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  • Blog

    Growing the #NaNoWriMo word count, ordering print copies and singing along on #MusicalMonday

    11/2/2014

    Crazy Busy Messy Work Space
    November already and that means NaNoWriMo is underway.

    Here’s a little update from me this far. As I type (4pm)my word count is 13, 038 words thus far. I managed 6,000 on Saturday, and just over 4,000 tomorrow. I feel I can probably manage a few more today so hopefully another 4,000 word day.

    That seems like a lot and it is. I don’t write like that normally. The truth is I didn’t have anything I had to do this weekend socially and so I didn’t make any plans. My husband was working and my daughter was recovering from exam week so she was fine with having a mellow time of it. That allowed me the luxury of indulging myself by doing not much besides writing.

    The weeks don’t work that way. I have work deadlines, social commitments, places to take the kid to and from. I like to get ahead when I can so that when reality hits hard I don’t fall too far behind.

    Take a look at that photo up there. That’s my writing space. We’re half way through repainting the inside of our very open plan house. So that means this week I’ll be shunted around in the chaos. Oh yes, I probably should help a little so that takes time. A very good incentive to get head, don’t you think?

    Alphabet Dating, A Fair Exchange and Building Attraction Paperbacks
    Aren’t these pretty? I have paperbacks of my first five stand alone novels. They’ll be live on Amazon any day. I’ll let you know. I also have a box on their way to me as next week I’m having a table with another author at the local Christmas night markets. I hope I sell loads.
    It is always hard to sell e-books at something like that. I like selling paperbacks and one feels very authorial signing copies but the truth is I don’t make any more profit this way. Still, I’m well aware, especially here in Australia, how many people still prefer a paperback.

    And now for musical Monday. Let me find a song to fit the mood of my current project.

  • Blog

    Summer Splash Blog Hop 2014

    6/12/2014

    Summer Splash Blog HopI’m participating in the wonderful Summer Splash Blog Hop this weekend.

    http://summersplashhop.blogspot.com.au/p/holiday-blog-hop.html

    Stop by because you could win the grand prize:

    Kindle Paperwhite or a $50 Amazon gift card

    This hop is a great way for you to win some fabulous prizes, find out about new authors, get some bargain books (lots on sale for 99c) and stock up your e-reader for the Northern Summer (or the winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere – also an excellent time for reading!)

    There are so many blogs to stop by and visit so please click on the image above or the link below to find out all about the many authors involved in this hop. Every author has prizes up for grabs on their page so make like a bunny and get hopping to each page.

     

    My novel A Fair Exchange is only 99c during the Summer Blog Hop so please grab yourself a copy.

    I’m also running a give away here on my page where you can win $20 Amazon Gift Card or a copy of my novels Building Attraction or A Fair Exchange.

    If you are a first time visitor to my page you may wish to sign up to my newsletter while you are here – to hear about further competitions, promotions and upcoming releases.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Comment

    Elisa
    6/15/2014 05:59:53 pm

    Thanks for the chance and for taking part in this fun hop 🙂

  • Blog

    Musical Monday and competition winners announced

    4/13/2014

    A Fair Exchange - Coverhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBPPC08
    Thanks to everyone who entered the competition to win a $25 Amazon gifts certificate as part of the A Fair Exchange launch.

    The winner of the Gift Card is Jessica Meddick.

    The winner of the e-copy of A Fair Exchange is Crystal McNeely Guidroz.

    Ladies I’ll be e-mailing you later today.

    Sorry to those who entered and didn’t win. I hope you’ll continue to visit the blog, my Facebook page and follow me on twitter, and maybe even read my books and leave me a review.

    Today is Monday. It’s cold and wet here in Sydney – the reason for that is simple – it’s school holidays (or as the Americans call it vacation). It always rains in the Easter holidays. Can anyone explain why this is when Easter moves and so do the holidays and yet it always rains every time. it’s a big long-weekend here over Easter we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off and lots of people go camping. They usually get very wet.

    What does this have to do with anything I hear you ask? Today I bring you two songs from musicals…both about parades – one Easter themed and one rain themed. That’s the kind of gal I am.

    First the Glee version of Don’t Rain on my Parade and then the lovely Judy Garland serenading Fred Astair in his easter hat for The Easter Parade. Have a lovely week.

     

  • Blog

    How does my life experience influence A Fair Exchange?

    4/8/2014

    Monique McDonell Year Book PictureAs I have often said here on the blog, although my characters are often nothing like me (I guess the fact I’ve been happily married for 20 years kind of distinguishes me from these largely single and completely lovely characters I write about ) they do all have elements of me in them.

    Amelia in A Fair Exchange is probably the most and the least like me.

    I was an exchange student in Massachusetts when I was in high school and it was the most fabulous, exciting and life changing experience for me. I did loosely base some of the characters in the book and some of the experiences I had on that time.

    I certainly drew the premise of the novel from that experience. Being chosen to be an exchange student back then (and I assume now as well, especially for a year-long program) was quite a gruelling process that had several stages including essays, interviews, family interviews and selection camps. As a result most of the kids who applies and got accepted tended to be smart, funny and personable kids. They were independent and capable and reasonably outgoing.

    So what happens to those people down the track? I happened to do a course at a small university where there was a disproportionate number of kids in my course who were prefects and school captains and exchange students (unusually for Australia at the time you had to do an essay to be accepted – marks alone didn’t get you in). So I’ve spent a lot of time with these sparkling young women who expected to sparkle their way through adulthood, and luckily lots have.

    This novel had me thinking about the ones who don’t continue to shine – those who lose their way due to lack of confidence, a bad decision or a bad relationship. How do you reconcile the self everyone expected you to be with the one you became.

    Then add in the guy who broke your heart way back when, well then that’s a story. Everyone has that person (well almost everyone) and we’d rather they found us at our best than our worst.

    I didn’t have a boyfriend disappear into the ether on me at sixteen but lots of the feelings and experiences and expectations Amelia had then and as an adult I can relate to. With the internet and Facebook it’s very easy to find that person you’ve been wondering about, but should you? I know people who have and that fuelled the idea for this novel.

    I had a lot of fun writing this because I got to go down memory lane but more than any of my novels it was hard to write. Maybe because as much as I don’t really resemble the grown up Amelia, I was a lot like the sixteen your old version – if only on the inside.

    Don’t forget the book launch/blog tour Rafflecopter competition is open till Friday enter below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    A Fair Exchange - Cover

     

  • Blog

    Musical Monday and a reminder – $25 Amazon Gift card give away

    4/7/2014

    A Fair Exchange - CoverThis week I thought I’d give you a break from talking about A Fair Exchange because I know if you visit my blog that you already know it came out last week and is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBPPC08.

    The thing about being a writer is that by the time one book is released you are usually well and truly knee-deep in the next project.

    I have a few projects up my sleeve but lately I have been working on a novella with the working title Any Way You Slice It. (Even though I like that title I’ll need to change it because that’s way too long for Twitter. I’m serious.)

    The characters in the book have an interesting journey and this song by Justin Timberlake completely resonated with me when I heard it. This is the perfect song for the main male character to sing to the female – if in fact the book were a musical, which of course it isn’t.

     

    I wanted to remind you that my Book Blog give-away is still going until April 11th so if you want to go in the running for the $25 Amazon gift card please enter below.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Blog

    Release Day for A Fair Exchange – Amazon GC giveaway

    3/31/2014

     

    A Fair Exchange

     

    A Fair Exchange Release Day Giveaway Banner

    Who hasn’t wondered about their first love? What happened? What went wrong? Where are they now?

    What if you got a second chance?

    Amelia Armstrong is about to find out. What a shame her long-lost love, Matt, has returned (looking way too good and acting way too sweet) when her life is a shambles and she has finally decided once and for all to put herself and not whichever man is currently in her life, first.

    How do you balance that desire to recapture that loving feeling with the need to finally be the best version of yourself? What if this really is the one, how do you choose when to stand your ground and when to cut your losses? Amelia takes a journey from Sydney to New York and back again trying to find the answers while negotiating with pop-divas, ex-lovers, crazy teenagers, a well-meaning cousin and the tabloids.

    A Fair Exchange is a story about being a grown up when, maybe, you’d much rather be sixteen again.

    Excerpt

    It was not as if he was the first one to mention it. In the past week everyone who had entered my apartment had commented on the shiny new Vespa parked in the middle of the otherwise empty living room. In fact, each and every one of them had imaginatively said “Amelia you have a red Vespa parked in your living room!” And they all said it in a tone that implied I might not have noticed, as if it may have magically appeared there.

    How could I not notice a vehicle parked in what was otherwise an empty room?

    What amazed me was that the Vespa was what they chose to comment on.

    Not that Nick had dumped me, after ten years, for a twenty-one year-old. Nor that he had moved out, taking basically all the furniture and leaving me with a great view over the beach and an enormous mortgage.

    No one even commented about the fact that I, in turn, had quit the fabulous job that had always meant way too much to me.

    No, they commented on the Vespa.

    What I could not understand though was why it hadn’t bothered me until right then, when Matthew Blue commented. And when he did comment, why had I collapsed into this embarrassing sea of tears?

    How had this happened? How had I become this sobbing pathetic figure of womanhood? And more importantly how had I ended up thirty-six and alone?

    Didn’t I used to have so much potential? Everyone had said so, hadn’t they?

    “Amelia Armstrong is something special.”

    I was one of those shiny young girls who took risks and dreamed big. I was one of the smart ones who knew what she wanted and went after it. I was one to watch.

    If I hadn’t been that kind of a girl I would never have met Matthew all those years ago. A different girl would not have found herself, on the other side of the world, at sixteen, staring into his dark and dreamy eyes.

    So where was that girl right now, I wanted to know? And how had a girl with so much potential gotten it so horribly wrong?

    ***

    To buy a copy of A Fair Exchange go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBPPC08

    To celebrate the release I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate as part of my blog tour. Enter below for your chance to win. (It is running on US April 1st, apologies to Australian readers please come back later).

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Comments

    Karen e. Martin
    3/31/2014 03:03:24 pm

    Great excerpt! Congratulations on the book launch!
    Reply
    Monique
    3/31/2014 03:14:56 pm

    Thanks Karen 🙂

    Jacque
    3/31/2014 04:38:38 pm

    Can’t wait to read it Monique. Congratulations.

    girlfromwva
    4/1/2014 01:32:16 am

    looking forward to reading!

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – the soundtrack of a novel

    3/30/2014

    A Fair Exchange - CoverAs I’ve discussed many times certain novels have their own soundtrack. These are the songs that remind you of the novel or that you listened to while writing it.

    Every novel has it’s own flavour. To be honest not all my books have a soundtrack. The novella I just completed I wrote in silence in a week. It was a week where I oddly had zero social commitments and those I did have got cancelled.

    Silence. It’s not a bad thing.

    A Fair Exchange however is a bit different because it was inspired in part by my own experiences as an exchange student and so certain songs from that time, though Amelia is far younger than I am, the music that informed the book is from my own time.

    This first song is Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me – from the Breakfast Club Soundtrack. It’s co-incidental that the movie is 30 years old this week. I expected my US High School to be like this. It wasn’t at all. (And sadly my hair still doesn’t look like Molly Ringwald’s hair in the movie, 30 years later I still wish it did).

    I’m going to save a few up for the coming weeks but here is one that will seem very obscure, until you read the book, but it might just put a smile on your face this fine Monday. It’s The Lumberjack Song from Monty Python, this version is from Concert for George in honour of George Harrison.

  • Blog

    What is a virtual book launch and why would an author have one?

    3/26/2014

    A Fair Exchange - Release date PromoNext week I have my fifth book coming out and like all of my books at the time of launching it will only be available as an e-book.

    When I launched my first novel I did have a grand fantasy of holding a book launch – you know in a book shop, surrounded by friends and relatives all drinking champagne. The truth is you can’t do that with an indie published e-book.

    Another truth, at least in Australia, is that publishers don’t really hold book launches for their authors. If they have them they organise them themselves. So the fantasy isn’t real for a lot of authors these days.

    Instead I usually hold a virtual book launch.

    So what is a virtual book launch?

    A virtual book launch is an online event – usually held on Facebook. Authors invite readers, friends, relatives, reviewers to attend the event. so you R.S.V.P just like you would for any Facebook event.

    Different authors then do different things at their launches. Some show photos of people who resemble their characters, some host loads of give aways, some just talk about the book.

    Why have a virtual book launch? (If I’m invited what am I supposed to do?)

    Authors hold a virtual book launch for the same reason they’d hold one in the real world. It’s a way to let people know your book is out and it’s a way to celebrate. Let’s face it whether the book is made of paper or hangs in the ether the process of writing it and getting it finished and out into the universe is the same. It’s lots of hard work and when the work is done the author wants to celebrate.

    There’s another reason and it has to do with sales and algorithms. If you say you’re attending someone’s book launch they want two things. They want you to post and say congratulations but they also want you to buy their book. Let’s pretend I’m going to sell 100 books next week (I just chose that number randomly). In a perfect world I’d sell 30 odd books every day for three days, the algorithm which helps you find a book on Amazon, iBooks or where ever you buy your books works best that way. 100 books in one day is great (and no author would complain about that) but for visibility it’s better that they are staggered. By having a book launch the author is hoping lots of the people they invite will but the book that week.

    Now, just because you go to my book launch or anyone else’s doesn’t mean you HAVE to buy the book, it’s always obligation free, I’m just telling you why the author holds them and what their hopes are.

    This is the link to my virtual book launch next week. Please stop by.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – songs that make you smile and tap your toes!

    3/16/2014

    A Fair Exchange - CoverAfter my week away I’m in a pretty good mood, even if it is a Monday.

    A Fair Exchange will be out on April 1st. That’s something to smile about. (And it has a fun cover too, right?)

    I’ve finished a short story for an anthology coming out in May, minus the polishing of course.

    I’m writing a novella that I hope will be out mid-year. For some reason this one is really flowing so I’m just going with it.

    And I’ve also started another novel that I’m really enjoying. The idea came before my strip and the location is the Whitsunday Islands so I got started on that when I was away.

    So on this Musical Monday here are a couple of upbeat songs to keep your toes tapping.

    This first song Groove is in The Heart, is an old favourite of mine. It reminds me of one of my most amazing friends (who I loosely based the character of Justin on in Mr Right and Other Mongrels).

    And another oldie – I’m a long standing Kylie Minogue fan and this song is just plain fun. (I may have owned gold hotpants back in the day, not quite this short though and ironically I wore them to see Madonna not Kylie, but that’s another story). Anyway I feel upbeat and productive so the lyrics to this seem to fit.