Karen Docter Blog Interview – Check it Out!

October 13th, 2023 → 4:07 pm @

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s #Humorous #Cozy: I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY KILLED HIM, A Donna Leigh Mystery Book 3 by Robin Leemann Donovan #Recipe ~ Linguine with Tuna, Olives, & Capers


My Interview by Brad Haizlip – The Authors Table

August 28th, 2023 → 2:13 pm @



August 10th, 2023 → 4:13 pm @

Hi All,

So, Tuesday has come around again, and I hope that wherever you are, you are having better weather than last week was in the UK; rain, more rain, and then some. Let’s hope that the forecast of a heatwave materialises!

With nothing but my imminent cover reveal for “The Hurt” and some formatting to do ready for uploading to Ingram Spark, I haven’t much in the way of news to report right now.

So, without further delay let’s get this interview rolling!!!!

Eva: Tell us all about yourself (as in, a bit of a biography).
Robin: Hi everyone, I am Robin Leemann Donovan, author of the blog, Menologues, a humorous yet informative look at the trials and tribulations of menopause by someone who’s been there. Menologues has been republished on two commercial sites: Vibrant Nation and Alltop, and has won regional honors for social media at the AMA Pinnacles and PRSA Paper Anvil awards. I was the recipient of a 2021 Enterprising Woman of the Year award by Enterprising Women Magazine. I was born and raised in New Jersey but lived and worked in Connecticut for a number of years before moving to Nebraska in 1999. After starting my career as a high school English teacher, I moved into advertising in the early 80’s where I worked on accounts such as: Duracell, Stanley Tools, IBM, etc.. In 1999 I accepted a job offer from Bozell, an Omaha based ad agency. In late 2001, I and three colleagues purchased Bozell from its New York based parent company. I have served on the boards of Alzheimer’s of the Midlands, The Omaha Children’s Museum, Hartford Ad Club, Connecticut B/PAA and on Pay-it-Forward – a local group that helps to find jobs for those looking to change. I have been president of Bozell since 2012.
I live with my husband and my French Bulldogs, Frank and Ellie in Omaha and Eden, Utah.

How many books have you written up to now? Are they published or self-published? What genre are they?
There are three books in my Donna Leigh Mystery series of cozy murder mysteries. The first book was published by WriteLife and that was a wonderful experience. The second book had just finished final edit when WriteLife was sold to a publisher in Virginia.
They used subtle threats to get me to sign my first book on with them and over a year’s time, they didn’t improve sales at all. Then they wanted to charge me for completely rewriting my second book (WriteLife never charged me a cent for anything) because they said the second book – one that was edited by a former literary agent to some very big names – was not fit to print.
I decided after a great deal of research (other publishers wanted me to cancel the contract for my first book so they could have all of the books in the series – I agreed that I would do that once they made a commitment to me. They were unwilling to make a commitment until AFTER I cancelled my existing contract) I decided to self-publish. My plan was to get my second book up and running and then cancel my contract for the first book and republish it independently.
I announced on Facebook that my second book was in the proofing stage. Within 30 minutes my publisher sent me an email cancelling the contract for my first book. They wanted all the books in the series as well – or none. Their rapid cancellation upon learning that I was not using them to publish my second book told me I had made the right choice.

Of all the genres there are, is there any genre/s that you feel you wouldn’t be able to write and why? Is there any genre that you really wish you could write, but feel you wouldn’t be able to do it justice?
I tried to write a book about the volatile six months when three partners and I purchased our advertising agency back from its global holding company in 2001. I think it would have made a great book, and considering all the drama an even better movie. I had written about 1/20 th of the book when I met my publisher from WriteLife. I told him I was writing this book but was concerned that I would get sued by several people. He responded “people behaving badly? I think you’ll be fine.” I pressed further and he agreed to show his attorney. A week later he came back to me and said “my attorney wants to know ‘are many of these people dead yet?’” When I responded in the negative he suggested I “back burner” that book and write about my passion. And thus, Donna Leigh and her mysteries were born.
I had assumed that writing a book would be a torturous exercise, but one that I needed to experience. Writing the first book had been so horrible – remembering all of the pain – that I had to force myself to write and could only tolerate short periods of work.
Once I started writing my cozy mysteries I realized that the writing process could easily rank within the top five most fun things I would experience in life.
I believe I could write in other genres but I would be very hard pressed to write a book that wasn’t fun to write. When they say that you should write for yourself, they aren’t kidding. I could choose to be a martyr to my craft, but there would have to be an extremely compelling reason.

Do you have any favourite ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ words that you like to use in your books? What are those words? Also, what words used by other authors irritate you more than they should?
I tend to use narcissist a great deal. That’s because my favorite character (see question #8) is a card carrying, violence inducing narcissist – so the word is often accurate and illuminating.
I dislike when authors use the phrase “to do so” in their dialogue, e.g. “I need to find the answers and I intend to do so.” When I see a sentence end in that way I know immediately that the author is not fluent in dialogue. It’s as though the author has run out of gas before the end of the sentence. Rarely does an individual (one who is not a self-important, out of touch with reality college prof-type) use such a stiff and formal phrase.
On a related note, my first book was edited by 5 academicians – most were college professors – and I had a difficult time trying to write relatable dialogue that they were comfortable leaving untouched. That was probably the one downfall of WriteLife, it was founded by a college professor who had a built in and rather stodgy editing staff.
During one editing session, my editor du jour informed me that “you can’t say ‘I ordered a Coke’ you have to say ‘I ordered a Coca Cola.”

Do you sing at all, be it karaoke, in a choir or have done so professionally? Whether you have or not, have you ever written (or had the urge to write) any song lyrics? Have those lyrics been used at all?
When I was in high school I sang in the robed choir. That was the height of my singing career. Even when singing to the radio, my alto voice works best with higher male voices.
I have come to realize that, when singing in my range I can hold my own but there is nothing interesting or compelling about my voice. Stevie Nicks I am not. I wouldn’t even make it as a sleazy lounge singer.
I am not a poet. I think in order to be a lyricist one has to be a poet.

What question would you like to pose, (if you were to ever interview your favourite author), which never seems to get asked in author interviews? And who is that favourite author?
I have to name two authors – and I would ask two different questions: Charles Dickens
Your writing, while brilliant, focused on the horrors of your time. Where you miserable in general and that’s why you chose to write of such heartbreak? Did your writing make that worse or better?
Jane Austen
When you look down upon earth and see the immense popularity of your brilliant work – are you furious that you never got to enjoy your fame?

If you were to ever write a children’s book, (and those of you who already do) would you/do you do the illustrating yourself, make use of a family member or friend’s talent or pay an illustrator? Do you solely write or do you have any other creative pursuits?
I tried to write a children’s book about children being introduced to death because of a story from a girl I knew in high school. She came from a family of five children, her brother Tom was the oldest and she was the youngest at 5. She idolized Tom.
One day the adults and older children were acting strangely, but no one said anything to June. That went on for another day or two and then they got her all dressed up and took her out. They brought her into a room where her beloved Tom was lying in a coffin.
June had never been my favorite person, but that story changed my view of her dramatically – and I never wanted another child to suffer that same fate.
Try as I might I could not come up with a mechanism to keep such a book from being too ghoulish.
If I were to write a children’s book I know many talented artists, some in my family and some through owning an ad agency. Unless I wanted illustrations to be bizarre and abstract I wouldn’t attempt to illustrate it myself. I always compensate those who help me in one way or another – often monetarily.
I like to think I have other creative talents – but nothing that’s for sale – at least not right now.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite? And why?
Clovis Cordoba Seville is my favorite character. She was an afterthought in my first book. I needed a distraction to connect two sections without rambling on about the murder or what Donna, my protagonist, had just learned. I created Clovis from memories of a co-worker who lived in a fantasy where she was the constant star. This person viewed all of life, and work from the lens of her self-imposed royalty and was a never-ending source of both pain and amusement. It didn’t hurt that she hailed from a circus family.
Once created, I realized that Clovis’ rampant narcissism (see there’s that word again) would play off Donna Leigh very well. Donna was a “normal” person, i.e. she was fairly self-effacing, but at some level she did see herself as having a modicum of star quality.
In her goal of making sure no one else reaches even close to her greatness, Clovis makes sure to knock Donna down every step of the way. Brilliant deductions are ludicrous and foolhardy, intelligent investigating is merely getting in Clovis’ way and Clovis has had about enough of Donna riding her coattails. Remarkably, Clovis does not even have to be present to be the hero in any given scenario – and Donna is always a bumbling fool (this is sometimes true, but not 100% of the time as Clovis would have us believe). So in her own deluded way Clovis keeps Donna honest and gives those around her eye rolling rights at virtually every turn. (Eva: Oh, how I love that name…Clovis! Whether she’s a narcissist or not, her name intrigues me, Robin.)

Have you ever killed off a character in your books (I’m sure you have)? If so, was it because…it fitted nicely into the storyline? OR…Did you start to really dislike the character and, with too much work involved to re-write without that character, think it the easiest option to have that person die?
As an author of murder mysteries I kill off people in every book. And every one of my victims – aside from one poor slob who was just collateral damage – was loosely modelled on an actual person who would have been named as “someone most likely to be murdered” if such a vote had been taken.
It’s easy to kill off a character that behaves despicably and does not care at all if their actions cause great damage to others. As you read my books you will undoubtedly wonder why some of the remaining characters have not also been found lying prone with the life draining out of them. Suffice it to say that I managed to dispense with the ones who most deserved dispensing and let’s face it – you can’t kill off every rotten egg or your detective would have no one with whom to have dialogue.

Are any of your characters based on family members or friends? Have you kept their characters totally true to life or have you given them bonus traits that you wish they possessed in real life?
As my literary attorney pointed out “you can’t write about what you don’t know, so, of course, your characters will be based on people you’ve known or met casually. Just don’t do something stupid like rhyme the character’s name with that of the real person (upon whom I swear they are only loosely based).” So, after I changed all of the rhyming names…that’s right I was that stupid, I was good to go!
People often approach me to ask if they can be featured in my book. When that happens I always ask them if they would like me to use their real name, or if they have another name they would like me to use. I find that men generally ask me to use their first name and their mother’s maiden
I have kept my voluntary characters completely true to life – sometimes moreso than they’d like to admit. The ones that aren’t voluntary must be edited so that they are not immediately recognizeable, but their nefarious behavior is absolutely dead on with their personalities and behavior patterns.
I let a few co-workers read a draft copy of my first book. Two of them became furious with me. “That’s my friend you’re talking about!” A quick edit altered this character enough to satisfy me that the whole world would not know her origin. Thankfully, after publishing some folks guessed correctly, but enough folks guessed incorrectly.

Relationships/family life aside, what are your TWO main regrets in life?
I didn’t start writing murder mysteries sooner.
I haven’t learned how to get people who say “I read your book and loved it” to write a review. I get a lot of “Oh, I wouldn’t know how to write a review.” These are intelligent people. Look, just say “I read this book and loved it” that’s a review! (Eva: I agree. It’s hard work getting people to review!)

What was your passion as a child? Did that passion stay with you during your adult life OR did you, as you grew up begin to detest what you once enjoyed?
I wanted to be an English teacher. I taught secondary English for three years. Aside from study hall duty, bus duty, lunch room duty and students always high after payday, I found that about 97% of students don’t share the love of literature that I have. You could say that’s true of every subject, but English is the only subject where everyone has to pass four years in order to graduate from high school. It was three years of watching students stamp out and grind the literature that was my passion. Not to mention that I will never spell correctly again and my grammar is questionable.
I don’t detest literature now – not by a longshot – but certain pieces do remind me of less pleasant times. I still love literature and I still love to teach but I don’t teach literature anymore. Most of my teaching is related to branding and owning (starting/buying) a business.

What was your best subject throughout your school years? And your worst?
English was always my best subject. Math/science (algebra, chemistry and physics) were my worst nightmare – I liked geometry and biology – but I had teachers that really brought these subjects to life.
I generally hate it when scientists deliberately read my books so they can leave scathing reviews. I can tell you right now if you work in the sciences – you won’t like them! I can always tell from the wording and tone when I’m ready a review from a text book science junkie – and they are rife with scorn and derision.

Tell me about your favourite teacher throughout your school years? Was it a crush you had? Were they just an excellent teacher of your favourite subject?? Or some other reason…kind, fun, generous…?
Professor Lee Jacobus was my favorite teacher. He was the only instructor with whom I deliberately took more than one class. Dr. Jacobus was nothing short of brilliant but with a humble and self-effacing sense of humor that made him approachable. There was nothing pompous or arrogant about him even though his lifestyle would easily have supported that behavior.
I have always loved to write, but Lee Jacobus made me a writer. He was encouraging, and his critical comments were always couched in a way that I never felt under attack or became defensive. I was never a star student, but under his tutelage it felt as though I was.
You ask about a crush. I took dance from Dr. Jacobus’ lovely and talented wife, Joanna. They were a remarkable couple. In truth, I think I had a crush on them as a couple and based on what I’ve seen on social media – I still do.

Did either of your parents ever express a wish to write? Are they supportive and proud of your work? Or do they just choose to not get involved, but they are pleased for you?
Neither of my parents were writers. My Dad leaned more toward the graphic arts and my Mom was a student of fashion and interior design. At an early age they labled me “the writer” and my sister “the artist.” Even as a young child I could hear them describe me as the studious one, the reader and writer. In later years as my sister’s grades proved to be far better than mine – their support of my writing and the intelligence they felt necessary to make that so never faltered.
I dedicated my first book to my Dad posthumously and my Mom is still supporting my work at the age of 95.
My parents have never been ones to brag so their support was never blatant, but they always foumd a way to make others know of my talents – sometimes expressed as a trial “oh she missed dinner to do another book signing” – but I always knew the underlying intent. It actually made their support seem more credible.

Tell us about your ultimate ambition, be it personal, travel, writing, work, hobby related or other?
To make people laugh and to enjoy and help nature through animals.

Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they? Have you ever conquered any phobia and if so, how did you do it?
Between grade school and my honeymoon I didn’t have much opportunity to fly anywhere. What I thought was thrilling at 13 had become a phobia. Anytime I was forced to fly I would be terrified and need drinks or drugs or something – even then I was terrified at the slightest noise of any kind. My husband turned down a trip to Austria (I had never been outside of the U.S. territories prior to that invitation) due to my fear of flight – and I told him I wasn’t missing out on a trip to Europe – I would suck it up – and I did. But the flights weren’t pretty.
Over the next few years we flew to a number of places, mostly to ski. One day I was on a ski lift in Austria. We were going over a particularly sinister looking crevace and I said to myself “if you can do this, you’re an idiot to be afraid of flying.” And that was pretty much it. Now don’t get me wrong – I still do not respond well to turbulence – but it does help that now the pilot will typically announce that turbulence is expected – so it’s clearly no surprise to them.
I really loved the Tracy Ullman skit where she plays the Australian Pro Golfer, Kiki, who is afraid to fly. She visits the therapist to tell him she’s joining his “fear of flying” group and during that conversation, when he shares the fact that you’re far more likely to get a royal flush than to be in a plane crash – she announces she’s cured and runs out of his office without joining the group.

Most people I know are not happy with something physical about themselves (face/body etc.,) but if you could change anything about your personality, what would you wish to change?
Had you asked me that 10 years ago I would have had a list. Not anymore. I am what I am. Experienced has softened some of the edges, but my personality has gotten me to where I am today – and I like where I am – for the most part.
Years ago I would have liked to be 1. Far less sensitive (that would still be top of the list), 2. Far less quick to confront. 3. Milder temper overall (that has improved a great deal over the years), 4. A little less humble (although I take a great pride in humility).

What is your ‘go to’ snack, whatever the time of day? And drink of your choice?
Spearment leaves, Fritos and red licorice are the ones I don’t allow myself to eat – and I do love my candy corn.
I allow myself to eat – cherries, blueberries, pineapple, sometimes cinnamon cookies (very few), raisins.
In the daytime I drink a ton of Bubly. After five I like a Sauviniogn Blanc from the Marlborough region. I also like Tanqueray (gin) tonic and Rose’s lime juice with some fresh lime and a Bartender’s brand whiskey sour.

Cats or dogs? What do you have? Do you introduce any pets into your books?
We are a bulldog family. We started with Olde Englishe Bulldogs, we’ve also had an English Bulldog and we now have two French Bulldogs (smaller and easier to cart around – although not “easy” by a longshot). All of my books include Donna Leigh’s family life and thus my readers get to meet my dog family that exists at the time of writing. My dogs are such an integral part of my life I could not create a major piece of work without including them.

AND FINALLY, Hit me up with all your Amazon book-links? And the links to your website and social media profiles?

Website: www.rldonovan.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+leigh+mysteries&i=stripbooks&crid=2R7UOSATJD9X1&sprefix=donna+leigh+mysteries%2Cstripbooks%2C127&ref=nb_sb_noss
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobinLDonovan
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donovanrobin/
Twitter: @robindonovan

What a brilliant and informative interview, Donna. Thank you so much for taking part! Next up, on Friday, we have UK author, Ian Grant. Stay tuned to learn about Ian and his creation, D.I. Wiggins!
Have an amazing week, folks!

Love as always,



Check out my first interview of 2021!

January 12th, 2021 → 5:13 pm @



Robin Leemann Donovan:  Editing, when I don’t have a clear picture of whether or not the editor is on board with my plans for the plot. For example, my books are mostly about comedy and secondarily about murder mysteries. One of my editors got very angry because he said instead of having my characters brought to the police station for questioning and released, I missed an opportunity of having them brought to trail and put in jail – thus missing the entire point of everything I was trying to do. I asked my publisher to remove that editor from my book – and they did.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  Absolutely, although most of them don’t really know the best way to support an author (as most people don’t, I.e. tell them you love it – but also write a review, buy copies as gifts, etc.), but the encouragement and praise are priceless.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I would have started writing novels much earlier. I didn’t start until I was in my 50’s.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  That’s a tough one. The first one took three months – which was a shock to me – it all just came tumbling out. I wrote the second one in between editing and proofing and promoting the first book. So there were a whole lot of interruptions along the way. The same is true of the third book – I was working on editing, proofing the second and marketing both the first and second. So after the first, it was about a year to a year and a half due to stopping and starting.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  Not really. I think if you’re blocked maybe you’re not writing what you should be. I tried writing a fictionalized version of a very painful event in my life – I was more blocked than unblocked. When the lawyers decided it was risky to publish something so incendiary I went on to write comedic murder mysteries – and I have never looked back. the writing is more fun that I could ever have imagined, it’s actually hard for me to stop myself once I get started. And I only start when I’m in the mood – which is almost always.


Robin Leemann Donovan: After you have written the entire piece, edited, proofed and published it (either independently or through a variety of publishing options) and have started to market it.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  For many years I was a writer. I blogged my way through the internet on a variety of topics. Technically, I authored those pieces, but I didn’t view myself as an author until I had a novel that was selling.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  After years of getting reviews both good and bad, it becomes easy to spot the majority of bad interviews which are clearly from people who: Hate your genre or are just plain trolls. There are a few who just don’t appreciate your particular style – and that’s fair – although I personally don’t write reviews when the style I’m reading doesn’t appeal to me.

We are told to ignore bad reviews, so I do. It does annoy me that they lower my rating on amazon – but everyone gets them. I actually had one reviewer say mine was the worst book they’d ever read – I laughed out loud at that one – clearly they haven’t read much. Another troll declared they couldn’t stomach reading past page 60 – and then they complained about a scene on page 200 – there’s definitely a shady trend here.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  Not being able to write whenever I feel like it. When the mood strikes me I just like to sit down and start writing, sometimes for eight hours with very short breaks. But I also don’t force myself when I’m not in the mood – I did that once and found that I wrote very little and none of it was good.


Robin Leemann Donovan: I have been writing since I could first pick up a pencil, but I didn’t start writing cozy mysteries until I was in my early 50’s. And while it’s a whole lot of work, I just wish I could have started at least a decade earlier – because it has been so very rewarding.


Robin Leemann Donovan: Before you even start writing, manage your expectations. Even Malcom Gladwell said in his blog “we don’t make money on our books, we hope they help us gain recognition so we can get paid speaking gigs.” And even that only happens to a small percentage of authors. That said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  A basic knowledge of good grammar so that when you break the rules it’s deliberate. I think you also have to be a proven talented storyteller, so that you can capture the imagination of your reader.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I create them simultaneously. As I start down a road for the plot, I determine whether or not any of my existing characters will work in the scenario – and if none do, I create a new character or occasionally change that segment of the plot for one that fits my existing characters.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I’ll give you an example. In my first book, I had my basic cast of characters. One thing that I felt would be critical was for my protagonist, Donna Leigh, to be humble, to be able to laugh at herself and to be human enough to have clearly visible flaws. That’s when I invented her alter ego, Clovis Cordoba Seville. Clovis is an extreme narcissist who never fails to find massive fault with Donna. And even though there might be more than a hint of truth in some of her assaults on Donna, Clovis’ level of drama makes everything she says and does laughable – at least I hope it does. And it helps to elicit the characteristics I want from Donna Leigh.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  At a very early age my parents labeled me “the writer” and my sister “the artist.” I have always been “the Writer”. – even if only through letters to friends and family – I always got great reviews on them – I could always make them laugh – and that has never changed. 15 years ago my business partner urged me to create a blog on menopause. Menologues was a trailblazer in giving women practical information on menopause that was not dry as dust. After publishing Menologues for several months, it was republished on Vibrant Nation and on all top. It also won some awards. That made the “writer” moniker feel more real. And that’s why my series features a menopausal protagonist.

At one point, A reacquainted friend from high school wrote and told me she shared menologues with a friend who was starting on menopause and feeling terrified. she swore my blog saved her life. That alone made all of my hard work completely worthwhile and so rewarding.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I use Facebook to connect with other authors and to find invaluable interview opportunities. Once these are public, I post them on Facebook(my home page, my author page and my series page, linked in, and my website (rldonovan.com). the connections through Facebook are more prolific than the sales.


Robin Leemann Donovan: My favorite part is when you first hold that final proofing copy in your hand. My least favorite part is waiting to find out if your newly assigned editor “gets you” and “gets your work.” When that doesn’t happen it’s a nightmare. I once had an editor tell me that I couldn’t reference the soft drink as coke, I had to call it coca cola.
Another one told me I couldn’t use “shit” when my character spills coffee on her blouse on her way into a meeting, “people really say, damn,” he corrected. Not in my world they don’t! My dialogue is extremely precise to the specific characters, messing with that messes with my whole brand. Hmmm, does that make me a diva?


Robin Leemann Donovan: In my experience very few people are gifted as authors and graphic artists alike. It’s not impossible, but its so rare. And by that I mean, if you design an awesome cover for your novel, maybe it’s not as good a read as you think. All of my covers were designed by designers in my ad agency. When they would ask my opinion, I always reminded them that they were the designers – I always used their recommendations for the best possible design impact. Do what you do best – don’t try to be best at everything, it’s just not realistic.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  The Donna Leigh mytery series has three books: is it still murder even if she was a bitch, I didn’t kill her but that may have been shortsighted and I don’t know why they killed him he wasn’t really that annoying. All three are my babies and all three have elements that I love the most. The first was the easiest to write, the next two were more of a challenge because I didn’t want to make them formulaic. In the first book it was all about advertising in Omaha. In the second book, my protagonist has to make a trip back to Connecticut where she used to live and the third book takes place in an advertising venue, but is really all about the wine industry. They all feature pairing food and wine at some point.


Robin Leemann Donovan: My third book was the hardest to write. I forced myself to write the first half while the second book was being edited. I was afraid if I didn’t have it at least half finished I would never get around to writing a third book. That first half sat for almost 2 years. When I finally got back to it I hated it. Too lazy to scrap all that work I spent some time trying to come up with a way to make it work with minor editing.

After a few weeks, I came up with an ending I loved and a mechanism to make the first half work with that ending. Once those changes were made, I absolutely fell in love with my third book. I would not have thought that possible. I’ve never written the ending before finishing the whole book before – if I planned it, it would not have worked out as well.


Robin Leemann Donovan: All of the funny parts – and I hope there are a lot. I laughed my way through all three books – and when I reread them now, I still laugh out loud!


Robin Leemann Donovan: My protagonist, Donna Leigh. She is roughly based on my life. Like me, she is a menopausal owner of an ad agency in Omaha, Ne. They say write about what you know and there’s nothing I know about more than myself.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I have been thinking about a 4th book in the series. I already have a working title and I plan to have one of the staff members in donna leigh’s ad agency get murdered – which would keep it close to home and spawn even more drama. I would love to write a 4th book because the writing of this series is so much fun for me – but I do realize that I owe it to my other three books to spend some serious time in marketing them.


Robin Leemann Donovan: My husband and I went to a colleague’s wedding. I was wearing my favorite LBD (little black dress) but still wasn’t feeling as fabulous as I’d hoped. We left the party on the early side and I was grumbling the whole time. To make matters worse, I had broken a fingernail. When we got home, my husband went to his office om the first level and I went up to the master suite on the third level. I started to get undressed and then I grabbed a brand new bottle of nail glue to fix my break. Opening the glue was a huge pain and when I finally wrenched it open it had very little glue – great another problem. I did my best with the fingernail and then moved on to other ablutions. After a few minutes I moved to go back into the bedroom – and found I was glued tight to the bathroom floor. Apparently, the glue bottle had broken, dumping the whole bottle onto my bathroom tiles and my foot. Using my little gray cells I started to search for something sharp – to help me peel my foot off the tile – there was nothing within reach. I then tried to pull my foot free – and realized immediately that I would lose the whole bottom of the foot. Not wanting to end up on you tube, I hesitated to call my husband – but after 20 minutes I didn’t care anymore. I yelled for about 20 minutes to no avail. Finally, he decided to come upstairs to change his clothing. To his credit, he took one look at me and ran to the garage to grab the goo gone, freeing my foot before collapsing into hysterical laughter. I’d like to say that this was an unusual event in my life – but I’d be lying.


Robin Leemann Donovan:  I started as an English teacher in Watertown, Ct, then I switched to advertising and worked in Connecticut agencies for 17 years. When I applied for a job in  the Omaha, Nebraska office of a global ad agency it was a great fit except for one thing, they wanted me for my DRTV planning and buying experience. I kept telling them I didn’t have any – I had direct mail and TV buying but not DR TV buying experience. They hired me anyway (hearing what they wanted to hear I guess) – I scrambled to learn what I didn’t know and ended up  owning that ad agency for 20 years.

I love animals. And I’m thrilled that my ad agency has and still does stellar work for the Henry Doorly Zoo – on of the top 5 zoos in the world and a huge contributor to worldwide conservation.

I hate that there is suffering in the world.https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_RIldnS1Jtphnkr&asin=B017T8X3EU&tag=kpembed-20IS IT STILL MURDER EVEN IS SHE WAS A BITCH?ROBIN LEEMANN DONOVAN



Romelia Lungu

Sunt un om asa cum vor altii sa fiu, am o viata asa cum vor altii sa o am si zâmbesc doar pentru ca asa trebuie nu pentru ca asa simt eu.Vezi toate posturile scrise de Romelia LunguReclameblob:https://www.rldonovan.com/134c016d-6d32-48da-849e-b686536ca055RAPORTEAZĂ ACEASTĂ RECLAMĂ


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Books for Life


Articole recente


Check Out My Top Wire Interview

May 22nd, 2019 → 6:37 pm @

Don’t say it, do it. If you don’t like it when you’re done, put it away and take it out again when you’re ready to rewrite it until you do like it
-Robin Donovan

Today’s Author in the Spotlight is Robin Donovan. Author of the Donna Leigh Mystery Series, stories about an owner of an ad agency. Check out her interview below!

TW: What is your writing process?
RD: I break each novel into four parts. I do not allow myself to write anything directly connected to the ending until I begin writing the fourth segment. I keep a notebook of people and occurrences in each chapter to ensure that I don’t leave any gaping holes or red herrings in the plot. I allow myself some flexibility, e.g. I got halfway through my third book and put it aside to edit my second book. When I went back to it I realized it wasn’t good. As I was contemplating what to do, the perfect ending occurred to me, so I went ahead and wrote it. Once finished, I went back and edited the first half to make it fit and it all came together beautifully. I believe having the ending, in that case, made all the difference.

TW: How difficult was it to write your story?
RD: My first novel virtually wrote itself. It was as though someone said “go” and I did. Writing a series makes writing the rest of the books a bit more difficult. There have to be enough similarities in characters and occurrences to create a common thread without making the books seem formulaic, and in the case of comedy, without using the same comedic mechanisms over and over. Although Evanovich manages to make a car either blow up or catch fire in every Stephanie Plum novel – and she makes it work.

TW: What are your hopes for this project?
RD: My hope is that I will start seeing more regular sales so that I can focus less on promotion and write another in this series and possibly even start a different series. I spend an enormous amount of time promoting my three existing books and the fourth one is sitting in my head waiting to hit the pages. Just last week I received a wonderful compliment from a TV writer and author in LA. Up until that note, I was just enjoying the writing and the speaking engagements, not to mention the written interviews, blog posts, occasional TV and radio interviews… I was surprised at how much the validation from a bona fide celebrity writer would mean to me. I guess I was hoping for that without even realizing it.

TW: Do have plans of writing more books?
RD: My fourth book is starting to hatch without much prompting from me. I’m not really sure that I have a choice in this whole thing. I want to be careful to end this series before it does start to feel formulaic. If I feel that this series has reached its natural end I have no idea what my next series would be. Maybe when that time comes I will know.

TW: What is your favorite genre of books and do you plan on venturing in those areas?
RD: Any kind of mystery is fascinating to me. Scott Turow is one of my favorites. He creates a true mystery that holds together until the end and writes it beautifully. I’m less inclined to enjoy a mystery that involves gore and/or torment. For now, I’ll stick to cozy mysteries laced with humor. The comedic element seems to come naturally from me, although I take my cozies very seriously. I make sure they are edited extensively and that the focus is as much on the mystery as the humor. I try to avoid the clichés of “light” mysteries, i.e. someone constantly yelling at the amateur sleuth for sticking her nose into police business, having a protagonist who is willing to meet any stranger alone in an alley at midnight, etc.

TW: What do you want readers to know about you?
RD: I spent years wanting to write a book and making excuses for not getting started. I worked as an English teacher and then in advertising and never had time. A series of occurrences made me realize it was ‘now or never’ so I got started. I had no idea how much absolute fun I would have doing the actual writing. And the speaking engagements..are like catnip.

TW: Do you have a favorite author or book?
RD: Aside from Scott Turow, I have always loved Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier and I can’t get enough of Jane Austin’s humor. Charles Dickens is another favorite. But I tend to pattern my writing style after a combination of James Thurber and Cornelia Otis Skinner.

TW: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
RD: The fact that I have to put my whole heart and soul into it – and my work is not for everyone – so that comes with some rejection. In the beginning, a bad review was devastating. One reviewer actually commented that mine was the worst book he/she had ever read. That’s when it starts to become comical – but there is still that initial little arrow stab at every harsh comment. I do wonder why folks who clearly don’t like my genre still choose to read and review my book – but I guess that’s the age-old question for authors

TW: What does literary success look like to you?
RD: Apparently, getting a complimentary and encouraging note from a professional TV writer and author. While I’d like to see a lot more sales, I am grateful that my sales are considerably above average based on studies I’ve read – the average is surprisingly low. I am getting invited to speak at author and library fairs and book clubs, I wouldn’t mind more invitations of that nature. I think success is writing a book, and success is publishing a book, and success is getting opportunities to promote a book. I think success is tiered and there’s always the next level.

TW: How has this book changed your life?
RD: There are extremely high highs and some seriously low lows. One moment you feel as though you ARE a celebrity and at the next event no one shows up and you’re just sitting there among all the books you lugged in along with your posters, bookmarks, etc. all by yourself. I read a book by the author of a well-known book turned movie. She commented that at one of her book events so few people showed up that the bookstore owner made all of his employees stand on line and pretend to buy a book. She didn’t find that out for several years – and it was a blow when she did – but it made me feel as though I’m in good company.

TW: What advice do you have for an aspiring writer?
RD: Don’t say it, do it. If you don’t like it when you’re done, put it away and take it out again when you’re ready to rewrite it until you do like it. Some authors take months to write a masterpiece and some take decades – just get started and see where it takes you. And don’t expect overnight stardom – or most likely ANY stardom. Do it because you love it.

TW: Do you have any future events or updates we should know about?
RD: My focus recently has been on promotion in the form of interview and guest blog posts. I have some local author fairs and as many interviews and I can fit into my schedule – but nothing particularly noteworthy at the moment – except, of course, for this interview.

TW: How can we contact you and purchase your book?
RD: Web site:

Books (Can all be found under Donna Leigh Mysteries on Amazon):
Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?
I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Short Sighted.
I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him He Wasn’t Really That Annoying.

Book Trailer:

Best to message me on Facebook:

Author’s pages on Facebook:
Author’s Page:

Donna Leigh Mystery Series page:


In The Spotlight Today: Robin Donovan!

April 3rd, 2019 → 6:55 pm @

How old are you and where are you from?

My first book came out in 2010 and the menopausal protagonist, Donna Leigh, was patterned after me. I was in the early days of menopause back then.

I was born in Jersey City, NJ, so in many ways the dye was cast. At a young age I moved to Connecticut and experienced a very different culture – it was a remarkably broadening experience. Today, I live in Omaha, NE and the merging of these three very different cultures is what enables me to build multi-dimensional characters and when I do create characters that are two-dimensional, it’s deliberate. I’ve recently added a ski home in Utah – more grist for the mill.

Tell us more about your book!

My Donna Leigh Mystery series (with three books) features the menopausal owner of an Omaha ad agency, Donna Leigh. In each book, someone from Donna Leigh’s world has been murdered – and in each case her connection to the victim propels her into the investigation. Donna Leigh has enabled me to address all of the pet peeves I have collected in years of reading cozy mysteries. I work hard to eliminate red herrings as well as other painfully stereotypical cozy mystery devices, i.e. when a disguised voice phones to invite Donna to a remote area, late at night and alone in order to obtain a lead – she let’s loose a torrant of anger as she explains that she was not born yesterday and she will never fall for that ploy. Donna Leigh is a smart and attractive woman who is not perfect. She’s not twenty-something, skinny, flawless and brilliant – she has her flaws – but they don’t keep her from being awesome, and funny.

You’re sharing an elevator with a big name publisher. Pitch your book using 20 words or less!

Do you want to give readers an Evanovich-like laugh and a legitimate mystery to solve? Let’s talk.

What does your writing space look like?

In the winter, I like to be sitting at a huge window, looking out at a majestic mountain with a glass of white wine in my hand and my laptop on my lap. In the summer, I typically start out on the couch in my family room and switch to the table on my deck as the day warms. I add the white wine at 5 pm.

If your book was turned into a movie, who would play your main characters?

I think Bette Midler would crush the role of Donna Leigh. And once you have Bette, nothing else really matters. Nevertheless, I think my first murder victim, Claire Dockens would ideally be played by Julia Child – unfortunately, she’s not available – but she would have been perfect! Paris Hilton would make an awesome Clovis Cordoba Seville, that built in narcissism would be an ideal enhancement to her performance. Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendal from the British TV murder series Rosemary and Thyme would make an excellent Peg and Babs.

You’re stranded on an island, and only one character from any book can save you. Who are you picking?

I would want to be stranded with Clovis Cordoba Seville. Despite her incredibly annoying personality, there is nothing like extreme narcissim to get your demands met, and without an adoring audience, Clovis would not stick around on any island.

Besides being a writer, what else do you enjoy?

Well, reading, naturally. I also love my bulldogs (English and French), dancing, skiing and wine dinners with friends. I do enjoy working at my ad agency, Bozell, but that’s work.

I would want to be stranded with Clovis Cordoba Seville. Despite her incredibly annoying

Follow Robin on social media!

Facebook Author page: RL Donovan

Series page: Donna Leigh Mysteries

Check out her mystery series, available no on amazon!


This Week’s Author Round Up: Writing Difficulties

February 25th, 2019 → 6:53 pm @

My Donna Leigh Mystery series revolves around a menopausal ad agency owner in Omaha, Nebraska. Although each book encompasses the murder of someone known to the protagonist, the books are actually comedies. With three books in the series, the challenges have been in finding credible enough yet over-the-top comedic events, without an over-abundance of similarity, and in keeping the plot fresh enough overall that the books don’t start to feel formulaic.

Evanovich’s protagonist, Stephanie Plum, pretty much always sets a car on fire, it’s her signature comedic move. Perhaps I should have set a precedent like that, because creating new and outrageous scenarios is increasingly a challenge.

Each book requires approximately six comedic events to keep things moving at a fast pace. I realized this would be a daunting task as early as my second book, and the third book was that much more intimidating.

Along those same lines, it is a genuine challenge to keep my plots from becoming formulaic. The same characters want to say and do the same things. It is imperative to find ways to pull them out of their comfort zone without pulling them out of character.

Folks have suggested that I move on from Donna Leigh and start a whole new series, but my gut is telling me to stick with her for at least another book or two. And if I’ve learned one thing in this whole experience, it’s to trust my gut.


This week’s author Round up: writing goals

February 4th, 2019 → 9:34 pm @

My goals in my first book: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch? grew in number as the writing progressed. I wanted to show that menopausal women can be cool and that female amateur sleuths don’t have to be 20-something, stunningly gorgeous and brilliant (but end up doing really stupid things like meeting the murderer with no weapon and no back up in a dark alley). Female sleuths don’t have to be either 20-something or Miss Marple with nothing in between. My sleuth, Donna Leigh, is menopausal, attractive but not perfect and smart but not flawless.

A great panel


I wanted to clearly avoid my most common pet peeves,



the ones repeated throughout cozy mysteries that I read, e.g. men are always telling female sleuths “I am angry, you need to stay out of this investigation.” This rant is generally repeated ad nauseum throughout the plot. The female sleuth typically ignores this command, yet often frets that she’s making the macho guy mad with every move she makes. I’m sick to death of this and I’m guessing others are as well.

I wanted to show that the most appealing woman doesn’t have to be the thinnest – that women can be spectacular, desirable and stylish at any weight.

I also wanted to show that comedy doesn’t have to detract from the mystery in a murder mystery. If the author is careful not to leave a trail of red herrings and is diligent in answering every question in an interesting and compelling way, a comedy can be every bit as suspenseful a drama.

Have I met these goals? Feedback from readers tells me I have – maybe not every goal with every reader – but enough to know it’s all in there.



This week’s author Round up: Writing Influences

January 15th, 2019 → 10:52 pm @

I would have to say that I had five writing style influences, and try as I might, I cannot eliminate any of them.

Donna Leigh Mysteries

Donna Leigh Mysteries

In my early years it was Cornelia Otis Skinner, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Their droll approach at humor never failed to amuse and entertain me. As dark as some of their topics were, their depictions of characters and how they behaved would often have me laughing out loud.



By the time I reached high school, I had added James Thurber to the mix. The Night the Bed Fell on Grandpa felt as though it had happened in my life, and in fact, that type of event was not uncommon as I grew up. I frequently wrote letters and then emails to family and acquaintances using these four icons to help guide my style.

Sharing ideas

Sharing ideas

Humor was what kept our family together, and humor is in my veins. I guess writing humorous novels was inevitable.

As I prepared to write my first novel, Janet Evanovich joined the ranks of influences. The grace and ease with which she is able to move from serious issues to hilarious occurrences is something I wanted to emulate. I actually studied the components of her work to form a pattern for my own. Enough humor, but not so much that it destroys the balance of the plot.



This week’s author Round up question: What are my writing plans for 2019

January 7th, 2019 → 3:56 pm @

I would like to write my fourth book in the Donna Leigh Mystery series. Instead I will focus on writing every guest blog post, guest column, author interview and any other means of getting exposure for the first three books in the series. If offers aren’t forthcoming, I will reach out in writing and offer my services.

Luckily, I enjoy interviews and blogging as well as the writing of the actual novels, but let’s face it, the novels are more fun. Right now I am honoring my pragmatic side and trying to build some steady sales for the series before putting my concentration into creation.

In order to ensure that I doggedly pursue this goal, I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t really matter when that fourth book is released if the readers will be few and far between. In the meantime, I’m capturing notes on the details of book four as they occur to me. Starting that writing process will be my reward if I see enough progress in sales. if I’m being honest – there will never be enough sales, but a noticeable uptick would be enough to get me writing again!