• Blog

    Building Attraction – blog blast


    Building Attraction - Book Blast - Monique McDonell - Banner
    As part of the launch of Building Attraction I have had the lovely Jaidis at Juniper Grove Books help me arrange a blog blast/tour.

    What that means is that Building Attraction will be featured on a number of wonderful blogs on November 14 & 15 (US time) and that you can visit them to go in the running to win an Amazon GC.

    This is the list of all the wonderful bloggers who are hosting on the tour. I hope you stop by their blogs and support them.

    Book bloggers do a wonderful job letting readers know about new releases and supporting authors so I urge you to support them. Take a look around their pages…you might find some other wonderful new authors to support yourself.

    Building Attraction by Monique McDonell:




    Link to your book blast page: http://junipergrovebooksolutions.com/building-attraction-monique-mcdonell/

  • Blog

    Finding yourself hidden in your own book


    Building Attraction - Monique McDonell - Coverhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GD0B4UQ

    People often ask writers how much of their stories are based on their own lives. In my own case I’ve drawn on aspects in all my books because it is easier to write what you know. In some cases it’s experiences I’ve had in others it is aspects of my personality.

    For Building Attraction I honestly didn’t think there was much of me in there at all when I wrote it. That’s a funny thing actually. As an author you just write and then of course you have to draw people, scenes and settings from somewhere but a lot of what happens can be quite unplanned.

    Then I went back to look at it with fresh eyes as I did the edits.

    Have I worked in a PR consultancy very similar to the one in the book? Why yes, yes I have.
    Does that boarding school resemble the school I attended, not that I was a boarder, complete with nuns that used to chase down the peeping toms? Why yes, yes I did.

    So I guess I drew on more of my experiences than I might have imagined.

    I’ve never been a rural girl working to save my farm. I’ve never been responsible for teenage siblings either but still, there are elements of me in this story as well. It’s amazing what you discover when you read a book, even your own.

  • Blog

    Building Attraction – release day – giddy up!


    Building Attraction - Monique McDonell - CoverAt last the day has come BUILDING ATTRACTION is live on AMAZON.

    Saddle up and head on over there to get a copy.

    Amazon US
    Amazon UK

    If you don’t have a Kindle you can download the Kindle app from Amazon for your tablet, smartphone or computer!.

    Competition: Take a photo of you and your copy on your Kindle/iPad/device and post it at my Virtual Book Launch on FB and you could win a $10 Amazon GC.

    Book launch is here. Stop on by!


    Building Attraction –Single Tittle Romantic Fiction

    Hers has been a life of too many responsibilities and his has been a life of too few. Could the thing that initially repelled them from each other finally be the ultimate source of attraction?

    Holly Adams has two jobs in the city, two petulant teenage sisters to support, a farm with a big mortgage and a terrible secret that propels her forward. Brad Winchester has a reputation for being a spoilt playboy who has abandoned his family business but he also has a secret that has finally brought him home.

    When they are forced to together at work (Holly works at the cut-throat PR Consultancy that handles his family’s account Winchester Homes – They don’t build homes, they build dreams”) a series of misunderstandings has them
    at odds.

    Still while working together they learn they have more in common than either might have imagined – common friends, family loyalty and dreams of something different. When life keeps pushing them in each other’s paths they must decide whether this is an attraction that might be worth building on after all.

    If you read it and enjoy it please leave me a review on Amazon US and/or Amazon UK. I am always very grateful when someone does.

  • Blog

    A competition for the launch of Building Attraction


    Building Attraction - Monique McDonell - CoverI’m launching Building Attraction this Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

    That’s exciting news isn’t it? Well I think so- hence the big print.

    Did you know that also happens to be a very big day in the Australian calendar – Melbourne Cup Day. If you don’t know it’s a very famous horse race – it’s Australia’s version of the Kentucky Derby. People have long, lunches, bet on the fillies and possibly have a champagne or two.

    As you can see from the cover here is a horse or two in Building Attraction.

    Here’s the book blurb:
    Hers has been a life of too many responsibilities and his has been a life of too few. Could the thing that initially repelled them from each other finally be the ultimate source of attraction?

    Holly Adams has two jobs in the city, two petulant teenage sisters to support, a farm with a big mortgage and a terrible secret that propels her forward. Brad Winchester has a reputation for being a spoilt playboy who has abandoned his family business but he also has a secret that has finally brought him home.

    When they are forced to together at work (Holly works at the cut-throat PR Consultancy that handles his family’s account Winchester Homes – They don’t build homes, they build dreams”) a series of misunderstandings has them at odds.

    Still while working together they learn they have more in common than either might have imagined – common friends, family loyalty and dreams of something different. When life keeps pushing them in each other’s paths they must decide whether this is an attraction that might be worth building on after all.

    Would you like to win a copy of Building Attraction and a prize?

    There are two ways to win:
    1. If you’re a regular follower of my blog, my Facebook author page or on twitter this one isn’t to hard (Hint: pretend it is my horse)… Guess what I named the horse in the novel? That’s it. What is Holly’s horse called? Tell me in the comments
    section and which prize you would like with your e-book – a tote or a mug!

    2. Choose your own name for the horse and I’ll choose one at random. Tell me in the comments section and which prize you would like with your e-book – a tote or a mug!

    Simple….leave a comment here on the BLOG…the prizes are an e-book and a mug or an e-book and a tote – you choose your prize.

    Good luck and I hope you back a winner.

    Building Attraction Tote and Mug


    Nic Herrmann
    10/31/2013 04:25:51 pm

    Mmmm sorry Monique I clearly don’t read your blog😥

    Karen Mate
    11/1/2013 11:33:50 am

    Sapphire. I would love to have one of tote bags and an ebook!
    11/4/2013 03:12:06 pm

    Karen looks like you won! 🙂 I’ll send you the book via Amazon…I’ll need you to e-mail me your address so I can send the tote bag!

  • Blog

    Q &A with Alissa Baxter author of The Blog Affair


    Alissa BaxterQ&A for Alissa Baxter
    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    When I was single and dating, I moved to Cape Town, and it was this time in my life, when I experienced the highs and lows of being on the dating scene in a new city, that inspired The Blog Affair. My novel is about twenty-something Emma Bradshaw who moves to Cape Town and tries to make sense of her dating blunders by starting a blog where she analyses her past relationships.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I started writing my first novel, a Regency romance called The Dashing Debutante, when I was 19 and in my second year at university.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    Setting is very important in my writing. My first chick lit novel, called Send and Receive, was set in Durban, a coastal city in South Africa where I lived for a few years.
    And when I moved to Cape Town a few years later, I decided to set my next book, The Blog Affair, there. I like to set books in cities I’ve lived in, as I can then portray a unique sense of place. Of course, a lot of writers set books in places they’ve never visited and with the internet (and Google Maps!) at our disposal it’s becoming easier and easier to do so.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    My main character, Emma, appeals to me as she has to overcome a number of obstacles in order to grow and change as the novel progresses. She hasn’t had an easy life, and as a writer I found myself cheering her on. Another favourite in the book is Andre – her gay housemate in Cape Town, who has, let us say, a unique way with words!

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    That it’s important to simply sit down and write, rather than to wait for inspiration.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I tend to work well in the mornings. However, I have a toddler and another baby on the way, so at this point in my life I tend to snatch moments at odd times during the day to do a bit of work!

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I like to have a general outline for a book when I’m writing it, but within this general guideline it’s nice to have the flexibility to be able to go off on an unexpected tangent if the story calls for it.

    8. Can you name three or four of your current favourite books?
    I enjoyed reading Cathy Kelly’s The Honey Queen, and I’ve just completed Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I also enjoy crime novels and I’m about to start reading Peter Robinson’s Children of the Revolution.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I tend to become intrigued with the lives of the secondary characters in my books, and I’m writing a story at the moment about a character who appeared in The Blog Affair.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    It’s never easy sending your work off for the first time, but what makes a huge difference is finding someone you trust to edit and critique your manuscript before sending it out to publishers. A new pair of eyes will pick up grammatical errors and story inconsistencies you may have overlooked and it’s very important to have a polished manuscript, with as few errors as possible.

    The Blog Affair - Cover

    Twenty-something, white, South African Emma Bradshaw has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and starts a blog about these so-called “serial datists”. Her search for new beginnings takes her to Cape Town, where she gets a job working for sexy author, Nick Reynolds. Romance with her boss is a no-no, but slowly, Nick works his way around her defenses. Trust him, or not, especially with her awful track record with men?

    When an anonymous male reader of the blog challenges her on her ideas about the male species, Emma realises she must confront her past and find her true self before she can move forward…and love can blossom again in her future.

    The Blog Affair by Alissa Baxter

    Damn him. Damn him. Damn him. Like a bad apple, he just had to pop up in her new home. She’d left Durban to escape him, and here he was, back again, tormenting her as ever. Awful enough that memories of him were with her all the time, without him turning up in the flesh. And what flesh it was….

    “You had a good time in Italy?” she inquired.
    Phil nodded.
    “Great. Well, I have things to do. Bye.”
    “Running away, Em?”
    Emma, who had starting walking toward the door, stopped in her tracks and turned around. “I’ve moved on, Phil.”
    “You mean you’ve moved away. You haven’t moved on.”
    “What makes you so sure?”

    Phil gazed into her eyes before looking down at her mouth, and Emma swallowed hard. He always made her insides twist into knots, and the fact she couldn’t bear to be in the same room with him for even five minutes clearly showed she hadn’t moved on.

    She had to put him behind her, though, and stop allowing him to upset her equilibrium to the degree he did.

    But as she studied his once-loved face, she let out a tiny sigh. How did you just move on and forget someone? Especially when you’d once believed that someone was the love of your life?

    She stood immobile for a long moment. Then, without a word, she turned around again and walked out of the room.

    Alissa Baxter was born in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first novel, The Dashing Debutante. Alissa travelled to London, England, and did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote after she moved back to South Africa and settled in Durban. Alissa then relocated to Cape Town where she wrote her third novel, Send and Receive, before moving to Johannesburg, where she currently lives with her husband and son.

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/alissa_baxter
    Blog: http://alissabaxter.blogspot.com
    Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1146980.Alissa_Baxter
    Website: www.alissabaxter.com

    Where to buy The Blog Affair


  • Blog

    Q&A with Caroline Fardig author of It’s Just a Little Crush (Lizzie Hart Mysteries)


    Caroline Fardig1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    Since I was a kid, when I was bored, I would let my mind wander.
    I would often come up with fun and crazy stories, and this time, I
    decided to write one down.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    It was about three years ago. I wrote my first draft of IT’S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH and didn’t tell anyone about it for a really long time. I finally got the courage to show it to a friend, and she encouraged me to do some tweaking and ultimately to publish it.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    The setting, to me, is just like a character in a story. The plot unfolds the way it does because of the area where the story takes place. Take Sex
    and the City, for example. If the four girls had lived in a small, hick town, would any of the crazy things that occurred have happened at all?
    No. On the other hand, in a story like Where the Heart Is, if Novalee had been dropped off in the middle of New York City, do you think she
    and her baby would have been able to survive solely on the kindness of
    others? Not a chance.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    Of course, my two leads, Lizzie and Blake are my favorites. I love to make them banter back and forth.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    The best advice is not to take it personally every time your book is criticized, especially on the Internet. When
    you’re a new author struggling to get noticed, it’s very exciting to get reviews, because then you know that people are actually reading your book. However, being human, it’s difficult to not be hurt a bit by a bad review. If you’re getting poor reviews and are worried about the quality of your work, let someone read it who you know will give you a straight answer—good or bad.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I don’t have a set-in-stone schedule that I follow, but I do have consistent times when I work. You’ll find me at my
    computer when my kids are at school and also for an hour or so after they go to bed. It’s infinitely easier to write when you don’t have kids yelling or the SpongeBob theme song playing in the background.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    As with my life, I do about 25% plotting and 75% winging it. I think winging it makes for much more interesting reading (and a more spontaneous and fun lifestyle).

    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
    I’m reading THE FAMILY YOU CHOOSE by Deborah Nam-Krane right now, and it’s so captivating, I get angry when I have to put it down. I just finished Jami Deise’s KEEPING SCORE, and I think it is going to be a serious hit. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love Scott Kenemore’s ZOMBIE, OHIO. It’s a great pre-Halloween read—not really scary, but still all about zombies.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I am editing my third novel, BAD MEDICINE. I would rather be creating something new, but painstaking editing is
    always a must.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    Don’t try to do it alone. Find a network of writers in your genre (there are tons of groups on Facebook) and lean on them
    for advice. Better yet, find an awesome publicist like mine (Sarka-Jonae of SJ Publicity) and let her take you
    there on the fast track.

    CAROLINE FARDIG was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. Her working career has been rather eclectic thus far, with occupations including schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom. Finally realizing that she wants to be a writer when she grows up, Caroline has released her debut novel, IT’S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH, now a #1 Bestseller. She is currently hard at work churning out a second novel in the LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series. She still lives in that same small town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

    It's Just a Little Crush - Cover
    EXCERPT: It’s Just a Little Crush

    “Girl! You are a hot mess!” That’s the way my
    cousin Becca greets me at the funeral home. She, like always, looks like a model ready for the runway. Why didn’t I get some of her “look perfect all the time” genes?
    “I’m well aware of that,” I acknowledge sullenly.
    “What happened? You’re all sweaty and stuff. Did you walk over here?”
    “No, I didn’t walk over here. I had a bad day.” I start ticking things off on my fingers. “I had no sleep, I got grilled by a cop, I was late to work, people were gossiping about me, my boss reprimanded me (twice), I didn’t get to go to lunch, it was hot in the office, and I was stressing about the mountain of copy I have to go through. Now I have to attend a funeral for a friend, who I found dead. Does that answer your question?”
    “Yep. Come on into my office, and I’ll try to do something with the mess on top of your shoulders,” Becca says as she steers me down the hall.
    Becca’s private bathroom is stocked with all kinds of makeup, hair products, and hair appliances. No wonder she’s always fabulously perfect—she keeps a mini beauty salon at work. She opens a door inside
    the bathroom to reveal a small closet full of beautiful clothing.
    “Here, put this on,” Becca orders, throwing a red blouse my
    way. “Your outfit could use some help.”
    “What’s wrong with my outfit? It’s cute.”
    “It’s so last season.”
    “Ha! That’s where you’re wrong,” I retort. “I’ve had this for three years.”
    Becca rolls her eyes and goes to work on my sweaty, tangled hair. She quickly dry shampoos, combs, curls, and sprays it. She has made it clear that she won’t let me even peek in the mirror until she is totally done with me. After she is
    satisfied with my hair she gets to work on my makeup.
    “Now, you’re not going to put too much on, are you? I like a natural look,” I warn.
    “I put makeup on people for a living.”
    “Yeah, dead people.”

    You can find Caroline on Social Media
    Website: www.carolinefardig.com
    My blog: http://www.carolinefardig.com/blog/
    Twitter: @carolinefardig
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caroline-Fardig/496944767049778
    Media inquires: http://www.sjpublicity.com/contact.html

  • Blog

    Blog tour visit from Tamara Lee Dorris with give-away


    Tamara Lee DorrisFootball From a Chick Lit View by Tamara Lee Dorris
    (Note for my Australian readers this is on American football)

    It’s that time of the year again! We can all forget our table manners and inside voices and act like whoever wins the game will affect our lives in any way whatsoever. Yay football season! Okay, seriously, I’m a big fan of watching Super bowl fans. And hey, I’m all about any Sunday that says Americans can start drinking before noon.

    In addition to imbibing early, I’ve noted these other American Approved activities, because, after all football season is that one time of year we can:

    Go charge a flat screen television larger than our first car—this is especially acceptable if your state team is headed for the Super Bowl.

    Drink our weight in alcohol, especially brewski, so you better pack a porta-potty because you don’t want to miss a minute of scrimmage (something like standing in line at Macy’s on Black Friday, right?).

    Eat massive amounts of food products that literally contain no food. My favorite? Processed cheese smothering processed chips. Mmmm nachos.

    Have something new and exciting to argue about on facebook. (if I see one more football helmet profile pic I’m going to spank my cat).

    My whole problem with football is the colors and the costs.

    I’m sorry, but I refuse to wear a jersey that’s the same color as my mother’s living room. What’s wrong with pink? You make an NFL team color pink, and I’ll buy the whole damn outfit. Think about it! A pink jersey says, I’m soft, but I’m here to play ball, right?! Of course, if the whole team wore pink, I suppose the estrogen might kick in. You know, instead of fighting over the ball, they’d have to play nice and seek mediation. Oh, and there would be no butt-patting; elbow touching only. And can’t you just hear the Quarterback asking, “Do these pants make my butt look big?”

    Speaking of the Quarterback, how come if he’s the team leader, he only gets ¼ of his back, while some other guy gets all of his own back? If I had my druthers, I would certainly opt to be a full back with a pink fitted jersey and white pants. And please, no padding around the hips! Mommy’s hips are plenty padded, thank you very much.

    What about the commercials? Reportedly the Super Bowl half-time is the most expensive advertising opp on the planet. You could buy Morocco or a 10-second spot. Why do advertisers pay so much money for this? Don’t they know everyone is going pee? I get it though, come Monday morning, the Internet will be full of youtube videos recapping all the commercials so that everyone has something new to talk about, now that they’ve realized that whether their team won or lost, all they have to show for it is five extra pounds, a really big television and an even bigger credit card payment. But, mmmm, nachos.

    Go Red Sox! What? Wrong team? Pssh.

    Q & A
    When did you come up with your story?
    When I was trying to do yoga once I concluded that there must be other women whofound it as ridiculously complex as I did and that it had to make for a funny story.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
    I like Melissa because we share a love of wine, yoga and always wanting to lose ten pounds. However, she is a little more neurotic than me (and I don’t know why my family can’t see that). Otherwise, it is true that we both have mothers
    that drive us batty.

    How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
    Tac bugs me. I mean, he’s got big hair and sells a lot of houses. Whoopity doo. He can barely do yoga and he drinks white wine. I just don’t trust him.

    Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
    Well, I want readers to relate to the main character who is a wine-drinking neurotic woman. Mostly, so I feel better about myself.

    Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
    So being neurotic is not quite enough? I enjoy directing four-way traffic at intersections, but who doesn’t?

    What is the quote you live by?
    “Turn the light off, it’s not even noon yet.” Oh, and I like the one by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” He was smart and built cars.

    Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you.

    I have been to rehab for my gummy bear addiction.
    I do not know
    what my natural hair color is.
    I look good in green.

    What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?
    Toto was involved. That’s all I’m saying. Unless you have a warrant?

    How old were you when you started writing?
    My mother will tell you I was born with a pencil in my hand, but she lies a lot so you can’t really trust her. I remember deciding I would be a writer at age 11 when I fell in love with John Boy Walton and his Red Indian writing pad. I
    think I wrote stories before that, though.

    Are you married?
    Yes, but if you’re going to ask how my husband tolerates me, I’m afraid he’s not home right now. Call back later.

    Thank you for having me! XO

    Secrets of a Spiritual Guru - CoverTamara Lee Dorris has been a life-long fan of personal and spiritual development, and has written several books that fall under the category of “self-help.” She wrote Secrets of a Spiritual Guru as a way of poking fun at how easy it is to become an online expert. Her other novels revolve around contemporary issues and spiritual enlightenment. Tamara is also an adjunct professor, radio host, and long time real estate professional who has gone crazy selling houses, loves yoga, drinks wine and is still as addicted as ever to personal development. She lives in Northern California with a bunch of annoying animals and her husband. She has four kids that she likes a lot and a mother that drives her nuts. Learn more at tamaradorris.com.

    Buy the Book!


    Blog Tour
    October 7 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
    October 8 – Spiced Latte Reviews – Review
    October 9 – Nana Prah’s Blog – Guest Post
    October 10 – As the Page Turns – Q&A & Excerpt
    October 11 – Everything Books and Authors- Excerpt
    October 14 – The East Village – Review
    October 15 – Ai Love Books – Excerpt
    October 16 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt
    October 21- Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt
    October 23 – Monique McDonell – Guest Post, Q&A
    October 24 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
    October 28 – Author and Readers Book Corner – Review & Guest Post
    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    12/15/2016 06:33:30 pm

    All the things you like and dislike relate to wine haha. Nice!

  • Blog

    Images of LA – or Mr Right and Other Mongrel sequel


    As many of my regular readers know I went to Los Angeles earlier this year to do a research trip for the sequel to
    Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

    I am thinking of writing the sequel for NaNoWriMo in November. If I do I’ll be drawing on these images to inspire me. when I travelled, although I have been to the US before, I tried to look through the eyes of the main character Allegra and see what she might see or be interested in. It was a fun way to travel.

    She would a stranger in a strange land and as normal as anyone’s home is to them, it’s always a little bit odd to the outsider, so often we notice the differences and not the similarities. cars on the opposite side of the road, different names for the same things and people’s accents all delight and fascinate us.

    Hotcakes Bacon and Eggs Breakfast


    Los Angeles Trolly Tour

    Central Perk

    Central Perk

    Roses in a shop in America

    Floral Arch

    Bonsai Tree

    Fountain in garden


    I’m not sure if I will write this story now or begin it in January?

    What I need for it is a working title.

    Question – what would you name the sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels?

  • Blog

    Preparing for NaNoWriMo the 2014 edition

    Electric Keyboard and Coffee CupIt’s October which means all over the world writers are gearing up for NaNoWriMo.

    NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It’s a project with a basic aim – during the month of November enthusiastic writers from across the globe set themselves the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in a single month. (Some crazy people set themselves 100,000 word challenges and other seemingly unattainable goals but let’s just leave them off to the side, shall we?)

    Here is the link to the official site http://nanowrimo.org/

    In 2012 I wrote a series of blog posts on how to prepare for this epic event. If you haven’t read them they cover topics such as like plotting, meal preparation, eliminating distractions and even exercise.

    They were:
    Part 1 – Plan Your Writing
    Part 2 – Plan Your Life for NaNoWriMo
    Part 3 – Plan the month of Writing – or tips to
    Part 4 – Plan to Care for your Body ( A Guest post from physiotherapist & author Terri Green)

    This year I have a few more suggestions I’d like to make. I completed NaNoWriMo again last year and it was kind of rough. The reasons for that were many and varied but largely I ignored my own advice and made things harder for myself than they needed to be.

    Here are a few general tried and true tips that I think you should follow even if you don’t go read my other highly detailed posts.

    1. This is not the time to genre hop.
    If you think you’d like to write an epic fantasy but you don’t have a plot and you usually write sweet romances, chances are you will fail. You’ll stall, you won’t have structures or the habits you’re used to using to fall back on. Write what you know how to write. (I didn’t do this last year and while I did finish there is no way that novel is even a little bit salvageable).

    2. Do some planning.
    I don’t mean a detailed plot map, unless that’s how you usually roll, but have a think about your story in the coming weeks. Have a beginning in mind, gather a cast of characters in your imagination and get some vision together. It will make it easier.

    3. Get Ahead.
    If you can get even a little bit ahead it seems to bode well for success. Tell yourself it’s 2,000 words a day not 1677, even that really helps. If you can while that story is fresh and you’re feeling it hit that word count hard the first few days. This year 1st November is a Friday. Make that weekend count. If you can really get a good start then you will be set up for a good month.

    4. Every day counts – make that every minute.
    The fifteen minutes you usually waste waiting at the school gate sitting in the car, your lunch break (right I know, no one gets an hour anymore), the ten minutes you have while you wait for the pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook now all have value. You can maybe squeeze out a few hundred words during each…that might be half your daily word count. Set a timer and do a sprint for 15 minutes or half an hour, you’ll be amazed how many words you generate. This small blocks of time we usually waste really keen make a big difference to your NaNoWriMo success or failure.

    5. Get a support crew
    It’s often recommended you tell everyone your writing a book this November. (I don’t hold with that necessarily because people don’t seem to care overly, you may spend valuable time explaining this to someone you barely know and you just won’t get that time back and let’s face it they probably think it’s a nutty pursuit.)

    I recommend you tell all the people that matter. For me this has two prongs. So to me that means tell the people you live with because they need to know and they can help you or hinder you. Tell your friend who you know will drop past wanting to have a coffee/ a wine/ a whinge or talk about themselves ad nauseum (not that I have any friends like that). Tell that person on the committee you refused to assist on that you still can’t help. You get the idea.

    Basically, tell people who will want time you don’t have so that they understand why you’re distracted and you can say “Hey, remember I’m doing this write a novel in a month thing, can we maybe see a movie in December”.

    And tell your cheerleaders – your husband or boyfriend who wants you to succeed, tell your writing buddies so you can have them call to check on you and you can discuss plot holes, writers block and all the people who want to suck your time. These are the people who will keep your bottom in the chair (“Don’t move, I’ll make dinner” or “Let’s do a writing sprint – go!) and who you need in your corner so you need to tell them.

    6. Have fun
    Writing is fun (sometimes/usually). Setting out to write a book in a month (well a first draft anyway) is a silly idea, it’s a fanciful notion so enjoy the whimsy of it.

    We’re so sensible and grown up most of the time. We keep our feet firmly planted here in a reality made up of jobs and mortgages, of orthodontist visits, carpools and spreadsheets. We’re polite to people who probably don’t deserve it and we put our needs aside for others.

    This November enjoying the art of make believe. Relish the opportunity to create a new world full of new characters and adventures. Celebrate the idea that you can have new ideas and take chances all without leaving the comfort of your keyboard.



    10/14/2013 12:21:16 pm

    Great tips. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo the last couple of years & failed both times… must get more organised for this year!

    Sarah Belle
    10/14/2013 03:02:40 pm

    Excellent advice, Monique! I am a NaNoWriMo virgin but will be popping my cherry this year – definitely with your advice!
    10/14/2013 03:50:07 pm

    Melissa I really think organisation and planning are the keys to success.
    10/14/2013 03:50:46 pm

    Sarah Belle we can cheer each other along!

    Cinthia Ritchie
    10/28/2015 05:25:15 am

    Love these idea, and so helpful, too. This is my first year attempting NaNoWriMo and while I have my novel somewhat mapped and my characters profiled, etc., the idea of writing, and producing, each day is rather daunting. Scary, actually. I love that you said that it’s a silly idea. Because it is. But it’s also kind of a brilliant, too. Cheers and happy writing.
    10/29/2015 04:27:06 pm

    Good luck Cinthia. If you want to buddy up on the NaNo site let me know. It is silly but also lots of fun.

    10/28/2015 05:52:38 am

    Thanks for the advice – this will be my 3rd year, and I’m hoping a different approach might let me win this time!
    10/29/2015 04:27:49 pm

    I’m sure you’ll win this time…think of all you learned from the last experiences…you’ll nail it!

    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    10/28/2015 08:48:26 am

    I definitely think the key to NaNoWriMo is having your ducks in a row by November 1. Outline, plan, plot. And then WRITE your tail off! It’s so much fun. But I do wonder who chose November as the month. Ugh! Such a busy time of the year.
    10/29/2015 04:29:57 pm

    November is actually a good month for me…and I like ending the year on a writing high…

    Pauline Wiles
    10/28/2015 09:35:57 am

    Love these tips, especially about getting ahead and making the small bits of time count. Thanks, from a first time NaNo-er!
    10/29/2015 04:28:43 pm

    One thing I love about NaNo actually is it holds a mirror up to how much time we waste…not a bad reminder for us writers.
    10/29/2015 04:30:24 pm

    Good luck!!!! You can do it.

    Jackie Bouchard
    10/28/2015 03:17:09 pm

    Great tips! I’ve only done Nano once, but I finished, and that book eventually got turned into “Rescue Me, Maybe.” One of these days I’d like to do it again – but, man, it’s tough! Best of luck to you!

    Tracy Krimmer
    10/28/2015 04:43:30 pm

    I’m not genre hopping, but writing a YA romance instead of adult 🙂

    Cassandra Piat
    10/29/2015 03:24:39 am

    That sounds like a lot of hard work and a lot of fun 🙂 Thanks for the great advice. Will have to give it a try one day!

    10/29/2015 04:16:05 pm

    I lol’d at “I ignored my own advice”.

    I’ve not done NaNo, but your tips are awesome.
    10/29/2015 04:29:19 pm

    Thanks Sandie!

    Melissa Sugar
    10/24/2016 03:23:05 pm

    Fabulous post chock full of informative tips for getting a jump start on NaNo and crossing the finish line. I especially like the tips about getting ahead when we can. You never know when you won’t be able to write on a certain day, so getting ahead really helps. And even those 15-30 minute increments add up. I’ve written some of my best work while waiting on kids to finish soccer practice or waiting for them to come out to the car at one place or another. I have complete solitude and nothing like a television to distract me and usually no one to interrupt me. Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I wanted to let you know that when I clicked on the links you provided for more NaNo tips ( you’d written in previous years or maybe from other bloggers- not sure now) the links didn’t work. It could be a problem on my end. I don’t know if anyone else had the same problem. I got one of those 404 page messages. Just thought you would want to know, in case you need to fix a broken link. I’m sure everyone else is as eager as I am to read more of your helpful ideas and tips. Thanks again and good luck with NaNo this year.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday and the theme is family


    Building Attraction - Monique McDonell - CoverMy soon to be released novel Building Attraction looks a lot at the role family plays in life for better or worse. What will people do for their family or what won’t they do? Everyone’s different in this regard.

    That’s not even dealing with the issues of crazy extended families or difficult in-laws or unresolved family issues.

    (Sidebar -Yes I know it’s late – I’ve been a bit unwell for the past few weeks and then I got a big client at work that has required me working lots of hours so something had to give. I’m sure my editor is pulling her hair out right now as am I…but we’re nearly there).

    Anyway I thought I’d choose some songs about family as a result,

    Here are a couple of songs to set your toes tapping this Monday.

    Here we have Sister Sledge with a 1970’s classic We Are Family. If there’s a person on the planet who doesn’t know this song I’d be surprised.
    I love this version of Hey Ho. I really like the original version but these girls are amazing and the fact they’re sisters, just adds another layer. (Oh yeah and if someone can find me a hairdresser that makes my hair look like Connie Britton
    Happy Monday.