Portrait of Jennie. It’s a Wonderful Life. Forever.

I must confess. I am a woman on a mission, and that mission is to convince cozy mystery readers to watch a new murder mystery, Forever, that recently premiered on the ABC network. Dr. Henry Morgan is the Medical Examiner for the NYPD, still grieving the loss of Abigail, his one true love. Jo Martinez is the detective he assists, and often annoys. She is also grieving the more recent loss of her husband. There are wonderful secondary characters such as Lucas, who assists Henry in the morgue, obviously wants to be just like him someday, and is a kind of modern day Watson to Henry’s Holmes. Abe is Henry’s closest living relative, an older gentleman who owns an antique shop filled with fascinating curios. There are dreamy flashbacks to past times that are lovely and romantic. So far, so good, for most cozy readers, so why (you may ask) do I feel that you may not give this fascinating mystery a chance? Because it falls into a category that most of my genteel readers have said they don’t care for – fantasy/supernatural.

My mission is to share one vital fact with you: Forever is not supernatural. At least, not in the monsters/zombies/graphic novel sense of the word. It is certainly not written to appeal only to teens, the targeted demographic for the current craze. Instead, Forever is an intelligent, beautifully filmed, moving and thoughtful show that is very much like the lovely and beloved films Portrait of Jennie and It’s a Wonderful Life. Yes, these films fall into the Fantasy category, but the supernatural element is not the central idea or the defining arc of their stories. Each of these films were about the characters, their journeys of discovery and the wisdom they gained, the people they loved, the obstacles they overcame. These beloved movies explored themes of love, faith, and hope, just as Forever does.

The cinematic beauty of Forever is another reason I’ve fallen for this show. Much of the charm and beauty of Portrait of Jennie was created through beautiful photography and soaring music, as much a part of the story as the moving and memorable performances by Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. In a similar way, Forever’s cinematography is often stunning, scenes are captured in a way that adds to the poignancy or shock of the moment, and this elegantly compliments the story that is being told by actors Ioan Gruffudd (as Henry) and Alana De La Garza (as Jo). There are also opening and closing voiceovers reminiscent of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, introducing or wrapping the story in words that are warm or wise, encouraging or cautionary. There are suspenseful moments and surprising twists that must certainly have been inspired by Hitchcock; the pace, the timing, the music or the frightening silence bring to mind the best of the Master of Suspense, and I am happy to say, these qualities have been skillfully applied in every episode to date of this intriguing new series.

And, as if those reasons to watch were not enough, the end of every episode makes me look forward to the next one. I’m not going to reveal any spoilers. Let’s just say that the closing commentary and scenes will always leave you moved, happy, sometimes tearful, and forever fascinated by this exceptional new show.

Ready to give it a chance? Watch online now at the ABC site, or stream episodes on Amazon. Begin with the Pilot episode, give it a few minutes to get past the yukky stuff (Henry is a coroner, after all), and I believe that you, like me, will quickly become a fan, Forever.

Please visit my Forever fan page for more information on this fascinating show.

The new Sparrow Falls Mystery novel is here!


“I LOVED YOU the first time I saw you.  It feels like I have always loved you, as though even before my life began, I was meant to love only you.”  The handsome young man on bended knee clasped the woman’s hand tightly.  She gazed into his startlingly blue eyes, and sighed.  The romance of it all!

So begins the first chapter of the highly anticipated new novel by Donna McLean.  The Butterfly Caper: a sparrow falls mystery #4  is available now on Amazon and B&N!

Summer is drawing to a comfortable close in cozy Sparrow Falls, North Carolina, even while unnerving and mysterious thefts are taking place in small towns throughout the southeast. When a bold thief hits Addie’s wee carriage house – and dares to do so even in the middle of the day – senior sleuth Tilda MacArdan is determined to find the perpetrator of this rude and dastardly deed, with or without the help or approval of the local police force. Her efforts send her on a merry chase to find a painted butterfly in a golden frame, and lead her to some revealing discoveries about her own family’s surprising past.

Book #4 of the popular Sparrow Falls Mystery series is a lighthearted caper with a touch of romance that is sure to please readers far and wide.  In response to many requests from her readers, Donna McLean has written a delightful “mystery without a murder” that delivers equal elements of suspense, surprise and humor.

Please visit the BOOKS page for more information on this popular cozy mystery series.  Thank you, and happy reading!

News on the New Novel! a sparrow falls mystery #4

First, thank you to all who have emailed, tweeted and otherwise let me know how much you are looking forward to reading the new Sparrow Falls Mystery novel. Book #4 (title and cover art to be revealed soon!) will be ready for preorder within the next few days, and more information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

I offer my sincere apologies for making y’all wait so long for this one. As some of you know, I was a caregiver for my father during a long terminal illness, and after his passing I found myself overwhelmed, not only with grief, but with all the exhaustion and delayed emotions that happen to those who are blessed with carrying their loved one’s burdens during that most difficult phase of life. Thank you, genteel readers, for your patience with me during this past year. I hope you will check this website often for updates on the new novel, sign up for notifications on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and I sincerely thank you, again and again, for your interest, wonderful feedback and thoughtful encouragement! It does a writer’s heart good to know that her wee books are making such a heartwarming impact on the lives of readers across the globe.

SecoUh Oh!nd, while you are waiting to see what happens next in the lives of Tilda, Addie and Pearce Allen, I hope you will enjoy reading a little book that I put together and released simply as a heartfelt “thank you” to the genteel readers who have been so supportive and encouraging while the Sparrow Falls series was finding its wings. Merry Mishaps: a lighthearted life began as a collection of humorous human interest stories based upon my life in the small southern towns in which I have lived. Some articles were originally part of my newspaper column, some are short fiction that never saw the light of day, and there are even a few wee stories written simply to amuse my friends, who later urged me to share them with the world because “everyone needs a good laugh, or a reason to keep smiling and make it through another day”. And so I did a little rewriting, put this short book together (100 pages of wholesome LOL fun!) and re-released it as an Amazon paperback and a Kindle exclusive, and I hope it tides you over until the new novel is available.   Please let me know if it brightens your day. I love to hear from my readers!  (Click the smileys to see the Amazon page.)

Thank you again, and happy reading!


Quilting Cousins

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

Such a lovely quilt! I enjoy sewing but quilting is one thing I have yet to attempt. My hobbies run along the lines of making doll clothes from antique patterns to making baby dolls clothes that are strictly for the enjoyment of the tots to which I give them. Oh, and reading and writing cozy mysteries.

Originally posted on Crafting Mysteries & Suspense:

Recently, a stunning quilt top was handed off – from cousin Linda (in Prineville, OR) to cousin Gary (who played delivery guy) to cousin (me). Fingers fumbling, I opened the box, ready for a first glimpse. I unfolded it and caught my breath. Gorgeous! And what a treat to partner with Linda Gholson, quilter extraordinaire, in this part of my novel journey with Abingdon Press.

Tail in the Rail Quilt “Tail in the Rail” Quilt

My upcoming “Quilts of Love” mystery, A Stitch in Crime, features Thea James stitching on this very quilt in her spare time. (Not that she has much of it. Too busy trying to figure out whodunit.)

I’ve named the quilt “Tail in the Rail” because the pattern consists of Fence Rail blocks, floral sashing, and Aunt Elena’s Nine Patch variation of a kitty-cat to represent Betty, the feisty calico in the story. It’s my own design, along with…

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The Cat, The Vagabond And The Victim by Leann Sweeney

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

So I haven’t read this (yet!) but I like Sweeney’s books and the cover of this one is so pretty! The colors are lovely and the kitties along the yellow brick road, complete with that interesting phrase “Heir of the cat”, piques my interest. Getting now, reviewing to follow.

Originally posted on Carol Mann Agency:

81nKsjjkzsLNational bestselling author of The Cat, The Mill And The Murder returns with another feline-friendly novel: The Cat, The Vagabond And The Victim centers around Clyde the cat. When Clyde travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.

But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an elderly man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned…

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Serling on the Shelf: Rescuing Rod

Donna, sparrow falls mystery series:

Exciting News for Twilight Zone Fans!

Originally posted on Shadow & Substance:

I have on my shelves a dog-eared paperback edition of Rod Serling’s 1967 book “The Season To Be Wary.” It sits near similarly worn copies of several other books that he either wrote or edited. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you one bit, but WHY I have them might.

Serling Promo2

It’s not because I love old books (though I do). It’s because when I first began acquiring copies of Serling’s volumes, they were out of print.

You don’t have to be an obsessive fan like me to be struck by that fact. One of the most famous writers of the 20th century, and his books were less accessible than James Patterson’s? As Serling might say, file that under “L” for “literary crime.”

Enter Rod Serling Books.


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