Friday, January 31, 2020

Reading and #Reviews (Gallant, Patterson with Allen, Eaton)

I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you what I'm reading and some reviews. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a book or an eReader at night for the last hour of my day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. I’m currently reading two books. The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy (a fun way to teach myself to relax) and Second Wind by Alison Henderson, a romantic suspense. I also read crime and law novels, WWII historicals, mysteries, and some main stream character driven novels.

Here are some of the books I've read recently or in the not too distant past. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author!

Lethal Memory by Jannine Gallant
Romantic Suspense

“Will a cure for humanity be the death of her?

Book two of the Counterstrike Novel series is sure to delight fans of Ms. Gallant. As always, she weaves great suspense with romance and this time throws in the tough subject of dementia. Riley is a biology professor with amnesia. Locked away in her mind could be a cure for dementia. Her knowledge nearly gets her killed before the Counterstrike team rescues her. While her passion grows with one of the rescuers, her fight to regain her memory is coupled with the race to recover her cure and save her grandfather.

Juror #3 by James Patterson with Nancy Allen

“A young attorney is defending her client in a racially charged felony case -- but in a town of old money and hidden secrets, her first trial may be her last in this #1 New York Times bestselling legal thriller.”

Actually two books in one, Juror #3 is the first of the stories. The new lawyer in town does a fine job of defending her clients in spite of the strikes against her. This is an easy read, but does not have the hard-hitting plots of James Patterson of the past. I’ve found this true of the books he co-authors.

Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
Cozy Mystery

“Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book.

This Cozy Mystery is just that. You’ll chuckle as you read and roll your eyes in all the places Phee is probably rolling her eyes. I’m originally from Phoenix and my mom lived in Sun City for years, so reading this mystery was even more fun for me. Since this is the first in the series, I know Phee must continue her sleuthing, and I’m going to have to follow her in her adventures.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tips and Myths #ThursdayThoughts #SaveMoney

I doubt anyone is opposed to saving money. I have a file where I stick money-saving tips when I run across something I read or a friend shares. Here are some of the ones sitting in my file that caught my attention. I'll share!

Don’t order movie tickets on line. You’ll pay a fee. Found this out the hard way!

Window cleaner is equal parts vinegar and water with a couple of dabs of dish washing liquid. I haven't tried this...I kind of avoid washing windows if I can get FDW to do it.

Get an on line account for the grocery store you shop and get updates on sales. You can load your This is a must. So easy. Really saves the money.
grocery store loyalty card with coupons that will be taken off your bill at the register.

The following websites look good, but I haven't actually tried them. If you have, or do, I'd love to hear what you think:

On sites such as, people offer unwanted gift cards below face value.

Get a list of discounts for seniors at dozens of restaurants, retail stores, and other places on the site

On line retailers offer discount codes. Check before you finalize a purchase.

Check out your state’s possibilities for saving on property tax. Some offer a discount for over 65 or for widows. For real. My mom gets a widow's discount on her property taxes.

Get retroactive refunds. Most stores will refund you the difference when something you’ve bought goes on sale soon after. I've heard this, but I haven't tried it.

Good luck saving money!

Monday, January 20, 2020

What does “Romantic Suspense” mean to you? by J. Arlene Culiner


I'm so happy to welcome back J. Arlene to Muse Monday. And she's talking about a genre near and dear to my heart, Romantic Suspense. Enjoy!

Hello again, Brenda. Thank you very much for inviting me back to your blog. Today, I’d like to talk a bit about falling in love and my January 15th Romantic Suspense release, The Turkish Affair. 

Let’s start with those two words: Romantic Suspense. Don’t they conjure up stalkers, a serial killer or two, car chases, shoot-outs, terrorists, a gun-packing super heroine, and an impossibly handsome hero? Well…I must admit I prefer reality, even when it comes to romance. If I were in danger, could I really count on the sudden appearance of some gorgeous, sexy, very hot secret agent who instantly puts a villain out of commission? Of course I couldn’t. And, I’m certain that if I were being threatened by a madman, I’d be so wrought up, I wouldn’t have the energy — or the leisure — to get to know someone I’m attracted to, or to succumb to love’s powerful magic.

Which is why I decided to write a different sort of romantic suspense. There’s certainly menace, but it’s psychological. There has been a murder, but it happens off stage, without graphic description, car chases, or screaming sirens. My setting is exotic — the archaeological site of Karakuyu in an
unstable part of Turkey — so we can’t really feel too comfortable. And we can’t count on the police either, for corruption is rampant in this part of the world.

My heroine, Anne Pierson, is running from a scandal in her past, and her attraction to archaeologist Renaud Townsend, threatens not only her peace of mind, but her way of life. Renaud, intelligent, gentle, has no wish to settle, for his passion is archaeology: “discovering the world from the ground down.” However, theft and murder draw them both into the mystery, and into emotions they are unable to control.

The Turkish Affair: another look at romantic suspense.


Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.


A delicious breeze tickled the air, and the little boat rocked gently. A fine line appeared between his brows, and his blue eyes were, once again, serious. “I need your help.”
She stared. “My help? With what? Translating?”
“No. With something else. I have to find out who is behind the thefts at Karakuyu.”
The feeling of dread returned, but she forced herself to sound casual. “How could I possibly help
you with that?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I suppose I just don’t want to feel that I’m alone in this.”
What could she say to that? Tell him she was the last person he should team up with? That long ago, she’d escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth? If she did so, this splendid moment would be over. The silver-foil glimmer of romance would be tarnished forever. He’d row back to shore, drive back to Gülkale, get rid of her as quickly as possible.
“Anne?” He reached out to caress her bare arm. “Come back from wherever you are.”
“You know nothing about me,” she said jaggedly.
“Nothing,” he agreed.
She swallowed. “I could be involved in the thefts for all you know. Why ask for my help? Why choose me?”
He smiled faintly. “A good question. I suppose, quite simply, I need—or want—to trust you.”
She felt utterly miserable. Why was life always like this? Wanting someone and not being able to have them? Wanting trust, but seeing it snatched away before it came close?
“Okay, then.” His voice was surprisingly tender. “If I promise not to probe into secrets, do I have
the right to ask one question?”
She nodded with resignation.
“Can I trust you?”
The answer to that was simple enough. “Yes. Of course you can.”
His returning smile was radiant. “Good.”
She stared helplessly at the strong, angular features highlighted by the merciless sun. “That’s crazy. You’re willing to take my word for it? I could be lying.”
He leaned forward, cupped her chin in his hand, and met her gaze evenly. “No way. Not with a face as expressive as yours.”

Author Bio

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.


Amazon Author page
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Friday, January 17, 2020

Diving In—Impulsive Bravery has its Downside By Joan Leotta #CivilWar #FearlessFriday


What an amazing and talented guest I have today. Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer. She plans to relaunch her historical fiction series in June 2020 and is presently launching a new performance piece--Louisa May Alcott, Civil War Nurse.

Contact her at

Some might say the time I overcame greatest fear was when I entered the training ring with a two-year old bull in Spain. The finca (Bull farm) owner asked my friend and me if we would like to help him test his two-year old bulls to assess their willingness to fight in the ring in Madrid.
The finca owner held the cape with me. I recall the chute opening and a large horned monster rushing toward us. I heard the man whisper, “arriba” and in synch with him I pulled up my end of the cape. I felt the bull thunder under the cape between us. “Corre” the man shouted, and I ran behind a sideboard and so did he. When the bull turned around, we were gone. This bull had made the grade. Everyone congratulated me, but truthfully, I felt more stupid than brave.

My next act of impulsive bravery came with more preparation, but not enough.  I had a great idea. I could turn my 12 k short story about a young girl who worked in WWII DC into a novella—40,000 words. Research showed that romance publishers seemed best suited to this tale of espionage, assimilation into America, and young love.

I sent out my story as a sample and a query letter—to three publishers. Desert Breeze (now out of business) responded in the affirmative—very affirmative. They wanted this story, set in along with three others!  A very short deadline was set for the first book and then I was to produce a book a year after that for four years. New to the field, I had no idea how much energy I would need to spend to expand my small platform into one large enough to sell the books I was writing.
Writing that first book was easy. Editing was hard work, but I had a good editor and a fabulous cover artist assigned to me by the publisher.

By the time I felt I could handle the E-book marketing, I learned all four were going into print. I opted to focus my efforts there and formulated a marketing plan which personal circumstances shredded. As I was reformulating my plan last year, Desert Breeze (DB)closed its doors. I joined the group of authors who were working together to help market our books.
DB gave me my rights, and for a small fee, the cover art. I plan to now gather up the courage to try a new-to-me venture—self-publishing the first three in the series as an e-book trilogy.
This time, however, I am going to add proper research into formatting and into marketing to my action list. I’ve set summer 2020 as my launch. To bolster that launch I’m writing a new historical fiction performance piece, performing Louisa May Alcott as a Civil War nurse (something I have already researched and performed). Look first, then leap is now my motto. And, oh yes, I will not be stepping into the bull ring any time soon.

If you want to support my efforts, please check out my blog, “What Editors Want You to Know”, Like my Facebook page Joan Leotta, Author and Storyteller, and email me at if you are interested in inviting Louisa May to your venue to speak about her time as a civil war nurse and about her writing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wickedly Cool Research by Talia Logan #WickedWednesday #romance


What a wickedly fun post I have today from guest Talia Logan. Read on and enjoy!

In my younger days, I did some wickedly cool stuff in the name of research for my books. I got up at 4 a.m. one morning to head to the St. Marys River in St. Marys, Georgia, to board a commercial shrimp boat for the day. One of my characters was a shrimper, and I wanted the whole experience.

Yeah. I spent most of the ride in the cabin, seasick.

Then I spent a weekend in a house full of Navy SEALs in Pensacola, Florida—not as wicked as it sounds, trust me—but interesting, to say the least. But one of them who’d become a friend of mine via ICQ (one of the first chat rooms when the internet was just a baby) talked me into skydiving. So a couple of weeks later, I met him in the Georgia countryside where I watched a 30-minute video on the inherent dangers of skydiving, got myself all suited up in a black jumpsuit, and we boarded a small plane to head into the blue skies. When we hit 13,000 feet, my SEAL friend opened the door of the plane and disappeared. The tandem master hooked himself to my back, pushed me to the opening, and pushed again.

The next thing I knew, I was plummeting toward Earth at 120 miles an hour. I’ve lived in the southeast most of my life and been through a dozen hurricanes, and the wind ripping at my face felt like I was in the middle of a Category 3 storm. All I remember is screaming at the top of my lungs, which I could feel, but couldn’t hear, with the roar of the wind in my ears.

After about sixty seconds, he pulled the cord, and the chute opened, jerking us up (which divers will tell you isn’t what really happens, but that’s what it feels like) and we drifted through the air at a leisurely, calming pace, peering at the landscape.

And I started to get airsick (kind of goes along with the seasick thing. Are you seeing a pattern here?)

“Are you going to be sick?” he asked.

“Uh, maybe?” I answered.

He shoved a barf bag in my face. “Here. So it won’t splatter on me.”

Nice guy.

I never did puke, but the one thing that’s always stayed with me about the experience is the intense silence up there. There were no sounds of planes, traffic, or even birds chirping. The only noise was an occasional rustle of the parachute in the breeze. It was the most incredible thing I’ve “never” heard. And I’ll never forget it. In fact, twenty-five years later, I’ve started considering a re-do. But we’ll see.

The moral of this tale? I wanted to share that experience with readers, and Deadly Chance was spawned. The heroine does make a tandem jump with the hero.

And she screams.

Photographer Tempest Raines is devastated when her adult son is snatched by Russian rebels. With her own deeply buried secrets, in her desperation to rescue him, she turns to Navy SEAL Chance Adams who reluctantly agrees to help her. But how much will she be willing to give of herself, and the truth, to save her son?
Because even if they all survive the mission, when Chance learns about her past, Tempest might be better off dead. 

Chance shoved away from the chair and went to the bedroom, tapping lightly on the door. “Tempest?”
He tried the handle, and the door opened. No answer, but the bathroom door sat slightly ajar. He went over and heard water running. He knocked and raised his voice. “Tempest!”
“Go away.” Her voice streamed through the sound of the shower.
He pushed open the door and stepped into the steamy room. “Tempest.”
Her voice tight, she said, “Get out of my bathroom, Commander. Now.”
“No. We’re going to talk.” He grabbed the curtain and scraped it across the rod.
She shrieked and reached up to pull it back.
He kept his hand on the bar, kicked off his shoes, and climbed into the tub. Water splashed over him, drenching his clothes. He ran his hands down her sides, then slipped his arms around her back and pulled her closer. “You already took a shower.”
She shoved at his chest.
He kept his grip, sliding his hands along her slick, soaped body. Water cascaded over her, her hair drooped against her shoulders in wet bunches. He leaned near her ear, resisting the urge to nibble, as the continuous stream pelted his head. “I’m sorry. It just surprised me. I don’t believe you would do that.” The tension slinked from her muscles.
She shifted her hands on his chest, but no longer pushed. “You need to go. Please.”
He didn’t move. “We still have a lot to do.”
“In the shower?”
He pressed against her. “I’m comfortable here.”
She bunched up a bit of his shirt in her hand and squeezed out water from the material. “Your clothes are soaking wet.”
He slid his hand to her shoulder, then behind her neck. His lips close to her ear, he whispered, “Then I guess I’ll have to walk around here naked until they dry.”
She slapped at his chest, forcing him away. “You are an insufferable jackass. Get out of my tub.” She reached behind her and turned off the water.
He let his hands slide off her body, but took his time, lingering on her hips. “I’ve had a lot of insults hurled at me, but I don’t believe anyone has ever called me an insufferable jackass.”
A growl spurted from her, and she yanked a towel from the rack, wrapping it around her curves. Without comment, she climbed over the edge of the tub and tromped into her bedroom.

Talia Logan is the pen name for an award-winning author of thrillers, but Talia writes romance. Her alter ego isn’t a secret, but she does want to keep her genres separate.
In her stories you’ll find heartbreak and joy, maybe a little intrigue, and always a happy ending. She writes from the porch of a Chesapeake Bay-front home, where the seagulls caw by day, the waves crash by night, and the moon casts a sultry glow over the dark waters.
Okay, maybe that’s fiction, but she can dream.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

In the Book, a #series is Born

This is where the series began...Lacy's search to know her birth parents, Flagstaff, Arizona, and a quest that uncovers secrets, threats, and murder.

Way back when, I wanted to write a story of love and murder. Murder in the name of love. Unrealistic love that drives a person to murder. Obsessive desires that mascaraed as love. My series took shape.

The setting for the first book, The Art of Love and Murder, needed a location as beautiful as Lacy and as rugged as Sheriff Meadowlark. Flagstaff, Arizona is nestled between the infamous Route 66 and the 12, 633 feet San Francisco Peaks.

When Lacy Dahl’s research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father, she finds herself on the edge of disaster.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice.  When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible.  As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.

Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love.  Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

For two weeks, you can get the first book in the series for $.99 at the following eBook stores:


Monday, January 6, 2020

Baby Making by Liz Flaherty #romance #babymaking


Ah, romance. Especially when baby making is involved. Liz has a great post and excerpt for you today.

I was so lucky. I got pregnant, I swear, just by giving it serious thought. My husband probably thinks there was more to it, but, really, it was just so easy. I carried all three of my kids with a minimum of drama, much morning sickness, and weight gain I’m still fighting (and blaming the kids for) 40-some years later.

But I know that’s not everyone’s story.

When I was writing The Healing Summer, Carol’s best friend couldn’t have a baby. The pendulums of biological clocks were swinging wildly and even though adoption was very much under consideration, so was everything else. Carol was single, she’d lost one child and miscarried another. She had no intention of ever being pregnant again.

Imagine her surprise when the words “gestational carrier” came out of her mouth. Imagine her further surprise when she offered to be one.

There is more than one plot in this book, more than one story—if a writer can be both linear and all over the place, I’m it—but the story of Carol and her best friend’s baby just might be my favorite.

It’s a summer romance--what happens come September?
When Steven Elliott accidentally rides his bike into Carol Whitney’s car at the cemetery, the summer takes on new and exciting possibilities. Long friendship wends its way into something deeper when their hearts get involved. Feelings neither of them had expected to experience again enrich their days and nights.  But what happens when the long summer ends? When Carol wants a family and commitment and a future, Steven isn't so sure. He’s had his heart broken before—can he risk it again?


“Were you hunting me?” She should have waited to get her breath back—she sounded like a vamp from one of 1940s movies that were on really late at night when you couldn’t sleep. “When we met on the road, I mean.”

“Huh?” He sounded nonplused, and she felt like cheering. She wasn’t the only one who’d been kissed stupid—he wasn’t doing so well, either. “Oh, yeah.”

“Yeah?” She turned away, starting to put away the abandoned groceries. If she couldn’t see him, she would neither hyperventilate nor jump his bones. Maybe.

“Want to?”

Want to what? That? Did she want to? Hell, yes, she wanted to. But they were just barely aware of each other, and he was going back to his big city life and big city friends in a matter of weeks. Although he’d probably spend some weekends at Miss Abigail’s and possibly even open an office in Peacock the way he’d mentioned, he wasn’t good relationship material.

Even more, in Carol’s mind and she thought probably in his, he was still Promise’s. The thought sobered her and stilled her hands. Oh, Promise.

“What did you…why did you want me?” she asked, trying to insert some sense into the conversation, some mental cold water on her still-shrieking girl parts.

“Dinner.” He pulled his hair back into a band he took from his pocket—he never seemed to run out of ponytail holders. “Would you like to go to dinner? And shop for cars? I know you’re not going to the beach this summer, but I’ll buy you a girly drink with an umbrella in it and you can pretend.” He ran a finger lightly down the strap of her dress. “You can wear one of these dresses, although probably not this one, since I seem to have decorated it with sawdust and sweat. Oh, wait.” He held up both hands to stave off an answer. “Grace told me it was rude to suggest someone wear something in particular, so I take that back. Wear whatever you like.”

“When and why did Grace tell you that?” She refilled their tea glasses and handed him his. She took a long drink, hoping the cold brew would serve to cool down her insides.

Well, that wasn’t working—she was pretty sure she felt them sizzle.

“Thursday. She was going to afternoon tea over at the Old Farts Home, something they’ve apparently decided to have every Thursday. You stay for it, too, don’t you, after you get their hair and nails all prettied up? Anyway, she had on her overalls, complete with grass-stained knees, and I said, very politely, ‘Holy shit, Grace, are you wearing those?’ She didn’t respond well.”

“I’m amazed.” She shook her head.

“I was, too,” he said righteously. “I was only trying to help.”

Even if she could have resisted the hormonal storm that had overtaken her kitchen, Carol had no defense against his laughing dark eyes. “Okay, thanks. I’d like to go to dinner. And you’re sure it’s all right if I wear whatever I please?”

His gusting sigh should have made the kitchen curtains stir. “Yes. Fine. Can I use your phone to call Dillon and ask him to bring my truck up the hill?”

“Sure, or we can walk down if you’d rather.” Carol was surprised at how much she was enjoying the walking these days, especially when it was downhill.

“You wouldn’t mind?”

“No.” She grinned at him. “But you have to take a shower. I do have some standards on dates.” She gasped as soon as the words left her mouth. “I’m sorry. I know this isn’t a date. We’re friends who kissed…accidentally. This is dinner, not a date. Right?”

He smiled, a slow and lazy expression that turned her stomach over. And over again. “Wrong.” He came over and kissed her once more. Thoroughly. “It’s a date.”

Retired from the post office and married to Duane for…a really long time, USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty has had a heart-shaped adult life, populated with kids and grands and wonderful friends. She admits she can be boring, but hopes her curiosity about everyone and everything around her keeps her from it. She likes traveling and quilting and reading. And she loves writing.

Buy links:

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Writing Inspiration by Donna Schlachter #inspiration #mystery

Please welcome Donna as my guest blogger today. It's always interesting to hear how an author got started and where inspiration comes from.

When I was a kid, I loved to read. And once I’d worked my way through the children’s section of our local library, I begged the librarian to let me read from the adult section. I read Jack London and others who wrote about animals, moving on to Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour because I loved horses. The librarian made sure she approved every book I checked out.

And then I discovered Agatha Christie, which ignited my passion for mysteries. Everywhere I went, I looked for the baker’s son who pulled wings off flies, or the mailman who kicked dogs, or the housewife who wore her negligee to hang clothes—all of those peculiar mannerisms Miss Marple mentioned in solving the crime. And I worked on triggering “those little grey cells” like Hercules Poirot said.

In writing class, I was the kid who got A+ because of word count. I loved to write. I’d make up stories about anything. The last leaf on the tree in the fall—what was it thinking? Why didn’t it want to join its friends? How about the one bird sitting by itself on the telephone wire. What had it done to be excluded from the flock? Or did it think it was an eagle and not a pigeon?

Stories from my childhood like The Ugly Duckling and The Prince and the Pauper ignited “What if. . . ?” questions. What if I’d been born in a different family? What if I wasn’t the oldest? What if I had a twin?

Perhaps because I was the oldest and I got blamed not only for what I did but for what my siblings did as well, I have a strong sense of justice. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and there isn’t much grey area between the two. So writing mysteries seemed like the way to ensure that my world was always in alignment.

Starting around 2002, after writing short stories and other short pieces for a while, I wondered if I had a full-length book in me. I heard about National Novel Writing Month, and decided to find out if I could write 50,000 words about one thing: solving a mystery. I started late, had only the barest bones of a story, and ended up writing myself into a corner because I didn’t know who the criminal was.

But I persevered, decided who would be the killer, and wrote 7,500 words on November 30th, bringing my word count to just over 50,000 words.

Did I mention I’m also very badge-driven?

So on December 1st of that same year, I went back in and put in red herrings and clues as to the killer’s motivation, because I hate it when a television show or author springs the solution without offering any clues along the way.

After about ten more revisions through the years, I independently published that book, now renamed No Accounting for Murder, the first in a series. Number 11 came out the end of December under my pen name of Leeann Betts. Along with three volumes of three novels each, appropriately named By the Numbers Omnibus 1, 2, and 3.

So what inspires me? Well-written stories ignited the passion to prove myself worthy of reading and dreaming and imagining along with the author. The characters and stories tumbling around in my head cry out to be written down. Seeing my father hold the story of his life in his hands as a book published for the family confirms my calling. And finishing the story of his life as he wanted, even after his passing, reminds me that time is short and we aren’t always guaranteed tomorrow. Hearing readers say they enjoyed a particular book confirms that I have a gift that shouldn’t be wasted. Teaching at conferences and online courses, and hearing students say, “I finally get it” keeps me working at my craft. And sharing my story with you reminds me that this isn’t all about me—it’s about what God is doing in me and through me.

The way I figure it, others have their way of touching people’s lives, through their speaking, their service, their preaching. I touch lives through my writing. But that writing is still only a tool. The message I bring is that God offers second, third, fourth and more chances. I’m living proof of that. I’ve messed up more times than I have fingers and toes. Yet here I am, being used by Him to share His love.

What more inspiration do I need? 

About Double Jeopardy:
Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable.

Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money.

Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over.

Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife.

Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?

Join us on January 7th, 2020 as we celebrate the release of Double Jeopardy

Chapter 1
1880 Silver Valley, Colorado

Dead. Dead as her dreams and her hopes.
Dead as a doornail, as her mother would say.
Just thinking about the woman drove a steel rod through Becky Campbell’s slumping back. Perched on a chair in the sheriff’s office, she drew a deep breath, lifted her shoulders, and raised her chin a notch. She would not be like the woman who birthed her. Pretty and pampered. A silly socialite finding nothing better to do with her days than tea with the mayor’s spinster daughter or bridge with the banker’s wife.
No, she’d much rather be like her father. Adventuresome. Charismatic. Always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Now her breath came in a shudder, and down went her shoulders again. She tied her fingers into knots before looking up at the grizzled lawman across the desk from her. “There’s no chance there’s been a mistake in identification, is there?”
He slid open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a pocket watch, a lapel pin, and a fountain pen, which he pushed across the desk to her. “He was pretty well-known around here. I’m really sorry, miss.”
Becky picked up the timepiece and flicked open the cover. Inside was a photograph of her family, taken about ten years earlier when she was a mere child of eight and Father stayed around long enough to sit still for the portrait. Her mother, petite and somber, and she, all ringlets and ribbons. She rubbed a finger across the engraving. To R. Love M. Always.
Yes, this was his.
And the lapel pin, a tiny silver basket designed to hold a sprig of baby’s breath or a miniature rosebud—a wedding gift from her mother twenty years before.
She looked up at the sheriff, tears blurring her vision. “And his ring?”
The lawman shook his head. “No ring. Not on his body or in his shack.”
“But he always wore it. Never took it off.”
He shrugged. “Maybe he lost it. Or sold it.”
“I doubt he’d do either. My mother gave it to him when I was born.”
She peered at him. Had he stolen her father’s ring?
Or maybe Sheriff Freemont was correct. Maybe something as important as her birth hadn’t meant much to her father. Maybe she didn’t either. Was that why he left?

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About Donna:
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she 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 American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!
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