Friday’s Feature with Donna Schlachter

Giveaway and Excerpt

Question: Answer the following question to enter a random drawing for a print (US only) or ebook copy of Hollenberg Hearts: What’s your favorite genre and why?

Hollenberg Hearts

Hearts of the Pony Express

Book 1

Most people know something about the Pony Express, but few realize it only operated from April 1860 through to November 1861. The first ride left St. Joseph, Missouri heading west, and from Sacramento, California heading east, on April 3rd, 1860. 

The idea for a Pony Express was conceived in the minds of its owners because of the possibility of winning the contract for the overland US mail. Another company, Butterworth, was running a southern route that took up to three weeks to deliver to the west coast, and Majors and Waddell thought they could beat that time by taking the shorter northern route.

The time period, 1860, fascinates me as there were so many changes happening in America. The train is a dream; the cross-country telegraph is nearing completion; the country is brewing for civil war; women are campaigning for voting and civil rights. In just a few short years, cameras will photograph war for the first time; telephones will be installed in people’s homes; electricity will light our lives into the dark of night.

When the final rider left Sacramento in November 1861, carrying letters going east as far as St. Joseph, Missouri, the company was already about $600,000 in debt. Although the project was well-conceived and well-executed, it was never designed as a long-term system. And when the Overland Express lost its bid to garner the mail contract, the company ended up merging with its competitor Butterworth to deliver mail that kept the country united through the coming war and for many years to come.


About Hollenberg Hearts

Catherine Malloy escapes a poor past in response to a mail order bride ad her best friend answered. However, Margaret dies before meeting the man who owns horses and property in Kansas.

Benjamin Troudt works for the Hollenberg family at their way station in Kansas, and owns nothing but the clothes on his back. Unbeknownst to him, his pastor is corresponding with a potential wife from back East for him.

When Catherine, now calling herself Maggie, arrives, Benjamin knows nothing of the pastor’s match-making, and rejects her. However, a seriously ill pregnant woman needs tending. Perhaps Maggie can prove herself useful.

Not only does she do just that, but she finds herself attracted to the very man who is looking for ways to send her away.


About Donna

Donna writes historical and contemporary mysteries, and has been published more than 50 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of several writing communities; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; blogs regularly; and judges in writing contests. She lives in Denver with her husband and two cats, finding mysteries wherever she travels. You can find her books on Amazon under both her name and that of her former pen name, Leeann Betts.

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