Monday, September 17, 2018

The Pony Express collection ~ Donna Schlachter~ Giveaway

Please welcome author Donna Schlachter as she shares a 'story behind the story' post about a book from her backlist on "Everything Old is New Again" feature.

Take it away, Donna!

The Story Behind the Story of Echoes of the Heart, from The Pony Express Romance Collection
By Donna Schlachter

 If you’ve ever wondered if a writer’s conference is worth the time, effort, and expense, let me assure you: it is!

My involvement in The Pony Express Romance Collection began several years ago at an ACFW Conference, where I met up with my dear friend, Mary Davis. I asked her what she was working on, and she said she was putting together a proposal for a Pony Express novella collection. I said, “I’d love to be part of that” to which she replied she already had the four authors she needed but if anything changed, she’d contact me.

The next month, hubby and I were planning a long weekend away, and I suggested we do some Pony Express research, “just in case”. So we traveled to Julesburg, Colorado and on into Wyoming, following the trail. Along the way, we stopped and talked to folks at visitor information centers, museums, and anywhere that advertised the Pony Express. People still love the romance and allure of the Pony Express, and it seemed as though everybody had a story.

Another month goes by, and Mary emailed to say an author had to drop out because of other commitments and was I still interested. You bet I was! The initial concept was four stories told in chronological order at the same station, Echo Canyon Utah, with some carryover of characters from one story to the next.

And so began my romance with the Pony Express. We went through several iterations of the proposal, and the format changed to nine authors at different stations with no overlap of characters.

If I hadn’t been at that conference, I wouldn’t have known about this opportunity. At other conferences, I’ve made contact with other editors, publishers, and book packagers and been blessed to work with them on various projects. So while classes are important, don’t forget the benefits of networking!

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 highlighted release, Echoes of the Heart, in a 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection" released April 2017. 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.

Echoes of the Heart:

Donna is offering a FREE print copy of this book (US only, please,) to one reader of this blog who leaves a commnt below, with  name and contact information.
Giveaway ends Monday, September 24, at Midnight, Central Time.

Thanks, Donna, for sharing this look into one of your older books. God bless!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Turbulent Times ~ Joi Copeland

God's Beauty - Picture provided by Joi

Turbulent Times
A Devotional from Joi Copeland

Flying. There are some people who really enjoy the flying experience. They seem to feel at ease in the sky. They seem to like the thrill of defying gravity. Oh, and getting from one place to another in hours instead of months is always a draw to flying, right?

Not this gal. No, ma’am. I do not like flying. Sure, I like the taking off and the landing portion of flying. But being in the air? Uh-uh. Nope. Not me. It’s unsettling for me to be so high in the air with no place to go if something were to happen. I’m not too keen on the idea of having to use my pressure mask or flotation device.

Yet, the life of a missionary requires me to fly. We have to travel from state to state, giving our presentation, sharing with churches and pastors. And when God says it’s time, we have to fly to Ireland and begin our ministry. It’s par for the course. It’s part of the job.

Just last week, we were in Portland, Maine. We then traveled to Vermont by car since it isn’t too far to drive. Then we headed back to Maine to fly home to Denver, Colorado. To say our flights were turbulent free would be a lie. Especially our flight from Baltimore.

We were sitting on the plane before taking off when the pilot came out to suggest we use the bathroom now since we were going to experience pretty heavy turbulence, and he wasn’t going to let the flight attendants up during time either.

Um, what? Say again? Turbulence. I despise turbulence. And here the pilot was telling us we were going to experience a lot of it. I wanted nothing more than to jump out of my seat, grab my luggage, and take a train home. That was my thought.

But that’s not what happened. I stayed on the plane, we took off, we were rerouted and still had turbulence.  I spent a lot of time in prayer on that flight. Who am I kidding? On every flight.  

Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] states “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

I spent a lot of time in prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to be in Maine and Vermont, asking Him to change my heart in regards to flying. I asked God for peace, His peace, no matter what happened.

And I saw beauty on that flight. I looked through the window and saw God’s creation. It was amazing! I was reminded that yes, in life, I will have turbulence. 

John 16:33 [NKJV] “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Jesus has overcome the world. Isn’t that great news? No matter what turbulence comes your way, rest in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She lives in Denver, Colorado, but within the year, hopes to be living in Galway, Ireland.

Joi’s love of writing began at a young age. She wrote short stories for several years, and in 2009, she began writing her first novel, Hope for Tomorrow.
Joi’s books include:

Hope for Tomorrow, book 1
Hope for the Journey, book 2
Hope from the Past, book 3,

Letters of Love

Maine Series:
Christmas Snowe and Peppermint Cocoa, a novella
Shamrock Inn, a novella
Chance in Maine
Fall N Joy

Seasons of Love Series:
Christmas Rayne
Sunshine in Spring

Broken Together

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Time to Tell Melanie's Story ~ Bonnie Engstrom ~ Giveaway

 Time to Tell Melanie's Story

Guest post by author Bonnie Engstrom

I can’t believe I agreed to post on Peg’s blog on the fateful date of September 11. Hey, brain, where were you? Nevertheless, I am here with a pleasant memory.

Ten years ago, actually on September 13, I flew to California and saw my first grandson. I’ll never forget my son’s words as a first-time father. “I prayed he wouldn’t be born on the eleventh. I didn’t want him to forever deal with that date.” Fletcher was born on September 12!

Although this memory has nothing to do with writing, it is inscribed indelibly in my brain,

So are the words we writers put on paper. Once published they are forever words. That’s why editing is the hardest part of writing. I’ve always self-edited my stories at least six times. I’m sure I’ve missed many poor punctuations and misspelled, even unnecessary, words. That’s a given. But, Melanie’s Ghosts was my bane. I edited it over thirty times! Maybe I should have titled it The Curse of Melanie’s Ghosts. Unlike the other books in The Candy Cane Girls Series, this story is predominantly about Melanie and the emotional trials she goes through after her husband of only a few hours is arrested and subsequently dies. See, I just used an unnecessary word – subsequently – when I could have said “later,” or “afterward,” or even “eventually,” since it didn’t happen immediately or “right away.” We writers do that; use big words to make a point.

If you don’t know who The Candy Cane Girls are, I will bring you up to date:

Fifteen years ago, six high school freshmen in Newport Beach, California formed a swim team that became legendary. They won the state relay swim championship four years in a row. In addition to their skill and devotion to daily practicing, they prayed together and vowed to be sisters forever. 

Another thing that set them apart was they chose their own swimsuits making them a team within a larger team. They chose red and white diagonally striped swimsuits. Thus, became known as the Candy Canes. 

They always will be.

By passionate persuasion on her part, and Christian sympathy on their hearts, Melanie was accepted by the group after a strenuous swim. Now, there are seven. Now, her story can be told.

Ghosts! One is laughing down from heaven. One wears rags. One is falling in love with her. Melanie’s faith is shaken. Her husband Larry is dead. They had only been married a few hours before he was arrested. Will her best friend Natalie be enough? Who will understand about Larry’s crime, his deception and how he died? Surely not her new friend Robert who lost his wife to cancer; no deception there. Just sadness. Should she believe the homeless old woman who claims to be Larry’s estranged mother, calling herself Melanie’s mother-in-law? Especially when the raggedy old lady stalks her and camps on her doorstep. Why did the woman abandon her son and husband over thirty years ago? Robert gives her empathy and support . . . until his own secret is revealed. All Melanie has left of Larry is the gorgeous blue diamond ring! Her special group of friends, the Candy Canes, promise to pray for her. But, is prayer enough? She counts on all of them for support and answers! The love of a dog with her shaggy fur, big eyes and her kisses may have to be enough. Larry, his homeless mother, and even Robert, all haunt her. Her only normalcy is teaching the adorable three-year-olds in her preschool class. Maybe little Jackson will help put the ghosts to rest.

Click on to order.

About Bonnie:
Bonnie and her husband Dave live in Scottsdale, Arizona and have six grandchildren; four in Arizona and two in Costa Rica.

Bonnie is a long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Christian Writers of the West in Arizona. She is a Pro Member of Romance Writers of America.

She loves to connect with her readers. Her email address is Be sure to put BOOK in the subject line. She would love to chat with you and answer any questions.

Visit her website (where you can see all those grandchildren) and link up with her on Twitter @BonnieEngstrom1 and Facebook at To see all of her books go to

Answer a question and leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a free e-book or print book – your choice. Question: What would you do if a homeless woman who claimed to be a relative camped on your doorstep?

Leave your comment and answer below with your contact information, to be entered in the giveaway Giveaway ends one week from today on September 18 at Midnight, Central Time.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Breaking News ~ Susan Page Davis ~ Giveaway

Breaking News
by Susan Page Davis

Image courtesy
 What inspired this book?
In the 1920s, Judge Joseph Crater owned a summer cottage in Belgrade, Maine, my hometown. Judge Crater’s disappearance in 1930 was considered the missing persons case of the century.

After reading about Judge Crater’s case, I considered writing a book about it. Instead, after much thought, I decided to write a novel instead. The story is not about Judge Crater but was inspired by his story.

Writing about fictional characters is always easier than writing about real people. You can make them act and speak any way you wish. And you can resolve a mystery in any of several ways, rather than sticking to history.

Rather than confine myself to the facts of the judge’s true case, I decided to place a later disappearance in the same location, this time making the person who vanished a senator.

By moving the event to 1968, I was able to tell the story in a contemporary setting through the eyes of middle-aged people who remembered the event. I created a family, the Fairmonts, who lived near the senator’s cottage, and a pair of kind neighbors—news editor Kurt Borden and his wife, Janet—to get involved.

Kurt sees the mystery unfold from the official perspective when his reporter, Mick Tyler, goes to write a story about the senator and ends up missing, too. Kurt deals with the police and the news staff covering the story. Janet sees it from a more personal angle. She gets to know the elderly neighbor’s children—adults now, but boys and girls when the senator vanished. Piece by piece, Kurt and Janet solve the mystery of the two disappearances.

My main characters in this book have deep faith in God. Because of this, I was able to bring the story to a much more satisfying conclusion, in my opinion, that Judge Crater’s story.

In real life, we don’t always see the solution to mysteries we encounter. I hope you will enjoy Breaking News and the ways Kurt and Janet find to help their friends, neighbors, and coworkers with the problems they suffer because of an old crime.

When news editor Kurt Borden sends his star reporter out to do a story on a senator who disappeared more than 40 years ago, the reporter goes missing too. 

Kurt’s wife, Janet, finds an elderly neighbor ill in his home. The old man begs her to give a cryptic message to his grown children. Could the two mysterious events in small-town Maine be connected? 

To help unravel the mystery, Kurt and Janet must rely on their faith and use all their wits and diplomatic skills.

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 80 books, in the mystery, suspense, and historical romance categories. She is a past winner of the Carol Award, the Faith, Hope, two Love Readers’ Choice Awards, and two Will Rogers Medallions. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim.

Contact Info/Social Media Links:
·       Website:
·       Twitter: @SusanPageDavis

Giveaway: Susan will give either a paperback (US only, please) or an ebook copy of Breaking News. To Enter, simply leave a comment below with your contact information. Giveaway ends one week from today on Thursday, September 6, 2018, at Midnight Central Time.

Peg here: For an extra chance to win, simply become a follower of this blog (see left sidebar) and mention it in your comment. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Behind the Story: USAF ~ Carrie Daws ~ Giveaway

Story Behind the Story: USAF
by Carrie Daws

Image courtesy
About four years ago, I had a new book idea: God speaking hope into desperation. Okay, so I didn't say it was a unique idea.

At first, it intrigued me. I had a couple of real-life stories from two families that were willing to share them with the world. They had drama and tension perfect for good fiction. As I thought about the details, I was filled with an incredible awe of what God was willing to do to rescue His own. I thought the stories would inspire, encourage. Challenge.

God and I talked, He fine-tuned the idea like only He can. In other words, He made it bigger. Much bigger. Slowly, my not-so-unique idea turned into, well, somewhat of a unique idea. After all, I agree with Solomon that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV).

You see, I was born into an active duty Air Force family. Dad retired, entered the seminary, and then served bi-vocationally as a pastor of small churches and a civil servant with the Air Force, which continued to keep us moving around a lot. I grew up, married, and my husband soon joined the Air Force. From those early days with our young daughter on my hip, I experienced the sacrifices of a military wife and family. Over the years, I've listened to a lot of military spouses tell stories of their own sacrifices ranging from similar to mine to very, very different.

The stories I've heard piled in my heart. They became a part of who I was, what the American flag and the Star Spangled Banner represented to me. And the deeper I plunged into writing, the more some of these stories clamored to be told. Home Front Heroines was born.

The books are really quite simple: How God loved five desperate families, one from each branch of the Department of Defense, through some of the roughest days of their lives. Spiritual growth, emotional healing, and deep heart change. What could be more inspiring?

Home Front Heroines: More Than Meets the Eye.

Deployment changed him, and she doesn’t know if she can live with it. After her husband returns from a deployment to Saudi Arabia, Lori Braxton begins noticing little differences in his behavior. He’s withdrawn, moody, and can’t sleep. Could it be the stress of military life after the 9/11 attack on New York? Maybe it’s the new assignment in Montana or the financial problems he ignores. Perhaps it’s forces she can’t see and doesn’t know how to fight, or maybe she’s a bigger part of the problem than she wants to admit.

Lori tries to attend church and do what God asks, but the truth is she doesn’t really hear Him speak. Between money strains, pregnancy hormones, and young ones underfoot, Lori spirals into depression. What good could God possibly bring from the mess surrounding her?

Home Front Heroines: Not My Ways.

The long-awaited first grandchild is born, yet it quickly becomes clear that she may not survive more than a few hours. When she does, further tests reveal that she will require life-long care. The young family adapts, but the husband soon understands God wants him to go back into the military career that he left when he got married. How can the family thrive in the face of multiple hospital visits and long deployments?

Home Front Heroines: United States Army, Marines, and Coast Guard.

While the titles are still to be determined, the stories are no less heart-wrenching and life-changing than the situations above. Pornography and infidelity. Miscarriage. Severe PTSD. Isolation from family.

The good news is that all these stories have a happy ending—not because that's how I write them but because in each circumstance the family allowed God to intervene. They worked with the Holy Spirit to change them, to correct their attitudes, to heal their hearts, to look for God's perspective.

They are beautiful stories of hope and redemption, even in the midst of terrible loss. I hope you'll join me for this up close, personal look into the lives of some of our American military families. 

More Than Meets the Eye: United States Air Force (Home Front Heroines book 1)

Deployment changed him, and she doesn’t know if she can live with it.
After her husband returns from a deployment to Saudi Arabia, Lori Braxton begins noticing little differences in his behavior. He’s withdrawn, moody, and can’t sleep. Could it be the stress of military life after the 9/11 attack on New York? Maybe it’s the new assignment in Montana or the financial problems he ignores. Perhaps it’s forces she can’t see and doesn’t know how to fight, or maybe she’s a bigger part of the problem than she wants to admit

What is God doing? Is He even paying attention?
Lori tries to attend church and do what God asks, but the truth is she doesn’t really hear Him speak. Between money strains, pregnancy hormones, and young ones underfoot, Lori spirals into depression.

What good could God possibly bring from the mess surrounding her?

God rewrote Carrie’s dreams to include being an author. With a background in weekly devotions, a mentor and several friends encouraged her to try fiction. The writing monster that she now barely keeps contained was born. Since then, she’s completed several books including her new romantic suspense, The Embers series

To learn more about her books, click HERE

Carrie is offering copies of More Than Meets the Eye to TWO of this blog’s readers. To enter, just leave a comment and your contact information in the section below. Giveaway will run one week from today, ending at midnight on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, Central Time.