Thank you, Janet from Ft. Smith, Arkansas and your book club!

October 8th, 2013 → 9:56 pm @

I was so excited yesterday when I received an email out of the blue from Janet at the University of Arkansas Dean’s office in Ft. Smith, Arkansas! Janet had written to tell me that her book club had selected my book for their next meeting!

I think that may be the furthest book club to have chosen my book to date. But if you know of one further away – please let me know!

And thanks for all the great support!

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When Is Your Editor The Biggest Pain in the Butt?

May 22nd, 2013 → 7:24 pm @

My first book was edited by five people. Not everyone has that luxury. I think it’s a luxury because you get to see your work through different eyes – and you get to make the final call by reviewing the options and choosing the ones that make the most sense for your plot and characters.

!

I can honestly say that all five of my editors contributed something meaningful to the final published work. Some of the editing was tedious, but I found the overall process invigorating and frequently enjoyable. It was extremely helpful to have them point out areas that warranted a second look. I would review the section in question to determine whether or not it would pass muster with a broader audience; in some cases a reference was too obscure or a joke too lame. I’m not sure I would have caught those weaknesses on my own.

My second book is not going as smoothly. So far I’ve had three editors, and they all seem to get caught up in their own lack of knowledge of my genre. They’re not contributing anything meaningful. It’s frustrating and it feels as though this book will never get out. I write comedic murder mysteries. They’re so hung up on making comments like “why would that character tell her so much when she’s not even a real detective?” Oh for god sake – get over it! Have you never read Agatha’s Christie’s famous Miss Marple? Did you never watch Jessica Fletcher solve every mystery on Murder, She Wrote?

Even under the best of circumstances editors can get under your skin. But a good editor is worth their weight in gold. Aside from the outlay of cash, the biggest potential risk to self-publishing is not making the effort to get good editors reviewing your work. I was convinced my manuscript was perfect on the first day it was submitted – it became so much better over the 18 month editing and proofing process.

Even though in hindsight I am so grateful for the editors of that first book, they still managed to frustrate the hell out of me. I think I shortened and lengthened the same sentences three or four times, and I know I moved commas out, over and back into the same places. Some of their comments were stupid and dated – but I knew enough to ignore those – albeit not without angst and bugging my publisher for permission. I think I was high maintenance!

As I look back on the experience of my first book – I would not trade the value my editors brought to the project even if I never had to move a comma. And even though my second book has not yet met with a successful editing experience, I still cannot emphasize the importance of good editors – now I just have to find some!

Donovan heads Bozell Books, a division of Bozell designed to help authors and budding authors from inception through promotion of their published work. She has authored a novel entitled: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch? www.rldonovan.com, and the second in her Donna Leigh Mysteries series : I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Short Sighted,  is currently being published.

 

 

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Jennifer Priester, author of the Mortal Witch series interviews Robin Donovan

May 13th, 2013 → 6:15 pm @

Interview with Robin Donovan
Posted on May 10, 2013 by animalsandmagic

What is your name, your books name, genre, age level, and what is it about?

I am the author of the Donna Leigh Mystery series, my name is Robin Leemann Donovan. The first book in this cozy mystery series is entitled Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch?

Book display

Although Donna Leigh, the protagonist of this comedic murder mystery is a menopausal business woman, I have been told that the book has been enjoyed by men and women of a wide age range. However, I would imagine that my primary target audience would be Women 45 – 64.

Menopausal and sardonic Donna Leigh owns an Omaha ad agency. Sleuthing keeps Donna’s toxic relationship with her murdered former colleague from landing her on the suspect list. Donna and her colorful colleagues hunt unrelentingly for clues, leaving a trail of unintentional destruction in their wake, even after Donna is threatened.

Tell us a little about your books characters.

Donna Leigh is my protagonist, a menopausal ad-agency owner/amateur sleuth. Babs & Peg are her two menopausal cohorts. When the three get together – something always happens.

The murder victim, Claire, a former colleague who was a self-satisfied bitch with a less than perfectly ethical approach to business.

Clovis Cordoba Seville is the former colleague who takes the world record in narcissism. Her mental process is fascinating as she manages to ensure that everything revolves around her – she projects her worst flaws onto Donna.

Other folks around the agency include: Donna’s business partners Liv and Donny, her good friend Kyle and various and sundry other staffers.

Last but not least are Donna’s husband Jon and their three rescue bulldogs. They are her comfort and her solace after some very difficult days.

Do you have a favorite among your characters?

Clovis is my favorite. She was added in as a joke, but she became almost the alter ego of Donna. Clovis is everything that Donna hates, she’s a person who puts herself above all else – and only works to ensure that she remains center stage. We all have those moments periodically – and Clovis is quick to point out any and every minor ego related infraction of Donna’s. She also projects a great deal of her own narcissistic insanity on Donna – and we’ve all met those people – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Why did you write your book? Did anything specific inspire it?

I have been in the advertising business for over 30 years and I have met some incredible characters. The book was a chance to explore some of the more outrageous of those personalities and combine them with two of my favorite things: comedy and murder mysteries.

Want to Write a Book?

Want to Write a Book?

During the editing process, a few of my editors were concerned that some of my characters were too outrageous and not believable – my editors hailed from academia. Rest assured there has never been a person in the advertising industry who has not absolutely believed these are credible characters.

Now tell us a little about yourself.

I started out as a high school English teacher and felt very old very fast. After three years of teaching I got a job in an advertising agency and have never felt old since.

Most of my career was in the Northeast, but when an offer came to head the media department in the founding office of Bozell, I jumped at the chance and moved to Omaha. Living in Omaha has been an incredible experience. It has changed me from the fast paced, overly aggressive northeasterner that I was and given me a chance to stop and smell the roses – although some would tell you I’m kidding myself on that count!

Twelve years ago I was given the chance to be part of a group that bought the Bozell brand from IPG. It has been an amazing experience – never easy, but rewarding in so many ways.

Our active role in social media started me blogging and once I started writing there was no stopping me. I write for our company blog: Insights, I write a blog on menopause called Menologues, which is republished on Vibrant Nation and Alltop. A few years ago, we got a publisher as a client and I realized that all the pieces of the puzzle were in place and it was time to write my book.

When I’m not at work or writing, I spend time with my rescue bulldogs, ski, dance and I’m an avid reader. I also attend food and wine tastings fairly regularly.

Do you do a lot of reading? And what are a few of your favorite books and authors?

I love to read murder mysteries, both serious and humorous. In general, I love a well written book that reveals a secret. My favorite author is Dickens, but I love Jane Austen.

On the lighter side, I have the utmost respect for JK Rowling and Janet Evanovich. They both serve an important purpose – when my good friend lost her Mom, I sent her the first six Evanovich books – now she’s hooked.

Where can your books be purchased?

Direct book purchase page on my publisher’s website: http://writelife.pinnaclecart.com/humor/is-it-still-murder-even-if-she-was-a-bitch/

Through my author’s website: www.rldonovan.com

The book can also be purchased at the 13th Street Mystery Bookstore – A Stitch in Crime, the Bookworm, Nebraska at the Market and Urban Abbey.

The book can also be purchased on:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Murder-Even-She-Bitch/dp/1608080382/ref=la_B009G5AKCS_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367857451&sr=1-1

AmazonKindle

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Murder-Even-Bitch-ebook/dp/B009B1AVZ8/ref=la_B009G5AKCS_1_1_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1367857572&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/is-it-still-murder-even-if-she-was-a-bitch-?store=allproducts&keyword=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F+

Books a Million

http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5678577054418&query=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F&where=Books&search.x=49&search.y=10&search=Search

Donna Leigh Mysteries

Donna Leigh Mysteries

Indie Bound

http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F&x=31&y=7

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About animalsandmagic
I am an author and reader of fiction and nonfiction books about animals, the relationships between humans and animals, magic and other supernatural things. My first published book series is called Mortal Realm Witch and is for ages 8-adult. My blog mostly focuses on the topics of animals, magic, reading books, writing books, and sometimes other things as well. I post new blogs every two weeks so be sure to check back then if you like my blog but are not following it. You can also learn when I post a new blog by following me on Facebook and/or Twitter. You can visit my website, www.mortalrealmwitch.com, for the links.
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This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged author interview, book, mystery, Robin Donovan. Bookmark the permalink.
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about.me

Jennifer Priester
Author, Publisher, Book Layout Designer, Artist, Reader, & Animal Lover
I write fiction and nonfiction books about animals, the relationships between humans and animals, magic, the supernatural, and superheroes. The genre’s I write in include one or more of the following: Fantasy, Short Stories, Children’s Fiction, Nonfiction, Sci-fi, Sci-fi/fantasy, Supernatural, Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Adventure. I also do my own book cover art and any inside photos or drawings. I layout my own books, both print and eBook, as well as other peoples and publish my books under my own publishing company, A & M Moonlight Creations, which can also publish other peoples work as well as my own.
Besides writing and drawing, I love to read books, ride horses, watch TV/movies, play video games, spend time outside, and spend a lot of time with animals.
I really love animals and have and have owned many, most of which have been rescues. Currently I have a Chihuahua called Taco, two Mini Rex rabbits called Chibi and Kojikaki, and a ten year old Goldfish called Pumpkin. In the past I have owned a Toy Poodle called CeJaye, a Dutch rabbit called Friendly, a Dutch Mix called Oreo who was my first ever rescue pet and ever since adopting her I have become adoption only when it comes to getting new pets. In the past I also lived with a Parakeet called Peekablue, an African Cichlid fish called Trouble, a speckled fish called Speckle, a speckled fish called Sea Star, a Goldfish called Sunny, a Goldfish called Silver, a Dalmatian fish called Perdita, and many other fish as well.
Besides pets I have many anipals; animals that I don’t own but am friends with. One of these animals is my favorite horse at the barn I ride at, an Appendix Quarterhorse called Levi.
At some time in their lives, almost every pet and favorite anipal has inspired a either a nonfiction book, a character or characters in fiction stories, or both. The ones that have inspired fiction characters have their own special dedication page on my website.
I have found that animals are my biggest source of inpiration as a writer.

Recent Posts
Interview with Robin Donovan
New Blog Posts and Schedule Begin this Friday night!
Author Interviews Coming Very Soon! (And other news too)

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Council Bluffs Public Library Author’s Fair

April 16th, 2013 → 2:57 pm @

Thanks to all the folks at the beautiful new Council Bluffs library for the Author’s Fair on Saturday! I felt very honored to have such a prominent table right in front of the entrance doors! It was a great chance to meet the folks in The Bluffs and get to know them a bit.

Council Bluffs Public Library

Council Bluffs Public Library

I was excited to learn that they may have another Author’s Fair in November for the Christmas shopping crowd!

I met a professional book reviewer and some very talented authors! And the library staff took very good care of all of us!

 

Author's Fair location

Author’s Fair location

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Back Porch Writer interview on Blog Post Radio with Kori Miller

March 12th, 2013 → 3:56 pm @

Check out this morning’s interview with Kori Miller on Back Porch Writer on Blog Post Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backporchwriter/2013/03/12/writing-a-mystery-with-robin-donovan

A huge thanks to Kori for her awesome interview!

 

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Another Great Author Fare Thanks To The Omaha Public Library!

February 20th, 2013 → 7:38 pm @

Last Saturday’s Author Fare at the Omaha Public Library was the best author networking event I’ve been to yet! I met authors, folks connected to libraries, a lovely woman with a radio show she’s willing to use to help promote authors, a student who is blogging about authors who use social media and a whole host of other very interesting folks, some of whom promise to be very beneficial to an author’s career.

Author Fare

Author Fare

As much as I enjoyed last year, when the library premiered the Author Fare event, it could not compare to the beneficial networking of this past Saturday.

I appreciate all of the folks at the library for pulling this event together! A special shout out to my WriteLife publisher Cindy Grady, for being instrumental in making this event happen and in supporting her authors so well!

I look forward to next year’s Author’s Fare – but I’m hopeful that the success of this event will inspire the library to host more author related events before then!

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THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

December 17th, 2012 → 7:34 pm @

There are the books everyone had heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags five other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag five new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Sally Deskins. You can learn more about her fascinating series Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2012 on her website:  Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2011. The blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:

1: What is the working title of your book?

I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short-Sighted.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The positive feedback from my first Donna Leigh mystery: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch? http://www.rldonovan.com/ and for the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgkpYPi5q8

has really encouraged me to write a second and I’m even working on a third (I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him, He Wasn’t Really That Annoying) in the series.

The initial idea for the Donna Leigh Mystery series came from the fact that I’ve been an avid murder mystery buff since I was a kid; enjoying both dramatic and comedic treatments. With years of experience as a reader in the genre, I developed some pet peeves about certain types of plot treatments, e.g. it never failed to amaze me that brilliant and acclaimed women would invariably walk right into a killer’s trap with no means of defense and no back up. I felt many of the mechanisms used by authors were “easy” but didn’t always make sense or lend to the credibility of the plot.

In the Donna Leigh Mystery series I had the creative license to craft my plot in such a way as to be light and humorous, yet not completely out of the realm of possibility. My characters are not superhuman and recklessly heroic, they are normal people who behave in a normal and often excessively narcissistic (that may be redundant) way.    

3: What genre does your book fall under?

Cozy mystery – although there is a slightly higher propensity for realism in the Donna Leigh series than in some of the cozy mysteries.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My protagontist, Donna Leigh is a tough one as many, including myself, identify her as me. To flatter myself I’ll say Meryl Streep or Glen Close could easily handle the role – I think Emma Thompson with a blond wig and an American accent would be brilliant!

My murder victim, BJ Thornton could be played by Shelley Duval – with a mass of long tight curls and a bad make-up job.

Detective Warren could be played by Eliza Coupe of Happy Endings fame. She has the beauty as well as the hard edged, obsessively focused characteristics of the lead detective.

Clovis Cordoba Seville, the totally narcissistic pain in the rear is custom-made for Angela Kinsey of The Office, who can be brilliantly self-involved as well as somewhat acerbic. A slightly younger Shelly Long would have been the perfect fit for Clovis, however she lacks the diminutive stature required.

And finally, Peg and Babs. Peg’s role could easily be handled by Better Midler, or Sherri Shepherd. That no nonsense “don’t get in my way and I’ll fix this” attitude they both exude would enable either to play Peg to perfection! Cathy Najimy as the consummate support person would serve well in the role of Babs as she quietly labors to support and sometimes correct Peg’s continual well-meaning meddling.  Debra Monk, Sherri Shepherd’s co-star in the Evanovich film One For The Money might also make an excellent, laid back, Babs.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A comedic romp through murder, mayhem and menopause that may change your viewpoint of menopausal women forever! 

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book will be published by WriteLife, http://www.writelife.com/. They published the first Donna Leigh Mystery: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Although the first draft of the premier Donna Leigh mystery took only three months to write, the second in the series took considerably longer – probably about a year all told. There are a few reasons why the second book took as long as it did. The first and most compelling reason is that I had to stop writing when book number one came back to me for edits. All systems were ‘go’ on book number one and nothing stood in the way of getting it finalized for publication.

The second reason had more to do with self-confidence. I wasn’t positive my first book would actually get published until the eleventh hour. On some level I feared my publisher coming back to me saying they’d changed their minds and it had been shelved. It was hard to motivate myself to finish that second book until I knew the first one was really happening!

The third reason my second book took so much longer than the first was that I genuinely enjoyed the writing process itself and I wanted to prolong the pleasure. I know I could have finished the second book and begun the third – but I really wanted to see that first book in print before embarking on a third.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A lot of cozy mysteries are kind of sloppy and loose with the facts. They don’t try to create realistic characters that are outrageous – they go all the way to ridiculous.

Phyllis Richman has published The Washington Post Dining Guides and she also has a food-related series of cozy murder mysteries such as: The Butter Did It, Murder On The Gravy Train and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Ham? Phyllis’ books are sophisticated yet funny and compelling. They portray a protagonist who’s cool, smart and edgy even though she’s closer to menopause than her coming out party.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Authors like Phyllis Richman, Janet Evanovich, JK Rowling, Agatha Christie and Pat Cornwall were an absolute inspiration to me. They all share a gift of engaging the reader and giving them an experience that transcends the simple story in some way. Often it’s a lesson in humankind – sometimes it’s about how to relax and not take oneself too seriously.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Donna Leigh Mysteries are all about not taking others at face value and realizing that things are often different from how they appear. Some of the recurring themes are: older women really can be cool, women who aren’t skinny can be chic and desirable, living in Omaha is something many people choose to do, very capable people are not perfect, and intensely self-involved people do function at some level – just not the level they credit themselves for achieving.

The books are mysteries on multiple levels. Yes, people are murdered and those murders must be solved; but the characters and how and why they function are often mysteries in and of themselves since virtually any genuine account of people interacting often proves to be pretty strange – if we’re to be totally honest with ourselves.

Donna Leigh Mysteries are designed to make you laugh and take your mind off your troubles for a bit by illustrating the value of taking ourselves less seriously and laughing at ourselves once in awhile. Thanks for reading. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Here is a list of authors who will be joining the hop for week of December 24. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author!

1 Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Marcia Calhoun Forecki 

Barb Malek

 

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Thanks for the Trailer Views, More is Better!

December 7th, 2012 → 3:50 pm @

Thank you so much for all the views of my trailer. As of right now – we’ve hit a total of 379 views – the ten million mark is right around the corner!

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