Great Expectations Meets Total Wipeout by Guest Author DonnaRae Menard

I’m delighted to welcome back mystery author DonnaRae Menard, whose debut novel, Murder in the Meadow, recently came out. As DonnaRae recounts, when it comes to sending your book into the world, things don’t always go as planned!



DonnaRae Menard

You’re skipping down The Yellow Brick Road. It’s all so wonderful. Your manuscript is complete, perfectly edited, and lauded by all your friends and betas. It took a little pushy behavior, maybe outside of your wheelhouse, but you found a publisher, or an agent who found a publisher. You watch your dream inflate with helium and rise gracefully up, up, upwards.

Then suddenly, a small black cloud inches into the scene. You didn’t write that in there, did you? I mean, not at this juncture. The red-line is late getting back to you, and you have to be quick. The cover isn’t quite what you want, but it’s good, right? You have a question for your publisher. Her assistant sends back a micro note. Or maybe nothing. That nasty little cloud has grown into a teenager and now has a little brother.

You have a contracted launch date, and it’s coming up fast. You laughingly contact fellow authors. They relate their horror stories. The publisher is incognito. The assistant contacts you. They can’t find your bio, acknowledgments, blurb, and back flap. You panic. You have media events scheduled. They too want to know.

What has happened? You ask publisher. Nothing. This is where the total crap-shoot of publishing bottoms out. Where coffee and chocolate, or Jim Beam and Marlboro’s offer the only consolation. Do you have recourse? An alternate plan? Yeah. In the next dimension. This was your dream. Now it feels like rubble beneath your feet. Who’s at fault? You because you’re an innocent? The publisher, perhaps overwhelmed when the world righted itself? Some other entity from the cosmos who you didn’t even know existed?

Consider your choices. You can send a hysterical, demanding email to publisher and threaten to drive to corporate headquarters or post a viscous disclaimer on the world wide web. You break down and rant to your private talking stick. Their advice is to Cool Your Jets. Don’t alienate the Wordy Gods. But it’s not getting better. Your sky is filled with the black cloud family. You missed your publication date, all the work you put into advertising and media is for naught. Candyland has gone sour. There’s nothing left for you to do but crash and burn. A tsunami of biblical proportions has overtaken the world. CHAOS REIGNS SUPREME!

After another sleepless night spent lying on the kitchen floor beating your head on the tiles, the doorbell rings. You drag yourself over, fry pan in hand to bash in the brains of whatever snickering twit waits. Through the glass, you see the UPS man dart back to his brown box. The last bit of hope disappears. But what’s this a box? Oh, and it’s heavy. When you peel back the flap, the shiny cover of a book glows among the paper padding. It’s your book. With shaking hands, you lift it, flutter the pages as you walk to the bathroom. Then, standing disheveled in front of the mirror, you hold up the book and smile. There you are, the two of you, forever.

From years of public speaking, I’ve learned one major lesson. If something bad happens and you jump immediately into the fray and cast blame, you’re the one who will suffer. There’s a solution I’ve used before when I’ve forgotten the next line. Take a tiny step backward. Inhale, smile, exhale. Step back onto your mark and graciously move forward. Later, privately thank friends who supported you, and those who don’t give a double hyphen about your feelings. Because in the end, it’ll be you, the stronger person.



DonnaRae’s writing career began in the seventh grade with descriptions of other students. It was also her introduction to 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.

She currently lives just outside of town in the type of place where people feel free to drop off cats, kittens, cages of gerbils or white rats, and even the occasional farm animal.

Her first traditionally published novel, Murder in the Meadow, was released in August, 2021. In July 2022, Murder on Eagle Drop Ridge, the second novel of the Katelyn Took, It’s Never Too Late series, will be available. Also coming in 2021 will be a fantasy, Waif and Warlord, with Metal and Magic Publishing.


  1. Kaye George on December 17, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Excellent account of what turned out well…in the end! It’s HARD!!!

    • DONNARAE MENARD on December 18, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Thank you Kaye, you’re always so good for my ego!

  2. Kassandra Lamb on December 19, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Love your sense of humor, DonnaRae! And admire your patience…I would have been on the phone madly burning my bridges.

    • DONNARAE MENARD on December 20, 2021 at 5:49 am

      You know, Kass, If you hadn’t listened to me raving, I would have been. Thanks so much.

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