The Fine Art of Murder

My son posted a comment on Facebook recently that he wondered what people would think of him if all they knew about him was the browsing history from his computer.  The same is doubly true for any writer of mystery or suspense. If anyone I know dies under suspicious circumstances, there is a possibility my computer could make me look like a potential suspect.

Luckily, I have a number of hard copy resources I can use for some of my research. The Writer’s Digest Howdunit Series might be out of print now (though I can still find them on Amazon) but the volumes I have on my shelf not only serve for research purposes, but sometimes for inspiration.

Deadly DosesFor instance, my imagination starts pumping when I read passages like this from the book “Deadly Doses: a writer’s guide to poisons.”

First used in 1952, Thorazine was found effective in psychotic disorders and still is one of the most common psychiatric drugs available.

Patients who are receiving an overdose often have extrapyramidal symptoms such as unsteady gait, slobbering, stuttering, rigid back muscles, restlessness, contraction of the face and neck muscles, and hand tremors.

So if, in one of my future books, you read about a character who is trembling, stumbling, drooling and stuttering like a zombie with a facial tic, you’ll know exactly what the poor devil has been poisoned with.

Through the Dark now available to ship to the U.S.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but if I did, it bears repeating.  My first Deb Donahue novel, Through the Dark, was originally only order-able in Germany and the United Kingdom.  This is because the publisher is PersonalNOVEL, a German/UK based company which sells novels you can personalize to include yourself and people you know.  Yes, that’s right, you can buy a novel from them but have the main characters’ names and descriptions updated to whomever you would like.

Well, they now are able to ship to several more countries, including the United States, where most of my friends, family and fans are, so–Yay! Visit their website and check them out, then star in your very own mystery novel!

ThroughthedarkA young woman inherits her grandmother’’s farm and, in need of a change, quits her high-powered job as a weather anchor to move out to the country. She gets more than she bargained for when her neighbor, Harlan Hunter, tries to persuade her to sell the farm. As if the pressure from Harlan weren’t enough, she is also battling nyctophobia — fear of darkness — and keeps seeing a mysterious stranger walking in the woods behind her house. With her faithful dog at her side, she decides to solve the mystery of why Hunter is so interested in the property, triumph over her fears, and discover who the mysterious man is.


My Short Stories Highlighted on Commas and Quotations

A few weeks ago, Commas and Quotations featured my novel Chasing Nightmares by posting links and the first chapter on their website.  This week, they’ve done the same with my book of short stories, Weathering the Storms.  Here’s the excerpt they posted which is from the story The Nest.

Weathering the StormsIt had been a long, dry summer. Rocks kicked up around my tires as I pulled up to the house—Jim’s house, now, not mine anymore.

David was sitting on the cement steps of the back porch, watching the toes of his sneakers kick patterns in the gravel.

I stepped out of the car and called, “Come on, let’s go. I’ve got supper started.”

He looked up but he didn’t smile. His father was nowhere to be seen, but I was sure he was close by, listening.

David kept his eyes down as he shuffled to the car. His grubby tennis shoes scuffed up small clouds of dust. The sunlight haloed his bent head. His sandy brown hair laid soft and thick around his face.

I glanced once toward the tightly draped windows of the house. Was it my imagination, or did that crack in the kitchen curtain twitch a little wider? I sat in the car to wait. The back of my neck tingled.

David opened the car door and pretended to examine the latch mechanism. Finally, with an elaborate shrug, he got in and slammed the door. Inwardly, I sighed. Every weekend this summer had gotten worse. One day, I was afraid, he would refuse to come at all.

“Put your seatbelt on,” I said.

He ignored me, leaning his elbow on the window as he gazed across the yard.

We’d been through this one last time.

“Look,” I said, “I’m tired of this. I shouldn’t have to explain to an eleven-year-old. You can put your seat belt on and be safe, or you can take a chance on getting killed in an accident. Your choice.”

I backed onto the county road. By the time I shifted into forward gear, David was reaching for the safety belt.

“The way you drive, I guess I better,” he muttered. He avoided my eyes.

We drove the seven country miles in silence. As we turned into my driveway, a swallow flew out from under the eaves of the front porch and dive-bombed the car. I laughed as I stopped in front of the garage.

“Remember that nest the swallows built?” I asked. “Wait till you see. The baby birds are hatched now. You should hear how noisy they are when the front door is open.”


I sighed and watched as David walked to the house, head down, shoes scraping the sidewalk.

At supper, David picked at his green beans, just eating the seeds from the inside like he used to when he was little. He ignored the potatoes. The limp slices grew a thin coat of cold grease.

“What’s for dessert?” he asked, still not looking up.

“You know the rule.” I pointed to his plate. “No dessert unless you finish the meal.”

He pushed the plate abruptly across the table, knocking over a salt shaker and empty plastic glass.

“That’s stupid,” he said. “You have stupid rules in this house.”

“It’s the same rule we had when we lived at Dad’s. Now if you’re done eating, clear your place at the table.”

“Why do I always have to do what you tell me to?” His voice was high pitched and uneven. His face had grown flushed. Our eyes made contact for a split second but he broke away.

“Because I’m your mother.”

“No, you’re not. You divorced Dad.”

“I used to be your mother, until you started spending the summer at your Dad’s. What’s so different about now?”

“Now I know what you’re really like. I’m not brainwashed anymore.”

This book is only available as a Kindle download from

Commas and Quotations Shared Chasing Nightmares

Commas and Quotations is a great site to visit if you want to find books.  They post the first chapter, the cover image and the links if you want to buy or learn more.  Today they posted the first chapter of my novel Chasing Nightmares.  Check it out!

Chasing Nightmares CoverCHAPTER 1

Lee Taylor watched the second hand travel toward the twelve. Then, for the first time, he moved. With a stealth nearly equal to the movement of the clock, he lifted his arms up off his bed and held them in front of his eyes.

White swathes of gauze circled his wrists.

Memory returned in ebony waves. The ride in the night, the scream of tires, sparks from the scrape of steel across asphalt, the blade of the knife as he slit through white skin to dark blood. All the scenes played back in slow motion. He fought the memories. His tensed arms shook until he no longer had the strength to hold them up.

He became still again, wishing he could turn off all awareness. The door opened and footsteps entered the bedroom. Still turned away, he knew someone looked down on him.

A cold finger tilted his face toward his visitor.

“There seems to be a little improvement in your color this afternoon,” Charles commented. “How does it feel to be alive?”

For an instant, hate flared within Lee. Buried deep, the ember of emotion glowed red but he would not allow it to gather fuel. Deliberately, he willed his body to relax, inviting back the apathy of before.

READ THE REST AT Commas and Quotations: Chasing Nightmares by Deb Donahue.

Mysteristas Blog Interview

Want to learn more about me and my suspense novel Chasing NightmaresClick through to read this interview on the Mysteristas blog.  They asked me some fun questions like this one:

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?

A Hershey’s bar with almonds. Because it’s sweet and smooth but with “bumps” you can chew on a while.

via Mysteristas.

“Pulls You In”

Chasing Nightmares CoverMy novel Chasing Nightmares got a nice review earlier this month on Goodreads.  Here’s a few of the reviewer’s comments I’d like to share with you:

“Pulls you in and keeps you anchored. The characters each have their own individual personality.”

“Intriguing enough to make you want to know more”

“The world Deb creates is full of deep imagery that makes you wonder where she will take you at each new turn in the plot”

“I enjoyed the book and look forward to seing what follows for Deb.”

via Goodreads – Chasing Nightmares

To read the whole review, click here to go to my Goodreads page.

To read all reviews on Amazon or to buy the Kindle version, click here.

To buy the epub version, go to or

To buy the paperback version go to or


NEW! Short Story Collections

I’ve compiled some of my favorite short stories that I’ve written over the years into two volumes that are now available on  If suspense novels aren’t your thing, I hope you will check these out instead.

Weathering the StormsThree shifts in thinking. Three women who weather life’s storms with dignity and determination.

BAREFOOT ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND: Looking for peace in the laugh of a loon
THE NEST: A mother and son negotiate loss
NEW MOON: It’s hard to say goodbye, unless he makes it easy for you.

An Amazon e-book – $1.99

You can find all my books at:



Short, sweet, not so sweet, or not too short—how do you like your short stories? A collection of odds and ends.

CUTTING EDGE: The more things change, the more they stay the same  ROASTED: Too much caffeine can make a reporter a little suspicious SANTA CLAWS: Cats believe in Christmas, too CANOE TRIP DIARY: Who wouldn’t want to get back to nature? HOW TO START A BUSINESS: How to succeed without really dying MAGIC HANDS: A mini-fairy tale for grownups

An Amazon e-book – ONLY $.99

And the Winner Is!

Chasing Nightmares CoverMy Goodreads contest for two print copies of Chasing Nightmares is over and the winners selected.  593 people entered–woohoo! And over 250 people added it to their To Read List!  I’d say the contest was a success.

I will be mailing the books to Sharon in Springfield, IL and Cayla in Astoria OR this week.  I can’t wait to hear what they think of the book.

Thanks to everyone who entered and for all the support you have shown.  Happy holidays!

Win a Print Copy of Chasing Nightmares

I have set up a Giveaway on Goodreads to give people in the U.S. or Canada a chance to win one of two (that’s 2!) print copies.

Contest starts at midnight tonight, November 15, and runs through midnight December 15.

Good luck!  I hope you win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Chasing Nightmares by Deb Donahue

Chasing Nightmares

by Deb Donahue

Giveaway ends December 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Dr. Charles Levine despises his younger half-brother with a hate that even death can’t destroy. So why should he let Gordon’s demise prevent him from exacting revenge? His weak-minded nephew, who resembles his father in so many ways, would serve Charles’ purpose perfectly.

With romance, suspense, and a touch of madness, Chasing Nightmares tells the tale of Anne and Lee as they struggle to conquer the terrors that have haunted their dreams since childhood. Terrors that Charles exploits with finesse and specially concocted pharmaceuticals.

Will Anne’s nyctophobia keep her from saving herself and Lee from the Doctor’s insane plans? Can Lee escape the yoke of addiction his uncle keeps pressing upon him? Or will their nightmares become their reality and devour them in the darkness?

“A very Edgar Allen-like type of story: creepy with a touch of madness.”

“Whooh! That was one roller coaster of a ride!”

My First Review!!

The first review for Chasing Nightmares came in last night and I am SQUEEE-ling with delight.  Tina Chan over at had so many wonderful things to say about the book (like “I was literally reading it every second I had to spare” that I had a hard time picking just one paragraph to post here.  I hope you will click through to read all her 4-starry goodness.

4-Star Review

4-Star Review

To me, this was a very Edgar Allen-like type of story: creepy with a touch of madness. If you like reading writing such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “Fall of the House of the Usher”, you will probably like Chasing Nightmares. I guess the main difference between Edgar’s writing and Donahue’s is that Donahue’s is much more to the point. Both, however, have that same atmosphere of edginess/horror.

via Book Reviews by Tina Chan.