Writing as

Stephen Burckhardt


To appeal to a wider market, Dianne decided to write novella serials instead of full-length novels as Stephen Burckhardt. This makes her books entertaining, quick reads any most readers can finish in a weekend. They are perfect for busy people, and honestly, who isn't busy these days?


The western collection is called The Territories Saga Serials Collection. Each saga serial in the collection will consist of 5-6 novellas. Each novella will be titled with the name of the saga serial and a subtitle for the novella. The first book in The Territories Sage Serials Collection is Into the West. The part one of this saga serial is Into the West: The Orphan Train. This novella has already received five star reviews on Amazon and won two awards from TopShelf Magazine for historical fiction.  Part two in this saga serial, Into the West: A New Home is available as a regular novella and as a Special Edition, which contains both part one and two of this saga serial. 

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Into the West: The Orphan Train
Part one of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Meet Elizabeth MacBride and her little brother Connor as they try to make a new life after their mother is forced to give them up to the Catholic Foundling Aid Society. With adoptive homes hard to find in New York City in 1855, many children are put on The Orphan Train to find new homes in the wild west.


Margret MacBride loves her children more than life itself, but as a young widow she can't support her and her children on a maid's salary. After losing their home they struggle for years to survive living on the streets. Distraught, Margret turns to the church for guidance.

Sister Mary Agnus convinces Margret her children will be better off if she turns them over to the Catholic Foundling Aid Society for placement in a home. Little did she know her children would end up on the Orphan Train heading into the western territories.

Taken from the only home they have ever known, Elizabeth and Connor MacBride are frightened and homesick. Their aid worker, Mrs. Kelly, does her best to comfort the children and help them come to terms with their new situation.

When Elizabeth finds herself in trouble after a run in with the Foundling Home's Director, Sister Mary Clare, and bullied by one of the other children, Mrs. Kelly puts her job on the line to get Elizabeth and her brother on the Orphan Train and find them a new home in the wild west.

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Into the West: A New Home
Part two of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Thanks to their case worker, Mrs. Kelly, Elizabeth and Connor MacBride make it onto the orphan train heading into the western territories. Mrs. Kelly is reluctant to part with the children as she struggles with the agreement she was forced to make with Sister Mary Clare to keep the children on the train.


If Mrs. Kelly keeps her promise she will keep her job but she may break the hearts of Elizabeth and Connor in the process. As the train makes its final stop, Mrs. Kelly must choose, place the children with strangers or return them to the Catholic Foundling Aid Society's home in New York City under the direction of Sister Mary Clare, something she does not want to do.


Living in a small cowtown in the Kansas territory would be a new and frightening experience for Elizabeth and Conner but with the help of a few good people they might be able to make a new life for themselves.  Will Mrs. Kelly have to sacrifice her job to do what she believes is best for the children or can she find a solution with which they can all live?

There is also an Amazon exclusive special edition available which contains both part one, Into the West: The Orphan Train, and part two, Into the West: A New Home, in one edition. 

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Into the West: Sharon Springs
Part three of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Families in Sharon Springs are dealing with ghosts from their pasts as they consider welcoming the riders of the orphan train to their town. Many old wounds need to heal if they are going to make room for Elizabeth and Conner MacBride.

Unfortunately, things do not work out as Mrs. Kelly had hoped and it may turn out that the only way to find suitable homes for MacBride children is to split them up.
When Elizabeth and Conner learn they are being placed with different families in Sharon Springs, both are heartbroken. After many tears and promises the siblings would get to see each other as often as they wanted, things begin to quiet down.
When Elizabeth meets her new family, she finds out Tim Ruth was much more thrilled to have a new daughter in the family than his wife, Stacy. Her new adoptive brother, Timothy, does not give her a warm welcome either. He is not interested in sharing his mother’s love with anyone and lets Elizabeth know from the moment they meet.

Elizabeth tries to get used to life in the Wild West but finds that living in the territories can be hard, especially when you’re alone and your new adoptive family doesn’t seem to want you there.

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Into the West: Most Wanted  
Part four of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Marshal “Blackjack” James has a reputation for being able to catch any criminal he puts his mind to catching. When his friend Ike “Shorty” Rowlett, sheriff of Sharon Springs, sends him a telegram asking for help catching bandits in the area, Jack saddles up his horse, Bucky, and heads north.

Meanwhile, the folks in Sharon Springs, are doing their best to help Elizabeth and Conner MacBride settle into their new homes in the Wild West. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to have them there.  Just as Elizabeth begins to bond with her new parents, her new brother decides he wants her to leave.

Conner MacBride is trying to learn to live without his sister but getting used to so many changes in such a short time is very difficult for a young boy. Ian Somerholder is doing everything he can to help Conner bond with his new parents but he will have to return to his own new family soon. It just might take help from the most wanted to bring everyone together.

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Into the West: Most Wanted  
Part four of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Ines Rülke and her family have a secret, they are the most wanted bandits in the Kansas territory. When the law starts to close in on their trail, Ines decides it’s time to pull one last robbery to throw the lawmen off their trail and then just fade away into history.

When Elizabeth MacBride set out on her own to go find her brother, Conner, she never expected to stumble onto Ines and her new partner in crime, Tonja Miller. When they try to take her back home to her new family, things do not work out as expected. Now Elizabeth has to go along as they try to con tax money from homesteaders near the Missouri border.

Unfortunately, Sheriff Jones from Douglas County expected the bandits to strike and set a trap. If Ines and Tonja can pull this off job without getting caught and get Elizabeth back home to her new family safely, they just might manage to save one more homestead and get the lawmen off their trail for good. God willing, they just might be able to save them all.

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Into the West: Last Showdown  
Part Six of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Just when things start to calm down for the residence of Sharon Springs, more trouble comes to town. Mrs. Kelly is convinced she made a mistake letting families in Sharon Springs adopt Elizabeth and Conner MacBride. Now, she wants to take them back to New York City, but the townsfolk are not ready to say goodbye to the children.

When an old adversary of sheriff Ike Rowlett and marshal “Blackjack” James shows up in town looking to claim the bounty on the tax bandits for himself, tensions go from bad to worse.

Sheriff Jones is known for overstepping his authority. He’s had disputes with Jack and Ike before. In fact, Jack carries a scar on his face as a constant reminder of the other man’s treachery.

When the three men cross paths again, things get more than a little heated as sheriff Jones insults some of the members of the community and threatens to arrest another. When the townsfolk stand up for their own, things just might end up being settled once and for all.

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Into the West: Family Ties  
Part Seven of book one in The Territories Saga Serials

Now that Sheriff Jones has been dealt with, life in Sharon Springs is finally getting back to normal. The town and the families grow over the next few years. Family bonds were slow to grow for some of the orphan train riders, but with hard work, the families became stronger than anyone imagined.

Kansas finally wins their bid for statehood and just when the townsfolk of Sharon Springs start celebrating new beginnings, someone from the past shows up and could shatter the new found happiness.

The Ruths and the Wellensteins will have to fight for their families once again. Will they do more harm than good to their beloved children if they fight for them or will it be worse to let them go?

It will take the help of their tight knit community to find a solution with which everyone can live. With a few prayers, a little luck, and a lot of love, everyone just might be able to build some new family ties that will bind them all together for the rest of their lives.