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  • Blog

    Our Five Favourite Reads – A Writer’s Dozen blog hop

    7/31/2018

    Our Five Favourite Reads
    Time for our quarterly reading wrap-up
    Welcome to the quarterly recap of what the members of the Writers Dozen have been reading. We’re an eclectic bunch which will be reflected in our reading choices. I hope between us we point you to some good new reads.

    Dr Strange Beard – Penny Reid
    Dr Strange Beard - Cover
    I’m a big fan of Penny Reid. Her books are automatic reads for me. If you’ve not read her books they’re smart romances with quirky and complex characters. I’m half-way through this novel which just came out this week. If you’ve not read any of her books I suggest you start with her Knitting in the City series. I don’t knit, and I don’t find men with beards attractive but I enjoy hanging with her knitting and bearded characters so that probably tells you how well they’re written.

    The men in these books are kind of brooding and complicated so if that’s your thing jump on in.

    Also, don’t you love these covers? They’re just terrifically quirky and different.

    Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
    Girl Wash Your Face - Cover
    I’m a big fan of a self-help book. (In fact more than one person has suggested I write one – as I’ve mentioned here on my blog I’m a lot of people’s go to girl and they feel my advice warrants writing down, clearly I haven’t agreed up to this point). I follow Rachel Hollis on social media and this book had a lt of hype so as I was off on a long plane flight I downloaded it and read it on the plane. I’m older than the author and in a different place in my life so I liked this book but bits of it were definitely more apt for younger moms. Having said that if I’d read this book even five years ago I would have loved it and I definitely felt inspired after reading it. There were some good pearls of advice and it was also a reminder to me that I was doing a few things right which is never a bad thing. So if you need a bit of a kick in the pants or a razz up this is a good read. (Note:There’s also a strong Christian element which isn’t really my thing – I know the author thinks she’s toning that down but if you’re not religious it is still quite a dominant theme).

    The Blue Moon Series – Lucy Score
    Blue Moon Series - No More Secrets - Cover
    I struggled to find five books this time because I read a lot of series. I’m what’s known in the business as a whale reader – once you hook me I’m the ultimate big fish because I then read all your books. I’ve done this with two or three authors this year already which means I have read ALL their books. If they have twenty books then yes I have read all of them. I stumbled upon Lucy Score’s Blue Moon Series and did just that. If you like small town romance then you’ll love this series set in a hippie town a few hours from New York, focused initially around a family of brothers. I’ve also read her other books (some of them are considerably more steamy) but this is the series I would recommend.

    (I nearly didn’t read this series because of the cover – the main character is a farmer and the cover seems to have little relevance to the story in my opinion).

    TinFoil Heart – Daisy Prescott
    Tinfoil Heart - Cover
    Daisy Prescott is another author who I’ve devoured the back Iist of in the last few months. I read her first novel back when it released and then I lost her. I was happy to rediscover her a month or so ago.
    I liked all her books but I’m recommend TinFoil Heart because it’s her latest and a stand-alone.

    This is a quirky stand alone about a character who is trying to find her long lost father, her late mother believed he was abducted by aliens, but really she’s trying to find herself and where she belongs.

     

     

    Called Up – Jen Doyle
    Called Up - Cover
    As you know I’ve recently started writing a sports romance series. There’s not much tennis romance out there but baseball romance is big in the US. I like my sports romance light on the sports and heavy on the romance. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Jen Doyle’s Called Up. It is the first in a series but they’re stand alone stories so you don’t have to read them in order. This is sweeter romance, more like what I write so if you like my books this will likely be a good fit for you.

     

     

     

    To see what the other members of the Writers Dozen have been reading follow these links:
    Laura Boon-Russell
    Rae Cairns
    Pamela Cook
    Terri Green

  • Blog

    12 Days of Downunder Christmas Blog Hop – entries now closed

    11/28/2017

    12 Days of Down Under Christmas Promo
    ​This is the Twelve Days of Christmas promotion – twelve ‘down under’ authors who are each giving personal prizes away, plus we have a $50 Amazon Gift Card to finish with a flourish.
    The Joy of Travel at Christmas inspired Snowbound, A Chicklit Christmas Novella
    Anyone from Australia or New Zealand, where all of the authors in this hop are from, learns pretty early that if you want to travel anywhere you’re probably going to be on a plane for a while.I consider any flight under eight hours to be a quick one.

    Part of what makes our countries unique is our isolation. We have summer while most of the world has winter, much of Australia never sees snow and we do things just that little bit differently. I drew on that inspiration when I was writing Snowbound, A Christmas Chicklit Novella.

    My main character Zara is heading off to the USA for Christmas to meet her boyfriend who works in New York. She’s never been on a long-haul flight, she’s never seen snow…there are a lot of firsts for Zara. Apart from the lovely Kyle who sits next to her the journey is really not that great.

    I’ve done a lot of long-distance travel and much of it on my own – I quite like flying alone now – but when I was younger and more self conscious I didn’t so I channeled that into Zara’s character. Just like her I have woken up by a random teenage boy asleep on my shoulder – then I had to decide if I could get up – I didn’t want to wake the poor kid but sometimes you just have to move.

    I also remember the magic of seeing snow fall for the first time and the wonder of waking up to a world made new by being covered in white. I’ve never had a White Christmas – only a white Boxing day and I think we can all agree no one has ever sung a song about that.

    One of the things I love about books and writing is how you can hold a mirror up to the way we live our lives differently to others – after I wrote this novel I had readers emailing me to say it never even occurred to them someone might not have seen snow. That makes perfect sense if you’re Canadian!

    I’m hoping for a sparkling sunny and hot Christmas myself. It will include a swim at the beach and sweating my way through cooking a ham, a turkey and a Christmas pudding. I’ll be getting my tree close to the big day because I love a real tree and if I put it up too early it might wilt before the big day. My Christmas might look a little different than yours but hopefully we’re all surrounded by love and laughter.

    As part of the Hop I’m giving away a copy of Romancing the Holidays 2 – a multi author box set I’m in this Christmas and a copy of Snowbound…to enter just comment below and tell me if you get a real tree or a fake one. (I’ll pick a winner randomly at the end of the 12 days promotion)

    Click here to enter to win the $50 Amazon Giftcard
    12 Days of Down Under Christmas - Snowbound

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is the Twelve Days of Christmas promotion – twelve ‘down under’ authors who are each giving personal prizes away, plus we have a $50 Amazon Gift Card to finish with a flourish. Here’s the schedule so you don’t miss your favourite authors!
    Day 1 – Kris Pearson
    Day 2 – Joanne Dannon
    Day 3 – Cassandra O’Leary
    Day 4 – Annie Seaton
    Day 5 – Monique McDonell
    Day 6 – Kate O’Keeffe
    Day 7 – Cathryn Hein
    Day 8 – Tracey Alvarez
    Day 9 – Leeanna Morgan
    Day 10 – Wendy Vella
    Day 11 – Charmaine Ross
    Day 12 – Aislinn Kearns

    Comments

    Mel Bowers
    12/5/2017 12:27:31 pm

    We get a fake tree with the kids homemade decorations on it and some from my nan who died 9 yrs ago. One son and I are allergic to real trees….not books tho 😊

    Christine Hann
    12/5/2017 05:05:30 pm

    We have a fake tree currently, but would luv to have a real one like in my childhood again!

    Jill Broussard
    12/5/2017 05:22:57 pm

    We’ve done both real and fake, but for the past 7 years since we’ve had our dog, Rusty, it’s a table topper. We’re afraid he’ll claim it at his spot!

    Rose
    12/5/2017 06:00:33 pm

    Fake. We travel so a real tree would be a hazard!

    Cat
    12/5/2017 08:22:42 pm

    Fake! Much easier and tidier

    Sonia
    12/5/2017 11:13:21 pm

    Realistic fake tree- 180cm tall

    Julie Zammit
    12/6/2017 01:50:07 am

    Fake because hubby says real make a mess 😥

    Dianne
    12/6/2017 08:42:49 am

    A fake tree – this year it’s a duo of cardboard trees decorated with recycled items! Thanks.
    PS: I’ve never experienced real snow yet either – it always snows the week after I visit the Blue Mountains.

    Wendy
    12/6/2017 11:27:30 am

    I prefer a fake tree as I hate the smell of pine
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:10:10 pm

    I’m a real tree all the way…I’m getting mine from the Scouts tomorrow.

    Karen Teasdale
    12/9/2017 03:58:56 pm

    No tree this year, real or fake – my fun thing this year is lots of candles and lights, including flickering orange ones that look like flames in the fireplace! Merry Christmas!
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/17/2017 09:23:04 pm

    Karen, you’re the winner of my books – email me at mcdonellmonique(at)gmail.com and I’ll send them off to you.

    Nancy Burgess
    12/9/2017 06:32:47 pm

    My children are grown so I put up an artificial tree.
    Reply
    Debbie Martin
    12/9/2017 10:06:41 pm

    We have a fake tree that the lights blink with the music.

    Carol
    12/9/2017 11:23:00 pm

    I have a small fake tree that I can put up high on a shelf so the cats can’t get to it. I also have a crocheted tree my mother made me.

    Margie Rico
    12/10/2017 07:04:07 am

    We have a fake one because real ones bother my allergies. There are some beautiful fake ones though! I also have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It is so cute!

    Gail
    12/11/2017 06:31:12 pm

    With the kids and dogs – we use a fake tree

    Deborah Sisk
    12/11/2017 07:19:21 pm

    A fake tree. Unfortunately, I am allergic to real ones.

    Laura Slider
    12/11/2017 08:28:05 pm

    I do a fake tree, but hang scent sticks in it to get the smell of Christmas.

    Jean White
    12/12/2017 09:29:45 am

    I do a fake tree every year since we a real tree and were finding pine tree needles still in the carpet at Easter!! They got under the couch and chair.

    Lori Payer
    12/12/2017 03:44:06 pm

    We have a fake tree. With having allergies, mess from the pine needles and the bugs the fake works better for us.

    Michelle Catallo
    12/12/2017 05:45:41 pm

    I have had the same fake tree for around a decade and the one prior to that for two decades. It works for me. I may get a small real tree next year just to downsize as it will only be my youngest son and I for the holidays.

  • Blog

    CLOSED-Preview Rendezvous Blog Hop

    5/31/2017

    Review Rendezvous Blog Hop -Promo
    ​Welcome to the Preview Rendezvous Blog Hop – win prizes and read excerpts to books by some of your favourite chicklit and romantic comedy authors
    I’m delighted to be a part of this fun blog hop. If you come by my site you’re either a reader or a writer or both. Either way you’ll enjoy the chance to read a sneak peek of the novels on the hop. It’s simple. Read my excerpt and comment to enter the draw for aStarbucks giftcard and a copy of the e-book of your choice from my collection.

    Then stop by the pages listed below – read their excerpts and enter their giveways.

    Any Way You Spin It – Book 7 in the Upper Crust Series – out August 8 2017
    ​Chapter 1
    It was another day at Sleazy Dan’s. The bar’s actual name was Dan’s the sleazy was implied by the strippers, the lack of windows and the floor that stuck to your feet when you walked. It was on the edge of Reno, and it felt to Minnie like the end of the world. When she stepped in from the bright Nevada sunshine it felt like she was entering an alternate universe and she wasn’t quite sure how she’d gotten here.
    She removed her own t-shirt and bra and replaced it with the cropped white version that left nothing to the imagination. She looked over at Karan, stage name Lacey Amour covering her thong and pasty clad body in body glitter and was thankful for her daisy dukes.
    She tried to tell herself it could be worse but she couldn’t quite decide how. She was living hand to mouth in a seedy motel, working as a waitress in a strip club. She’d abandoned her kids to chase some guy and for what? He’d long moved on and now she was alone and ashamed.
    She’d tried to stop drinking more than once. Right now, she was three days sober. It was a vicious cycle, when she was sober the clarity of what she’d done to her family brought her to her knees and she was too ashamed to reach out to them and when she was drinking she couldn’t. She’d work it out. She had to.
    Lacey walked over and gave her a weak smile. “We better get out there before Dan comes looking.”
    “Sure.”
    “You want to get a drink after?”
    “We’ll see.” Truthfully it was more of a one hour at a time than a one day proposition right now.
    Harry was behind the bar and tipped his head at her. He wasn’t a bad guy, that made him the only one in this joint. The front row was half full of seedy businessmen, three regulars sat at the bar and the booths were empty, apart from a ridiculously handsome guy alone in the back booth who looked more interested in his phone than the talent on stage.
    She grabbed a tray and walked over.
    “I’m Jade. What can I get you?” She asked and he looked up at her. She never used her real name here. Damn he was good looking. He looked cultured and neat. What the hell he was doing here she had no clue. Slumming it must have been his thing. Everyone in this place had a thing.
    “Scotch on the rocks thanks. Whatever your best is.”
    Their best wasn’t much but as she weaved her way back to him after collecting his order from harry, the eyes of at least one of the businessmen boring into her, that was what she was carrying. She slid his drink and bowl of stale nuts across the table to him.
    “You work here long Jade?’ He drew out her name nice and slowly.
    “Little while.”
    “You like it?”
    “It’s a job.” She gave a one shoulder shrug.
    “Yeah, funny job for an accountant though.” She froze. Hairs pricked all over her body. “Isn’t it Minnie?”
    He leaned in and picked up his drink taking a long slow sip of it before putting it down. Meanwhile Minnie didn’t move, not a hair not a muscle.
    “I’m a waitress.” She said when she finally found her voice.
    “Sure, you’re also the mother of three great kids and the sister of my fiancé Lucy.”
    “You know Lucy, and my kids?”
    “I do. They sure miss you.”
    “Jade.” Harry was calling her from the bar.
    “I have to go. I’ll lose my job…”
    “Take your time I’m not going anywhere.”
    He was waiting for her at the end of her shift. Usually when you saw a strange guy in the carpark at Sleazy Dan’s you panicked but tonight she didn’t feel panicked.
    “You want to grab a coffee or a burger?” he tilted his head towards the diner over the road.
    “Sure.”
    “I’m Chase by the way. It’s nice to meet you”
    She was trying to process this. The guy knew Lucy, no he’s said he was her fiancé and he knew her kids. She was aware the kids were with her mom in New Hampshire. She knew they were safe but she didn’t know much more.
    They sat opposite each other in the diner booth and he slid his phone across the table. A photo of her kids was on the screen. She ran her finger across the outline of their faces and blinked back the tears that clouded her vision. She needed to see them clearly.
    “Scroll through, there are lots more.” His voice was gentle. She swiped the image and here they were at a lake, at a football game, her son playing baseball, another with Lucy. “They’re doing fine, settled in, they’ve got great friends.”
    The waitress came and he ordered coffee and two burgers. They didn’t need her then her kids they were doing fine without their crazy drunk of a mother who had abandoned them. “Good. I want them to be happy.”
    “What about you? You don’t look real happy to me Minnie.”
    “I’m doing okay.”
    “Let’s cut through the crap. You’re working in a dive bar, you live in a dump, the boyfriend is gone, you’re all alone and you’re barely making it.”
    “Don’t sugar-coat it.” She snorted.
    “I’m not here to judge you I’m simply stating the facts. I don’t think this life you’ve got going here is making you happy. You drinking?’
    “How’s that any of your business?” She growled at him.
    “Answer me.”
    “I’m trying not to.”
    “Trying is good.” His tone was gentle. “it’s hard to quit especially without help.”
    “It is.” He had that right.
    The coffee and burgers came. She was starving, she couldn’t really cook in her motel room. She was living on cereal, chocolate bars and ramen noodles. She started eating. He sat back watching. What did it matter what he thought? She was hungry she was going to eat.
    “Do you want to go home?” He asked when she’d polished off the burger. “Is that what you want?”
    “I can’t go home, Chase. There are some things you can’t just apologize for and move on. Sometimes you can’t just say you’re sorry and expect people to forgive you.”
    “True. You can’t. “
    It felt like a slap. Had she thought he was here to rescue her and tell her it was all okay. Maybe.
    “So why ask?”
    “I have a proposition for you. Lucy and I are getting married in three months. I want you to go to treatment until just before the wedding. Rehab. There’s a wonderful place that the doc on TV swears by. I’ll get you the treatment if you are willing to do the work. Afterwards, if it sticks, you come home, come to the wedding and make amends.”
    “And?” She knew there was more.
    “And you see…you don’t swoop in expecting to uproot your kids and turn their lives upside down. You work your way back in. I don’t know how it will play out. I really don’t. Maybe you’ll never get your kids back, maybe you don’t deserve to, I can’t say what will happen because I don’t know. But what I do know is that they need to know you’re okay and healthy and that you care enough about them to get that way. Your family needs to heal, and only you can make that happen.”
    Minnie looked across at him. This was her one shot. It was a shot she didn’t deserve and she knew it. She was lost and broken and damaged but she was still smart somewhere in there, smart enough to know that whatever he was offering was better than this life.
    “Yes. I say yes, let’s do it.”

    ​Visit these sites to read the excerpts and enter:

    Diane Michaels
    Geralyn Corcillo
    Kate O’Keeffe
    Laura Baxter
    Daniela Pesconi-Arthur

    Now answer this question in the comments below to go in the draw to win a Starbucks giftcard….what is the name of Minnie’s sister?
    enter-to-win-a-starbucks-gift-card-orig_orig
    Closed. Winner announced Congratulations to Linda Herold on winning the $10 Starbucks gift card. Thank you to everyone who participated in this blog hop. We hope you have found some new books or authors.
    Happy reading.

    Comments

    Daniela Pesconi-Arthur
    5/31/2017 11:47:19 pm

    Minnie’s sister’s name is Lucy! 🙂

    Geralyn Corcillo
    6/1/2017 02:27:40 am

    I cannot wait to read this one! I love the Upper Crust 🙂

    Kaela K.
    6/1/2017 06:21:42 am

    Her sister’s name is Lucy! 🙂

    Michelle Ayers
    6/1/2017 11:48:22 am

    Lucy!

    Christina Riggs
    6/1/2017 06:49:47 pm

    It’s Lucy

    Jill Broussard
    6/2/2017 06:41:11 pm

    Her sisters name is Lucy! Thankyou for the opportunity!

    Kate O’Keeffe
    6/2/2017 09:21:44 pm

    It’s Lucy 🙂

    M.S.
    6/3/2017 04:52:22 am

    Minnie’s sister’s name is Lucy. 🙂

    Linda Herold
    6/3/2017 03:49:16 pm

    I enjoy your excerpt! Her name is Lucy!

    Cathi Gil
    6/3/2017 05:35:38 pm

    Minnie’s sister’s name is Lucy.
    Thanks for the opportunity. This sounds like a great read!

    Pamela Cook
    6/4/2017 03:58:13 am

    Lucy! Great opening. Really looking forward to reading Minnie’s story.

    Lucy Jones
    6/7/2017 02:28:10 pm

    Lucy😊
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    6/8/2017 03:13:04 pm

    Congratulations on your win Linda. Thanks to everyone who entered.

  • Blog

    #ChickLitMay Book Boyfriend Blog Hop

    5/11/2017

    ChickLitMay Book Boyfriend BLog Hop 2017
    Any Way You Want It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverMy name is Moose well not really but all friends call me Moose and I can see we’re going to be friends. Everyone calls me Moose because I’m from Maine and I’m a big (my mother uses the term strapping) guy with a an exuberant personality.

    It’s possible I have more than a touch of ADHD but don’t hold that against me because that just means I have a lot of energy and I don’t sleep much. I spend the hours other people spend sleeping working out (I’m told the ladies like a man with a six pack) and thinking of ways to make the people in my life happy. I’m full of ideas and I love to execute them, I’m actually a pretty smart guy.

    I grew up in a ski resort and I work for my parent’s in their chain of hotels. I’m an only child which has just taught me how to get on well with others, make friends and make them smile.

    I love women. Not in a creepy way. I think they’re beautiful, amazing creatures. They say interesting things, they smell divine and like me, they love to dance. So if you like dancing I’m your guy.

    Really, what I’m looking for is one special girl and I think I’ve spotted one, her name is Chloe and she runs an ice-cream parlour. I’m a businessman and think what she needs to grow her business is a really awesome coffee machine so I just went and bought her one of those crazy expensive brass ones. Is that too much?

    That’s who I am though. I’m all in. I think that’s a good quality, I hope she does.

    What makes me a good book boyfriend (this is the shameless plug for myself) – I’m all in, I like to dance, I’m in very good shape, I’m kind of loaded but I must tell you I’m really looking for someone that doesn’t matter too and I go out of my way to make the lady in my life feel special. (Oh yeah and is this is a pageant of some sort I feel obligated to say “I want World Peace. You can add watching rom coms to my list of qualities.)

    HOW TO VOTE: If you want to vote for Moose to win the Book Boyfriend Blog Hop:
    Email Tracie at traciebanister@gmail.com and say I VOTE FOR MOOSE in the subject line (I really want to win I’m kind of competitive, and I really want you to win too). By doing that you are entered to win the grand prize!!!!

    P.S – Monique who runs this awesome website (a great person by the way) wanted to share a photo of me but I said no. Not because I’m shy, but because I like a woman with a good imagination. I’m pretty sure you’re imagining me right now.

    Buy Any Way You Want It

    Book Boyfriend Blog Hop Giveaway Promo
    Tracie Banister
    Becky Monson  
    Hilary Grossman
    Glynis Astie
    Jayne Denker 
    Jennie Marts 
    Barbara Valentin
    Beth Labonte 
    Victoria Cooke 
     Holly Kerr
    Meredith Schorr
    Stacey Wiedower
    Laurie Baxter
    Jennifer Farwell 
    Natalina Reis 
    Celia Kennedy
    Beth Carter
    Ellyn Oaksmith 
    BJ Knapp
    Lizzie Lamb  
    Sylvia Ashby
    Karen M. Cox 
    Lindsay Detwiler
    Kirsty McManus 
    Melissa Baldwin 
    Geralyn Corcillo 
    Cassandra O’Leary 
    Cat Lavoie
    Kate O’Keeffe 
    Monique McDonell 

     

    Comments

    Geralyn Corcillo
    5/14/2017 11:37:39 am

    I love Moose! I adore every one of the guys in The Upper Crust Series! For a wonderful supply of yummy book boyfriends, Monique McDonell does NOT disappoint!

    Cat Lavoie
    5/14/2017 06:44:35 pm

    Loves to dance? I’m sold! Vote for Moose! 🙂

    Natalie
    5/15/2017 01:00:49 am

    Who can resist a dancer 😉

    Natalie
    5/15/2017 03:44:54 am

    A dancer with a six-pack. What’s not to love? 🙂

    Meredith Schorr
    5/15/2017 09:17:54 am

    I love this guy. He’s confident without being overly cocky. And he can dance 🙂

    Lucy
    5/15/2017 12:50:55 pm

    I love Moose💖🍵🍧💖

    Karen M Cox
    5/15/2017 01:40:53 pm

    Moose *raises hand* Um – I like to dance 🙂

    Jennifer Farwell
    5/15/2017 06:15:51 pm

    Watches rom coms and has a six-pack? Hi, Moose!

    Beth Carter
    5/16/2017 08:11:46 am

    I love the name Moose!!! He sounds like a sweet guy.
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    5/16/2017 03:23:17 pm

    Thanks everyone, Moose wants you to know he appreciates all the positive feedback. He’s dancing with happiness right now, in between sit ups.

    Ann Attwood
    5/17/2017 05:14:17 am

    I love Moose

    Clarissa boggs
    5/17/2017 05:21:01 am

    Voted for Moose, good luck
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    5/18/2017 01:08:15 am

    Thanks everyone. Moose and I appreciate it!!

  • Blog

    Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop

    9/28/2015

    Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop - Promo Banner
    Welcome to the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop
    Hearts Afire
    here we are on the first hop of the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop. Please stop by all of the stops on the hop this week (details at the bottom) and be sure to enter our competition to win copies of ebooks from all five authors on the hop.

    ***

    Character interview with Cassie Callahan from Hearts Afire.

    Let’s find out a little bit about Cassie and her wedding day.
    Were you nervous on the big day?
    Actually I really wasn’t nervous at all, I thought I was marrying someone who really got me. I guess that shows what I knew because my fiancé called to say he’d changed his mind on the morning of the wedding and he wasn’t coming.

    Then I was more mad than nervous.

    Did anything go wrong?
    You heard what I just said right? I was jilted on the day of my wedding. Still that actually wasn’t the worst thing that happened that day, believe it or not. I’m a caterer so I decided to cater my own wedding (okay in hindsight maybe not a great idea) and in all the fuss my sister left the stove on and the kitchen caught fire so the fire brigade turned up. I think the real question should be – did anything go right that day?

    Be honest were you a total bridezilla? (Or do you have a Bridezilla story?)
    It turned out was not even a little bit bridezilla, in fact my fiancé chose my wedding dress – maybe he was a groomzilla. Is that a thing? It should be. I am a caterer so I have dealt with my fair share of highly string brides so I think that made me extra anxious about not being one.

    Bridesmaids, how many is too many?
    Well I was only having two, my sister (more about her later) and my best friend Miranda. I think even one bad bridesmaid is one bridesmaid too many. I never wanted to be like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias…so many bridesmaids.

    You can’t have a wedding without family – how did yours behave in the lead-up to the wedding or on the day?
    I don’t have much family. My parents were killed when I was a teenager so it’s always been my sister and I…she set the kitchen on fire and then came with me on my solo honeymoon with me (may as well use the tickets). However she abandoned me on the honeymoon so all in all I guess my family didn’t exactly have my back.

    Are you still a believer in the happily ever after?
    You know what a funny thing happened since my botched wedding day. I’ve started to see that maybe I was with the wrong guy all along and that maybe the right guy isn’t too far away at all.

    Follow the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop authors and enter our giveaway
    Monday – Monique McDonell
    Tuesday – Samantha March/ChickLitPlus
    Wednesday – Laura Chapman
    Thursday – Nikki Mahood
    Friday – Kathleen  Irene Paterka

     

  • 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

    Australia Day Blog Hop – memories of Australia Day…

    12/31/2013

    Dee Why Beach
    I’m the first in line for this Australia Day Blog Hop…

    Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop

    So here comes another great blog hop over the next three weeks from an all Aussie contingent… leading up to a celebration of Australia Day. Over the next three weeks you’ll be reading about what being an Aussie author means to the crew below, or how they celebrate Australia Day, or maybe even a lamington or pavlova recipe. It will be full of surprises!
    And you’ll hear about new books to add to your TBR piles!
    Don’t forget to call in every day and visit the blogs, leave a comment, enter the raffle copter for the fabulous gift basket.

    ***

    My Memories of Australia Day

    I thought I’d think back on what Australia Day means to me. It’s a funny thing because I have no memory of Australia Day as a child. In fact, the first memory I have of it is during the Australian Bicentenary and even that isn’t my own memory as I was overseas at the time while images of Sydney Harbour replete with tall ships and ferry boat races were beamed around the world.

    Even for the couple of years after I don’t remember doing much for Australia Day. Maybe I did or more likely I was packing my bags and heading to the country to help with O-Week at the University I attended.

    Then I got married and lived a block from the Dee Why beach where the local Council, in it’s wisdom, decided to start a free breakfast picnic for the locals. (This event still runs every year and is no longer free and is generally so crowded I no longer attend). Still, I have always thought of this as a spectacularly Australian way to celebrate Australia Day. A bacon and egg roll on a picnic blanket, a quick swim, watch the surf boat races and listen to local musicians sing in the park. It’s inclusive and it’s egalitarian.

    When we were first married we’d meet up with friends and sit in the sun, have a few adult beverages and let the day roll away. It was romantic to go home with a smile on your face and sand between your toes having shared the day with good friends. A couple of times we ended up back at our flat dancing on the coffee table as young people in love do.

    Some times there was a new boyfriend or girlfriend for my husband and I to meet and the next year they might be gone, maybe replaced, maybe not. Australia Day, falling as early as it does in the year, was a day full of promise and opportunity. Resolutions hadn’t yet been abandoned, summer felt like it still had lots of puff left and lots of people were just back from travels with tales to tell and enthusiasm.

    As an adult now, and as the parent or a school age child Australia Day has a different feel. In my state it means the end of school holidays. It means school goes back, the routine resumes and reality takes hold again. Not so back then…back then it was a day of romance and hope and friendship.

    (Dee Why Beach is located on Sydney’s Northern beaches about ten minutes from Manly where much of Mr Right and Other Mongrels is set.) Mr Right and Other Mongrels is currently on sale for 99c.

    Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop

    You can enter via Rafflecopter below….also below is a list of all the talented Australian authors who are participating in this wonderful blog hop…where you win….(drum-roll!)

    $100 and 26 e-books (some print) from our generous authors
    drawn Australia Day

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    January 1 Monique McDonnell
    January 2 Sara Hantz
    January 3 Annie Seaton
    January 4 Imogene Nix
    January 5 Caitlin Nicholas
    January 6 Tima Maria Lacoba
    January 7 Nikole Flockton
    January 8 Wendy L. Curtis
    January 9 Jacqui Carling Rodgers
    January 10 Susan Horsnell
    January 11 Susanne Bellamy
    January 12 J’aimee Brooker
    January 13 Victoria Purman
    January 14 Ann B Harrison
    January 15 Cate Ellink
    January 16 Jenny Schwartz
    January 17 Donna Gallagher
    January 18 Lily Malone
    January 19 Tea Cooper
    January 20 Fiona McArthur
    January 21 Max Henry
    January 22 Jennie Jones
    January 23 Allison Brideson
    January 24 Eve Rabi
    January 25 Kendal Talbot
    January 26 Annie Seaton-Prize draw

    Annie Seaton http://annieseatonromance.com

    Comments

    Alison Stuart
    12/31/2013 08:57:27 am

    I don’t think Australia Day was such a big thing when we were young Monique. Our sense of identity as Australians does, as you identify, seem to date from the bicentennial when it seemed we were “given permission” to be who we are and celebrate our Australianess. The ongoing debate about whether Jan 26 is the right date continues but as the years pass it will become impossible to change.

    Janie McGaugh
    1/2/2014 01:09:00 pm

    This is the first I’ve heard of Australia Day (to my recollection). As Mary M. says, it does sound a lot like our Independence Day celebrations (except for the fireworks that we have).

    Susanne Bellamy
    12/31/2013 09:03:39 am

    It’s really become a celebration of our lifestyle, hasn’t it. For me, this year is going to be a bit different and I’m thankful that I live in Australia where so much is possible. Great post to start off, Monique.
    Reply
    Monique
    12/31/2013 09:08:29 am

    I agree it has become a celebration of our lifestyle Susanne, that’s a great way to describe it.

    Alison I think you’re right about the Bicentennial being the start of the celebrating of the day – I wasn’t sure if that was truly the case or if as a child and teen I just wasn’t aware of the event as much.

    Barbara
    12/31/2013 10:14:59 am

    I only emigrated to Australia in my 30’s a few years before the bicentenary…. I love the way it is celebrated and am now an Australian

    Angela Hogan
    12/31/2013 11:57:14 am

    I love australia day

    Jennie Jones
    12/31/2013 12:43:24 pm

    Lovely memories Monique – I’ll never forget my very first Australia Day!

    Annie Seaton
    12/31/2013 02:20:51 pm

    Monique..I can still remember watching the television broadcast and the yachts on Sydney Harbour in 1988. Proud to be an Aussie

    Helen
    12/31/2013 05:23:00 pm

    I was in the City the day of the bicentenial with our 4 young children what a day loved it so many people it will stay with me forever 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

    Marcy Shuler
    1/1/2014 11:04:36 am

    I’m in the US so Australia Day is new to me. I have trouble picturing January 1st as being warm since I’m in frigid Michigan. LOL

    Susan Horsnell
    1/1/2014 11:45:25 am

    Hi Monique
    Great to read your post. We lived in Dee Why a few years back too, beautiful part of the world.

    Mary M.
    1/2/2014 05:27:10 am

    Interesting to hear everyone’s memories of Australia Day, a holiday we never celebrate here in Wisconsin. It does put me in mind of our Independence Day which is a nice, warm holiday to think about as I shovel round 6 of snow off the driveway….

    Karen H in NC
    1/4/2014 07:03:53 am

    Hope your holiday was pleasant. From the looks of the pictures, it was. Enjoy your hot weather. It’s the dead of winter here right now and it is bone-chilling cold! And my old bones don’t do winter so well anymore!

    Trix
    1/4/2014 07:26:08 am

    I still haven’t been to Australia, but it’s great to hear about the holiday!

    Holly Letson
    1/4/2014 07:26:52 am

    The beach looks very nice.

    Rita Wray
    1/4/2014 08:13:56 am

    I grew up in Australia and still have a sister and two brothers living there.

    Natasha Devereux
    1/4/2014 06:10:35 pm

    I don’t remember Australia Day as a child (50/60’s) or even much as a teenager. When the kids were small it was family picnics in Kings Park overlooking the Swan River and Perth or a day at the Zoo then 30 years ago there was this fantastic innovation called Skyworks and Australia Day burst onto the Perth scene – special events, shows, concerts, all one the Peth foreshore and at night the most spetacular fireworks display set to music – nowadays people come from all over the world the celebrate Australia Day in Perth ( http://skyworks.showmeperth.com.au/ ) I have attende many but when I moved to Mandurah (75km south of Perth) I discovered that my not so little new home town had a wonderful celebration of its own – Oz Day by the sea does it for me

    bn100
    1/5/2014 10:17:08 am

    Nice memories

    Chris
    1/6/2014 07:06:49 pm

    I think Australia Day has got more important, I remember being in the UK one year on Australia Day and it made me think of barbecues and beach in the middle of rain and snow, but now there are organised events which I think is great

    Juliee Fitze
    1/16/2014 08:01:11 pm

    I’m Canadian and had never heard of this before , would love to be at the beach in Jan. Going to go read up on this some more to check out what my cousins are up too.

  • Blog

    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop – Christmas by the sea

    12/21/2013

    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop Promo
    It is hard to grow up in Australia and not associate Christmas with the beach. Christmas means the start of the summer holidays. It means long lazy days by the sea. It means sunburn, barbeques and late nights sitting out under the stars. It means mosquito bites, sand in your swimmers and icy cold drinks.

    When we were kids we were fascinated by the idea of a white Christmas. All the television shows and movies had snow and mountains. People drank egg nog (what was that), built snowmen and sat by the fire.

    I suppose even now I think of a winter Christmas as romantic but seriously what can be more romantic than cocktails and prawns on the beach?

    In fact I fantasise about taking my family to a gorgeous island in the Whitsundays for Christmas not unlike the one that Cassie visits in Hearts Afire. (Of course it would be inappropriate for me to flirt with a sexy fireman while on vacation with my husband and daughter I know that).

    Hearts AfireIn reality my real Christmas looks an awful lot like one that Allegra from my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels might enjoy. I think it’s probably equally romantic. We will spend the day bobbing on our boat on Sydney Harbour while children jump of the back and we feast on prawns and turkey and ham (and of course some champagne!)

    I imagine if I lived in the Northern Helpisphere that would be a very exotic and romantic way to spend Christmas. In fact many young single visitors to Australia spend Christmas Day on Bondi Beach http://sunburntchristmas.com.au/

    I kind of like to imagine that somewhere in that crowd of people are two people who will find each other and forge a beautiful relationship…or will find each other, get separated and spend a while finding their way back together in the spirit of a true epic romance.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mr Right and Other Mongrels

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win 26 e-books and $100 Amazon GC.

    Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop PromoEnter here:

    http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/coastal-romance-christmas-hop.html

    If you leave a comment here and tell me about your most romantic Christmas or the destination you think would be most romantic you can win a copy of Hearts Afire and a $5 Amazon GC.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Comments

    Chanpreet
    12/21/2013 01:50:31 pm

    Oddly enough I think I’d enjoy a southern hemisphere Christmas more than my usual northern hemisphere one. I don’t like the cold although snow for Christmas can be overlooked.

    I love your thought of two people meant for each other meeting on the beach. That’s a beautiful sentiment.

    Mary McCoy
    12/21/2013 06:37:28 pm

    I would think that visiting Australia with my husband and relaxing on the beach would be romantic. We will be getting a total of 8+ inches of snow today, so I dream of a non-snowy Christmas!

    bn100
    12/22/2013 03:22:01 am

    think Paris would be nice

    Donna D
    12/22/2013 05:15:50 am

    I’ve spent Christmases in New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, The Netherlands, and Germany — all northern hemisphere — co Christmases have been on the cold side. Some have had snow, some ice {and that’s not a good thing!}, even some rain, as well as sunny and somewhat warm. And I’m not sure I could get in the Christmas ‘spirit’ if there wasn’t some cold temperatures leading up to the season. BUT, just once I’d like to spend a warm Christmas — maybe even ‘hot’ in Australia or New Zealand.

    Marcy Shuler
    12/22/2013 07:17:30 am

    I’ve never had a warm beach Christmas and I’d like to experience it, just once. Hawaii or Australia would work. The thought of prawns on the beach sounds romantic to me. While snow is pretty to look at it’s not as much fun to shovel or drive in. 😉

    Donna Newman
    12/23/2013 04:56:27 am

    I think Rome is a very romantic spot. I love Italy was there when I was a kid and would love to go back someday.

    Sherry Gloag
    12/23/2013 06:40:06 am

    I have friends in Australia and would love the chance to combing meeting up with them and a warm Christmas 🙂

    Linda Townsend
    1/1/2014 12:15:11 am

    I live in central Florida, so we have beaches that can be quite warm during the winter months… today is not one of those warm days… but it’s not cold either… My fav places for Christmas memories are the local theme parks. There’s so much to do at both Universal and Disney – most people just think of the rides but there is so much more! Thanks for the giveaway(s)!

  • Blog

    Jan 11-14 New Years Blog Hop

    1/10/2013

    New Years Blog Hop
    Hearts AfireWell hello there. I am participating in the IWU New Year Blog Hop this weekend.

    It runs from January 11-14 and by participating you can win lots of exciting prizes including:
    * A Kindle Fire
    * A $100 Amazon Gift card
    * 15 signed paperbacks
    * 30 e-books
    To find out what to do to enter visit the main site following the link below or by clicking on the logo above or in the sidebar.
    http://nyhop.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/iwu-holiday-blop-hop-december-10-14.html

    There are lots of wonderful authors across many genres participating. I hope you find a new favourite or two as you visit their many sites.

    Every author participating is also doing their own giveaway and I’m giving away an e-book of Hearts Afire.

    Simply comment below on this page to be eligible to win – simply tell me the most recent book you’ve read and you’re in the draw!

     

     

    Comments

    Crystal Young
    1/11/2013 04:08:39 pm

    Freak of Nature by Julia Crane
    Thanks for being part of this blog

    Stacy Green – Get Twisted!
    1/12/2013 12:03:47 am

    Currently reading Slices of Night by Erica Spindler, JT Ellison, and Alex Vaga. Very good.

    Tina M
    1/12/2013 05:21:06 am

    Release Me..Thanks for a Great Hop..Got to keep hopping!!

    Stacey
    1/12/2013 06:18:32 am

    Thanks for the stop 🙂
    Reading Worth the Weight by Mara Jacobs

    vera mallard
    1/12/2013 07:10:58 am

    hope I win the book, great hop

    Booksie
    1/12/2013 07:23:12 am

    The most recent book I’ve read is Down to You by ML Leighton.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    Jeannie Platt
    1/12/2013 09:39:55 am

    Thanks for being part of the hop… I read A tale of Two Djinns by Mina Khan.

    Merisha A
    1/12/2013 09:59:55 am

    Baby 6609 by J K Accinni 🙂
    Thanks for the hop!

    Ellen Thompson
    1/12/2013 11:17:16 am

    I am currently reading Gone Country by Lorelei James. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    beth c
    1/12/2013 12:06:09 pm

    thanks for the great giveaway! 🙂 i am actually in the middle of two books and could use a fiction break- ‘eating for beauty’ by david wolfe and ‘1-2-3 magic’ a parenting book! 😀
    happy new year! 🙂

    Ruth Chu
    1/12/2013 12:55:23 pm

    i am reading an ebook that is awesome but cant find the name it was connected to another book i was reading not sure if its the same one

    Lucinda Moebius
    1/12/2013 12:57:35 pm

    I recently just finished the Hunger Games series and am reading both Duracula and Les Miserable. I need a little light reading. EEEK

    Celia
    1/12/2013 01:27:20 pm

    Hi there, the most recent book I’ve read was The House (Heather Marie Adkins – also on the bloghop) and I can highly recommend it 🙂 Happy hopping! Bye, Celia.

    Kai Wong
    1/12/2013 02:04:29 pm

    I have just finished reading Resurrected (Deborah) and Restitution (Amy) by Fran Shaff. They are part of the Tender Mysteries Series.

    Shadow
    1/12/2013 02:51:30 pm

    Hi! Happy New Year! Thank you for the awesome hop and giveaway! 🙂 The most recent book i read was A Table For Three Lainey Reese.

    Suzy
    1/13/2013 04:23:38 am

    Corktown by Ty Hutchinson (another Blog Hop author)
    Thanks for the Hop!

    Jessica Crawford
    1/13/2013 01:07:19 pm

    I am actually reading the SparkPeople cookbook right now. It has way more in it than just healthy recipes 🙂

    Julie Oest
    1/13/2013 01:11:29 pm

    Just finished Carly Phillips’ Summer Lovin’.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Ashfa Anwer
    1/13/2013 08:56:57 pm

    I read Tempest by Julie Cross.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Crystal Craig
    1/14/2013 01:39:18 am

    The most recent book I’ve read was How to Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. 🙂 Thank you for this giveaway!

    kathleen yohanna
    1/14/2013 03:07:52 am

    I am reading “Chocolate Can Kill” by Annie Acorn.

    Tina M
    1/20/2013 04:11:54 am

    Who Won???
    Reply
    Monique
    1/20/2013 05:58:54 am

    The winner – chosen at random is Lucinda Moebius. I posted it a couple of days back…sorry you missed it!