Ellen here, happy to welcome DonnaRae Menard, soon to be a debut author! These are exciting – and a little scary – times for her, as she shares today, along with the lifechanging event that motivated her to commit to a writing career.
IT’S TOUGH BEING NEW IN TOWN
Like a lot of writers, I came into the business through the back door. That is, I had a life with something else going on and maybe a little writing happening, a yen I stamped on until the day I was diagnosed with stage 4 Squamous Carcinoma and given six months. My dad told me once he was behind me all the time, no matter how bad it got. I held that thought and when it was over, told him not to save me a seat because I wasn’t finished here yet. Suddenly I was all done doing what I felt like I had to, and all about following a dream. So, here I was ready to go, but writing and being published were new to me and there were a lot of pitfalls. I wasn’t sure where to start and stumbled into some dead ends as I went. I was used to being in charge, now, I felt like I had no control beyond putting my fingers on the keys. It was terrifying. What if no one liked what I wrote, or wanted to even listen long enough to hear?
Even now the more writers I meet, the more intimidated I am. No jive, true fact. I haven’t led a shelter life, but listening to the careers and the education some people have? I am in awe. The awards, accolades, following writer’s names like movie credits? Terrifying. All that almost stopped me cold. I believe what saved me was my big mouth. I’ll talk to anyone. I’m gregarious and want to know everything you’ve got to spill. Two years ago, I was at Crime Bake telling people about my four-hundred-and-fifty-pound brood sow who thought she was a lapdog, and I realized my experiences may be different but each one was a brick in my mortar. Harriette Sackler asked me if Bonnie was in a book. The answer was yes.
I learned quickly it’s okay to say you don’t understand or ask how to handle something in the publishing world because a lot of writers remember how it was for them, and they share. Those that don’t? Eh, different topic for another time. But if I could sit down and have coffee with somebody who had jumped all the hoops, I’d ask for clarification on all the nuances between sign here, and Your Live On Amazon. I’m still working on sorting that out. Maybe two people because it’s always different.
I’d written a lot of dark stuff, my nightmares come to life, and this time went for something airy. My cousin who I bunked with as a child asked me how I could write a book about the seventies when I probably couldn’t even remember it. We were wild. Like baby goats in a barnyard wild, unfettered. It was happy, fun, and still brings a glow to my heart. That’s what I want to bring to life, so came Murder in the Meadow. And if there’s a bit of death and mayhem intermingled? Well, that’ll keep your juices flowing, won’t it? Join me on the ride.
Readers, are you comfortable asking for help when you feel like you’re totally at sea with something?
SYNOPSIS: Katelyn Took ran away from home the day before her eighteenth birthday with no plans to ever return. When she receives notice her hard spirited grandmother, the woman that raised her has died, Katelyn returns. She’s not going to stay though. Katelyn finds the small farm in collapse, the barn filled with an old woman’s collection of junk, seventeen cats, and a mad old lady she doesn’t know living in the house. She’s definitely not staying.
Then she hears how back in the far meadow, some jockey in a pickup truck ran the old lady down. It might have been an accident, but who burned the chicken house, slashed the tires, and started the rumors. It’s one thing for Katelyn to malign her Gram, it’s something else for other people to. Katelyn takes offense, and even as she’s trying to sort it out and scratch up enough money to get by while she figures it out, she becomes a target.
She may not be going to stay, but someone has to take care of the cats, the old lady, and suddenly there’s a pig. A second incident raises her hackles and she’s ready to spit nails when she comes face to face with her tormenter. Is it a catfight, a brawl, or a to-the-death? How much is Katelyn willing to sacrifice if she’s not going to stick around? The only thing she can hope for is that her nemesis isn’t swinging a two-by-four.
Murder in the Meadow, through Level Best Books, will launch June 29, 2021 and be available on Amazon.
BIO: DonnaRae’s writing career began in the seventh grade with descriptions of other students. It was also her introduction public speaking and the start of her training for the one-hundred-yard dash in track and field.
There were diaries, journals, two tiny columns in small-town newspapers, competition pieces for Toastmaster’s International, and boxes under her bed filled with novels.