Monday, November 19, 2018


~Post Includes: Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, Author Interview & Giveaway~


Tortured by the loss of his wife, Detective Don Layden isolates himself behind an emotional wall, until a case comes along that shakes him to his core. An axe-wielding murderer kills the wife of a Denver prosecuting attorney and Don has to find him.

In spite of an unsupportive, narcissistic police captain who insists the investigation focus on the widowed attorney’s cases, Don and his partner, Luke, are convinced the killer is a heinous lunatic preying upon innocent Denver woman; one of whom is Kate Fitzgerald. Spirited and defiant, Kate has such compassion for the bereaved families that she is determined to discover who is at the root of this terror before the killer strikes again. But does Kate’s fortitude put her at risk? Don suddenly realizes his concern for Kate’s safety goes beyond public service…a thought that scares him as much as this case.

As the clock ticks on, the killer gets bolder. Can Don, Luke, and Kate battle blood, blades and devil worshippers to solve this mystery before anyone else loses her life?



Lori Donnester started out life in Illinois and then traveled west to study ballet at the University of Utah. Deciding finance would be a better bet, she made the switch, but her creative genes encouraged her to study writing as well. It all worked out because today she is a newly retired financial controller, is writing full time, and recently won an award in a writing contest.

Lori remains steadfast in her conviction that her parents’ prayers and positive thoughts helped her overcome a devastating bicycle accident from which doctors said she would never walk again. (Spoiler alert: She walks just fine today.) When her father passed, she decided to honor him with a story that both entertains and inspires, thus leading to her to write the suspense, crime novel, Deadly Gratitude.

In her spare time, Lori skis, hikes, and enjoys life with her husband in the beautiful mountains that surround her Salt Lake City home.


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JUNE: Welcome to 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic', Lori. Tell us a little about yourself. How did your education and/or previous job and life experiences impact your road to publication?

LORI: I was born and raised in Illinois. I took up ballet there while I was in the 6th grade. I loved it and was in the little company in my ballet school within about three years. I wound up going to the University of Utah which has the best public dance school in the country. I started to learn about the dancers' lives and realized that I was spending an awful lot of money to graduate from college and be poor. So, I switched to finance and had a successful career in that field.

I’m convinced that ballet and finance both helped me with my writing aspirations. In ballet, I often choreographed dances, telling stories through movement. Ballet was a terrific way to build and hone creativity.

Also, students in ballet crave an instructor’s critique. Critique is essential in that it helps you to improve your skills. That led me to seek out and listen to professionals in the field to give feedback on the manuscript of Deadly Gratitude.

Ballet also is the constant pursuit of perfection. Writing is the same. Every paragraph, every sentence, every word must be examined.

The skill set to be successful in the world of finance also spills over to writing. Accounting is a detail-oriented job. Certain tasks such as budgeting may require repeated revisions. Writing requires countless revisions as well. In addition, details are essential. The timetable must be right on. A character cannot have blue eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter twenty.

JUNE: Please tell us a little about how you created your setting and developed the characters for this book.

LORI: I basically wrote the story while jogging. I jogged run after run, figuring out the characters and the conflicts. I finally sat down to write it. I opened Word and started at my computer screen. I remember thinking, "Word is vertical. But a storyline and a timeline are both horizontal. How can anyone write a novel on Word?" So, I closed Word and opened Excel. I've told numerical stories, non-fiction of course, on Excel for decades.

Across the top of the worksheet from January through December, I've given history with projections of what is going to happen numerically. To me, a story is the same shape. I used the tabs to map out each segment of the story. That made it easy to keep track of what day of the week I was on, and I could track the conflict for each segment as well. That's how to make it a page-turner. Only after I had the whole thing mapped out on Excel, did I open Word again. This time I didn't sit and stare; this time I started writing.

JUNE: What led you to write a thriller for your first book? Do you read in this genre a lot? If yes, who are some of your favorite authors/books in the inspirational thriller genre?

LORI: Gratitude. I had a devasting bicycle accident and was paralyzed as a result. After a lot of work and a lot of time, I recovered. Any doctor that looks at my MRI is shocked that I can walk. I’m told that I’m a miracle. I’m convinced my parents’ and friends’ prayers had much to do with my recovery. Then about twelve years later, my parents came out to visit. Unfortunately, my dad got really sick while they were here, and he passed away.

When someone passes, you find yourself reflecting on his or her life. My dad was a good man. We didn’t have a lot of money, but I was always safe; I was always loved; and I was always cared for.

There is something in the human DNA that wants to tell stories. I believe the combination of living a miracle and reflecting upon what a good person my Dad was made me want to write a story. I briefly considered writing an inspirational novel, but every writing class I’ve ever taken advised to write the genre that you love to read. And I’ve devoured thrillers since I was a little girl reading Nancy Drew novels. So, I wrote a thriller with an inspirational character.

I read many different authors in this genre. As a matter of fact, I started reading all of the mystery authors who begin with the letter ‘A’ in the library. I did this to make myself a better writer. But of course, I have favorite authors. Three of them are Lee Child, Terri Blackstock, and Tasha Alexander.

JUNE: Who is your favorite character in your story? Why is this person your favorite? Is there anyone in the story who you do not like? Why not?

LORI: That’s a tough one. I like the leads and I even like the bad guy. I spent a lot of time developing him. But I think I’m going to say I like Luke, one of the detectives. He is a straightforward man who is tender behind all of his toughness. He's a big teddy bear buried underneath a lot of muscle. As far as the character I like least, that's easy. The police captain is so narcissistic. She really thinks the world spins around her. Not the way to be!

JUNE: What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?

LORI: I want to entertain my readers. I want them to want to keep reading. I also want to sprinkle in some thoughts for contemplation. So the short answer to that question is to mix a combination of page-turning entertainment in with a dash of reflection.

JUNE: What do you like to do in your spare time--assuming you have any spare time?

LORI: I like to snow ski in the winter. I also like to curl up in front of the fire and read!! In the summer I like to go boating including water skiing. And hiking is always good. And so is reading! Next summer I decided I’m going to take up paddle boarding.

JUNE: Thank you so much for sharing about your novel, your life, and your writing practices with us. We wish you all the best in your future writing projects.


Lori has generously offered to send a print copy of 'Deadly Gratitude' to one 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' reader who lives in the United States. For a chance to win, please post a comment below telling which one of Lori's interview answers was the most interesting to you and why. 

{NOTE: If you have trouble posting a comment, don't worry! I will also accept comments at my email address: junemccraryjacobs [at] gmail [dot] com. Type 'Deadly Gratitude Comment' in the subject line of the email message, and I will include you in the drawing.}

You must be eighteen (18) years or older to enter and have a United States mailing address.

The contest will close on Thursday, November 29th, at 12:00PM noon PST. Good luck!

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  1. I found her answer to which character she liked the best most interesting because it told me that she gets to know everyone well, even the "bad guys" and makes her characters all have flaws and secrets. Characters are the most important part of a story to me--if I don't care about them, or feel they are stereotypes, then I don't finish the book.

    1. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts about characterization with us, Danielle. Lori and I appreciate your stopping by to read this post and enter the giveaway. Sincerely, June

  2. I really enjoyed how June compared the writing process to ballet! It's a very interesting perspective that makes a lot of sense :-) I've heard many other authors say to write what genre you like to read also! I think if you tried to write historical fiction and really didn't enjoy that genre, why would you enjoy writing a story in the same category?

    Very cool interview! My favorite genre is inspirational fiction and I especially enjoy meeting new-to-me authors who write in it. Thanks for introducing me to June, the fun interview and generous giveaway!

    1. Welcome, Trixi ~ Thank you for sharing your comments about my interview with Lori. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and that you met a new-to-you author! We appreciate your entering this giveaway. Sincerely, June

  3. Outling the book in Excel? What a novel idea! Seriously, self indulgent puns aside,what a terrific way to visualize and organize a story.

    1. Hello, Sean ~ I love puns! I agree with you about the Excel idea. I was amazed at how helpful Lori's writing tip about using Excel was to a visual learner such as myself. We appreciate reading your positive thoughts. Thanks for entering this giveaway. Take care, June

  4. The answer that I found most interesting was that she uses Excel to start writing. As an English major who still shudders when confronted with math, I thought that this was intriguing and a unique approach. Especially the comparison between Word being vertical and Excel being horizontal. That's a new perspective!

    1. Welcome, Sarah ~ I couldn't agree with you more about the vertical/horizontal comparison. It is definitely a new perspective and one I'm glad Lori shared with us all. Thank you for stopping by my blog to share your positive reaction to the interview and for entering the giveaway. Sincerely, June

  5. There were several interesting comments made in the interview. In particular, I like where she spoke about her father. "Unfortunately, my dad got really sick while they were here, and he passed away. When someone passes, you find yourself reflecting on his or her life. My dad was a good man. We didn’t have a lot of money, but I was always safe; I was always loved; and I was always cared for. "
    My mom passed a few years ago, and I experienced the same thought process, reflecting on our relationship and my perception of her life. It made me realize how precious our relationships with ones we love are and why we should make sure we keep our loved ones close.

    1. Thank you for sharing your poignant comments about the interview with us, Debra. I was touched by your thoughts about your own mother that you shared with us. Thank you for visiting my blog to read about Lori's book and for entering her giveaway. Best wishes, June

  6. I loved when she talks about her characters because you feel like you know them personally. Thanks for your great generosity.

    1. Welcome, Linda ~ Thanks for posting your positive remark about 'Deadly Gratitude' here. Lori will appreciate your kind comment about her generosity. Thank you, June