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  • Blog

    Today I interview myself about my writing life

    3/26/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Today I thought I’d ask myself the Top 5 questions I get asked about my writing life.
    Something to Savour - Jewel Sisters Series - Monique McDonell - Cover
    1. How’s your writing going?
    This is the question people who know I write but don’t really know about the details ask. It’s the most common question I get.

    It’s going fine. I have another book out next month and my last release was okay although I didn’t promote it properly. It was a novella and I don’t think people really want novellas from me. My January release No Time For Temptation went well and readers are giving it great reviews which makes me happy.

    2. When is the next book out?
    This is the question from my friends who read and love my books.
    Girlfriend, I’m doing my best here. It takes a lot longer to write a book than read a book you know. I’m working really hard here and but you’ll have books in April, May, June so don’t panic. There will be lots to read. I do really appreciate that you love my books and your support makes me cry all the happy tears.

    3. Can I get it in paperback?
    Asked by lots of non e-reading friends.

    You know I used to do paperbacks and they just don’t sell unless you have a book launch or a signing but I have No Time For Temptation in paperback and it will be live on Amazon soon. I’m also ordering duets of the Upper Crust series soon, I promise.

     

     

    Here’s an example!

    Upper Crust Series Any Way You Slice It and Any Way You Dream It - Paperback Duet Example

     

    4. How do you write so fast?
    This is usually asked by other authors who don’t write as quickly as I do.

    Firstly, I have had years of practice at being quick at turning work around in my day job where I’ve basically written all day for a living. Secondly, I’m not bad at time management in general so I’m really good at using 15 minute increments to get stuff done – a Facebook post, some emails, or some behind the scenes activity. Thirdly, I know my best times of day for creativity and it’s good to work these out for yourself. (Mine are 10am -12noon , 2-4pm, and 5-6.30pm) If I can get two one hour blocks in these times I can get 2-3,000 words of a draft done. I try and do a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That adds up. Fourthly, by writing every day I can dive straight back in where I left off which saves time and backtracking. Finally, i enjoy writing (editing and promoting not so much) but I do it because I like it and that makes it easier.

    There is no correct pace to write at. It depends on a lot of things. I like to release regularly because as an indie romance author that helps me with sales, visibility and the pesky Amazon algorithms. Also I read quickly so I understand that kind of reader who wants to read a series back-to-back. That means I need to write quickly and it’s important to me so I make time for it.

    Also I don’t watch TV hardly at all (except the odd cooking show). I haven’t seen a movie since January 2018 and I don’t play sports or have a time consuming hobby. As does meal preparation (we don’t eat take-away) and planning on the home front. Oh yes, and my house isn’t company ready 95% of the time. You’d be amazed how much time that frees up.

    ​5. How do you come up with your ideas?
    Lots of people ask this.

    Ideas are not an issue for me. I have books planned out and so many things I’d love to write that I’ll never get to. The characters appear before me and then I want to tell their stories. Picking the right stories in the right order is the challenge for me as is deciding what people would like to read. I’ll have a plan and then get distracted by shiny new things. Staying focused is the challenge.

    ​If you have any question please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

  • Blog

    Release Week for Any Way You Like It – releasing a book never gets old

    4/17/2018

    Upper Crust Series Floral Banner - Original Covers
    Happy Release Week to me
    This week sees the release of Any Way You Like It the final book in the Upper Crust Series.

    I worked out yesterday that I’d been working on the series since 2014, that’s quite a long time to spend writing a series you never planned to write. I’m pleased to say that I’ve enjoyed writing each and every one of these stories. There is definitely a bittersweet quality to finishing up but I think that it’s time.

    Dave has popped up in most of the books since Any Way You Dream It so it’s fitting that his story helps us close it out.

    If you want a shot at winning some cool unicorn merchandise as unicorns feature in the novel just a bit you should stop by my Facebook page an enter my release week competition.

    It’s important to celebrate a new release and I know lots of my readers have fallen in love with the characters in the Upper Crust Series almost as much as I have, Thank you to those of you who have kept me company on this fun journey.
    Unicorn Box

    Any Way You Like It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverAny Way You Like It, An Upper Crust Novel

    The first time Dave saw Tasha again he thought he’d imagined her, the second time he wished he had. Years ago she’d broken his heart and never looked back, leaving him stuck in his hometown because of a long held promise to his late sister.

    Tasha was back because she needed a place to hide. It was no coincidence she’d picked the only place she’d ever been happy. She hadn’t expected Dave would to be happy to see her, or that he’d still be single. She was wrong on both counts. Still when she needed a safe place to stay and when he offered her one and she couldn’t bring herself to refuse.

    The town Dave was itching to escape seemed idyllic to Tasha but she hadn’t wanted to belong before – could she convince him that this time everything was different?

    Will their past be a foundation for a new beginning or the very thing that keeps them apart?

    If you’ve ever wanted a second chance at first love Any Way You Like It is for you. Buy it here today.

  • Blog

    Any Way You Plan It – release week

    4/30/2016

    The evolution of the Upper Crust Series
    Any Way You Plan It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverAvailable at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EOA93RW

    This week is the launch of Any Way You Plan It, Book 4 in the Upper Crust Series. Any time I release a new book it’s exciting. I had intended to release it much earlier but life doesn’t always go to plan does it (As Marissa finds out in this book – talk about life imitating art!)

    When I wrote the first book in this series I intended to make it a stand alone novella. I had an idea about Piper’s character and then as I was writing I really liked the side characters of Lucy and Cherie so I decided to explore them and give them a book each.

    So then my intention was to write a trilogy.

    “Hang on – but isn’t Any Way You Plan It – Book 4?” I hear you cry.

    Then while I was writing Any Way You Dream It, Lucy’s story I sent her home to a high school reunion and I had a similar experience. Her friends Marissa, Mike and Todd spoke to me and so I thought ‘d better write books for them too.

    So this book, Any Way You Plan It is Marissa and Mike’s story. They have been friends forever but she’s always had a thing for him. He’s known that but wanted to stay friends because he’s bad at relationships. So Marissa decides it’s time to give up and get on with her life. And that’s what the book is about.

    How do you move on from loving someone who you still see all the time? Or is that even possible?

    You get to meet a lot of new characters in the town in this book and they reappear in Books 5 and 6. It’s fun to write a book where characters reappear. It’s like visiting with old friends because the truth is I write characters that are fun and kind and exactly the sort of people I like in real life too.

    I hope you enjoy Any Way You Plan It. If you do I’d love it if you could leave me a review on Amazon or let me know over on my Facebook page. I love hearing from readers.

  • Blog

    Bag a bargain from the Upper Crust Series

    10/17/2015

    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner
    It’s release week for Any Way You Fight It book 3 in my Upper Crust series.

    It is always fun releasing a new book and you hope people enjoy it and support the book. To get you hooked, if you’re not already here are a couple of incentives.

    Any Way You Slice It, the novella that started it all is #free. Download it for a fun, fast read.

    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As a further teaser Any Way You Dream It is just #99cents. That’s a bargain. Books 1 and 2 for a grand total of #99cents.
    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The easiest way to get them all in one place is to swing by my Amazon Author Page.

  • Blog

    Release time for Any Way You Fight It

    10/14/2015

    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
    Available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016LLTVJ2
    Finally it is release day for my latest novel in the Upper Crust Series – Any Way You Fight It.
    I’m so excited that this book is finally out there and available for readers. I really enjoyed writing this novel and I love the character of Cherie who was so supportive of her friends in Any Way You Slice It and Any Way You Dream It.
    This is a story about second chances and letting yourself take them. I hope you take a chance on this novel.

    It is available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016LLTVJ2
    And to celebrate the release Any Way You Dream It is only 99cents so grab a copy while you’re at it.

    Any Way You Fight It – Blurb
    Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates.
    After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy).
    Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past just might prevent Cherie from finding her happiness despite what her Nona’s visions predict.
    Can Cherie and Luke make peace with their pasts and look forward to a new life together? Or will this be the final good-bye?

    Extract from Any Way You Fight It
    “Right—I’m going to give you the abridged version.”
    “I’ll take whatever you offer,” she said.
    “Well, when I was eighteen I had a romance, I suppose you’d call it.”
    “Yeah if this was eighteenth-century England.”
    “Whatever,” I sighed. “And it was a secret. He knew, I knew, and one friend.”
    “No family?”
    “Nope, he wasn’t Italian, and I just didn’t want them stalking me and ruining everything.”
    “Makes sense. I never had that kind of family. I could have dated an axe murderer and my mom would have been happy I had a man, but I can see your situation was different.”
    “Yeah, so we had this lovely summer fling. And then he dumped me.”
    “Ouch.”
    “Yeah, and he just left and didn’t say good-bye.”
    “That’s low.”
    “Yeah, it was. And it hurt and probably more so because no one knew so I had to act all normal and I couldn’t discuss it with anyone.”
    “So, you’ve never talked about it?” Her eyes popped wide.
    “I never have.” I took a fortifying sip of beer. “The thing is I date, I flirt, but I haven’t really met anyone who made me feel like that guy did.”
    “Wow. That’s a long time between boyfriends.”
    “Yeah, I went out with a couple of nice guys in college, one for almost a year, but that spark or whatever wasn’t there. And because of my parents’ whole ‘you can’t end up with someone who isn’t Italian’ attitude and because I haven’t met any Italian guys who lit that flame . . .”
    “You’ve stayed single . . .”
    “Exactly.” I sighed.
    “But now you’re ready to move forward, why is that? I mean I know that was big for you to tell me, but you didn’t tell me anything Piper couldn’t have handled.”
    “There’s more . . .”
    “Oh goody!” She clapped her hands.
    “Calm down, Glinda the Good Witch. This is hard for me.”
    “Sorry, but what’s changed? Is it because Piper and I have found someone?”
    “I think partly, but a couple other triggers have hit as well.”
    “I think we need fries for this part?” she asked, waving down the waiter. “Okay continue.”
    “First, although it didn’t happen first, my mother has waived the Italian rule. Apparently having a single thirty-year-old daughter who isn’t producing offspring means she has to compromise, so I’m allowed to date non-Italians now.”
    “That’s pretty huge for her.”
    “Yeah and for me. The thing is part of me is really resentful about it. I’m happy but I’m also thinking—now, why now? Why not ten years ago, five? All these years . . .”
    “That makes sense.” The fries landed and we each took one and blew it. We had years of experience and neither of us was stupid enough to burn our tongues now. I squirted ketchup in the corner of the basket. We liked to dunk or scrape our fries through not smother them. “On the other hand, better now than never.”
    “I know.”
    “So that’s good news for moving forward.” She snapped her fry and popped half in her mouth. “So, what was the other thing?”
    “I saw him again.”
    “Him? The guy from way back when?”
    I nodded. “The guy.”
    “Wow. Where? When? Who?”
    “Here. Last week. Luke.”

    “Holy shit, Cherie. Luke?” Lucy’s eyes were bugging out of their sockets.
    “Yep, holy shit.”
    “You dated Luke? He dumped you and then he walked in to this very bar years later?”
    “Yes.”
    “And we made you guys hang?”
    “Yes.”
    “And how was that?”
    “It was freaking weird.” That was an understatement.
    “He’s very hot; I can see why you had a fling with him. You have excellent taste.”
    “Thanks, I think.”
    “So, did you find out why he dumped you?”
    “I didn’t ask. It doesn’t matter. It’s old news. Seeing him again just proved to me it is time to get on with my life. It’s time to take a chance again, and now that I can date beyond the Italian-American community, I can find myself a Luke-alike.”
    “A what?”
    “A Luke-alike. A guy like Luke.”
    “Why can’t you just date the real Luke?”
    It did seem like an obvious solution but the real Luke was in love with his dead fiancée. I didn’t need to go into that.
    “The real Luke lives in New York and is emotionally unavailable. But I will admit he is hot, and apparently that kind of hot is my kind of hot.”
    “So you want my help to find you a Luke-alike?” she asked, finally putting the pieces to the puzzle together.
    “Chase must know tons of blond, buff babes who could maybe like me.”
    “Babe, anyone who doesn’t like you is an idiot. Have you seen yourself? You are gorgeous. And now you’re gorgeous and open to possibilities.”
    “I guess.”
    She clapped her hands again. “This is going to be so fun. Now I get to be the matchmaker.”
    I wasn’t sure how Lucy’s matchmaking skills were to be honest, but she was all I had. It did feel better to have told someone.

  • Blog

    The Value of being accountable, blog tours and more

    6/29/2015

    The value of being accountable
    Any Way You Dream It Promo 2015
    This month I completed another 50,000 word challenge. This one was run under the auspices of the Romance Writers of Australia. I used the month to do a first draft of the 6th book in the Upper Crust Series.

    I finished a little ahead of schedule with story all written (obviously with holes to plug and rewriting to do).

    These sorts of challenges work well for me – not because I’m a super fast writer, not because I’m super organised but because I like being held accountable.

    I’m a pretty reliable human being (tediously so). I’m punctual, I don’t forget stuff, I never stand people up and I meet deadlines (pretty much all the time). I’m also a shocking procrastinator, SHOCKING! What I can postpone of put off astounds even me.

    I let myself down on a daily basis but I don’t let other people down. So if I tell you I’m going to sign up and do something with you, you can be reasonably certain I’ll do it. It could be that being a tragic people-pleaser comes in handy for something.

    For me being part of a group and meeting deadlines is easier than doing it alone. So CampNaNoWriMo, which happens again in July, NaNoWriMo and this 50k challenge are great motivators for me. Setting up the #1000wordsaday group on Facebook has also kept me writing this year. I feel I must show up and so I do.

    I know this doesn’t work for everyone. Some people find these things have the opposite affect on them. It’s a matter of finding what motivates you and what destroys your creativity. But if like me, you won’t quit in front of a crowd or let the team down (even if that’s metaphorical) you may find these challenges motivate you.

    ***
    In other news I am currently on a blog tour for my novel Any Way You Dream It.
    http://www.clpblogtours.com/2015/06/book-blitz-any-way-you-dream-it-by.html

    Stop by and see the reviews for the novel and you could also win an Amazon Gift Card for your trouble.
    29 – Sinfully Good Reads – Excerpt
    June 29 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
    June 30 – Caroline Fardig – Guest Post
    June 30 – Celia Kennedy – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
    July 1 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
    July 1 – Polished and Bubbly – Review
    July 6 – Living Life With Joy – Review & Q&A

  • Blog

    Any Way You Dream It – release day!!

    5/25/2015

    Release day for a new book – always a great feeling.
    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
    It’s already May 26 in some parts of the world (good morning Australia, hello New Zealand) which means that Any Way You Dream It is available right now for some.

    Amazon US:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XBFAUWO
    Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Any-Way-You-Dream-Upper-ebook/dp/B00XBFAUWO

    And then the clock strikes midnight around the world and it magically appears on the e-readers of those that pre-purchased and it is then available everywhere.

    What does that mean to me?

    It means in the past months I:
    – wrote a first draft
    – had a cover designed
    – put it down and revised it and then revised it again
    – sent it to BETA readers who told me what they did and didn’t like
    – made their changes
    – sent it to someone else to read through it for a story edit
    – made those changes
    – sent it to an editor (we had a major disaster this time which set me back ten days)
    – sent it to the editor again
    – waited
    – made the final edits
    – sent it to a formatter who loaded it up for release
    – booked a blog tour
    – reached out to people for review and promotional opportunities
    – waited

    People think that indie authors skip steps, which isn’t true. In many cases it just means we’re just doing all that all by ourselves. It’s kind of a lonely process. In fact as I type this I am alone. Where’s the balloons? The champagne? They’re not in sight – I will go get myself a coffee shortly.

    It’s a bit like the day your child starts kindergarten…lots of hard work to get them ready and then you’re all alone, wondering how they’re doing.

    So if you know any authors indie or otherwise here are some tips.
    Tips for supporting an author when they release a book

    1. Acknowledge their new book -call, email, comment on their Facebook page.
    2. Buy their book and let them know you did. (Take a photo and if it is a paperback take the photo in the store).
    3. Let people know you have a friend who has just written a book – either on your Facebook page or in real life.
    4. Leave them a review on Amazon, Goodreads etc – you have no idea how much that means.
    5. Remember it doesn’t matter if it is their first book or their tenth – to them it is still exciting.

  • Blog

    #ChickLitMay and new releases

    5/18/2015

    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverIt’s been busy here on the blog with #ChickLitMay. I feel like I haven’t done much updating on the writing or my books. If you get my newsletter you know that Any Way You Dream It is out on May 26th and is already available for pre-order.

    What’s pre-order? That means you buy it in advance and it magically appears on your reading device on release day.

    You might want to try it. Here is the blurb.

    Any Way You Dream It – An Upper Crust Novel – Book 2.

    Sometimes when life throws you lemons, you create a fake fiancé. That’s exactly what Lucy does when her high school nemesis calls. She didn’t mean to lie. Really, she didn’t. But with nowhere to live and a car that has just decided to die on her, the thought of attending the reunion alone is one she can’t contemplate.

    Cherie thinks arrogant, wealthy and way too handsome Chase is the answer to her friend’s dilemma and for reasons Lucy can’t fathom, Chase agrees. The man is too good to be true – he fixes her car, takes her to stay at his place – more castle than house – and seems to find her fascinating.

    Life hasn’t been easy for Lucy and she has a hard time accepting anyone would believe Chase would be with her. Still, he turns out to be the perfect choice and in the month leading up to the reunion makes himself an indispensable part of her life, which may be the biggest problem of all.

    Lucy knows life is not a fairy tale – she’s living above her place of work, her sister has run off leaving her with three kids and, when the weekend reunion begins, she has to go back to a town where her greatest humiliations took place.

    Will her ‘romance’ with Chase be turn out to be the answer to her dreams or will the whole sham turn into just another nightmare?
    ***
    I need to let you know the winner of the #MIssChickLIt pageant give away was….drum roll… Ariel Deltoro .It was her entry on Rachel L. Hamm’s site that got her the win. Just goes to show that multiple entries is the way to go!

    Don’t forget to enter to win 19 #chicklit books….on yesterday’s blog post.

  • Blog

    What I’ve learned writing a series and #MusicalMonday (It’s only the beginning)

    4/27/2015

    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverBook two of my Upper Crust Series – Any Way You Dream It is now with the editor. Yes, I know, those of you who actually read my blog and read my books know it should have happened a while ago, but it has finally gone.

    “Why the delay?” I hear you cry.
    “Good question.” I reply.

    The truth is apparently I am really bad at writing BOOK TWO in a series. Book one is fine and book three is fine. I’ve written two series now (one under a pen name) and I’ve experienced the same issue with both. The whole series has stalled because of Book 2.

    I don’t exactly know why that is. Well, I do, I think in my effort to make the main character in that book different from the main character in the first book in the series I tie myself in knots.

    Additionally, I think book two brings about fear of success (what if everyone loves it?) and fear of failure (what if everyone hates it?) into play in a strange and disturbing way. By the third book I seem to have pushed through it and the interplay between the characters carries me through. By then I’m one of the gang (I’m probably Thelma not Daphne but I’m in the gang) and there is a gang, a group of characters I know well and enjoy spending time with.

    At least now we know. In the Upper Crust Series the good news Any Way You Fight It, Book 3 is done and will be released quickly after the second. Books four and five are also nearly done.

    I really love Chase, the hero in Any Way You Dream It and Lucy is a girl who deserves a happily ever after (HEA) so I think you’ll love the book like I do. (And Six books in the series will have been released by the end of this year, so I really hope you do).

    Now let’s turn up the music because it is Monday.

    I love this song and have since I heard it back in the olden days…it’s a great love song and it features in my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels…my first book baby.

    Comments

    Laurie Baxter
    4/29/2015 11:06:57 am

    Ooh, yay! Very excited to hear this! I really enjoyed book one. 🙂

    Sandie Docker
    4/30/2015 07:59:13 pm

    The curse of the second book!!! But to have 6 box released by the end of this year – yay you!
    Reply

  • Blog

    Why I wrote Any Way You Slice It – or the girl gets the guy not the reverse

    3/5/2015

    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI was talking to a writer friend this week who BETA read the second book in my Upper Crust Series, Any Way You Dream It (due out April). We were discussing the book series and I was explaining to her how I came to write it.

    I realised that I hadn’t actually shared the impetus here so I thought I would do that now.

    About this time last year I downloaded a novel by a very successful romance author whose novels include marriages of convenience in them. Her books do hugely well, she’s an international best seller and she writes really well. I admire her work, her output and her career a lot. ( I read a lot of successful authors books sometimes for the stories and often to see if I can find the keys to the treasure chest of success.)

    So I sat up and read one book in her series while my husband lay beside me snoring in a rather un-melodious way. (Yep I do paint a pretty picture of marital bliss, don’t I?) I thought the book was well written (and I have read others in the series since then) but I kind of wanted to throw the book across the room.

    “Why Monique?” I hear you cry. “Why?”

    These books took smart, successful business women and had them agreeing to arranged marriages with smarter, more successful businessmen – preferably billionaires. Of course the woman had a choice in the books and the ‘marriage of convenience’ is a well-known romance trope and I know it is fantasy, but it annoyed me.

    “Why?” Simple, it still seemed to me the guys were getting the better end of the deal and the women tended to need a little bit of rescuing. It wasn’t simply a business translation, they needed to save a sick relative or a family business or someone else’s reputation. These were nice, smart girls but they weren’t girls with a lot of options.

    So, I decided to write a ‘marriage of convenience’ story where ultimately it was the woman seeking the partner and yes there has to be quid pro quo for these relationships to work but I didn’t want there to be a massive power imbalance.

    In Any Way You Slice It, Piper needs to be married to stay in America because her successful business is really taking off. Aaron who offers to marry her needs something too, but really this is Piper’s story, it’s about our heroine getting what she wants, without compromising herself along the way. Well, that was what I set out to do with this book.

    I guess only the readers can decide if that worked or not.