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  • Blog

    #1000wordsaday in 2015 – or the New Year’s resolution post

    12/29/2014

    Electric Keyboard and Coffee CupYou know what the end of December is – that lovely time when we make New Year’s resolutions and then, in many cases, cross our fingers and hope they’ll stick.

    As a writer always goal-setting. I often fall short of the goals I set myself but by having the plan and the goals I get more hits than I do misses. Still, writing can be lonely and finding motivation is hard. I’m lucky that I have a lovely writer’s group here in Sydney and I am a member of some great online groups for chicklit authors as well.

    Still sometimes the motivation to focus on the writing slides.

    After doing #NaNoWriMo yet again in 2014 I looked at the lessons that I could learn from that and I decided that I really could find time to write 1,000 words a day. Not all of those words would be brilliant and many will get the chop later but I could put pen-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboard and write them.

    Thus, I decided to make that my writing resolution for 2015. 1,000 words a day or 365,000 words across the year (That sounds scary but 1,000 words a day doesn’t).

    Then this week I thought about what motivates me and I realised the group force of #NaNoWriMo was another of its strengths so I set up a Facebook group for writers who also want to write #1000wordsaday.

    Here it is if you would like to join:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1522004348059160/

    Or if you would like to follow my progress you can follow the hashtag #1000wordsaday on Twitter or sign up for my newsletter for regular updates.

    My next post will be looking back a 2014 and forward to the year ahead.

    Comments

    Isabella Louise Anderson
    12/31/2014 07:57:13 am

    What a great idea, Monique! Good luck to you!
    Reply
    Monique
    1/1/2015 10:09:49 am

    Thanks Isabella. So far I’m off to a good start!

  • Blog

    Merry Christmas 2014 – thanks for the support

    12/23/2014

    Monique McDonell Books and Christmas Decorations
    This is just a very quick blog post to wish all those who have supported me in 2014 a very Merry Christmas. To those who buy my books, read my blog, leave book reviews or interact with me on social media I say a huge THANK YOU.

    My life is richer for knowing you.

    I wish you peace, love, happiness and laughter this festive season.

    May the end of 2014 be filled with joy and books.

    Here are a couple of my favourite Christmas songs… both are Australian …have a wonderful Christmas.

     

  • Blog

    New Author Pictures for the New Year…

    12/18/2014

    Monique McDonellNot long ago I had some new author photos taken.

    I never really loved the one I had and I always looked a little stilted and unnatural in them. I’m not the world’s most photogenic person but I usually look better in photos that aren’t staged. I guess it is a lucky coincidence the Ford Model Agency never came calling back in the day – I guess, short, freckled red-headed women weren’t the big thing back when I was a teen (or ever).

    Anyway, my lovely husband, helped me take these. It’s always weird to look at yourself in photos but they are I do believe as good as it is going to get.

    The truth is I don’t want to be one of those authors who have photos taken of them and use that same photo twenty years, five hairstyles and fifteen kilograms later. I have met authors who I would NEVER have recognised from their author photos.

    Anyway I hope to revamp my website, newsletter and Facebook page in the new year (Can you believe that’s only 11 days away?) and these photos will come in handy.

    I actually prefer this one. I guess I look better when I have something else to focus on. Oh yeah and I’m holding my lovely paperbacks which you can get from Amazon.

    Monique McDonell Author Photo - A Fair Exchange

    Monique McDonell Author Photo - Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Monique McDonell Books and Champagne

    Comment

    Angela Parson Myers
    12/21/2014 11:32:59 am

    Love them! You look very relaxed and natural, and I love that you’re “reading.” I know what you mean about not recognizing some authors. When I had my photo taken, I told the photographer I didn’t want him to Photoshop the wrinkles out. And he didn’t…darn it. 🙂

  • Blog

    Why write stories with a happy ending?

    12/14/2014

    Monique McDonell Books and Champagne
    It’s Monday and I usually do a Musical Monday post but as I went to write this the city of Sydney, my city, is under siege and so I thought I might write about something else.

    When I started writing lots of people were surprised that I decided to write chicklit and stories with an upbeat, romantic bent. Not because I’m not an upbeat person, I actually am, but because there is a huge perception, especially in more intellectual circles, that lighter fiction, happier fiction has less value and is less worthy. The truth is I know lots of people who don’t think my writing is worthy and others who think I’m wasting my talents (on the one hand it is nice they think I have talents, on the other hand that’s not exactly very supportive). In fact, some of those would cite the fact that I’ve written several books (if asked) as evidence of that, because one angst-ridden novel is far more valuable than several lighter ones (in their opinion).

    The truth is – and it has certainly taken me a long time to reach this point – I don’t care what they think, and furthermore I think they’re wrong. The world needs more joy, more hope and more optimism.

    Sadness begets sadness, joy begets joy.

    If some of the world’s great writers wrote stories with less abuse, less torture, less war maybe we would have book clubs sitting around discussing love, kindness and forgiveness. Maybe if there were more redemptive tales we’d feel that there was hope for redemption.

    Maybe if the nice guy came first every now and then maybe we’d be more likely to be nice in real life.

    I write stories with happy endings because I want everyone to have one. Do we all want to walk around thinking we’ll never find love, that good won’t triumph or that misery is living in the house next door? I don’t.

    It might seem naive or foolish to some but negative thinking, exclusion and greed are everywhere. I can turn on the television, go to the movies or peruse the best seller list and there they are. The world isn’t improving as a result.

    I want to focus on the power of friendship to improve your day, how a small flirtation can lift your spirits, how planning a grand adventure, a new start or a change can be a thing of wonder. Maybe I write stories like that because I need to believe that is true, or maybe I’m just lucky enough to have experienced that in my own life so I don’t think it’s wrong to expect it in novels.

    I’ll continue to write about and hope for happy endings not just for my characters but for people everywhere.

  • Blog

    December – a month of madness downunder

    12/9/2014

    Sparkly Reindeer BathmatWe all know December is nuts with the holidays. Here in Australia it is even a little nuttier.

    A random list of reasons why.

    1. It’s summer so it’s hot. Running around like a crazy person is even harder in the heat.
    2. The kids finish the school year. All the end of school things that happen in the Northern hemisphere in Jun happen here in December. Concerts, presentation days, dinners, end of year sports parties – all happen now.
    3. Most Australians pack up for their annual vacation or as we call them holidays and leave the office on Dec 24. It’s usually about January 7 before the country is back in full swing. That means everyone is trying to get everything done before they head off.
    4. Christmas and the summer break mean that everyone wants to catch up with you in December. This is a lovely tradition but people you haven’t seen since May simply must catch up before Christmas. We’re a drinking nation so basically you eat and drink your way through a hot December.

  • Blog

    Meet Elke Feuer author of new release Deadly Race

    12/2/2014

    Elke FeuerAbout the Author:

    Elke was born and raised on Grand Cayman and lives there with her husband and two kids who keep her on her toes.

    She’s a cof­fee­holic, check­list fanatic, and future space explorer. She has a sarcastic/quirky sense of humor and loves meet­ing new people. When not writing, she’s helping other writers in Cayman through her organization CayWriters.

    The author of For the Love of Jazz and Deadly Bloodlines, book one in her Deadly Series. She stumbled into writing romantic suspense because of her fascination with serial killers, but writes other genres because characters keep telling her their stories and she’s a sucker for a crazy story.

    What people say about Elke

    “Elke knows how to create a page turner and will leave you begging for more”

    “Elke is an up and coming author to watch”

    Connect with Elke:

    Website |Twitter|<span “mso-fareast-font-family:”times=”” roman”;=”” mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;color:blue”=””>Facebook|Amazon |Goodreads

    Contact: hotcaymanmama@yahoo.com

    Buy Links:

    Amazon: http://myBook.to/DeadlyRace (universal link to all Amazon sites)

    B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deadly-race-elke-feuer/1120829111?ean=2940046424195

    Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/497029

    Deadly Race - Elke Feuer - Cover

    Excerpt from Deadly Race

    “I didn’t really have a relationship with her. She was someone I wanted, but she didn’t know how I felt until an hour ago.” Would she decide to kick him out of her apartment for either leading her on or being a complete ass?

    She gripped the couch tightly and it collapsed beneath her hands. Her eyes narrowed to slits and her mouth twisted in anger. Here comes her emotional eruption. He braced himself.

    “You put me through all of that for nothing?” She said it with so much control he wondered where she got it.

    “It wasn’t nothing to me,” he reasoned.

    “Wasn’t nothing? Do you know how many times I felt guilty because you had a girlfriend, or know how many nights I lay awake imagining I’d go to hell for the dirty thoughts I had about you in this apartment, inside and outside your car, even the examination table in your office?” She paced before him.

    Jackson was speechless, and turned on, as he thought about everything she’d just mentioned. He remembered the night she kissed him in the car and wondered what would’ve happened if they hadn’t been interrupted, or if they’d been in a secluded area instead of outside her apartment.

    “Hey!” she shouted, pulling him from his erotic thoughts of her spread out over the roof of his car.

    “Stop that! You don’t get to have a fantasy in the middle of my rant. Got it?” Her index finger pointed at him.

    He wanted to smile, but knew she’d probably knock his lights out if he did. “Please continue,” he said as politely and seriously as he could.

    “Why couldn’t you be honest with me?” She ran a hand through her hair.

    Honest about that? She couldn’t be serious? “Honest about wanting someone I hadn’t even told how I felt? I hardly knew you, Remy, and you wanted me to share something I’d kept secret for nearly two years?”

    “Two years?” Her voice echoed in disbelief.

    It sounded ridiculous to hear it out loud.

    She must’ve thought so, too, because she laughed. It started as a light chuckle, but then escalated to full, out loud, boisterous laughter until it was so extreme she fell to the floor behind the couch.

    He walked over to where she lay. “It’s not that funny,” he insisted.

    She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and laughed harder.

    “I’m glad you’re enjoying this at my expense.” He extended a hand to help her up, but she waved it away as another fit of laughter overtook her. “You might not believe this, but I’m incredibly shy.”

    She roared louder and gestured with her hand for him to stop talking.

    He couldn’t blame her for laughing. He’d been anything but shy around her. She had a knack for bringing out emotions in him that were less than passive, with her audaciousness and that unfiltered mouth of hers.

    Comment

    Elke Feuer
    12/2/2014 09:35:59 am

    Thanks for hosting me, Monique, and for helping to get the word out about my new book. Really appreciate it!

    Have a great night!

  • Blog

    Competition – Me and My Pie – a chance to win an Amazon GC

    11/25/2014

    NaNoWriMo Participant 2014 BadgeIt’s Wednesday. Did you know that? Somehow I missed the start of the week and bam, here I am.

    One reason is I finished (won as they say) #NaNoWriMo on Monday. 24 days, 50,000 words no wonder some things slipped, like blogging. Oh well, we’re back on track now.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate. I do because even though I am Australian, i like the idea of sitting with family and being grateful. There’s not enough gratitude in the world. I’m certainly not thankful enough in my day to day life so any opportunity to be thankful I embrace. It’s a good reminder – and there is pie.

    This week two of my books are 99c. Any Way You Like it which features plenty of pies and Alphabet Dating which features two Thanksgivings.

    For details visit my Amazon Author Page

    COMPETITION – ME AND MY PIE
    And I’m running a competition this week. Take a photo of you and your Thanksgiving pie(s) and share here or on Facebook to go in the running to win a $20 Amazon GC. (I’ll do a random draw among the entrants).

    I’ll upload my own pie photos when I’ve made my pies.

  • Blog

    #NaNoWriMo at the half way point and a song of encouragement on Musical Monday

    11/16/2014

    Monique McDonell Amazon Author Page ScreenshotA photo of my Amazon author page.

    So we’ve passed the half-way point in NaNoWriMo and I’ve crossed 40,000 words for the month today. I think this is my best result ever. I can’t remember as far back as my first time (I’m talking about NaNoWriMo people, keep it clean).

    Regardless that’s a pretty good result and I will own it, pat my self on the back and feel good.

    Last Thursday I had a stall at the local night markets and saw lots of people I knew and sold lots of books. I was reminded of how many people still read paperbacks and don’t use e-readers or tablets to read.

    The good news is my first FIVE novels are all available now as paperbacks from Amazon.

    Pop by my author page and purchase them from there. They’ll post the straight to you. If you are in Australia and want me to send you a copy just let me know.

    Here is a link to the Amazon Author Page also note in the picture above you can favorite it now to get regular updates about upcoming releases.

    Speaking of pictures I also had some new author photos taken last week, so look out for a slightly updates image and across all my platforms. I really hate having my photo taken that way. It feels weird and unnatural. I wonder if the Gen Y and Gen Z writers who have grown up in the selfie age are more natural under such pressure. Perhaps.

  • Blog

    Random writing facts on a Musical Monday

    11/9/2014
    Monique McDonell Paperbacks - Hearts Afire, Building Attraction, A Fair Exchange, Alphabet Dating, Mr Right and Other MongrelsToday I’ll just share with you some random facts about my writing life.

    * I write best between 10am-1pm and 4-7pm. This is good to know because if you’re organising your day to get a big word count, or solve an issue in your writing it’s so much better to work during your best times. Some people think they’re morning people (I do not think this about myself even a teeny tiny bit) but when they analyse their actual output they discover that the morning may not be their most productive time.

    * I really love the thrill of creating a new story. I like getting to know my characters and their friends. I like beginnings in life as well and even though I can be a tad wimpy I like new experiences. Starting a new story is like going on an adventure and I do like an adventure.

    * I’m reasonably disciplined with my self (I’ve worked alone for a lot of years now) but I can’t force creativity. I need to write a story about a chicken/a love triangle/ a murder will probably shut me down. For whatever reason I can’t just create a premise, some people can I guess.

    * I like a challenge. At the time of writing I’ve done 27,000 words of my NaNoWriMo in 10 days. I took 2 of those days off. That’s a pretty good effort. I’m not a competitive person (in fact competition makes me anxious, it is why I don’t enjoy sports) but I do compete with myself and so challenges like NaNoWriMo are good for me.

    * I’m doing a book stall at a local market night this week. I haven’t done one in two years and things like this scare the snot out of me. I feel self-conscious and embarrassed for some reason. Lots of authors are like that so be kind to them in these situations.

    * My first five books are all available in paperback now via Amazon…order a copy here .
    Musical Monday again and today I have chosen a fun classic – Who Wrote the Book of Love.

  • Blog

    The Stupid Movie Blog Tour brings you Better Off Dead…

    11/6/2014

    Better Off Dead Movie PosterToday it is my stop on The Stupid Movie Blog Tour and my choice is the wonderful, horrible and magical Better Off Dead. It’s an 80’s teen classic. This movie isn’t as well known as The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink but everyone I mention it to, who has seen it, says they love it.

    Why did I choose this movie? In 1985 when I was an Australian exchange student called Monique who happened to be in America, this movie, about French exchange student called Monique who happened to be in America ran almost weekly on cable TV. It was on so much one of my host sisters started calling me Mow-neek in the accent of the horrible host mother in the movie, complete with the face smushing actions.

    So I love this movie because it holds a personal connection to me but for several other reasons as well.

    1. John Cusack
    What’s not to love about John Cusack. This may well have been the first movie I saw him in he was quirky and intelligent and interesting. He didn’t look like the cookie cutter teen movie heartthrob one was used to seeing and I liked that. I’ve liked him in just about everything I have seen him in since. Apparently John himself kind of disowns this movie and won’t discuss it (his from a man who was in Hot Tub Time Machine!). I think that’s a mistake because I know lots of people who met and fell in love with John in this movie.

    2. Diane Franklin’s Monique.
    I really liked this character. She was just about the only one in the whole cast who was’t a lunatic. She did dazed, confused and intelligent all at once. She was frustrated and exasperated but she was always a kind character. Oh yes and the short, foreign chick with curly hair got the guy. That’s perfection right there.

    3. Cast of wacky characters
    In the movie Layne has been dumped by his girlfriend, the very perfect Beth, and he doesn’t want to live without her. The kid is already depressed and he’s not helped by the characters that torment him daily from his own oblivious parents, the psychotic paper boy or the Japanese race car drivers who burn him off, complete with track-style commentary, at the traffic lights every day. Of course these characters are absurd and over the top but they take the edge off the serious subject – Layne’s many hopeless suicide attempts – and in a weird way show his reaction to being dumped is also ridiculous and over the top. Suicide isn’t a funny subject but this movie makes it funny and it also shows that things get better, if you just hang in there.

    4. Memorable moments
    You know a movie is good if years later moments in your day to day life remind you of the movie. There are a few scenes like that in Better Off Dead. The movie often uses Layne’s internal dialogue – he commentates with his inner thoughts so you get to see his awkward teen angst through his eyes. There’s one where Beth rubs her nose so he rubs his she rubs harder so she does too and until their rubbing their faces with both hands like utter lunatics – each thinks the other is trying to say “Dude you have a little something….”. Every time someone ‘has a little something” this scene flashes through my mind nearly 30 years later.

    It’s hard sometimes to say why one movie stays with you so clearly and others fade. I’m not really a big fan of slapstick and prat-falling in movies and this movie has plenty. I think what this movie had as well, which is why I remember it, is heart oh yeah and a happy ending.

    Better Off Dead DVD Menu
    Comments

    Deborah Nam-Krane
    11/6/2014 07:21:06 pm

    First, thank you for participating in the tour!

    Second- ha! My husband is a much bigger fan of Cusack (and this movie) than I am, but when I think of this movie, I think of this line and snicker:

    Kerrie Olzak
    11/6/2014 07:42:34 pm

    Great movie! “I want my two dollars!”

    Melissa
    11/6/2014 08:49:21 pm

    I love that movie! So funny.
    Have you seen One Crazy Summer? That’s a good one too. 🙂
    Reply
    Monique
    11/7/2014 05:25:31 am

    You never look at the paper boy the same way after this movie!

    That is a great line…I really need to watch this with my teenager.

    I have seen that Melissa…also fun!