Tag Archives: Donna Schlachter

The Story Behind the Story . . .  A Train Ride to Heartbreak

Don’t you love learning the story behind a story? Today I’ve invited author Donna Schlachter to share about what is behind her novella, A Train Ride to Heartbreak, featured in The Mail Order Brides Collection.

Donna, we’d love to hear where you got the idea for your story!

The idea for this story came from a love of a movie and a friend with a great story to share.

The movie was “The Fugitive”, both the original series pilot and the more recent remake. I loved the idea of a train ride leading to a second chance.

My friend had recently taken a train ride from Denver to San Francisco, and she shared several delightful stories. I wondered if a train ride might be like a cruise in that it would provide an insulated environment where the travelers might do something they’d never done before. If so, this was perfect fodder for a romance, much like the old TV show, “The Love Boat”.

And then I saw “Murder on the Orient Express”, and as a lover of anything Agatha Christie, decided to incorporate a few of the details in my story.

The result? A chance meeting, two characters with integrity, and a way for God to reach both of them.

Could you share a few tidbits about your characters and the basic premise of your story?

Mail Order Brides cover1895, Train to California

John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.

October 1895

Mary Johannson has scars on her body that can’t compare with the scars on her heart. She is alone in the world, with no family, no prospects, and no home.

John Stewart is at his wit’s end. His wife of three years died in childbirth, leaving him with a toddler and an infant, both girls. Theirs was the love of fairy tales, and while he has no illusions about finding another like her, his children need a mother.

Though separated by thousands of miles, Mary and John commit to a mail-order marriage. But on their journey to Heartbreak, they meet another and realize the life they’d planned would be a lie. Can they find their way back from the precipice and into the love of God and each other, or are they destined to keep their word and deny their heart?

Would you please share an excerpt with us? 

Groverton, Pennsylvania

September 1895

Chapter 1

Mary Johannson plunged reddened hands into the dishwater and scrubbed at a crusty spot on the chipped china plate.

In the yard, the vicar, shoulders slumped from the cares of his congregation, held a small child in his arms while two toddlers clutched his pants leg. And Matron Dominus, the imposing head of the Meadowvale Orphan’s Home, towered over the small group huddled before her.

Mary checked the plate. Satisfied it would pass muster, she dipped it into the rinse bucket and set the piece into the dish rack to air dry. Next she set a burnt oatmeal pot into the water to soak while she dried her hands on her apron and surveyed the scene outside.

The vicar nodded and turned to walk the gravel path he’d traversed just minutes before, the wee ones in tow as he hoisted the child to his other hip for the mile-long trip back. No doubt he was waiting for space to open in the orphanage.

Her space.

Mary would turn eighteen in two months. And despite her desire to escape the confines of the orphanage, she wasn’t excited about making her own way in the world. The last girl who aged out—as the other orphans called the act of turning eighteen—now worked at the saloon.

And everybody knew what kind of girls worked there.

Mary swiped at the scarred worktable set in the middle of the kitchen floor, her washrag sweeping crumbs into her hand. She still needed to finish the dishes and report to Matron

Dominus for her next order for the day.

By the time she returned to the sink, the vicar and his charges were out of sight.

But Matron Dominus stood outside the tiny window staring in at her.

Checking up on her, no doubt. Making certain she wasn’t lollygagging. An activity all of the residents indulged in. According to Matron.

Mary hurried through the rest of the washing up. She swept the floor, put a pot of beans on to soak for supper, and shooed the cat out from under the stove. After checking the dampers to make certain the range wouldn’t needlessly heat the kitchen—another of Matron’s accusations—she hung her apron on a nail beside the back door.

Stepping out into the fresh air, Mary drew a deep breath and leaned against the clapboard siding.

Perhaps she could work at the seamstress shop. She was a fair hand with a needle and thread. Or maybe the general store.

“Mary Johannson.”

The screech like a rooster with its tail caught in a gate startled her, and she straightened. But in her haste, she overbalanced and stepped forward to catch herself, hooking her toe in the hem of her dress, which she’d just let down last week to a more respectable length.

The sound of rending cloth filled her ears as the ground slammed toward her. She got her hands out in front of her just in time to prevent mashing her nose into the soil. The toes of Matron Dominus’s boots filled her vision.

Mary pushed herself to her feet, wincing at an ache in her lower back not there a moment before. Tears blurred her vision when she checked her dress—she had a three-inch rip just above the hem.

“Are you lollygagging about? Sunbathing? Do you think you’re on the Riviera?”

Despite her imposing height and girth, the matron’s voice—particularly when she was irked—resembled the irksome peacock Mary had once seen in the zoo in Philadelphia. Why God would create such a beautiful bird with such a nasty voice was beyond her.

But if what Matron said was true, He’d created Mary, too, only to have her burned by the flames that killed the rest of her family. Angry red scars ran from her forearms to halfway up her neck, and a collar of white tissue, the result of an inept doctor sewing her back together again, ringed her neck and inched toward her ears.

No, if God really loved her, He wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

Thank you, Donna!

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She Schlachter DSCF1330_Donnawrites historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid author who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a local critique group, and teaches writing classes and courses. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

You can connect with Donna at the following links:

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Other Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

 

Takeaway from A Prickly Affair

Today’s post is from Donna Schlachter, the author of A Prickly Affair, included in A Bouquet of Brides.

51OhyGLrtxLWhen I decided on the takeaway value for my Bouquet of Brides story, “A Prickly Affair”, I wanted the message to be buried beneath the romance story. I write stories of second—and third—and fourth chances from a God who is bigger than our mistakes, so that message is in this story. I also wanted to have a character demonstrate the agape love of God, which I managed to include.

To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides collection and my story, A Prickly Affair, I’m giving away a free print copy (US only) of the book. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll be drawing for the book at the end of January. If you’re already subscribed, follow my blog . And if you’ve already done both of those, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook (see the links below)

Schlachter DSCF1330_DonnaDonna 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 author who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a local critique group, and teaches writing classes and courses. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She 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

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

Paula here: Remember that I’m giving a way a copy of A Bouquet of Brides here on this blog! There are three ways to have your name put in the hat. 1) sign up to follow me here! 2) Sign up for my newsletter 3) Comment on this blog. Each comment is another chance to win!

Meet Donna Schlachter!

img_6534-juggling-the-books-smallerJust seeing the name of this dear sister-in-Christ makes me smile every time. Donna Schlachter is the author of A Prickly Affair, the sixth novella in the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. Donna and I go way back. God is so good! We had no idea all those years ago that someday the Lord would again weave our writing journeys together, giving of the great pleasure being published in the same collection. (Thank you, Jesus!)

From the beginning of our experience together I knew Donna to be a conscious, servant-hearted, capable leader with a quick smile and wit.

When I served as president of the north Denver chapter of ACFW, Donna served as treasurer. She was wonderful, handling details that would have bogged me down on top of keeping the books, a job I think only a saint would sign up for.

The picture below, taken November of 2010, is of the His Writer’s board the day we hosted our first writer’s conference. We were thrilled to have teacher extraordinaire and multi-published author, Susan May Warren, as our speaker for the day. She’s standing between Donna and me in the picture below. On the other side of me is Linda Ables, who served as treasurer, and Jill Hups, who was vice-president at the time. Donna and I have laughed together over email about this day, which had its own foibles and learning curves, but still offered wonderful instruction to area writers.

74017_1662508329931_246122_nI’m grateful for all Donna did to make our board run smoothly and for the encouragement she so often was to me personally. Her desire for excellence and her wisdom was such an asset! The Lord also used her to speak some thing into my life that I hadn’t understood about myself.

Looking back to those years we served together, its fun for me to relive Donna and my developing friendship. It’s a testimony to how God knits hearts together and how deeply we need people who help us see new perspectives.

Donna and I liked and respected each other from the beginning, but I’m not sure we always understood each other. It seemed we often saw things in leadership from the opposite perspective! What’s so beautiful about that is we soon learned that sharing our ideas, even when we differed, made the outcome better for everyone. Donna was definitely the balance I needed as I grew as a leader in this position.

51OhyGLrtxLIt is with deep love and gratitude that I think of this special friend and all we shared together during those days of serving. Donna is incredibly faithful and giving, and we’ve been cheering each other’s journeys for a while.  I’m so grateful God chose us to be friends and blessed the love we share by allowing us to be published together in A Bouquet of Brides.

Before I close, I wanted to let you know about Donna’s daily devotion, Transformation, which releases TODAY! Talk about a God-thing! I pre-scheduled these “friend” posts about my fellow authors. Then I heard Donna had a devotional book releasing, so I decided to add that information this post. THEN I discovered I’d already scheduled the blog about Donna on the very day Transformation releases! Isn’t that cool? I love these little gifts of the Father.

Here is a blurb about the book:

Cover imageTransformation offers 366 devotions that will chronologically walk you through the Bible in a year

If you’ve ever wished you could start a devotional at some time throughout the year other than January 1st, then this is the devotional for you! Each day is numbered, so you can start any day of the year and still walk through the Bible in a year

If you like to start out the year on the right foot on January 1st, then this is the devotional for you!

However you like to structure your quiet time, today is the absolute best time to start!

If you’d like to follow Donna:

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

You can check out Donna’s other publications on her Amazon author page. 

Until next time when we meet the final author of the collection, Pegg Thomas,

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