Sorry I’ve been absent from this blog. To say a lot has been going on is an understatement. I made a big move, began new jobs, decorated a lovely home (including home office), helped the dog adjust to the move (she’s snoring under my chair right now. I guess that means she’s settled), finalised some ghost writing jobs, tried to add to my manuscript (unfortunately not often enough), worked long hours, took in the sights of the new town, had visitors, celebrated another birthday (mine), saw more of the grandchildren and numerous other things that seem to keep me from this blog.
I promised myself a couple of weeks ago that I would write a post. Finally here it is.
In April I took on the role as Administrative Assistant at RWA (Romance Writers of Australia). Wow, I could hardly believe I could get this dream job and another with Design Stuff. Working from home with the collaborative, wonderful bunch of people at RWA has been amazing. I love that I get to help other writers live their dream, guiding them to an OWL (Online Writing Lab), which Facebook or Google group to join, how to become a member, what the membership provides and how to purchase tickets for the Melbourne Conference 2019 among other things – is a joy.
So you can see I have been busy but yes I am still writing. I am an author. The next book will be finished (eventually) and published for you to read. Bear with me.
At one of the events I was involved in this year Books by the Beach (Mooloolaba) I met lovely Ann-Maree Howarth. When she said she reviewed books I offered her a copy of The Zanzibar Moon. Here is her excellent review:
What an adventurest tale this book was from a heartbreaking New Year’s Eve to all the wonders of Africa. This has been the first paperback I have read in a while and I must say I really missed this form of reading. Donna Munro is a new author to me, an this is the very first book she has published. As an Australian, I really enjoyed the Australian lingo and quirks along the way. The flow of the story was good, it will hold your attention and keep you wanting to read and find out more. The author did also include a lot of African words and meaning to give you a very authentic feel to the story and you just might learn a few new words of African along the way. This kind of reading might be a bit of a distraction at first but stick with it the story will flow better after the author has given us a full description of Africa and the characters within it.
During this story will find our heroine travelling from her little suburban home in Australia to the dynamic country of Zanzibar where she is volunteering to find herself again. Alkina finds herself an empty nest and a too-time cheating husband at the start of a new year so she decided to fulfil her dream of going to Africa. Dr Don Cloutier wanted Ali. Kendwa wanted Ali. Shaun wanted Ali. Even Roger wanted Ali back. Ali fell in love with the magic of Zanzibar and loved her job at the shelter helping the single mothers open up the old resort to support themselves and their children. Will she find magic in the arms of another man? Could she just have a holiday romance and then return home to her children and friends? Or will this working holiday change her life forever? “Maybe there is magic on Zanzibar after all.” This book is full of wonder, magic, sadness, hope, regret, strength, sorrow, joy, love, chemistry, family, heartache, wildlife and most of all adventure that will fill you as you read. There was some part of the story I went really……but it was not my story to tell but the authors. It was a lovely change to the books I have been reading and I totally enjoyed this book even though I have had it sitting next to my bed for the last few months.
Thank you Anne-Maree, you made my day when I read this review.
I must admit I’m liking what I have done. I hope you do too.
Over the weekend I finished a writing reference Write On! The Writer’s Help Book by Adrian Magson, a read I’d recommend to aspiring and established writers alike. This book reinforced the fundamentals of writing a story that grabs readers (among other things).
With a book vying for a readership, the blurb will hopefully gain interest, but when potential readers open the book to read the first couple of pages, they’ll be hooked like a fish on a line or fishtailing it across the ocean, not looking back.
The first chapter questions:
Does that first chapter have the reader wanting more?
Is it short and to the point?
Is it either introducing the main protagonist or setting up a theme?
Does it have the right pace?
Is their conflict, questions, danger, enticement, part revelations or emotions?
Let’s test it.
I’m going to show you my raw (remember I’m only four chapters into the story and will draft and edit many more times) first chapter of Elephant Creek. Let me know if you like it and if you would read further. I would love your opinion, dear reader.
First Chapter Elephant Creek
“Picture perfect, eh, girl?” Derick smiled, patting Sasha’s wide head as she sat on the worn passenger seat. With her tongue lolling towards the window breeze, she panted in doggy happiness.
The sound of the battered ute broke through the squawking flock of white cockatoos swooping above through the orange, pink, purple sky as the sun faded in the west. Colour reflected on the smooth waters of Currumbin Creek, flashing through the gum trees lining the road’s edge. A full moon had risen in the eastern sky casting light and shadows as a non-dark night descended.
“Don’t let on to Crystal I let you sit in her seat,” Derick said to the dog, chuckling to himself and watching the road. The tan Staffordshire Terrier turned, grinning her approval with a wide gummy-fanged smile.
Derick was a cautious driver. If anything he’d mostly driven under the speed limit. It was probably because he’d often had precious cargo with him; his wife, kid, the grandchild and his beloved dogs. Boss before Sasha and there’d probably be another after the old girl.
Placing his left hand on Sasha’s stomach tumour, a frown creased his mouth. Aged, rheumy eyes welled, making him wipe them with a curled finger. Seriously, he was becoming a sook in his old age. Well, he wasn’t exactly old, but he was turning 66 soon. It was a hell of a lot older than 26, but he didn’t feel much different, despite a few aches. He knew he should give up the cigarette’s too, but he had to have at least one vice.
Sasha let out a sharp bark. Derick took his eyes off the road for a second, glancing at the dog, seeing her nip towards a red dot of light on the dash. Yapping excitedly, she scraped her paws at it, trying to bite it with her teeth.
Derick slowed the car. Perplexed, he glanced up the road wondering about the light source. A blinding flash forced him to momentarily shut his eyes. Slamming his foot on the brake. The car skidded, veering to the side of the road. Blinded except for the violet light still burning under his eyelids, he lifted one arm to shield his eyes. With white knuckles, he gripped the steering wheel, trying to stay on the road he could no longer see.
Tyres screeched. Gravel crunched. The steering wheel spun out of his hands. Glass smashed. Metal ground. As the airbags slammed into his chest and face, Derick felt his lungs explode. The walls of the car closed in around him.
The last things he heard were Sasha’s high-pitched yelp and screams not coming from the squealing tyres.
A different start for a reason.
The chapter is unlike the starts to The Zanzibar Moon and Kendwa’s Secret, but don’t worry there will be steamy chapters early. This time though there is a more complicated plot that ties all three books together. Some of you may remember Derick from Kendwa’s Secret. I won’t spoil who he is for new readers (he’s a likeable guy who may play a bigger part). Ali will return too. And what of Jai? You’ll have to read it to find out.
The blurb for Elephant Creek
The sequel to The Zanzibar Moon brings all three books to a final enthralling, emotional conclusion.
Emma has a dilemma. Does she keep dating rock-star handsome Wade or pursue her crush on sexy, silent Toby, who doesn’t even seem interested in her anyway?
“Wade, the Tinder dater, will either swipe left or become a stalker,” warns her sister Jessy.
Emma and Toby clash over the details of Toby’s father’s car accident, but she only wants to help. To make matters worse she thinks there is a police conspiracy, but she can’t convince stubborn Toby. After one too many visits she discovers the old circus elephant living out its days on his family’s property. Toby warns her to never return.
Toby has enough problems without falling for delightful, spirited Emma. His young daughter, Hope has started mainstream school and he’s worried she’ll be bullied. After years of working a covert operation in North Queensland teaching the Defence Force how to avoid crocodiles, he discovers his nephew was in his hometown.
Furious that Emma’s sister has Kendwa’s son – will he take what’s rightfully his or leave the little boy to live with the family he clearly loves?
Ali can’t get over Toby’s resemblance to Kendwa and how little Jai is growing up with no fear of danger and the spitting image of both. But a little boy in suburban Queensland does not need an uncle with a shady past and temper.
When Hope is attacked at the local school, Jai shows his true family traits by sticking up for the little Down’s Syndrome girl even though there will be a price to pay.
Will Toby ever believe Emma’s version of events to bring his guard down long enough to let love back into his life and save his father’s reputation?
Who can any of them believe when every white lie turns into deception?