Leeann Betts ~ Series Spotlight

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Hidden Assets is the sixth installment in my By the Numbers series, featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant. Carly finds that when she tells people she’s an accountant, their eyes glaze over and they look for someone else to talk to because they think accountants are boring. Well, Carly is single-handedly setting out to prove them wrong.

In the first book, No Accounting for Murder, Carly has uncovered a mysterious company that wants to set up a nudist colony in her small East Coast town of Bear Cove, Maine, population 400 at the height of lobster season. Okay, it wasn’t actually a nudist colony, but her vivid imagination led her to that conclusion. Nonetheless, she’s run off the road, receives threatening faxes, and her daughter is suspected of embezzling from a school she volunteers at. But when the mayor turns up dead, Carly really puts on her sleuthing cap.

In the second book, There was a Crooked Man, Carly and husband Mike go on a working vacation to New Mexico which quickly turns into a nightmare when people go missing, the owner of the dude ranch where they are staying receives veiled threats, and their son’s fiancée is caught in the middle of an old family feud. Add in the snow storm of the century, and you’ve got The Shining meets Showdown at the OK Corral.

The third installment, Unbalanced, finds Carly back in Bear Cove, happily planning her son’s wedding, when she witnesses a bank robbery that nobody else seems to have seen. Along comes hubby Mike’s long lost brother turns up with a son in tow. He parks himself in Carly’s house then disappears, leaving his son with them. When the story about the non-robbery hits the news, Carly’s reputation is called into question, along with her ability to testify at an important divorce trial. Carly must prove she isn’t losing her mind, take care of an abandoned child, and figure out why someone wants to stop the wedding from taking place.

Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, takes place in Raven Valley, Arizona at Mike’s 25th college reunion. Carly would rather have had a root canal than attend, but she goes along anyway. When Mike’s favorite professor is found dead on the football field on the first day of the reunion, Carly’s super-sleuthing skills go on high alert. And when a former college acquaintance of hers is blown up almost in front of her, Carly wonders what else can go wrong. She soon finds out, and must help Mike find the professor’s killer before they find her.

The fifth book, Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, is set back in Bear Cove and Carly discovers that their financial identity has been breached. When Mike’s client is found dead and he was the last one to see the man, he is a suspect. The police are looking for him, but he’s disappeared. Can Carly find out who is out to ruin them financially and find Mike before the killer does?

The next book, Hidden Assets, takes place in eastern Wyoming. Carly and Mike travel by train to help another of Carly’s college friends who is going through a nasty divorce. Anne Torbin believes her soon-to-be ex-husband is stealing paintings, coins, and money, and hiding them so he won’t have to split them in the divorce settlement. But when Anne’s husband turns up dead, and she is suspected, Carly must prove her friend innocent. Is the weird couple staying at the B&B involved, or are they up to something else entirely. And can Carly find the missing FBI agent, or did she really see him thrown off the train?

Writing this series has really been a lot of fun, for several reasons. My background is in accounting, so writing Carly is fairly easy, except she is a lot quicker on the comebacks, and gets way more exercise rolling her eyes, passing the buck, and jumping to conclusions than I do. I have committed to releasing two in this series each year, so that keeps me focused and writing. And finally, I love incorporating things my friends say—and even incorporating them, under assumed names, of course. Also, the excitement of seeing another book in print hasn’t worn off yet, and two a year—well, that’s a dream come true.

In addition to this series, my real life persona pens historical romance/suspense, so we are busy. Writing under a pen name has its good points, in that there is no worry about reader confusion in crossing over genres, but I suspect I may lose some of that crossover since readers tend to be more widely read these days than they used to be. Maintaining two sets of social media is every writer’s dream—NOT!—so that’s one of the down sides.

Hidden Assets releases June 30th through Amazon.com in print and ebook, and through Smashwords.com June 30th in ebook.

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