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  • Blog

    And the winner is….

    11/7/2015

    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner
    Thanks to everyone who has participated in the Any Way You Fight It book tour. It’s been wonderful to stop by so many blogs and it has been extra lovely to have the support of so many bloggers and authors.

    Releasing a book is a weird experience and I appreciate the support of readers and other authors on my journey.

    The winner of the $20 Amazon Giftcard is Renee C.

  • Blog

    Last chance to enter the Any Way You Fight It Blog Tour Giveaway

    11/4/2015

    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

    Only one day left to enter the Any Way You Fight It Bog Tour Give- Away. There’s $20 Amazon gift card up for grabs so go on and take a chance.

    Any Way You Fight It
    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?

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 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

    A day in the life of a writer in the digital age…

    9/23/2015

    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner
    So today has been kind of a crazy kind of a day for me but not all that unusual. It made me think about all the aspects of my writing life that don’t actually involve writing so I thought I’d step you through some of what I did.

    Just as an overview I have one book that is in edits for October release (Any Way You Fight It), one book that my BETA readers are reviewing (Any Way You Plan It) and one book I’m doing the rewrites on for the BETA readers Any Way You Want It.

    So here’s a look at what my day has looked like in no particular order:
    1. I woke up to my pretty new series banner for my series (see it above) so emailed my designer Erin and said thank you.
    2. Erin also had a draft paperback cover for me (books 1 and 2 together in a book) so I emailed her about that.
    3. Emailed my writing group for feedback on a paper back book cover for a combined Book 1 &2 and to discuss a possible book launch.
    4. Did my usual round of the Facebook author groups I belong to or run and commented.
    5. Had an email chat with a BETA reader on her thoughts about Any Way You Plan It.
    6. Replied to an email from my editor about the edits coming later today.
    7. Promoted a book on sale on several FB reader groups.
    8. Posted a book cover to Instagram.
    9. Lined up paid promo for Alphabet Dating for late October (the book is set during November so that makes sense).
    10. Replied to emails from my writing group about paperback cover and launch.
    11. Worked out paperback specs for book cover designer – how many pages affects the spine width.
    12. Set up a blog tour for Any Way You Fight It myself (running my own this time so emailed bloggers and authors I know).
    13. Emailed book covers to author for a blog hop I’m helping run next week – Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    14. Set up rafflecopter for the Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    15. Wrote author questions for Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    16. Received edits for Any Way You Fight It and read through the basic feedback, replied to editor via email.
    17. Scheduled some social media.
    18. Wrote this blog post.
    19. Liaised with blog tour operator about scheduling a Facebook party for Any Way You Want It launch for November.
    20. Interacting on my various social media platforms with readers.

    Any Way You Want It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
    Now I don’t do all this stuff everyday, but it’s not typical.

    Just have a quick look at that list – no writing has taken place yet, and no editing either.

    I have set myself the challenge of writing #1000wordsaday as regular readers know and so I still have to do that.

    There are things on my list I never will get to today. (I have had to work today, for my actual job, and it’s school holidays/vacation here so there are plenty of other distractions too).

    Anyway I thought it was an interesting exercise. I know there are plenty of people who wonder what I do all day and I wonder myself where the time goes. It’s true some days I clearly do stuff about, and some days I spend a lot of time writing or hours editing or planning.

    So if you wonder what a writer’s day looks like in the digital age, here’s an example.

     

     

    Comments

    Pixel Peeper
    9/24/2015 04:54:50 pm

    Wow…I get tired just reading the list! Sometimes, we people with “regular” 9-5 office jobs are jealous of the “relaxed, flit-around-all-day, socializing” people who are self employed and we rarely think about all the very real work that is involved in getting a book out there – and does not involve actually writing the book.

    Looking forward to all your books!
    Reply
    Monique
    9/24/2015 04:57:55 pm

    Thanks Pixel…sometimes it’s good to get a look behind the scenes.

    Sandie Docker
    9/29/2015 11:54:44 pm

    Holy Cow! How do writers find the time to write?????
    Reply
    Monique
    9/30/2015 12:49:56 am

    I think finding the balance is vert hard Sandy 🙂

    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    9/30/2015 05:25:12 am

    Amazing we find time to write! I feel like copying this list and keeping it in my back pocket so that every time someone asks, “Is your book finished?” I can slam it down on the table and say, “Here. Read this. This is what we do in addition to writing.” Ha! That’ll quiet them.

    On another note, this list is proof of your professionalism and hard work. And the universe always rewards hard work! 🙂

    Item #21 Added this blog post to the Fiction Writer Blog Hop. (See? The work never ends. It just keeps going and going and going…)
    Reply
    Monique
    10/4/2015 07:57:21 pm

    I know, Julie. I’m sure people think I don’t do a thing all day but that just isn’t true at all for most writers these days, the writing is only a small part of the gig.

    Jayne Denker
    9/30/2015 06:14:38 am

    And folks think we just sit around in our pajamas eating chocolate and daydreaming! Well…we do that too, but not all the time. 😉 (For the record, I am wearing real clothes as I type.)

    Brea Brown
    9/30/2015 07:29:29 am

    Uh… yeah. Exhausting. Which is why I’m such a slacker when it comes to promotion and marketing (and why my sales are so lame, but… whatever). I just can’t make myself sacrifice that writing time to do the drudgery. Ah, well… Maybe someday I’ll rock both sides of the biz, like you do.
    Reply
    Monique
    10/4/2015 07:58:24 pm

    I’m not sure I exactly rock both sides of the biz but no one can say I’m not trying.

    Pauline Wiles
    9/30/2015 10:05:45 am

    I love day in the life posts, but actually this is a great example of all that “other” stuff which keeps us from producing new work.

    Barbara Barth
    9/30/2015 06:51:23 pm

    I’m exhausted from your list – but it is one to learn from, too. Love the book cover!

    Tracy Krimmer
    10/1/2015 09:23:35 am

    Monique, I adore the cover of your book.
    Reply
    Monique
    10/4/2015 07:59:19 pm

    Thanks Tracey and Barbara – it’s such a lovely cover isn’t it? I love it too!

  • Blog

    Moving forward and maintaining momentum on a Musical Monday

    9/13/2015

    To be a writer you need to write.
    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI haven’t been much of a blogger lately and my social media engagement had been down as well, I suspect.

    Sometimes I really fret about that stuff – you can’t sell books without an online presence if your books are sold almost exclusively online. You lose visibility and people forget about you, or so everyone says.

    On the other hand you can’t sell books if you don’t write. Without that stage you have nothing to sell. That’s a fact.

    For the last couple of weeks I’ve chosen to focus on the writing and not get quite so distracted by the business and promotion side. Who knows if that’s a good strategy or not but I do feel more energetic, more engaged with my characters and more enthusiastic about writing so those are all positives.

    Any Way You Fight It, Book 3 in The Upper Crust Series is off at the editor now and will have an October release. Any Way You Plan It, Book 4 in the series is with the BETA readers now and Books 5 and 6 are ready for reading too. And I have a Christmas and a Summer/Valentine’s novella ready for readers as well.

    I guess that means I need to take a little break from the writing and get back to the promotion and other aspects of the writing business because that’s what it is, a business. I already run another small business so I guess this makes me a entrepreneur, with two businesses on the go.

    Like any business this one has goals – I want to get those four Upper Crust and two novellas published by January, I want to get better at organising my promos and newsletter, I have sales goals and marketing goals and now all I need to do is maintain momentum. Yeah, that’s the hard part.

    This song came me into my head yesterday for some inexplicable reason…and it reminded me of Marissa and Mike in
    Any Way You Plan It…so here we go an old Australian ’80s classic by Jenny Morris for Musical Monday.

  • Blog

    Muses, musing and Musical Monday

    7/19/2015

    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI seem to have been a bit lax in the blogging area of late.

    One of the things about having a #1000wordsaday challenge going is that I spend a lot of time thinking about what to write next in my novels, I think some of that time I used to spend thinking about what to blog next.

    I don’t think we have a finite amount of creativity but I do think we have a finite amount of time to be creative and so we have to pick and choose how we spend it.

    I’m not a huge believer in muses or waiting for the creative impulse to strike. That’s not true either. I happen to think that is a wonderful thing. If I don’t feel like baking a cake or redecorating then I might wait for inspiration. If I was writing purely for pleasure I might do the same.

    However if you have a schedule and deadlines and an agenda just like in any job sometimes you just have to show up and get to work. I had an editing disaster earlier this year. (Actually I had two and neither were my fault and editing is already the least pleasant part of this process for me so frankly, I’m still a little bitter about it.) Anyway, I made a decision when I was an hour away from sending my book to the editor and I lost 10,000 plus words and ten days work. I decided that if this was a job for a PR client I would have sat my bum down in the seat and started again. So that’s exactly what I did. I’m not sure the muse would ever show up and make me feel inspired to do that task. I still feel kind of ill at the memory.

    I guess my point is that sometimes you have to push through even when you feel uninspired but there’s a limit to how many areas in life you can do that in. Apparently, for me blogging has gone by the wayside.

    Still I have managed to complete all six books in the Upper Crust Series so you can expect four more releases from me in 2015. Don’t you love the cover for Any Way You Fight It? (I’m sending the book to the editors in the next few days so expect an August release).

    I’m also working on a Christmas novella and I’ve written a summer/Valentine novella as well so I guess the blogging has been lax for a reason. You can’t do it all.

    For Musical Monday here is one of my all time favourite songs by the Eurythmics – Right By Your Side – I actually saw this tour back in 1987 in Sydney. The song is a perfect fit for Zara and Kyle the characters in my Christmas novella.

  • 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

    Deadlines, set backs and expectations on #MusicalMonday

    3/1/2015

    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner

    These are so pretty aren’t they?

    I really am working very hard to get the rest of these babies on the shelf soon. I was hoping to have Any Way You Dream It out in March but I think April now looks more realistic and Any Way You Fight It Will Follow in May.

    As some of you know I write under two names and as my pen name I also have two new books coming out in the next two months. It isn’t like I’m not trying very hard. It takes a long time to write a book and honestly, the e-space, which makes everything seem instant required speed. It’s hard to get a balance. Not enough books and you lose readers. Too many books that might be under-written or under-edited and you will also lose readers.

    As you can see by this little ticker I am writing. This is my word count so far this year. I am a little behind where I wanted to be because I lost a whole chunk of a novel (10,000 words) and had to rewrite it to meet the deadline. So I lost 10 days. When you consider that I’m only one day behind so that’s not too shabby.

    58,000 / 365,000 words.
    It’s really hard to maintain your momentum after something like that. Picking oneself up and the dusting off are not really my personal strengths so the fact I did it so well this time I’m taking as amoral victory. Maybe I’m finally growing up? Yeah, I doubt it.

    Anyway I’m busy writing book 4 in the Upper Crust series while the Beta readers work on Book 2 and hopefully Book 3 this week. I always feel so nervous sending the books out and usually they tell me what I already know to be true. You can usually feel where the lags are or where the story doesn’t quite gel but that outside voice saying what you already know is so very helpful

    I really need to get a newsletter out. The mailing list is the big thing so I better do something to grow mine. It would be nice to go back to the days where writing was all about the writing I sometimes think. There are aspects of the marketing side that really don’t overly appeal to me.

    Enough of my ramblings (I should be writing anyway). It is of course Musical Monday and I heard a great song yesterday and of course now I can’t remember the name. In my defense I’m just home for the doctor and we established I’ve probably been living with a sinus infection for six months so I think all in all I could be a lot more ditsy.

    And because there is indeed a school reunion in Any way You Dream It, here is a lovely schoolyard song for Musical Monday – we’re kicking it old school today.