Word is Getting Around

BullHornsAnyone who lives in a small town knows how quickly word gets around when there’s news to share.  Even without trying, everyone seems to know almost before you do.

That seems to be happening on the internet too, at least for my newest release, A Bull by the Horns.  Just for fun, I Googled the title and my name and found a couple of places where people mentioned the book’s release without my even having to ask.

To thank them, I’m posting links below and inviting you to visit their site.  If you like reading, you’ll find lots to interest you besides my Coffman Country Art Colony Cozy.

Must Read Mysteries posts reviews and lists of new releases.

Omnimystey News is all about mysteries.  You’ll find some good book reviews here.

Novelspot has got a whole slew of helpful links for readers and writers.

Join the party line.  Share this post or Tweet using one of the links below to let people know about my newest book.

Click to Tweet: My friend Deb just published a book! http://ctt.ec/be4lc+

Click to Tweet: Check out this new cozy mystery book by Deb Donahue! http://ctt.ec/bLM8V+

A Bull by the Horns Finally Released

BullHornsI’m breathing a sign of relief, but not for too long.  August 1, all versions of my Coffman Country Art Colony cozy mystery were released.  It took me longer to get this done than I had predicted, but I wanted to make sure it was the best that it can be.  I hope you think it was worth the wait. It can be purchased at the links below. Or if you want to try to win a print version, wait till August 11 and enter the Goodreads contest. Now I need to do my best to get the word out.  Hopefully all my friends and family will help spread the word!

Carina Coffman has worked hard to fulfill her grandmother’s dream of turning the family farm into an artist’s retreat. She thought the only obstacles she had left to deal with were a disgruntled neighbor unhappy with her new venture, and training Larry the goat to stop head-butting his companions Curly and Moe. When one of her guests ends up impaled by the longhorn of Ferdinand the taxidermied bull, however, she has her work cut out for her.

Amazonkobo   B-N

Eyes at the Window

Now Released in the U.S.!

Eyes at the Window

EYES_EbookFirst released by PersonalNOVEL in 2013 as Through the Dark, a personalizable novel in Europe and the UK, I am now able to offer this Midwestern romantic suspense to U.S. readers under the new title of Eyes at the Window. Available in trade paperback and Kindle versions.

Is Miranda’s phobic fear of the dark causing paranoia, or did she really see someone staring at her through the window that first night? When she quit her high-stress job as a TV metorologist and moved to the country, she was looking for peace, quiet, and anonymity. But her neighbor is hounding her to sell her grandmother’s run down farmhouse, and she keeps glimpsing a mysterious figure lingering on the forest edge at the back of the property. Is the shadowy figure she sees watching from the barn loft real? Why is Harlan Hunter so insistent on owning her property? When she uncovers a skeleton buried in debris along the creek, Miranda must face her fears to learn the truth.

Trade Paperback link: Amazon

Ebook download:  Amazon

EXCERPT: The dog was standing on her stomach, barking furiously toward the window at her feet. Thunder rumbled, followed by a flash of light, and in that brief second, she saw what had disturbed him. A face, white and distorted by the rain rivulets streaming down the glass, stared back at her.

Option (a), (b), or (c) All of the Above?

I have a dilemma. True, it’s not an entirely unpleasant one, but I always have a hard time making decisions, so I’m hoping advice from my friends might make this easier.

About three years ago, I contracted with PersonalNOVEL, a publisher in Europe, to write a book they could publish as a personalized novel—meaning buyers could change the names and details about people and places to match their own friends and families.

ThroughthedarkThe story idea I sold them on was based on a manuscript I’d written many years before, but had not published and did not have to hand anymore. All I had was my memory of the general storyline and a few snippets of scenes I remembered as being key elements. They liked it; they paid me; they’re selling it now.

Now that the contract terms are up for renewal, they are giving me the option to reprint a non-personalized version with another publisher if I want. Great, right? Let’s do it. Here, however, is where the dilemma comes in.

After moving back to Illinois a couple of years ago, I took all my things out of storage that sat here for over 15 years and guess what I found in a box of old notebooks and papers? You’ve got it—the original manuscript of the story.

Reading through it, I realized there was a whole lot I remembered wrong—or differently, at least. The three main characters are there, though their background and names are a bit different. The intent of the heroes and bad guy remain primarily the same. Certain scenes are very similar: the female character waking to find eyes staring at her through a car window, the ghostly scent of perfume that seems to come from nowhere at night, what happens in the climax scene at the end.

But whole chunks of it are completely different. My main character is no longer a city career woman tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, but a vulnerable, damaged girl trying to regain confident footing after a lifetime of verbal abuse. There is a fourth main character, as well, who I’d completely forgotten about, who lends a triangular element to the romance/suspense. I also had to tame down some of the more risqué elements of the story to fit in with the family friendly guidelines of the publisher.

So here’s what I’m asking. If I choose to republish this story, should I go with the version already printed, or do I edit and release the original version? Or should I do what I really kind of want to do, publish both of them with different titles?

Here are the first few paragraphs of each version which will show you how similar they can be in some scenes. Maybe that will help you give me some helpful advice.


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The Barn Door: Incidental Poetry

I posted something unusual over at The Barn Door this morning.  Well, unusual for me.  I am not a poet, but I have used poetry to express myself sometimes.  In the spirit of spring and Easter, I shared two poems that I wrote many years ago.  Here’s the shortest one below.  Please visit the site if you want to read the other.

I should probably also mention that this month will be the last time I will be posting at The Barn Door.  It’s a great site, and I hope you will check it out and follow them, but I’ve decided I’m just not an essay writer, at least not when there’s a deadline.  I’d rather post something when an idea strikes me, rather than have to search for an idea to meet my deadline.  Besides, at an author fair I went to today, I talked with a librarian who is eager to read my novel-in-progress, A Bull by the Horns.  I need to use my writing time to finally get the book done!


Tears of blood
down his cheeks
raining from clouds
staining the sunset
on my cheeks
my breast
my heart.

via The Barn Door: Incidental Poetry.


The Barn Door: Remembering Winter

I missed doing this last month, but remembered to post over at The Barn Door Feb. 28. If you’re not sick of looking at snow, you might want to click through to see some of the photos I posted of how winter looked in 1937.

I know, I know. Most of us don’t have to remember winter. It’s still right outside our window. But when I start complaining about the cold or the inches (or feet!) of snow, at the back of my mind I am comparing it to the winters of my childhood.

I’m sure there were probably mild winters when I was growing up, seasons that it snowed very little in my small Illinois town. When I felt sad because there were not enough opportunities to risk my life careening on a sled down the 4th Street hill.

But in my memories, winters in my childhood were always filled with three feet of snow. Huge piles of it in the corners of parking lots. Forts built from blocks of packed snow. Snow caves dug beneath the drooping branches of my grandmother’s bridal wreath bushes.

I tried to find some photos of those memories to share, but it seems we kept our camera mostly indoors in those days. So instead, I opened one of my grandmother’s 1937 Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia to see what they had to say about winter before I was even born.

via The Barn Door: Remembering Winter.

The Barn Door: Holiday Hiatus

On Dec. 28, I posted a bit about holiday traditions I grew up with.  What are some traditions you try to carry on with your families?

Here are some of the things I hope they adopt from a typical Donahue holiday. And a few I hope maybe they tweak just a bit.

  • When my dad was alive, he loved to buy presents. Heck, he loved to buy presents all year long. But at Christmas he always had certain “traditional” gifts we could be sure to find under the tree. Like a package of underpants with the days of the week on them. (Remember those? I wonder if they still make them?)
  • One of my sisters doesn’t like ham while the rest of are sick of turkey because of the enormous amounts of leftovers just behind us from Thanksgiving. So Mom always makes both a turkey and a ham, to keep everyone happy.
  • When we decorate the tree, I have a few really old ornaments from my maternal grandmother that I always hang on the tree. They are the fragile kind, with lots of glitter that falls off a little bit each year. Frankly, they are looking a little worse for wear. But I always feel like a child again when I hang them on the tree, and feel extremely said should one of them happen to fall and beak.

via The Barn Door: Holiday Hiatus.


The Barn Door: The Focus of Fall

Fall. I love those moments when I can turn off my head and just be in the moment, aware of the changing season around me, breathing in the chill, crisp air. I must practice doing that more often, and for longer periods of time.

I myself welcome a reminder that autumn isn’t about what we do during it. Fall just is. It is as natural and inevitable as the rise and setting of the sun. Let’s all just take the time to be still and look and listen as it spreads its beautiful season across the land and skies. Breathe in the whiff of burning leaves. Rustle through a pile of harvested corn stalks. Feast your eyes on the colors of the trees as they sway in the wind.

via The Barn Door: The Focus of Fall.


The Animals on New Life Old Farm

It’s hard to get any work done on my novel Bull by the Horns when my research leads me to such fun and interesting sites like this one.  This page makes me want to add more animals to the ones I’ve already created for my working farm/art colony/crime scene.

Here’s just a few of their residents.


Elsie Gump

Tigger and Pooh


via The Animals – New Life Old Farm.