Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No Foolin' New 5-star Review for A Body To Bones

No fooling. April 1, 2015 brought forth a Five Star review for Donan Berg's A Body To Bones, First Skeleton Series Mystery.

As published on by Karsun:

In-Depth Characters and Background

"A Body To Bones by Donan Berg is a book that is the first Skeleton Series Mystery and it immediately drew me in.

"The book is about an old secret, one that won't remain buried and threatens to not only involve Sarah's family but she is the target of a killer.

"I loved this from the start, which was set in the past. Immediately it captured my interest and made me want to keep reading - from prologue to the end. I enjoy mysteries and this was not only written well but had depth and imagination without becoming too unrealistic. Instead, it was a story that made me want to keep tapping away at my Kindle in order to get to the next chapter.

"If you love a good mystery and characters that are rich in depth and background, this is definitely the book you'll want to read."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New 2015 5-star A Body To Bones review

Donan Berg's debut mystery novel, A Body To Bones, First Skeleton Series Mystery, receives a March 2015 Five-Star review at

Reviewer Grady Harp wrote:

"As he (author Berg) states the common denominator for his stories is a series of characters who battle everyday concerns to become truly heroic.

"A BODY TO BONES is his first Skeleton Series Mystery. He grabs our attention with a confessional that bodes mystery - in 1954 a woman confesses she is carrying a child not the progeny of her husband. 'One life extinguished was the result of an unholy union. It's death does not unburden me. My failure to be morally strong and my failure to honor my mother do not go away. I feel ashamed, conflicted. I cannot be truthful. To speak out will only bring shame, chastisement, and hurt the persons I love who live, or the memory of those departed. It's hard to hold it all inside, to not let the lies be seen, to bear all the pain in secret behind an accepted fa├žade.'

"In 1964, Oscar does not comprehend the magnitude of what he discovers, its potential to bring a killer out of hiding to strike again, or a past connection to the penitent and her confession of ten years prior. Already we are immersed in a scenario that bodes evil.

(Quoted author synopsis is omitted.)

"Donan writes with the skill of a practiced artist, retaining some of the special Irish flavor that flows in his system. He creates characters about whom we care and with whom we can easily identify despite the rigor of mystery that surrounds them. His use of his little town newspaper headlines and stories adds a clever and credible aspect to his writing. But most important is the fact that despite this being a debut novel, Donan has his pen so polished that he leaves us with the need to read more of his work. He is a find!"

Monday, November 17, 2014

Four Donan Berg Writing Entries Win

Author Donan Berg’s three winning stories dominated the 2014 short/long series romance category at the 9th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Writing Contest. Coordinator Nicholas Genovese of the sponsoring RWA SOLA Chapter announced the results today.

Author Berg’s entries were “Twice Tempted,” second place; “Ashley - A Lake Series Romance,” third place; and “Love in Lilac,” honorable mention.

For inspirational novels, Author Berg’s “Rosemary’s Awakening” won third place.

In “Twice Tempted,” shrewd businesswoman Cherry Everex inherits a New Orleans hockey club. An acrimonious annulment from the team’s star forward, Shane Hull, is nullified by a state law change. It wrecks havoc with their personal relationship and clashes with their divergent ideas for whether to sell  the hockey team.

“Ashley - A Lake Series Romance.” Ashley Ulrich saves Peter Edwards from drowning and they fight a ruthless real estate developer for love and money.

“Love in Lilac.” Connie Nunnley fights to save her dementia-inflicted grandfather’s newspaper from bankruptcy. She falls in love with new advertiser, Lucas Knowles, whose business interests conflict with Connie’s.

“Rosemary’s Awakening” is a fictional account of a courageous young Iowa woman’s battle to regain life and love after a competitive horse race mishap confines her to a wheelchair.

“I’m honored to be in a great circle of talented writers,” said Berg. “The Dixie Kane competition annually ranks as one of the premier United States writing contests. To be recognized for a third year in 2014 is a great thrill.”

Author Donan Berg has five murder/mystery novels, a stand-alone short story and a short story collection in print and electronic formats, published by DOTDON Books, Moline, IL. He previously cracked the Dixie Kane winner’s circle in 2010 and 2013.

CASI, Davenport, IA, Book Club selected his novel, Adolph’s Gold, a murder/mystery police procedural, as its October 2014 selection.

His 2009 debut novel, A Body To Bones, debuted at number 27 in the top 50 most popular books, all genres, at, an online literary community visited by a million plus authors and readers every month. A year later on September 19, 2010, his novel held its top 50 ranking as the 32nd most popular. His novels are in libraries nationwide, including Davenport, Iowa City, Moline, Rock Falls, and Rock Island. A Writer’s Digest judge wrote: “Donan Berg writes a nice, clear, consistently readable prose, and he manages to create a winning character in Sarah Hamilton.”

Following A Body To Bones, he’s authored The Bones Dance Foxtrot (2009), Bubbling Conflict and Other Short Stories (2010), Abbey Burning Love (2011, E-book only), Baby Bones (2012), Amanda (2014) and Adolph’s Gold (2014).

The Dixie Kane Memorial Contest is named for the late New Orleans writer Linda Kay West, who wrote under the pen name Dixie Kane. The sponsoring New Orleans chapter is a non-profit literary organization dedicated to the craft and business of writing book length fiction with a focus on romance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day

To all who served in the United States military and those who supported them: Happy Veterans Day.

Words are simple; actions superior. May the fruits of your dreams and the magnitude of your sacrifice endure for all ages.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Donan Berg's Amanda, Read Free

For a limited time, read Donan Berg's short story entitled Amanda as a free download.

To do so, go to and at checkout
enter the code RV42U. Your price then will be $0.00.

Notice, this code RV42U has expired. Thank you to all who downloaded.
The free download option with a new code may return.

If you go to the above website link, a free download sample is still available.

This site is the only one offering the free download. And again, it's for a limited

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Memoriam


The funeral home’s lush brown carpet captured our six footsteps until the door creaked. Four heels clicked and two soles squeaked on the greenish-gray linoleum squares in the room protected by the windowless door. Closed to public view were gleaming silver sinks, water sprayers and metal knives and stainless steel counters, fixed and rolling. Our lips remained pressed silent.


“Did I make a good choice?” my brother asked, his words light enough to drop to the floor within six feet.


“Dad would be pleased," I whispered. There was nothing else for me to say. To fulfill my Dad’s request, the gray cardboard coffin that speckled like a Broadway Play flat arrived via special delivery. He had made us all promise that what had been ordered for Mother would be good enough for him.


The special cremation coffin number three on his list. He made us promise two other things: one, no embalming; two, no official service or obituary. While we unanimously didn’t agree with his reasoning, he presented a simple truth. He’d not been born in this country and it contained no record of his birth so he deemed it fitting and proper that no public record of his death need be created. Dad said that something with no beginning also lacked an end. My brain cells sprouted no effective rebuttal. My brother and sister agreed Dad lived his life in his manner. There were neither roofs nor walls on his thoughts. His body would join them on the wind.


My brother had argued with Dad stating that the government owed him a flag, a stars and stripes for his military service. If so, Dad replied to us all, you decide who keeps it. Better I not be planted in the ground, he said, beneath cloth, which in a season becomes tattered and torn.


The funeral director lowered the white sheet to my Dad’s shoulders. We all gasped. This was not our Dad. The brown wavy hair could have been his, but this hollow face of a man—never!


The eyes we saw were clouded as if Dad’s cataracts had regrown across his artificially implanted lenses. His cheeks were sunken, water drops collected in the crevices as if the sun had ducked behind a cloud and obscured the drying rays. The bluish hint of death knocked from afar as if the funeral director had locked it into the rear of the hearse parked outside.


My sister had rifled Dad’s closet for a suit and the blackness hung draped across her arm.


“We don’t really don’t need clothes if there’s to be no viewing,” the funeral director said. “Have you changed your mind?”


“No,” I whispered.


“Then I’ll give you all a few moments to say good-bye. The documents are all ready and the plane leaves this afternoon.”


His words of “I miss Mother,” swirled in my head. I did, too. Now, I’d miss them both.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where to begin? Amaze Yourself.

Driving on a rural road this past weekend surrounded by cornfields prompted a writing thought: where does one best begin the next story. At the beginning is a vague answer that, while true, is worthless. Any word written on a blank page is a opening to a story, but is it the best?

The green corn stalks seen in August will, in the upcoming months, turn brown and be ready for machines with metallic pointed snouts that will pluck the cobs of dented yellow kernels and shoot them into trailing wagon beds. After the precision GPS-guided chopping of selected rows, the harvested stalks left standing will morph into a fanciful Halloween maze.

The created maze can metaphorically represent the task of where does one begin his or her novel? The variables are endless, often confusing, and perhaps daunting to the nth degree.

If there is an apparent opening, all may be well and good until trapped by a dead end. If there's no entrance visible, there's nothing to stop a writer from hacking through the exterior maze perimeter to find a carved out pathway. Either way for the writer is likely to result in his or her trashing written pages, perhaps a hundred or more.

If one is reminded that every novel has a logical central point or an emotional heart, why not sit (for fantasy purposes only) on the end of a catapult's arm and be flung into the maze's center? Or find the nearest mountaintop to give one a bird's eye view to create a strategic maze plan to locate the story character's pivotal decision. The problem with being dropped into the maze's center is that one loses all the prior decisions and information gained that fleshes out the character's journey.

While reader's most often dread any story's middle, to get there without experiencing what initiated the character's imbalance results in bewilderment and/or anger when not fully in the know. The reader has been deprived of the logical steps leading to the story's satisfaction.

In addition the story progression requires strong interrelated elements. Just as chopping off the necessary triggering imbalance leads to reader apathy, not proceeding along the maze paths creates a disconcerting jumble for the reader.

In the end, getting into the maze and twisting and turning, even retreating from a dead end, can be an exhilarating experience for the reader as well as the writer.

Ps, If the writer jettison's thousands of words, all is not lost. They were probably geared to the maze that exists for the next novel.