Ya Mismo

After thirty years on the road, Roni Askey-Doran abandons her nomadic lifestyle to set up house in a remote coastal village in the middle of the world. A tiny fishermen’s haven nurtured by the Pacific Ocean, Mompiche barely earns its dot on the Ecuadorian map. Pursuing her dreams to design her own eco-friendly home and get her hands dirty in rich topsoil, Roni easily settles into the small community but quickly finds herself challenged on many levels.

In a culture far removed from her own she encounters some unique problems; from bathing in buckets of cold water every day to frequent power failures, doing battle with flesh-eating parasites to almost dying of dengue fever, and enduring the daily harassment about being unacceptably single to machete-wielding lunatics threatening to kill her. Not to mention the lack of chocolate and marshmallows in the store, the disappointment of discovering the once-a-week fruit and vege truck is out of garlic, and struggling to survive the leanest times on five dollars a week. As the bamboo shack rises from sticks in the mud to take shape and the first organic tomato plants begin to bear fruit, the neighbors begin a relentless campaign of terror to force out la gringa loca – even resorting to witchcraft.

Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North of Zero is a crazy story that unfolds from the moment Roni steps off the bus and follows a winding trail through a complex and mystifying culture that first embraces her but then chews her up and spits her out. Wheedling the recipes of traditional dishes from the local women, Roni learns to feed her soul as well as her body, losing over thirty kilos (70lb) along the way. She learns to dance like a Latina, speak like a Mompichera and celebrate the unique traditions of her adopted culture, simultaneously despairing the mindless exploitation and destruction of precious natural resources, and waging war on the army of land crabs that chomp on her vegetable seedlings.

Ya Mismo is a gritty rollercoaster of a tale about what can happen when you force a square peg into a round hole. This amazing story is still being written. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the infrequently updated blog: Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North Of Zero.

Status: Work in Progress.
Expected finish date: One of these days.

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Phew! Argh! Eeew!


Phew! Argh! Eeew! Travel Tales I Never Told Mum is a fantastic collection of short travel tales so enthralling, so gripping, and so chilling to read that you’ll never leave home again.

When this intrepid young backpacker first embarked on her adventures around the globe, even her own wild imagination could not have conjured up some of the unforetold events that took place in her thirty-five years of travel.

Despite being hijacked in Bulgaria, nearly dying of Malaria in India, being imprisoned in Ecuador and almost blown to pieces in Turkey, Roni lived to tell her stories in the vivid and humorous style for which she is known. The only person she never told was her mother….

In the safety of your armchair, hang on for dear life as Roni takes you on a journey you will not soon forget.

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Kiwiscantfly on 22 Oct 2017
Five stars
“Thoroughly enjoyable book. Not only does it transport you to the regions that many of us will never venture describing them beautifully, but regales with many a tale of adventures,  some wonderful, others frightening.”


Annus Horribilis

At the lowest point in her life, Kirsten Smith wakes up under a lantana bush on New Year’s Day. Determined to reinvent herself, she vows to rise above her worst moment.

Throughout the year, Kirsten and her best friends are flung into a hysterical romp through life; their mishaps and adventures ultimately force them to question themselves and their perceptions of love, beauty, sex, men and even their friendship.

Hilarious and heart-breaking, Kirsten’s year of self-renovation culminates in an enchanting love triangle, an unexpected new family, and a surprising new career. (Warning: this novel is slightly naughty.)

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Ruth B. on January 28 2015
Five stars
– Riotous 
“This made me laugh! A little bit loud and inappropriately at times too! If you are after a light, easy read that is funny, politically incorrect, with a good story line and some inventive invective, this is the read for you. Roni, I enjoyed this read immensely. Made me snort several times….to the point of tears.”

Alicia H. on February 9 2015
Five stars
– Hilarious
“You have to read
Annus Horribilis if you have ever had an embarrassing moment…it will make you laugh out-loud, and mostly likely pee yourself in mirth! On top of that you will forever see you own personal misadventures as not so bad and funny to boot! Thank you Roni and Kirsten for showing us the lighter side of life even when its heavy!”

Lyne February 21, 2015
Five stars – Funniest book I have ever read
“I cried laughing reading this book! It is not only funny but has touching moments that will make you want to giggle and cry at the same time. This characters are hilarious and truly demonstrate loyalty in friendship. This story rollicks along at a snappy pace and is truly entertaining. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to laugh!”

Theresa Price  on November 2, 2014
Five stars – Brilliant
“Roni is certainly an eloquent writer… I was laughing the whole way through! Hilarious… brilliant… Highly recommend this!”

Q&A: The Guardian (would happily do it if I was asked…)

The questions remain unchanged from the original Q&A Rosanna Greenstreet (@celebQandA) did with Miriam Margolyes …

Life and Style > The Q&A

Roni Askey-DoranSM

“Just give me a second, I need to put my vibrator away.”

Q&A: Roni Askey-Doran

Born in Launceston, Tasmania, 48, never attended college. In 1978 she won a Grease Disco Dancing contest, was awarded Best Beachwear Design in a state Fashion Design Competition in 1982, and in 1999 was awarded Best Travel Writer in a Lonely Planet Writing Competition. She is a champion for Mental Illness awareness and writes comedy, drama and true life. She currently lives in Ecuador.

When were you happiest?
In 2009, I spent one whole year working on me, on my spiritual, physical, emotional and mental health. I didn’t work, I took a whole year off just to focus on myself, it was bliss.

What is your greatest fear?
That I won’t achieve my goal: to write books without ever having to wonder where my next meal is coming from.

What is your earliest memory?
Walking through an airport with my parents and seeing this sea of bare knees under the hems of short pants and skirts passing by my eyes. I was three years old when we moved from Adelaide to Sydney.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Anyone who has overcome insurmountable odds.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A sense of lostness that sometimes creeps up on me and causes terrible lethargy.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Years ago, I was giving a seminar and the mobile phone in my jeans pocket kept vibrating for almost the entire hour that I was speaking. As I was packing up my things, some people came over to talk to me and I said out loud, “Just give me a second, I need to put my vibrator away.”

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My fat thighs.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Tasmanian tigers.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I don’t think I can say that here.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Leaving the toilet door open.

What is your favourite word?

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When I was a teenager, everyone always told me that I was stupid. It took me ages to ‘unbelieve’ them.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I never feel guilty about things that give me pleasure, but my favourite pleasure is lying in a hammock with a good book and a bowl of chili popcorn.

To whom would you most like to say sorry and why?
To all the people who have suffered for my craziness.

What was the best kiss of your life?
It was a full moon… we walked on the beach….

Which living person do you most despise and why?
Tony Abbott, for his efforts to destroy Australia’s environment.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, Gertrude Stein, Jack Kerouac, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A bestseller.

What is your greatest achievement?
To stand tall and proud in the face of life’s challenges.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

How would you like to be remembered?
As a talented writer and an adventurous woman.

Where would you most like to be right now?
Scuba diving.

Tell us a secret.
I never use soap to wash my face.