My Writing History

Jun 7, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Verlin Darrow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

I began writing novels when I was hitchhiking around Europe with a girlfriend when I was nineteen. In those days, you were more likely to meet a friendly, hospitable driver than an axe murderer, and maybe that’s still true in more civilized nations. We wanted to stretch our lim-ited resources to maximize our stay, so we mostly stayed in low-rent campgrounds, including a particularly unpleasant one outside Naples, where it rained hard for a week. Trapped in a twenty-dollar tent, I eventually bought a notebook and started writing. That first book was hideously amateurish. The quality of my writing progressed all the way up to just plain bad by the time I’d churned out a few more.

Verlin Darrow

This era of my life was characterized by an inability to learn much, since that would’ve entailed acknowledging I didn’t already know everything! I let go of writing and focused on avoiding work and trying to convince the world that it was fine if my unrealized potential remained unrealized.

A few years later, as my garbage-eating hound farted for the millionth time on a given evening, my wife at the time suggested that I write a book entitled The Dog Who Farted His Way to Mars. Inspired by her down-home wisdom, I penned a children’s book: The Dog Who Burped His Way To Jupiter. It wasn’t horrible since my personal development and my readers were both operating at a fourth-grade level.

An agent took me on, and we almost sold it, which emboldened me to continue, leading to titles such as Nightmares Are Caused By Bad Dust Bunnies. Eventually, I returned to adult novels and honed my craft by refusing to take any creative writing classes or accept any editorial suggestions. A small press eventually published two mysteries under a different name, which I hereby disavow. What I was satisfied with back then doesn’t come close to meeting muster now.

I let go of serious writing for a time, focusing on a service orientation that arose after an around the world pilgrimage. I helped troubled people as a psychotherapist and a spiritual mentor. This proved to be more rewarding and significant than what my literary career had amounted to.

In the last few years, I’ve felt drawn to the keyboard again, and I have several traditionally published novels to show for it. I like these a lot, and so have reviewers. Blood and Wisdom is a P.I. mystery set at a retreat center in the redwoods of northern California. It was a finalist in a major book contest. Coattail Karma is a wild fantasy thriller spanning several continents. Prodigy Quest details a boy genius’s search for a book of wisdom – which I include as an appendix in case you’re in need of any.

Recently, my latest mystery/suspense novel has been released, Murder for Liar. Here’s a preview:

Private investigator-turned-psychotherapist Tom Dashiel doesn’t know it yet, but he’s hurt-ling toward discovering where his threshold lies, the point of no return for his sanity. So begins a surreal spiral when George Arundel enters Tom’s Santa Cruz office on a Tuesday afternoon in April.

To say George Arundel is a puzzle is an understatement: the local psychiatrist who referred Arundel to Tom described him – rather astutely – as “a substantial challenge.” Working to treat the enigmatic Arundel, Tom soon realizes he has been tasked to treat a client unlike any he has ever encountered. And what’s Arundel’s connection to the escalating spate of unsolved murders plaguing the typically calm but always colorful Santa Cruz community?

Could a young woman named Zig-Zag really be an angel? How could a dog – a rather cute one at that – reveal one of the most important clues? What’s the deal with that alluring, albeit mercurial, woman named Dizzy?

Swept up in a perilous world where nothing is as it seems, Tom struggles to make sense of the decidedly dangerous, downright deadly scheme in which he has somehow unwittingly be-come a key player. Tom is about to discover that in this treacherous reality, the truth is far, far stranger than fiction…but the real danger is not knowing which is which.

You know, for a guy who considers himself to be work avoidant, I’ve certainly written a lot of manuscripts. Maybe I need to update my sense of self. On the other hand, looking across the room at the dishes in the sink that need washing, maybe not.

To enter to win a copy of Murder for Liar, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “liar” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 17, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you ented via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Verlin Darrow is a psychotherapist who lives with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near the Mon-terey Bay in northern California. They diagnose each other as necessary. Verlin is a former professional volleyball player (in Italy), unsuccessful country-western singer/songwriter, import store owner, and assistant guru in a small, benign spiritual organization. Visit Verlin Darrow online at:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

1 Comment

  1. What an interesting journey. Count me in.


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