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  • Blog

    What’s on page 45? #ChicklitMay Tuesday

    5/11/2015

    What's on Page 45? Promo
    Alphabet Dating - Monique McDonell - 2015 CoverAlphabet Dating
    What’s on page 45 of Alphabet Dating?

    First of all you need to know a little bit about Alphabet Dating – in this novel poor Serena’s closest friends decide she needs to be dating again so on a girl’s weekend away they spring on her the crazy idea that she go on twenty six dates in twenty six days, all of them set up by her friends. Oh yes and that means one for every letter of the alphabet.

    Can you imagine?

    On page 45 Serena has given up trying to wriggle out of the hair-brained scheme and the day before had a date with the letter B – Ben. And Ben had taken her for an afternoon of bowling and not been such a dud date after all. She’d also spent the evening being taught the guitar by her friend Harvey, who also happens to be a trust fund baby and literary wunderkind.

    And he’s given her lots to think about. Just the night before, when he’d gone off clubbing with a posse of supermodels he’d reminded her that sometimes you needed to try out different things to see which ones you liked. Something she hadn’t done much of since her fiance died a few years earlier.

    So now she has a work deadline and a whole lot going on in her pretty little head. And what sort of work doe she do? She’s a book reviewer for one of New York’s top newspapers. It’s hard being a book reviewer like that when you don’t want to leave any bad reviews.

    Alphabet Dating is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMHEVXG

    “It’s a tremendous thing to write a novel. What commitment and courage it takes” Serena, Alphabet Dating pg 45

     

    David Tennant
    David Tennant, the inspiration for Harvey in Alphabet Dating.

    The problem is Serena doesn’t like the book she has o review today and with her head swimming with yesterday’s dates and tonight’s – hello C for Christopher – poor Serena is struggling to focus.

    And she when she has guys like this to think about so who can blame her?

    As much as anything though she can’t help but wonder how she ended up in such an absurd position and if she’ll ever feel like she has it together again.

    ( I really love Serena and I hope you do too – this was a fun book to write. First dates are excellent fodder.)

     

     

     

    Fudge
    WANT TO WIN THE WHAT”S ON PAGE 45 GRAND PRIZE? A POUND OF DELICIOUS HAND MADE CARAMELS.

    A one-pound package of caramels from Whitney’s Goodies http://whitneysgoodies.com/ Winner can choose their flavor from those listed below.

    This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only. ( SORRY TO MY MANY AUSTRALIAN FRIENDS.)

    The Girl Next Door (Crème Caramels): A scrumptious, full-bodied caramel. Old fashioned, melt-in-your-mouth bliss!
    The Charmer (Chocolate Crème Caramels): This smooth, chocolate cream caramel will add panache to your day. An exquisite and elegant morsel, simply irresistible.
    The Movie Star (Orange Crème Caramels): A timeless treat that will satisfy caramel fans of all ages. “The stuff that dreams are made of!”
    The Bombshell (Lemon Crème Caramels): A bodacious bit of heaven with a bold citrus pallet. They will leave you satisfied and refreshed. Caramels are a girl’s best friend!
    Always a Lady (Rose Caramels): A delicate bouquet of rose essence infuses this lovely caramel: alluring, tantalizing and reminiscent of another era. They are perfect for weddings and bridal showers. A definite for ladies who lunch or breakfast at Tiffany’s.

    HOW TO ENTER

    To enter, answer the following question in the comments section below.

    “In 4 or 5 words, why do you think Alphabet Dating would be a good read?”

    Entrants must leave their full name, along with an e-mail address (Make sure you underline, bold, and highlight this as we must have a way to contact the winner!) A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Tuesday, May 19th.

    MORE PAGE ON 45 #CHICKLITMAY AUTHORS, AND MORE CHANCES TO WIN.

     

    Comments

    Pippa Franks
    5/11/2015 10:48:21 pm

    Cool post Monique 🙂 x

    Celia Kennedy
    5/12/2015 01:16:58 am

    Bittersweet, exhausting, exhilarating, metamorphosis, content. Five words that come to mind about this book. Sounds really, really, fun. Looking forward to reading it!

    Georgina Troy
    5/12/2015 03:22:35 am

    I’ve got your book waiting to be read on my Kindle and can’t wait to have some free time – post deadline – to enjoy it.

    samantha
    5/12/2015 06:42:38 am

    Love that cover 🙂

    Tracy Krimmer
    5/12/2015 09:42:37 pm

    Serena sure knows about writing books 🙂

  • Blog

    A writer’s update on #Musical Monday

    3/29/2015

    Alphabet Dating - Monique McDonell - 2015 CoverNew covers, #99cent sales and social media
    It looks like I haven’t managed to do any blogging for the last two weeks. I’ve had a few rather craptastic things happen which have meant my attention has been pulled in a few directions and as they say, something has to give.

    Still, I haven’t been entirely stagnant.

    * The lovely Scarlett Rutgers redesigned the cover for Alphabet Dating for me. (See Left). I just never loved the old cover the way I loved my other illustrated covers so I thought I’d give it a face-lift. I think she’s done a really great job of capturing the mood of the story.

    To celebrate Alphabet Dating is currently on sale for #99cents so if you haven’t got a copy now is a great time to do so. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMHEVXG

    * I have kept up with my 2015 #1000wordsaday and my total now sits at 78,000 words which all in all I am very happy with. I’ve almost finished the first draft of Book 4 in the Upper Crust Series.

    *Upper Crust Series – Book 2 is back from my BETA readers and I spent today working through Book 3 to send it off. I’m still on track to release Book 2 /Any Way You Dream It for the end of April.

    * I had a great time on the weekend as one of the hosts of the March Madness ChickLit Style Party on Facebook. Sometimes I wonder about the so-called “social” aspects of social media but I feel like I got to connect to some great readers at that event, and hopefully they felt the same way.

    So I guess although my blog has been a little bit quiet I have been staying busy enough.

    And now for Musical Monday – a song that sums up the last few weeks and where I am in my life. This song is an old friend – Landslide the Dixie Chicks version.

  • 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

    Who am I? Or the author brand….

    2/19/2014

    Alphabet Dating Mug and Kindle EditionMonique McDonell All Books Promotional CardBuilding Attraction Tote and Mug

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This week I’ve read quite a few surveys about author earnings and what makes an author, especially an indie author, successful.

    I find these articles really interesting for a variety of reasons which I list in no particular order:

    1. I’m a bit of an information whore…I love it, I gather it, I covet it.

    2. I have a PR and Marketing background so they how and why and the why not of book sales is interesting to me.

    3. I look at my writing career (when I’m not suffering from writer’s block, deep frustration or the inevitable self-loathing that is part and parcel of writing) as a bit of a puzzle. I like finding the pieces and putting them together…although I think writing’s probably more like a rubix cube…in that there is more than one way to finish it off…(That’s good and bad for me because while I’m not bad at puzzles I’m absolutely rubbish at that multi-coloured cube.)

    4. They’re often written from a very specific point of view – and especially the interpretation of the studies and the comments which I find fascinating. I find most writers to be a lovely accepting bunch, but there are always a few judgemental types out there. Fascinating!

    Anyway, I digress…one of the articles read broke down what these studies said one should do to succeed as an indie.

    These things included:

    – write a series

    – get professional cover design

    – get professional editing

    – release a certain number of books per year and over more than one year

    Finally – and this is where the branding comes in I suppose. The survey showed you which genre’s to write in if you wanted to succeed ie how to brand yourself for success like those very successful authors.

    Chicklit, is what I write and naturally it wasn’t one of those areas recommended for success – of course if I write a chicklit series I would increase my odds (see above) but unless I added some other elements then that still probably isn’t enough. (I do write in other genres and I have been published in them but I do that under a different name.)

    This is where branding comes in. As you can see by my banner, my covers and my collateral I’m very much branded as a chicklit author. I’ve done that on purpose because I don’t want to mislead my readers.

    This is where it gets interesting I suppose because everyone who knows anything about writing will tell you that you must write the story in your heart, you must write the story the characters tell you and you must be true to yourself and your story.

    So how do you match those things up? Writing what you want to write and writing what sells best. (By the way I think people read chicklit and I know plenty of people who sell it – it just doesn’t sell “best”.)

    So what does an author do?

    I think you just continue to be yourself. I mean, maybe you don’t have the blinding success of someone who loves to write erotica but then again maybe the wheel will turn and next year the surveys will tell people to start writing chicklit. Either way I don’t think you succeed when you’re disingenuous and certainly not in creative pursuits.

  • Blog

    Let’s talk – NaNoWriMo and a Thanksgiving novel

    11/19/2013

    Alphabet Dating CoverSo I haven’t been blogging much this last week or so because life has been extra busy.

    November, when I do NaNoWriMo is always hectic and something has to give, I suppose. In my case it has been the blog. (Oh yes and exercise and cleaning the house but that’s Ok, I don’t miss those things.)

    I enjoy doing NaNoWriMo because it highlights how much time I waste in a normal week when I could be writing. Let’s hope I can remember that in January….and February…someone feel free to remind me. I hate the middle of my NaNoWriMo novel but lucky for me I’ve pushed through and now I’m on the downward run…I do so love that march to a happy ending

    I juts thought I’d remind you that Alphabet Dating is actually a book set in the month of November – one month, one girl, 26 dates….and even a Thanksgiving tragedy.

    You might like to grab a copy if you haven’t already read it. It’s available here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMHEVXG

    Hopefully I’ll be back on the blogging bandwagon again next week.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – redemptive love

    8/25/2013

    Alphabet Dating CoverHappy Monday all. it’s a gloriously sunny day in Sydney. I started my day writing which is always a lovely thing.

    I was listening to the radio yesterday as I drove along and it got me thinking about Musical Monday for this week and what the theme would be.

    Then I heard a song that had my mind wandering to when love is redemptive.

    I hope somewhere the knowledge that you can’t change someone by loving them has filtered through to the women of the world – I’m sure Dolly, Cleo, Cosmo and Redbook have all done more than enough articles on the topic to last a lifetime.

    That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when someone decides for themselves that they need to change or they will lose the girl or guy of their dreams.

    One is “If I love him enough maybe he will give up heroin/drag-racing/karaoke.”
    The other is. “This heroin/drag-racing/karaoke is killing me and that lady is going to leave me because I’m ruining both our lives…time to stop. Maybe when I stop she’ll reconsider me.”

    So here are a couple of songs to get you pondering that theme as well.

    First up we have this one from M People – I just adore this woman’s voice.
    Hoobastank’s The Reason…this is a great one on the topic. Let the lyrics speak for themselves.

  • Blog

    What I’ve learned on my writing journey so far

    8/1/2013

    Alphabet Dating CoverMr Right and Other MongrelsHearts Afire

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This month I’m running a series where authors will be doing guest posts on what they’ve learned on their writing journey so far…so I thought I had better go first.

    1. First write a book and enjoy the process
    When you start out to write a book that’s your goal. Write that book. Finish that book. Get that book re-written and get it ready for it’s journey to publication. Honestly that’s the best bit, and the worst bit. I love writing a new book, I don’t lovely the editing and rewriting process at all. Still, it’s part of the process so if you can learn to enjoy the process I think you’re going to have a better journey.

    The reality is when you begin you are so focussed on finishing that first book you really aren’t thinking you’ll probably have to turn around and do it all again, but most people do.

    2. Branding is important
    It doesn’t matter whether you end up being an indie author or if you go the traditional route you need to understand branding. If you go to pitch at a conference you will need to know your brand. Do you write light-hearted women’s fiction, do you write erotica, books about angels? You need to know and you need to be able to explain it concisely. I know we all want to be unique and don’t want to be hampered by definitions but knowing what you write and who you are like and who your readers are is important for marketing and publishing whichever path you take.

    3. You are your brand – especially on the internet
    I put my three book covers up the top of this piece so you can see how I’ve really worked hard to create a uniform picture of who I am and what I write. Those covers don’t lead you to believe you will be reading anything gritty or anything that might keep you awake at night. That’s not who I am or what I write.

    Similarly, because I write light-hearted women’s fiction my blog posts, Facebook page and Twitter feed reflect that. My political opinion, my religious beliefs and the things I have a bee in my bonnet about have no place in my author brand.

    Know you’re brand. If you write crime fiction probably posts about unicorns are not what you need. These days I think branding is as much about knowing what to leave out as what to include.

    Also try to think about what makes you different within the space you write in and make that your point of difference.

    4. In the indie space (at least) one book is not enough.
    I wish I had better understood this better when I published Mr Right and Other Mongrels. I probably would have held off publication until my second book was ready. I would have had the first four covers ready to go before I began and I would have released my books more closely together.

    One book easily gets lost in the indie space and because the e-books are cheap readers often go straight to see what else you have on offer. If you have nothing they move on and often never make it back. It helps if you give them more than one offering.

    5. You will be amazed by who will support you – and by who won’t.
    When you release a book it is the most exciting thing ever. It’s also terrifying. You’ve spent years writing it and now it’s out there and people start sharing their opinions good and bad about your efforts.

    You will be blown away by people you hardly know who are excited for you. Amazing, gorgeous people will go out of their way to buy your book, tell their friends and promote your work. You’ll find authors and book reviewers who are eager to help spread the word.

    You will also be amazed by the friends who never download or buy your book(s) and certainly never read them. You won’t understand it, it will probably hurt your feelings at first and then, if you’re smart, you’ll let it go. They don’t get it or they don’t get you but you haven’t got time to them. You have plenty of people who have encouraged you and

    6. There is no one “one way”.
    There are many paths to both success and failure, you must find your own. Some people get a publishing deal and go global. Some people get a deal and never make back their advance. Some indie authors sell hundreds of books a day and some never sell a hundred books.

    You’ll advice. In the end you have to use your own best judgement.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – songs about friendship

    7/14/2013

    Alphabet Dating CoverAlphabet Dating is available on Amazon.

    One of the things I like about chick lit as opposed to writing romance, which I also enjoy writing by the way, is that to my way of seeing things it’s more about the character’s whole life and not just about their romantic journey.

    In Alphabet Dating, for example Serena’s story is as much about her friends’ wanting to see her happy – hence setting her up on 26 dates in a month (OK they have a weird way of showing their love) as her quest to meet someone new. Really she isn’t interested in love, she goes on the dates to make her friends happy. To me it’s a book about friendship.

    So this Musical Monday I thought I would play you some songs about friendship.
    Lot’s of songs about friendship are kind of schmaltzy. That’s not really a problem for me because I love a bit of schmaltz. I love a song that brings a tear to my eye and really there are thousands of them (I’m the girl who cries at everything!)

    So here are a couple of friendship songs. Maybe they might make you phone or text a friend…yeah somehow I don’t think my blog has that kind of power either…but it’s a nice thought.

    Maybe Bruno Mars will inspire.
    This one is my all-time favourite! James Taylor baby!
    This one is the queen of schmaltz…but I love this because it reminds me of some old friends…(sniff, sniff!) And it does have Stevie Wonder so it must be a little bit cool right? Plus look how beautiful Gladys Knight is…and Elton still had that voice…

    Do you have a favourite friendship song? If so let me know what it is.

    This is my all time favourite….

  • Blog

    Looking for good summer reads – look no further!

    5/23/2013

    This weekend (which is I have learnt Memorial Day in America) I’m involved in a wonderful book promotion with lots of wonderful authors from all over the world.

    If you like chick lit, general fiction or suspense then this is a great chance to try some books by some new authors and get some great summer reads.

    All the books are only 99c including two of mine Mr Right and Other Mongrels and my new release Alphabet Dating. Sale starts 24 May according to the US calendar (but mine are already 99c because it is already on sale).

    Make this Weekend Memorable Book Sale Poster

  • Blog

    Because a year is a long time…

    5/10/2013

    Mr Right and Other Mongrels Mug and Postcards Promotional MaterialIt’s just on a year since my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels came out on Amazon. Having your first book out is both mind-numbingly terrifying and amazingly exciting.

    Putting yourself out there to be judged by the entire universe is a tough thing to do. Of course you’re going to make mistakes, of course some people won’t like your work, of course some people you thought would jump for joy over your achievement are ambivalent at best.

    Then of course there are the triumphs. The positive reviews, the people you meet on the journey, the unexpected person who does marvel at your efforts.

    Since then I’ve published two more books Hearts Afire and just this week Alphabet Dating so I guess that’s not bad going for a year. I had hoped to have my 4th book out by now but life isn’t that simple is it? Building Attraction will be out in July.

    Anyway because it’s a year since the release, because I’m planning the sequel and because it’s Mothers’ Day this weekend the e-book of Mr Right And Other Mongrels will be only 99c for the next few days!