.

In the long run, we’re hoping this means less time spent duplicating work, and more time spent writing and publishing, which is good for you.

Although my new website isn’t complete, and my new blogging platform isn’t perfect, you can still keep up to date by watching for announcements and/or bookmarking my blog and checking in occasionally. No more updates in the Inbox, sorry to say.

Still, track me down at www.donnaschlachter.com/blog or www.facebook.com/DonnaSchlachterAuthor to see what I’m up to.

True Crime — Michelle Dragalin

Today I’m happy to welcome Michelle Dragalin as she shares about her passion for true crime books.

Discovery Channel Investigative Discovery is my favorite channel. I have the app for Discovery Channel Plus. My husband has stated that if he dies, they really need to look at me. The jokes on him though, because the spouse is always the first suspect and must be cleared first. Aside from the fact that this genre is one of my favorite types of books to read, I also enjoy watching it on TV, and writing about True Crime. One lesson I have learned from all these shows and books is that the right person will eventually get caught. (Please do not send me quotes or belief to the contrary)

                The definition of a True Crime is about an actual crime that is committed. According to definition.net, “is a non-fiction literary and film genre in which the author examines an actual crime and details of a real crime. (definitions.net/definition/TRUE+CRIME).” Historical True Crime genre is another subdivision that people find extremely interesting especially if it is related to murder.

                Quite a few True Crime books are written about murder,  especially serial killings. After that the topics include kidnapping burglary, forgery, and drug related crimes. If you look at the Top 10  True Crime best sellers list of 2021 there are  seven books about murder, one about child abuse and one about Heists and Robberies.

                Writing in the true crime genre is a little more complex than people would believe. True crime is multifaceted because the writer must become deeply knowledgeable about the genre, the writing process, the crime, and the people involved in the crime. It is important that writer must remember the following:

  • Never forget that you are writing about real people
  • Sort out why this is the story you want to tell because the answer will drive the narrative.
  • Remember tht the victims are frequently women
  • The themes of the true crime stories have a real bearing on the present day.

Once you have established these points in your mind. It is a clever idea to write them down. The

next sections of writing true crime novels involve an extreme amount of in-depth research that includes:

  • If it is present day, you should attend the trial
  • Learn what you can about the evidence
  • Learn what you can about the people directly involved (get an interview release and Photograph release.)
  • Courtroom Evidence
    • Fees can be added for copies of evidence, the transcript plus your time.
  • Police Departments:
    • MOST records can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. (FOIA)
    • FOIA may give you speedy access, but the department does not have to create the forms for you, conduct research, analyze data or answer questions.
    • Not all information will be made public and if the case is considered open you  will not have the right to any of the information even through FOIA.
  • FOIA
    • There are samples of FOIA request forms online
      • The FOIA forms are lengthy
      • They require detailed accounting of what you want, what you will use it for and why you want the information.
      •  Do not be surprised to receive a paper where words, sentences or pictures are blackened.
  • It is an innovative idea to have a lawyer versed in publication to read the manuscript, so you will not be sued.
  • the same criteria apply to true crime articles and blogs   as well.

 I started writing True Crime because I have served on more than one jury. My husband is a retired sailor and I have always registered to vote at our new locations. Information from juries is a section that is lacking in most true crime stories. People think that they understand what the jurors are going through and do not understand why a defendant is acquitted, receive a reduced sentence, result in a mistrial or are found guilty.

It upsets me when the media or writer think that they understand what is going on in the jury box when they do not interview them. Any evidence or piece of testimony must be approved by the judge and the lawyers for each side before it can be given to the jury, even when they request it! The bailiff makes sure that the jury’s discussion is not about the trial, or anything remotely connected to the case. I learned about deer hunting during a burglary case because that is all we had in common and what we could safely discuss while we waited for the judge to rule on something.

The True Crime genre makes for fascinating reading, watching, or writing, but always remember that there was a true victim, and rarely is there a hero in the story.

Historical Fiction — Michelle Dragalin

Today I’m happy to welcome author Michelle Dragalin as she shares about historical fiction.

“Historical fiction is a literary genre where the story takes place in the past. Historical novels capture the details of the period as accurately as possible for authenticity, including social norms, manners, customs, and traditions.( Google Aug 20, 2021)”

This is one of my favorite genres. I have been reading this genre for as long as I can remember. I started off with Louis L’Amour. He was my favorite author and to a degree still is a favorite. He is certainly the pole in which I measure other authors who write this type of fiction. Louis L’Amour was born in North Dakota. His writing is rich in detail and historical accurate copy fiction. Many of his books follow the same theme, I really enjoyed reading his books. In addition, he also wrote hardboiled mysteries which seem to be based in the forty’s and fifty’s.

Another author  I like to read are T.E. Kinsey’s Lardy Hardcastle Mystery books. While they may not be quiet in the same era as Louis L’Amour they are relatively accurate and his main protagonist in this series are two women.

I enjoy them because the authors provide a perspective of this time and view the people as equal. In addition, they characters are so varied just like in real life. They tend to make it very believable and use  and relate to the period of the time. Not to mention I really like history. I have always believed that adage

“Irish statesman Edmund Burke is often misquoted as having said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Spanish philosopher George Santayana is credited with the aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” while British statesman Winston Churchill wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (Https:liberalarts.vt.edu>magazine>history-repeating, 2021 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)”

I am an enthusiastic fan of this adage, although I have to admit I don’t always follow it.

As a result,  I like to choose books that have are part of the historical genre or are in some way scholarly. I am lasso it’ biggest critic as I will often look up facts to determine how accurate their material and information are with regards to the period.

That is where readers may get mislead because they think that its historical fiction they often believe that a) this really happen and b) since it was written it is correct. NO! It is a fictionalized account of a period. No more no less. The reader needs to remember this when they are reading the story. An enjoyable story based on a period in history.

When a person reviews or read historical fiction, it is just as import to know it is a FICTIONALIZED account of  a time period. Enjoy the story, look up the period!!

Disclosure:

I am a book review who really receives ACR to review from a variety of websites and publication  I write an honest review  in exchange for copy of the book. T.E. Kinsey’s books were all provided by NetGalley.

December 2021 New Releases!

December 2021 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Contemporary – General:
Broken Together by Brenda S. Anderson — Jennifer and Chad Taylor had dreamed of opening a coffee and cocoa shop since before they said, “I do.” When Chad is sent to prison for murder despite claiming innocence, that dream—along with their family—is shattered. After years of fighting for Chad’s release, Jennifer finally breaks free from her shame, anger, and hopelessness, and forges ahead with the dream the two of them once shared. With the help of their college-aged twins, she begins to move forward. Without Chad. When their lawyer arrives with news of evidence that may prove Chad’s innocence, a strange mixture of emotions overtakes her. Does she want Chad to return home? He isn’t the same man he once was, and she certainly isn’t the same woman. She’s worked hard to piece the remnants of their family back together, and his coming home could fracture the family once again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:
Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson –People can’t be trusted.
Animals always made more sense than humans did to marine biologist Skye Youngblood. After her mother’s suicide, she left Alabama and never looked back. These days, she pours her heart into protecting nature’s sea creatures. When she returns to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for a temporary manatee migration study, her dark past is much too close. She can’t let her guard down. But how can she keep her heart hidden when a kind man with a genuine smile makes her want a fresh start? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

No Place Like Home by Amy R. Anguish — Roots are overrated, at least to someone like Adrian Stewart, preacher’s kid, who has never lived anywhere longer than six years. That’s why her job with MidUSLogIn, Inc. is so perfect for her—lots of travel and staying nowhere long enough to have it feel like home. But when work takes her to Memphis, TN, closer to her family for the first time in years, and in the same small office as Grayson Roberts, she starts to question her job, her lack of home, and even her memories of her rocky past with the church. Gray is intrigued by Adrian from the moment he sees her, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of why this girl who loves old movies and hums when she works won’t go to church with him. As they grow closer, he wants more, too, but how can he convince her to stay in Memphis when she doesn’t believe in home—or God? Can he use his own broken past to break through hers? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)

Reclaiming Hope by Carolyn Miller — Callie Steele might be a bit… focused on work, but despite what her employers say, she enjoys her well-ordered, productive life. When she’s sent to meet the owners of an estate requiring post-hurricane landscaping, Callie meets their son, Kai Brody, a super-chilled pro surfer, who is as opposite from her as they come. Though initially smitten, Callie knows a relationship with Kai is a bad idea—a very bad idea. Kai, however, can’t help but be intrigued by someone who challenges him to make something of his life again. He’s determined to pursue her, if she’ll give him half a chance. The more time they spend together, negotiating the challenges of work, illness, and family, the more their opposing outlooks clash and connect. What do these unlikely friends really want from life? Is it best to focus on work or recreation? As Kai and Callie answers from the Lord, they also must consider if such complete opposites have enough in common to make a relationship last. (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

The Breakup Project by Carolyn Miller –As the twin sister of hockey’s hottest forward, romance-loving Bree Karlsson is used to being ignored, leading to a New Year’s resolution to not date any athlete in her attempt to find Mr. Right. But what happens when the man who might prove to be her personal Mr. Darcy is her brother’s hockey-playing best friend? Mike Vaughan might be happy playing in Boston, but he’d be even happier if Bree could one day see him as more than a good friend. He agrees to help Bree with a special project in the hope she’ll finally see him as something more. But when a misunderstanding ends in a Valentine’s Day disaster, Bree realizes that her breakup project may have broken her friendship with Mike in two. Can she ever redeem her mistake? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Their Yuletide Healing by Mindy Obenhaus — Foster mom Rae Girard’s determined to make her children’s first Christmas with her the best they’ve ever had—and she’s shocked when the town scrooge, attorney Cole Heinsohn, offers to pitch in. Rae’s young charges have melted Cole’s heart, and he wants them to experience the special day he never had. But when disaster strikes, an imperfect holiday might bring them something better: a family… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

General Historical:
Elinor by Shannon McNear — In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)

What Matters Most by Carol Ashby — For ten years, the incorruptible Tribune Titianus enforced Rome’s laws. He’s four days from leaving the Urban Cohort to teach at his brother-in-law Kaeso’s school when Emperor Hadrian and the Praetorian Prefect draft him to secretly investigate and thwart an assassination plot…one that might involve his own commander. He can’t refuse, but if Hadrian’s enemies discover his Christian faith, will it mean death for everyone he loves? The new tribune Glabrio wants two things as Titianus trains him: to discover for their commander who Titianus is investigating and to gain the support of Titianus’s powerful relatives. Marrying Sabina would secure the backing of her grandfather, but because of the teacher, she’s making choices no noblewoman should. As he gets closer to both his goals, will he realize in time what matters most? (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)
Romance Novella:
A Covert Cowboy Christmas by Carol James — A December ice storm destroys Rebekah Kingston’s Christmas plans. With the power out and the West Texas roads closed indefinitely, she’s forced to spend Christmas at her brother Braden’s ranch instead of at home with her parents. But Rebekah and Braden are not alone. Also stranded is an annoyingly chatty ranch hand, Dirk Sims. While Rebekah is certain she’s met him before, Dirk insists she’s mistaken. 
However, when Rebekah inadvertently eavesdrops on one of Dirk’s phone conversations, she discovers his lie. Dirk is not who he seems. This Christmas just got interesting. (Romance Novella from White Rose Publishing (Pelican))
Suspense/Thriller:

Buried Cold Case Secrets by Sami A. Abrams — She can’t remember and he can’t forget. When a killer targets Melanie, it is only through her determination to relive the past and Jason’s willingness to let go of his resentment, can they find his sister’s killer and keep Melanie alive. (Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired (Harlequin))


Stealth Insurgence by Vikki Kestell — Nanostealth | Book 5: Jayda and Zander are returning to Albuquerque, satisfied that they have completed the mission for which President Jackson called them to Washington DC. They are filled with hope for the future, bursting with joy for the unborn child Jayda carries, and keen to share the news of their blessing with those they love: Abe, Emilio, Dr. Bickel, Zander’s parents, and his sister, Izzie. They arrive in Albuquerque on a notable date: the one-year anniversary of General Cushing’s attack on Dr. Bickel’s lab hidden within the tunnels of the old Manzano Weapons Storage Facility. It was the same attack that incited the nanomites to take up occupancy in Gemma Keyes—now Jayda Cruz —the extraordinary event that will continue to impact their lives forever. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)


Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:  
 
Hidden Danger by Jerusha Agen, The greatest threat to this K-9 team is the one they don’t see coming. (Thriller/Suspense)
 
 
Footprints on Her Heart by Tabitha Bouldin, He’s saving the world, one animal at a time. (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
A Christmas Home for Hannah by Joi Copeland, A rancher in need of a wife or he loses his everything. A promise to her grandfather to be a mail order bride just may be unfulfilled. (Historic Romance)
 
 
An Awestruck Christmas Medley by Emily Conrad, Four hundred miles of snow-covered terrain stand between the men of Awestruck and a Christmas with loved ones. (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
Rachel’s Road to Love – Great Smoky Mountain Getaways by Elsie Davis, Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains… Rachel trusts God’s plan for her life, but did that plan really include being left at the altar? (Contemporary)
 
 
The Corporal’s Codebook by Susan Page Davis, Jack Miller stumbles through the Civil War, winding up a telegrapher and cryptographer for the army. In the field with General Sherman in Georgia, he is captured along with his precious cipher key. (General Historical)
 
 
Grace Beneath the Frost by Christine Dillon, Professional success. Personal failure. (General Contemporary)
 
 
The Christmas Family by Linda Goodnight, With the holidays in sight, Brady wonders if his own Christmas wish could come true… (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
Gifts: A Christmas Novella by Jeanette Hanscome, When the party guests include faces from her past, Justine must decide whether to keep running or receive a gift that might free her to give much more than her beautifully wrapped presents. (General Contemporary)
 
 
Harper’s Hollers by Ruth Kyser, Will God bring them together as more than friends—or will circumstances beyond their control keep them apart? (Contemporary Romance)

The Story Behind the Carol: Good King Wenceslas — Kelly Goshorn

Today I’m happy to welcome author Kelly Goshorn to the blog as she shares the story behind a favorite Christmas Carol.

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen,

When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night though the frost was cruel,

When a poor man came in sight gath’ring winter fuel.

King Wenceslas was a real historical figure, Duke Svatý Václav of Bohemia (a region in the modern-day Czech Republic) during the early tenth century who was known for his devout Christian faith and acts of kindness and charity. The name Wenceslas is a Latinised version of the old Czech language, “Venceslav.”

“Bring me flesh and bring me wine, Bring me pine logs hither.

Thou and I will see him dine when we bear them thither.”

Long before gift-giving became associated with Christmas, the Duke, accompanied by his pages, routinely visited the poorest of his subjects bringing with him gifts of food, clothing, and firewood. These visits not only provided for the practical needs of those in his realm but showed his compassion and provided hope to many in the middle of a cold, dark winter.

“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;

Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer.”

“Mark my footsteps, good my page: tread thou in them boldly:

Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”

Though winter conditions could be extremely harsh, Wenceslas never postponed his rounds thus making the night before Christmas special for many in his realm and was considered an answer to prayer in that his gifts would help sustain them through the winter.

Although Wenceslas held a position of importance, he never lost compassion for the ‘least of these,’ choosing at times to serve rather than be served. Sadly, at the age of twenty-two, Wenceslas was assassinated by his brother while on his way to church for morning prayers. He was regaled as a martyr and saint almost immediately and a few years after his death Holy Roman Emperor Otto I gave him the title of King.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure wealth or rank possessing,

Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.

But it’s Wenceslas’ example of humility and charity that nineteenth century priest, John Neale, captured when he penned the words to this popular carol to celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen. Also known as Boxing Day, the Feast of St. Stephen encourages charitable giving on the Second Day of Christmas.

Now the words of this beloved carol have new meaning as they challenge me to keep faith, hope, and kindness alive not only at Christmas but throughout the year.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.

When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith, and family set in nineteenth century America. She earned her B.A. in Social Studies Education from Messiah College and her M.Ed. in History from The Pennsylvania State University. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, won the Director’s Choice Award for Adult/YA fiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2019, and earned recognition as both a Selah Award finalist in the Historical Romance category and as a Maggie Award Finalist for Inspirational Fiction. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, binge-watching BBC period dramas, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

Purchase on Amazon https://amzn.to/2Zx8Vg5

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3qJg25u

You can connect with Kelly on:

Her website: http://kellygoshorn.com/

Newsletter: https://kellygoshorn.com/my-writing/newsletter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelly.j.goshorn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyGoshorn

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18023325.Kelly_J_Goshorn

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kelly-goshorn

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KellyGoshorn/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyjgoshorn/

Christmas Christian Fiction Round Robin

Merry Christmas! Welcome to the Christmas Christian Fiction Round-Robin!

Here’s how it works: At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. You will find the form at the end of this blog. Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered to win the $350 first place, $250 second place or $150 third place Amazon gift cards. These prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.)

At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end, creating a circle (a round-robin) visit through all of the authors’ blogs.

Now, on to the blog —

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I’m excited to share with you a historical mystery featuring past-middle-age characters. I set this romantic suspense in Colorado in 1921 at Christmas time. My hero is re-visiting the hotel where he spent his honeymoon 40 years before, while my heroine is seeking a refuge from her haranguing family while she makes some tough choices. Matthew cannot find a reason to go on, and Edith refuses to give up.

I chose this setting because of some research I did into a famous hotel in Colorado Springs, The Antlers, as well as research about other buildings in that city which were razed in the 60s to make room for urban expansion. I was horrified at the way the downtown core lost its history and its personality, and wanted to write a story where that didn’t happen.

I chose older characters because, well, I’m getting older, and I find my tastes turning to older characters who are more set in their ways, less likely to jump out of moving vehicles or parachute from perfectly good airplanes. The time period seemed perfect because the train had just started coming to Colorado Springs from Denver, and the original Antlers hotel was slated for destruction early in 1922. I wanted to change that history.

Matthew and Edith team up to find a way to save the old hotel, and in the process, they uncover more than they bargained for: a body in a wall; a decades-old murder mystery; a secret somebody wants to keep; and a love that will carry them through the coming years.

pexels.com

Here’s an excerpt:

Edith Cochrane admired the fine lines of the inn as the sleigh traveled down the main street of the small town of Valleyview. Having lived many years in the foreign mission field, she appreciated the trappings of civilization, although, she liked to tell herself, she didn’t need them.

Well, perhaps she hadn’t needed them during the years she and her husband had lived in primitive conditions, but today, or rather, for at least the next week, she needed this inn. Or some other place much like it. She was looking forward to spending some time alone, gathering her thoughts and considering her options.

Because from where she sat right now, her thoughts were as scattered as dandelion seed on a spring breeze, and her options were few.

Drawing to a halt in front of the inn, the driver alighted and held open her door. Doffing his cap, he extended a hand. “Christmas Inn, ma’am.”

She slid across the leather seat, accepted the proffered hand, and emerged, feet first. She winced at the cold, wet sensation in her shoes, and looked to the ground. Slush. Snow. A cold breeze blew down from the snow-capped mountains in the near distance, and she pulled the collar of her thin coat around her neck. She definitely hadn’t missed winters during the years she lived in the tropics.

Unclasping her handbag, Edith pulled a dollar bill from a pocket inside the purse, and handed the money to the driver. “Keep the change.”

He accepted the bill and smiled. “Merry Christmas, ma’am. And a Happy New Year to you, too.”

She nodded. Merry Christmas indeed.

Not likely.

Not without Andrew at her side.

The hotel valet appeared at her side, a young lad barely out of school. She nodded to the rear of the sleigh. “There are three bags.”

The valet nodded, and assisted by the driver, the two carried her suitcases through the door of the inn.

Edith followed at a slower pace, enjoying the atmosphere and the fresh, clean air. So unlike the polluted air of Pittsburgh, where her son lived, or the damp humidity of Miami, where her daughter called home. Maybe that’s why she couldn’t—or wouldn’t—commit to living in either place. The air was unhealthy. So unlike the air of the Congo.

The wonderful smell of fresh evergreen tickled her nostrils as she entered the lobby, and she studied a magnificent tree completely covered with every sort of Christmas decoration imaginable. So much color and glitter overwhelmed her senses. But so lovely to celebrate Christmas surrounded by reminders of the season. The Festival of Lights in the midst of the winter solstice. A Christian influence for a pagan world. How like God to orchestrate a celebration in the midst of darkness. All she needed to make this moment perfect was for Andrew to be at her side, sharing this spectacle with her.

But that was not to be.

She stood for several minutes, staring into the lights and shining ornaments on the tree, glad she’d chosen this place to spend her holidays. Away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial side of the season.

Away from the petty bickering, the outright hostility, and the greed of her children.

Away from the looks of pity and awkwardness from her friends.

So entranced was she by the spectacle before her, so involved was she in her own feelings of pleasure mixed sadness at having to experience this beauty alone, she was startled when the man sitting in a chair in front of the fireplace stood. His look of abject loneliness grabbed her attention and fixed her gaze.

He appeared to be about her age, perhaps a couple of years older. His overcoat and suit looked older but well kept, and the fedora in his hand was clean but worn. The small blue feather tucked into the hatband flared outwards in a curious bend, and for a brief moment, she wondered if he’d sat on his hat once or twice before. Andrew often did that….

He ducked his head and stopped. “Excuse me. I didn’t see you.”

She smiled and extended a hand. “Edith Cochrane. Pleased to meet you.”

The man’s hand darted out, grasped the ends of her fingers, then dropped her hand like a hot potato. “Matthew White. Excuse me.”

He glanced toward the check-in desk then sidled between two chairs and strode up the staircase, his overcoat flapping around his legs like a flag.

She watched until he disappeared from view before turning her attention to the clerk behind the desk. Once more, she checked at the hallway where Matthew White had gone.

Strange.

If she didn’t know better, she’d say he’d seen a ghost.

About The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado:

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?

Let’s begin this scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link. You will be taken to The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado where you will find the answer to the following question:

Why did Matthew come to the inn?

When you have the answer, FILL OUT THIS FORM and head on to the next blog!

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Leeann Betts, and she’s featuring her book There Was a Crooked Man. You can find it at this link. Remember that you must answer every question from all 25 authors in this collection and that the round-robin will end on December 12th at 11:59 PM EST!

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Her recent releases include The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado and Christmas Under the Stars. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

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Author Spotlight — Anne Greene

Today I’m happy to welcome Anne Greene for an author spotlight, giveaway, and more.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m in the midst of writing For Such A Time As This, The Story of Jarrett Ross. This book will be the second of four or more books about the Ross Family Saga. Jarrett is John’s second born son and my novel takes place in the wild Oklahoma Territory where the Cherokees have been relocated.

This exciting sequel covers a large span of history with Jarrett smack in the middle of buffalo hunts, pony express rides, and as a pacifist inducted into the Civil War. From the beginning, Jarrett strives to win the hand of the daughter of the Ross Family’s Arch Enemy – an historical feud between the Ross and the Watie factions that continued for decades.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Do you have all day? I enjoy many hobbies. I love to travel and have been blessed to visit every State in the US as well as 16 foreign countries. The most exotic country, in which I spent three months exploring, is Turkey, with its seven churches of Revelation, Antioch where they were first called Christians, Paul’s home, and so many other Christian sites as well as where Alexander the Great ruled, and the Crusaders’ built castles. I wrote of many of these interesting sites in my book, Shadow of the Dagger. I enjoy sailing, games of any sort, hiking, biking, swimming, escaping the city for the country or the lake, and of course spending quality time with family and friends. There’s more, but I’m sure by this time you’re bored with this answer.

Tell us what kind of books you enjoy.

If it’s a good story, I’m going to love it. I do prefer longer books to novellas, but when I need a short read, I love a good novella. I like mysteries, suspense, romance, futuristic, biographies, as well as many non-fiction books. I’m seldom without a book in my hand. But if the book does not hold my interest within the first few pages, I lay it down – never to revisit that particular book. I read many, many books by authors who are my friends.

GIVEAWAY:

Readers, answer the question below to be entered in the giveaway for an autographed, print copy of her latest novel, Trail of Tears, The Story of John Ross.

If you’ve never read a particular author, what makes you read her book? 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

One man fights overwhelming odds to survive and protect. Caught between the love of two beautiful women, which one will he choose?

What if you are a twenty-year-old, about to attend college, and your whole world collapses? Your mother and sister are missing, and soldiers murder your father, burn your mansion, and take you prisoner.

Trail of Tears relives one of the most heartrending chapters in American history as the US Government transports the self-governing, wealthy Cherokee nation from their ancestral homeland to relocate in hostile Indian Territory.

The Georgia militia force John Ross, with only a trickle of Indian blood flowing in his veins, to walk the thousand-mile Trail of Tears.

After John protects a full-blood Indian girl from the lustful wagon master, the cruel soldier targets John for retribution—until John’s shoved too far.

Bitter animosity explodes from a jealous Army Captain as John pushes and pulls his Conestoga wagon over mountain roads made muddy by rain and slippery by snow. 

Yet the persuasive voices of the preacher and his daughter have an impact.

A new destiny awaits John at the end of the trail—if he survives. Four thousand Cherokee do not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Multi-award winning author, Anne Greene, loves writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer and about gutsy heroines. Her latest full-length book is Trail of Tears, The Story of John Ross.

Her first novel in her CIA Operatives series opens with Shadow of the Dagger. Her Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. Blast off with Angel With Steel Wings. Her Holly Garden, Private Investigator series opens with Red Is For Rookie. Enjoy her award winning Scottish historical romances, Masquerade Marriage and Marriage by Arrangement.

Enjoy twenty novellas.

Anne lives with her husband, Colonel Larry Greene and her buff and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine.

Anne hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart. Discover more about Anne at:

https://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anne-greene

Author Spotlight with Angela Breidenbach ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome Angela Breidenbach to the blog for an author spotlight, giveaway and more. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win.

  • A talent or skill your main character has that readers would find interesting

In school, I’d finish my work too quickly for my teacher’s plans. Then, I’d chatter at anyone who would let me distract them. So, his solution was to get me a speed-reading tutor to keep me busy. Ironically the speed-reading skill made it worse for my teacher because at 600 wpm, I then finished my tests and reading work even faster. His next move was to send me to the library. Yep, I finished all the books in the library before school ended that year. Today I can still read quite quickly, but not at the speed I did then. I slow down to savor words and phrases like someone might savor a fine meal. But when I don’t like something or I’m under a deadline, I speed it up again by using the skills of outline patterns I learned in the 6th grade. Sadly, no one taught me speedwriting, so my handwriting and typing are still pretty normal, whatever that speed is 😉

  • How much of your life is in the book?

Flower of the Rockies was an interesting book for me to write because in the brainstorming of the character I realized a parallel existed between my childhood and hers. Emmalee’s illiteracy with letters became an emotional internal struggle for me when I realized she mirrored my illiteracy with people through my childhood and into my early adult years. I’ve set her age in the story at about the same age as I began to understand how to better connect relationally. The analogy deepened my writing experience and connection to her.

As Miss Emmie, her alter ego, she had a hardened exterior in order to live out the sacrifice for her family in a way she could emotionally handle. But the pain in crossing over into “acceptable” society brought Emmalee face-to-face with her demons. In a similar manner, I had to face mine as I learned to trust others and build deeper friendships rather than hold people off at a distance.

Different than Emmalee’s situation, I hadn’t learned how to “read” people because of growing up with a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic stepfather. In Emmalee’s world, when her mother died, and her father later disappeared circumstance left her responsible for two younger siblings. In the 1800s, and as a young teen, she had no protection or choice. She could only rely on herself and her limited knowledge of the world. Though not the same situation, the lack of emotional and physical support created a trust and connection problem for me. Writing this story allowed me to show that God uses ALL of our experiences for our good and to create some amazing testimony. We’re able to help others who have experienced life’s unfairness. There’s a beautiful redemption when we can comfort and come alongside people who need support and understanding because we’ve been there and felt the pain, too.

Sure, no one wants to experience pain. But none of us escape it. I want to use those experiences to spread hope, courage, love, joy, and bring peace to other people who are on similar paths. Finding that the past became a wealth of wisdom changes how I view it and the future. Courage, confidence, and the ability to grow into the person God intends helps me to love that little girl who had to make choices that hurt to survive. I hope in reading Flower of the Rockies, that you’ll be able to view past hurts as a well of wisdom and come to a beautiful peace that offers others a safe place to rest.

  • Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

Bride of the Rockies is in production now. The cover has been the hardest to design because the story crosses over from Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (called the Columbus Exposition) back to Montana and pits a citified botanist against a countrified miner. The true historical women who stunned the world with their botanical display and discoveries of new plants are featured. The events really happened and had to be told with a dollop of a fun, fictional romance to frame the story!

GIVEAWAY:

Readers, answer the question below to enter for a chance to win a eBook copy of Flower of the Rockies.

Have you ever realized a rough decision you’ve made in the moment was later redeemed by God for your benefit and testimony? Share if you are comfortable.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Helena MT, 1892-95 ~ Can you leave your past behind?
Flower of the Rockies, the 4th book in the Queen of the Rockies series set in picturesque Helena MT at the end of the Gilded Age. 

No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, or the sacrifices she’s made for love. An infamous soiled dove of no consequence turned miner’s widow. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake their claim on her and the mine she inherited. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money, and they’ll do anything to take it. But love and acceptance seem out of the question for Emmalee. 

Society wants nothing to do with her regardless of her changed ways. Who can she turn to when her inheritance and chance at a future is at risk? Will she be forced back into the brothel to survive? Hiring a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her start over somewhere else — if he can save a little of her finances from her husband’s partner. She’ll go anyplace else where no one knows Miss Ellie’s name. Anywhere to leave the scorn behind. Becoming an unknown is the only way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new future?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, bestselling author, and screenwriter. She’s also the Christian Authors Network president. Angie lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. Catch her show and podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach!

http://AngelaBreidenbach.com

Social Media: @AngBreidenbach

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/angelabreidenbach

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/angela-breidenbach

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3370320.Angela_Breidenbach

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/AngelaBreidenbach

FIRST PAGE:

Chapter 1

Helena, Montana

June 1894

Infamous.

She couldn’t walk down a street in town without drawing attention—even fully clothed. No matter that she wore widow’s garb for a year. Longer than most in a town where men outnumbered women since its inception. No matter that she never looked at a man, other than her husband in two years. The men knew who she was, and they stared. Therefore, the women knew, and they ostracized. But they didn’t know she’d just been fleeced by a scoundrel! Would they care if they did?

Emmalee Warren seethed as the layered ruffles of her cotton skirt swished around her white kid boots like the summer windstorms blowing through the passes. Woe to another man that ever crossed her path! Only one had ever been kind. Unfortunately, every gold-digger within a day’s ride wanted to stake a claim on her, since Charles died in the cave in. Silver mines meant nothing these days. But owning a gold mine… if her past occupation hadn’t already marked her, being the heiress to a working gold mine brought men out like ants to a sugar pile. She didn’t need any of the pests. What she did need, right now, was a good lawyer!

The grocer’s shop door opened, spilling a youngster and his mama into her path. The woman’s smile flared as she made eye contact.

Emmalee smiled back.

“Oh!” And as fleeting, the good woman’s smile faltered. “Quickly son, move quickly.” Her words not even whispered as she snagged his hand and tugged the boy away.

Emmalee masked her disappointment under the wide brim of the elegant rose covered hat. It’d been the first smile she’d seen in a long time. “Excuse me.” She moved aside, allowing the mother and child to pass onto the sidewalk. Emmalee would not lower herself to treat another poorly. But after attempting for two years to be courteous to respectable folks, what more could she do? No one knew her or bothered unless they wanted something. No one cared that she wanted a fresh start. That she didn’t want to go back from whence she came.

The woman covered the little boy’s eyes. “We don’t notice people like that, Erwin.” “Why Mama? She’s pretty.” His little brows furrowed. “Why don’t we notice people like that?”

Author Interview & GIVEAWAY — Jodie Wolfe

Today I’m happy to welcome author Jodie Wolfe for a chat about her books. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway too!

You have a new book out, what’s it about?

Here’s the back cover blurb for Protecting Annie:

After twenty years of living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem, she no longer requires his protecting so he’s unsure of his next step.

Annie McPherson needs a change after the death of her father. She accepts a position as schoolmarm, hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky sheriff who continues to question her ability to adjust to life in the west and creates confrontations at every turn.

When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging him into the turmoil, Josh has to decide who he’s willing to defend.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading I Choose Peace by Chip Ingram and Jody Hedlund’s The Heart of a Cowboy.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m currently working on the sequel to Protecting Annie. This book will be about Annie’s friend. It’s tentatively called, Wooing Gertrude.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

There are a couple things I do. One is to not work on writing on the weekends unless I’m on a deadline – either with my publisher or self-imposed. I do try and post on social media on Saturdays and catch up on email if need be. Then on Sunday, after attending church services, my husband and I take the rest of the day to rest and relax. By choosing to take Sunday off, it helps to put me in a relaxed frame of mind to start my week. Thank you for having me here today.

GIVEAWAY:

Readers, leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win an e-copy of “Protecting Annie”.

FIND THE BOOK ONLINE:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-annie-jodie-wolfe/1139707155?ean=9781522303763

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.jodiewolfe.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jodie-wolfe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15220520.Jodie_Wolfe

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/jodiewolfe

But I Don’t Even Like Jigsaw Puzzles! — Terrie Todd ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author Terrie Todd as she talks about what inspired her writing a novel. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.

Ironically, I’ve never been a fan of jigsaw puzzles. In a wild moment of reckless abandon in 2017, I opened a thousand-piece puzzle on our dining table—a European castle with lots of blue sky. With no idea how difficult a puzzle it would be, I thought my husband and I could complete it over the Christmas break and share a little bonding time in the process. A year later, the unfinished puzzle still sat on that table. We’d covered it with a tablecloth on several occasions when we needed the space. Finally, in defeat, I returned the pieces to their box.

Around the same time, I became rather hooked on a TV series called Touch, with Kiefer Sutherland. I was fascinated by the way each episode covered several seemingly unrelated stories that all converged in the end. Wow, would I love to be able to write a story like that, I thought. So I gave it a try. The Last Piece is the result.

My own feelings about jigsaw puzzles are reflected in the thoughts of one of my characters, Leesha, who hunts down valuable items at thrift shops and sells them for a profit. Here’s an excerpt:

Leesha had little appreciation for puzzles and usually ignored them. What was the point? They take a perfectly good picture and cut it into pieces. You put them back together, pat yourself on the back, then take it apart and put it back in the box with nothing to show for your time. How utterly inefficient. If you’re going to have a hobby, you should have something to show for it when you’re done—like a knitted sweater or some art to proudly display. She’d seen people hang assembled puzzles on their walls, stuck together with some kind of clear overcoat. It made her roll her eyes every time. So tacky.

With an attitude like that, who’d have ever thought I’d write an entire novel where an antique jigsaw puzzle is practically one of the characters? I’ll be hosting a book signing event at my hometown library at the end of November where the door prizes will be jigsaw puzzles—used ones, most of them purchased at my local thrift shop. And yes, the 1000-piece puzzle of the castle with all the blue sky will be up for grabs as well.

Author/Book Spotlight:

The book blurb:

The Last Piece releases November 16, 2021.

Ray Matthews’ dream is to be an artist. But his father’s death during the Great Depression forces him to drop out of art school and support his mother and sister by selling his paintings to a jigsaw puzzle maker. 

However, there’s one personal masterpiece Ray vows never to sell: a portrait of his beloved sweetheart, Sarah. When compelled to break his oath, Ray speaks a prophecy over the puzzle— that no one will be able to finish it before he and the love of his life are reunited. 

During the next 80 years, the puzzle passes through four different households. Though all are profoundly affected by Ray’s girl at the wishing well, none are aware of the connection between them—until one decision unleashes a peculiar chain of events. When all five journeys converge in visible and invisible ways, each life is strengthened and forever shaped by the lessons offered through one extraordinary puzzle.

Question 1: What genre do you write in and why?

The first time I sat down to see if I could write a novel, I decided to place the story in the 1940’s for one lazy reason: it’s easier to get your characters into trouble when they don’t have modern technology to bail them out. Turns out writing historical fiction is not for the lazy by any stretch, but I’ve come to love it.

Question 2: What is your least favorite part of writing?

For me, it’s hammering out that first draft. I’m a pantser, so often just getting down that next scene feels like pulling teeth. Once I’ve got that done and can go back and start editing, I love it.

Question 3: Tell us about your next book…

The Last Piece is a split-time novel releasing in November.

GIVEAWAY:

Readers, answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway.

What topic or historical event would you love to see covered in a novel?

Giveaway: Link to a free e-copy of Rose Among Thornes (can be sent anywhere)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terrie Todd is an award-winning author of historical and split-time novels, playwright, newspaper columnist, blogger, and recipient of ICFW’s 2018 Janette Oke Award. Terrie and her husband Jon live on the Canadian prairies where her novels are set. They are the parents of three and grandparents of five. Terrie’s idea of embracing the harsh Canadian winters it to curl up with a good book and hot tea in front of her fake fireplace.

Links:

Blog: www.terrietodd.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrie.todd.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tjtodd2

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terrie.todd.31/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12530691.Terrie_Todd

CHAPTER 1 of “The Last Piece”


Ray Matthews stared at the prairie landscape as the wheels made their hypnotic chug on the railway tracks below. For the next hour at least, he could allow the gentle rocking motion to lull him into a sort of oblivion. Into an alternate reality where the events of the last twenty-four hours were fairy tales and not truth. Where he was still in art school, scheduled to graduate in nine months. Where Dad was still the muscular, energetic man he’d always been—slinging hay bales from the dusty field onto the hay rack with the same ease required to swat a fly in his mother’s farm kitchen.


Ray had never imagined for a moment that the formidable, faith-filled Nate Matthews could be here one day and gone the next. The larger-than-life man had been the center of everything, not just the Matthews family but the entire community of Wishing Well and all its three hundred and twenty-nine inhabitants. They must be reeling. Dad had been a rock, the glue that held the community together through the leanest, driest years they’d ever known. And though drought and depression still raged, Nate Matthews had defied all odds by finding a way for Ray to enroll in the University of Manitoba’s art program and pursue his dreams.


Ray closed his eyes and tried to forget the brief telegram he’d read at least ten times before the words even began to sank in. Had it really been just yesterday? If only the telephone lines had been strung to Wishing Well—or anywhere in rural Manitoba, for that matter. He’d be able to reach Mum and get the details. Clearly, she’d taken great pains to use as few words as possible. RETURN HOME ASAP. DAD DIED. HARVEST.


Whatever happened to Dad must have been both sudden and accidental. That Mum had found it necessary to include the word “harvest” could mean only one thing. Ray was expected to stay home, at least until the harvest was in.


Only three weeks had passed since he’d said goodbye to his parents and sister and returned to university for his final year. The guilt of leaving his family to finish the harvest without him had reared its head then. But Dad’s parting words, like always, lifted the load. “Go make us proud, son.”


Ray had barely had time to learn the names of his new professors when Mum’s telegram arrived. He’d carried it with him into Professor Robertson’s office and explained. The man was a good course counselor, but had no understanding of annual farming cycles or how bringing in the harvest was a life and death matter. He hailed from Toronto, where both a theater and a gallery bore his family name. In Professor Robertson’s prestigious home, the arts were revered above all else.


Closing his eyes, Ray recalled the conversation as perfectly as if he still stood before the man’s desk.


“I’m truly sorry for the loss of your father.” Professor Robertson looked at Ray over the top of his wire-rimmed spectacles. “Take as long as you need to settle his affairs. I should think two weeks will be sufficient. Ask one of your classmates to stay in touch by telephone with your assignments. William Spencer would be a good choice.”


“Sir … respectfully, there are no telephones in my area of the province.”