About Me – Donna Munro
I’m an author, publisher and writer, as well as a graphic artist and marketer. I want to express random (or not-so) thoughts in this blog to make sense of our world and hopefully help you lead a healthier, happier and more abundant life. I don’t think life can ever be figured out, but writing certainly organises it into compartments. Sometimes thoughts expressed in writing will be changed due to events and circumstance. For instance; the emotions after the death of a loved one, financial woes, births of children, accomplishment of goals – how do all these things change us?
I want to explore this and much more. In the process I hope I create ideas for real stories – being; articles, short stories and novels – that one day I will publish at Warm Witty Publishing. I’ll keep you posted on that.
So, other than my beautiful family, what are my accomplishments? Many years in various jobs from prawn trawler cook to a home business as a graphic artist. I worked as a marketing publicist for book publishing company Zeus Publications. I also work from home crafting freelance articles. I’m currently the Office Administrator at Pet Accessories Australia. It’s a varied job where I run the office but also do marketing and branding of labels such as Pet Designz. It’s always fun.
I’ve always written and wanted to be a photojournalist (also wanted to be a vet but that’s another story) until I realised newspaper editors can edit your article until it’s not your own. I still write articles but cater mainly to women’s and health articles. I adore fiction and the joy of characters and locations coming to life. It lets me imagine the possibilities and though I have four book-length manuscripts (yes, typically in a draw), my latest, The Zanzibar Moon, is my favourite. See excerpts.
I’m a terrible dessert cook but my main meals are okay (I confess to hating cooking – I know how un-Masterchef of me). I enjoy keeping fit and setting an example for my children. Somehow that may have helped as Joel is an elite CrossFit athlete. My go-to fitness at the moment is through Hammer Fit’s Chelsea Hackett. The classes are Muai Thai based and filled with women all ages and all walks of life. We challenge each other and I love that.
I like to read as often as I can. My perfect reading place is the beach. There’s nothing better than a sunny day, with a slight breeze, the smell of salt in the air and my toes in the sand; of course with a good book in my hands. My favourite is mainstream fiction but I read a variety to give me writer’s insight. I’m learning the craft all the time. I also read lots of writing references.
My favourite Australian authors are Mandy Magro, Jennifer Bacia, Di Morrissey, Rachael Treasure, Sandra L Rogers (a close friend). I’m a Nicholas Sparks fan and cry every time I read one of his books. Because I love Africa I can’t go past a Wilbur Smith and Tony Park. My favourite all time novel is ‘A Man Cannot Cry’ by Gloria Keverne. I’m also a Tarzan fan.
Seafood is my food of choice and I love cheese. I avoid negative and unkind people. I respect those with compassion. Giving is great. Animals are wonderful (especially my dog, Mahli and fostered elephant Tundani). Family means everything especially with the addition of two grandchildren. We need balance and harmony but with families that’s something we all have to work at. They are beautiful, unique, loving, compassionate people. I am exceedingly proud of the adults my sons have grown into. My grandchildren are my biggest joy (they just gown up too quickly). I love sunshine and water views. I have a fascination with Elephants & Africa (maybe that’s where I was in a previous life). I believe I have an owl who looks over me (he appears close to my birthday most years).
The person I most admire most is my mum.
My motto is: Follow your dreams to fulfill yourself and in turn those you love will follow too.
You could say my writing life began early with a short story in primary school (I think 2nd Class) called ‘The Mouse with the Musical Ears’. Apparently my teacher loved it and showed it to my mum, who showed it to my dad and after much praise and admiration I realised being a writer was going to be fun. It certainly got Mum and Dad’s attention.
Mum was an avid book lover and she passed that on to me. Dad had a limited education but I marvelled at how much he wanted to learn. Fond memories stem from nights Dad would pull an Britannica off the shelf, at random turn to a page and ask us (my brother, sister and I) what something was? He made us think.
And I continue to ponder and explore my world. Writing gives me the creativity I crave and I just love it. There’s a compulsion to it because it can be solitary. Maybe my parents encouragement helped nurture that but maybe I was just born a writer. I fit with the term – writer.
I continued to write throughout school, mainly love-struck poetry (eeewww!). I edited the St Joseph’s Vocational College year book and did a variety of work experience as a journalist for Port Macquarie Express and Tweed Daily News. I moved to the Gold Coast and had a blast partying at The Playroom, Jet Club, Cooly Hotel and The Patch to the best bands in Australia. For this brief period I barely had time to write (but ‘far-out’ did I have fun!).
My itchy feet got the better of me and I kept diaries as I travelled around Australia and to Indonesia. When I settled in Noosa for a year I wrote regularly for Dolphin Encounters and created my first writer’s letterhead.
On returning to my hometown of Port Macquarie to live near Dad (Mum and Dad had separated by then) I started working for the Bevan Ellem (I’m forever grateful) at Ellem Advertising where I got my first real writing break. I was their graphic artist but Bevan let me write for all the publications as well, which included tourism booklets (Manning Magic), betting guides, and later the surf lifestyle magazine Wax ‘n’ Wind (my concept and I edited and wrote the whole mag, which in hindsight probably wasn’t a good idea – I’m a better writer than editor).
I met my husband Bevil (actually we already knew each other as we’d both attended Port Macquarie High) and we moved back to the coast. It was difficult because his five-year-old son Kris was going to be six hours away (staying in Port with his mum).
Dad had died months before Bev and I started dating and I don’t know how he stuck around as I know I was a miserable mess. We bought our first house and worked for myself running Munro Graphics from home soon after Joel was born. Again, no time to write but when I returned to work the printer I worked for started Burleigh Boomer a local publication.
I tried freelancing then. I was still completing The Writing Diploma at The Writing School when I sold my first story to Take 5. Soon after I was published in The Australian Woman’s Weekly, For Me and That’s Life as well as various newspapers. I also sold a story to She magazine about my father’s suicide (the most emotional piece I’ve written) but the magazine folded before the article was published (luckily I had my payment cheque). I sold my first short story to Woman’s Day (‘The Warm Hand of Fate’) and because it was fiction that was the day I counted myself as ‘a real writer’.
I’ve entered a few competitions and received a ‘highly commended’ from the Gold Coast Writers Association. I wrote newsletters for years for both Currumbin Junior and Senior Rugby League clubs as well as the touch football competition I founded with my husband and friends. I always put my hand up to write anything which has included an Easter camping newsletter, funny stories for birthdays and poems. I have been web editor for sporting clubs and now love blogging.
I used to have a book marketing and writing blog for Zeus Publications BooksZeus:
http://bookszeus.wordpress.com I also contributed to Inky Fresh Press.
I founded a writing competition that fundraises for Umoja Orphanage Kenya, which I discovered through a mutual friend. The Umoja Writing Competition is in it’s fourth year and the funds help the orphanage in a small way but also contributes to literacy and the writing community.
In my present job as Office Administrator at Pet Accessories Australia I upkeep the website, blog, social media and have a role in the branding of our products such as Pet Designz and Pawz Toyz.
It’s time-consuming updating all sites but it’s my new passion. Please check the sites out and comment, please.
So what am I doing now?
Over the years I’ve completed book-length manuscripts as well as articles and short stories. The first book-length manuscript was ‘The Fire Within’ a cheesy romance that I thought would be easy to write – it wasn’t. I was so proud I finished it I went to a traditional book binder. The book (still one-sided manuscript) is leather-bound with gold writing. I will never throw that away no matter how many times I move. Priceless!
I wrote a mainstream novel after that ‘Bindi’. I thought it was good but I put it in a draw after one rejection and went on writing. The next was another romance, an erotic novel ‘Falling for Jackson’. Then the Australian romance novel with a Rugby League star as the main-male character ‘Under the Bali Hut’.
I have big plans for ‘Finding Tarzan’ now titles ‘The Zanzibar Moon’. I think it’s my best work yet. Look out for snippets – coming soon!!! Chick lit for the over 40 with a jungle twist! I will release ‘The Zanzibar Moon’ mid 2017.
Meanwhile I continue with short stories, articles and guest blogging and building my writing profile and business. I write every day in some form or another.
I’d love to write regularly for a magazine and have plenty of ideas bubbling. I seem to have a forte for human interest. I’m happy to work with specs such as word count, sidebars and research. Give me a topic and I’ll go to it and meet your deadlines. So contact me and let’s discuss the possibilities.