Donna Royston

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About Me

Preferred Name

Donna Royston


What I Write

Writing Sample

La Catrina woke in the morning, saw the brightness in the window, and stretched her old bones luxuriously. “Too beautiful to lie in bed,” she told herself. She rose and put on her elegant bustled gown. Looking in the mirror, she noticed with approval the smallness of her waist. She put on her hat, its large brim edged with lace and trimmed with flowers and two ostrich plumes. She made an adjustment to get it perfect and admired her reflection, turning slightly to get the most flattering view of her empty eye sockets and white gleaming skull. She looked quite fine today!—in fact, she probably had not looked finer in all her dead days.
At last she turned from the mirror and picked up her little lace purse and went out for her morning walk. She stopped at her favorite coffee shop and sat at one of the outdoor tables, because the day was so fine. She didn’t drink any coffee—nor did the shop have any to offer—but she took a fan from her purse and fanned herself in a ladylike fashion.
There were two skeletons sitting at a table near her, one of them tapping with a purposeful manner at a smartphone, studying what he saw—or didn’t see—then tapping again rapidly, his index fingerbone making a sharp staccato sound, an ostentatious gold ring rattling on another fingerbone. The other sat, resting his armbone on a folded, yellowing newspaper, looking warily around at whoever was near. She tried to catch their eye sockets, but the first was too intent, and the other continued to scan his surroundings. Expensive suits and silk ties hung sadly on their bony shoulders and ribcages.
“I can’t find out anything,” said the first skeleton. “Something went wrong.”
“El Blanco betrayed us,” said the other, in a low voice.
La Catrina coughed delicately and the two skulls turned in her direction. Coyly, she raised the fan to hide her lower jaw and fluttered it slightly. “Good morning, señores. A fine morning.”
They rose to their feet, stepped close to her table, and gave her a glare. “What do you know about this?” said the first skeleton.
“I am pleased that you have joined us here.”
“Don’t waste my time,” said the skeleton. “Maybe you don’t know who I am—”
“No one is important here,” she said.
The skeleton gave a look at his companion, who apparently understood it to mean to take a gun out from his jacket, which he did. He held it to La Catrina’s skull.
“Ready to answer?” he said.
La Catrina fluttered her fan coquettishly.


What I Write

I write fantasy set in various parts of history and non-history.


“The First Censor’s Statement” in Tranquility and Other Myths, 2017.

“The Mists of Lu-shan” in Fantastic Heroes, 2017.

My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I have too many stories that I’ve started and in which I have gotten stuck at some point in the story’s development. I’m trying to improve my ability to finish stories. As I’m sure other writers know, the ability to finish is a complex of many different skills plus commitment.

I have a recently-begun YA novel. The current word count is around 11,000 words. My goal is to reach 20,000 words by the end of the Write-a-thon.

Fundraising Goals



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