April 27th, 2012 → 8:32 pm @ rldonovan
Is It Still Murder, Even If She Was a Bitch? has earned a 2012 Pinnacle Award. “The Pinnacle Award is all about solid objectives that achieve results, and the judges attested to reviewing the work with lots of creativity, strategic thinking and follow through,” said Kevin Hutchison, AMA event chair.
Pinnacle awards are segmented into categories based on size and type of business. Award levels include Gold, which recognizes excellent work; Platinum, which recognizes exceptional work; and the Pinnacle, which the judges consider to be the best work in a particular category.
To ensure objective scoring, Pinnacle entries are always judged by an affiliate AMA chapter (Des Moines handles the 2012 judging). Entries are evaluated not only for their creativity, but also for their effectiveness.
It was a very exciting evening! It’s a thrill to win the coveted Pinnacle Award and receive acknowledgement of this kind! Thanks to everyone who contributed to our success!
Now let’s keep the momentum going!
April 26th, 2012 → 9:36 pm @ rldonovan
Is It Still Murder, Even If She Was A Bitch? is a page turner! My initial thought was that it would in fact still be murder (even if she was a bitch) until I met Donna Leigh, the protagonist. A confident, hardworking, menopausal, tell-it-like-it-is kind of gal with those all-too-common hot flashes and sleepless nights, Donna is very easy to relate to from the get-go. The descriptions that Robin Donovan uses are so precise that you instantly understand Donna’s observations about people and situations, and especially about herself.
In addition to being a captivating murder mystery, the story is a great look into Donna Leigh’s character as the reader is welcomed into a mind filled with ideas and thoughts we can all identify with. Her thoughts are peppered with menopausal experiences, from the inconvenience of hot flashes to the familiarity of sleepless nights and the frustration of thinking that all memory lapses are a telltale sign of menopause. She knows who she is, she is a good judge of character, and she’ll make you laugh!
The twists, turns, gossip and dynamic characters lead to a surprising conclusion that will make your jaw drop! I very much enjoyed this quick read and look forward to reading more Donna Leigh mysteries!
April 25th, 2012 → 8:41 pm @ rldonovan
The Omni Mystery Book Review site invited me to be a guest blogger for the second week in April http://www.omnimysterynews.com/2012/04/please-welcome-crime-novelist-robin.html. Along with the guest post we held a book giveaway.
Congratulations to our book giveaway winner in Las Vegas, Nevada! Just a few more contests and we should be able to state with certainty that we have readers in every state in the U.S.! Thanks for the support! And thanks to Omni Mystery for the invitation to guest blog.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out my guest post, the topic was how we arrived at the title: Is It Still Murder, Even If She Was a Bitch?
If you haven’t heard the story you might find the process interesting – I know I did!
And thanks to all of you who have supported Donna Leigh Mysteries by attending talks/signings/readings, buying the books for yourself or as gifts and a special thanks to those of you who have purchased books for your book clubs! I can’t express my appreciation enough!
Some of my biggest supporters will be featured as characters in Donna Leigh’s next murder case: I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short Sighted!
April 11th, 2012 → 4:00 pm @ rldonovan
We are delighted to welcome crime novelist Robin Donovan as our guest blogger today.
Robin’s new mystery is Is it Still Murder, Even if She Was a Bitch? (WriteLife November 2011 Trade Paperback), which introduces Omaha ad agency owner Donna Leigh … and has a pretty provocative title.
And that title is exactly what she’s writing about today. Robin is also offering one of our readers a chance to win a copy of her book! See below for details.
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When I first decided on the title for my murder mystery there was a lot of discussion. One of my editors hinted that the publisher would probably insist on a change; others suggested that using a word like “bitch” in a title could be self-limiting in a number of ways.
Photo provided courtesy of
In all honesty, when I first came up with the title: Is It Still Murder, Even If She Was a Bitch? it was kind of a joke. I had started my novel determined to create an amateur sleuth, Donna Leigh, whose adventures were compelling enough to warrant sequels. If I succeeded I wouldn’t need a title; I’d need a series of titles. In the grand tradition of Grafton and Evanovich, I would need a catchy play on numbers or something that would take me from A to Z.
Initially I was intent on seeing if I could write a story that would even appeal to an audience; there was no time to focus on devising the perfect title formula. I just threw Claire’s Murder at the top of the page for a placeholder, more than anything. I didn’t want to commit to a title until I was convinced that it would maximize marketing potential; having worked in advertising for many years what else would you expect? I researched characteristics of “successful” titles, but held off on making a commitment until I was sure of what would be needed.
As my writing progressed, selection of a title almost became a reward in and of itself. If I could get far enough in my work to be convinced of its efficacy, I would permit myself to bestow it with a title. Nearing that point, the opportunity to discuss the title strategy with my business partner, a marketer I admire enormously, presented itself. I shared my theory on the importance of “the right approach” to the title or “series of titles” challenge. Her response was immediate and to the point “not on the first book, don’t even worry about that on the first book.” Well, that was it. She had freed me from title prison.
By this time the finished book was in its first round of edits, and I was extremely pleased with the manuscript. With time on my hands and the freedom to select a one-book title, I sat down and started to noodle around on a piece of paper. Almost immediately I wrote: Is It Still Murder, Even If She Was a Bitch? I dismissed it almost as immediately.
It was too long; I would offend people with the word “bitch;” It shouldn’t be two clauses; I had a long list of reasons why it should be scrapped. But it made me laugh. So I replaced Claire’s Murder at the top of the page with my new, but not seriously in contention, placeholder and I started getting some very interesting feedback. It got my attention.
The more people I talked to the more determined I became to leave this outrageous query as the title of my book. I work with talented writers; it made them all laugh. Coincidentally, I was in the process of filling a senior writing position at the time. Consequently, I had the pleasure of meeting many incredibly talented writers from all over the country. Many times the conversation turned to personal interests as we tried to size each other up as potential colleagues, and many times they talked of their own published works.
Each time my book title was mentioned the reaction was precisely the same, dead silence, a muffled laugh building to an enthusiastic guffaw, the spontaneity of which assured me that I had caught them off guard, robbing them of their finely honed ability to elicit a carefully guarded and measured response. That laugh was always music to my ears; it was far more rewarding for me than any of the accolades that inevitably followed!
As I labor to promote the book, I am still always elated by the strong reaction to my title. Not everybody loves it, but nobody ignores it.
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Robin Donovan was born and raised in New Jersey but lived and worked in Connecticut for a number of years before moving to Nebraska in 1999. Starting her career as a high school English teacher, Donovan moved into advertising in the early 1980s. She is the author of the blog, Menologues, a humorous yet informative look at the trials and tribulations of menopause by someone who’s been there. For more information about Robin, visit her website at RLDonovan.com.
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About Is it Still Murder, Even if She Was a Bitch?:
How does one react to the shocking news that a former colleague has been brutally murdered? Worse yet, you realize that your vitriolic relationship with the victim could land you squarely on the suspect list. That’s exactly what happens to Donna Leigh, the energetic and somewhat sardonic owner of an Omaha ad agency, who jumps right in to the investigation – despite annoying menopausal symptoms – in order to keep the wolves away from her door. She manages to amuse as well as impress with her effective but unorthodox sleuthing.
As Donna and her colorful colleagues work feverishly to solve the case, they leave a trail of unintentional destruction in their wake; from injured police officers to collapsed buildings. Donna and her team stir things up enough to make the murderer nervous; after Donna receives a threat to “back off” things take on a more serious bent for her, but not for her ever vigilant colleagues who continue to animatedly bungle their way through the investigation until the murderer is behind bars.
For a chance to win a copy of Is it Still Murder, Even if She Was a Bitch?, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the “Robin Donovan: Is it Still Murder, Even if She Was a Bitch?” contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (3901) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends April 18th, 2012.)