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  • Blog

    Let’s get festive – an advent calendar full of gorgeous Christmas reads

    11/29/2019

    Every year author Elizabeth Ellen Carter collates this gorgeous Christmas Advent calendar and I’m exited to be part of it once again.

    Want to discover a new Christmas book every day this month…then this Christmas calendar is for you? Twenty four fabulous festive reads.  You can’t click until the day rolls over in your timezone…look out for some books by me, my lovelies.

    Don’t forget that I have lots of fun and excitement happening on my Facebook page in December so pop on over there regularly this month and join in the reindeer games with me.
  • Blog

    Musical Monday – or what’s your earworm Monday?

    10/19/2019

    Musical Monday
    I’m the queen of the earworm. I was just singing one of my regulars and my husband said “you haven’t had that one in a while”. Some people have recurring dreams (Me as well) and I have recurring earworms.
    Here’s the song in question – I’m pretty sure he wanted to leave me the week I watched the movie Dumplin’ on Netflix. I’m not known for singing the whole song of even getting the words right. Let’s be honest – I annoy myself. Anyway, you’re welcome my friends.

    I don’t know that I would describe myself as an optimist but I sure do try and get up in the morning and find the joy in my day. Right now I’m feeling good about my book like. I’m part of a box set – Romancing the Holidays – that comes out Nov 1 but you can pre-order it now and it’s doing pretty well. I also have a new cinnamon bay novella out for Christmas – A Christmas Arrangement – and it’s also on pre-order so I’m on track for my 2019 goal of releasing 12 books this year.

    Romancing the Holidays Box Set Preorder Promo
    A Christmas Arrangement - Cover
    Meanwhile, just like everyone I have things going on in my real life that give me pause. That of course influences my “musical stylings”. Who are we kidding I have no musical style. I like what I like and that’s that.

    I’m known for my ability to cry in any situation and I just had a cry to this song. I don’t know if music helps or hinders my ability to cope some days but music definitely touches us in ways nothing else does. I just heard this one and had a good cry.

    Still I’d rather have a happy ear worm than a sad one. I haven’t got the time or the enrgy to be crying all the time. Cryings is nothing if not exhausting so I’ll leave you with my happy earworm that stays with me if I hear it on the radio. Fun fact I’m not a big Justin Beiber fan but I love everything he does with Ed Sheeran.

  • Blog

    An advent calendar for lovers of romance novels – a new discovery every day in December

    12/2/2018

    It might just be me, but I happen to think this is a super cool thing for Christmas – an interactive advent calendar where every day there’s a new giveaway. Your kids can have a chocolate a day but you get to enter to win prizes and books

    Every day between December 1 and 24 (in your local time zone), the numbered door will open with a message and a gift.
    If you’ve come to the calendar part way through the month, fear not! It just means you get to open lots of doors all at once.
    This amazing calendar was set up by Elizabeth Ellen Carter and I’m thrilled to be included.

    The Elizabeth Ellen Carter and Friends Advent Calendar…open a door today!

    Advent Calendar Toolbox  ·   Powered by Pixabay
  • Blog

    Coastal Christmas Blog Hop – Sunshine, Christmas and Cosmos

    11/26/2017

    Coastal Christmas Blog Hop Banner
    – CLOSED – The winner of my giveaway is Lesley Walsh – Merry Christmas and congratulations.

    As an Australian, one of the biggest challenges I face in the festive season is the heat.

    I know my Northern hemisphere readers have their own challenges but they don’t have to cook a turkey in a heatwave, they don’t have to panic because they can’t fit everything in the fridge and they certainly don’t have to worry about the roof of their gingerbread house sliding off because the icing has melted.

    One the other hand they don’t eat cherries and mangoes for breakfast, they probably don’t wake to the sound of cicadas singing and their Christmas morning probably doesn’t involve a trip to the beach to test drive new flippers, or a surfboard. Our Christmas traditions are no less important but they are well less known.

    If an American came to Australia they’d likely have a fish out of water Christmas My novella – Snowbound is the story of an Australian girl Zara who finds herself stranded in Colorado for Christmas and she throws herself into all the activities a White Christmas would entail. It’s a really fun read and I’m giving a copy of Snowbound and the Romancing the Holidays 2 Box Set to a lukcy reader randomly chosen…just comment below and tell me your favourite cocktail.

    My own family has a lot of traditions. We put our Christmas tree up the weekend before Christmas because someone (yes-that’s me) insists on having a real tree and if we get it too early t would die before Christmas. We always drive to the local Scout Hall and but our tree from the Scouts. (Two years ago I had the cutest Girl Guide sell me my tree and before she did so she leaned in close to the tree, listened to it’s trunk and said “This tree chooses you!” I feel like that child and I should have been life-long friends.)

    Another thing my family does a lot at Christmas is entertain. We love having people over. We have a huge party the weekend before Christmas for fifty to sixty of our closest friends. I think we’re up to maybe out thirteenth one now. Think lots of kids, an outdoor movie, water pistols and ridiculous amounts of food. (I’m famous for my over catering). I do a baked ham and the classic Australian sausage sizzle, we do spaghetti and meatballs for the kids, my husband makes paella and there’s a make your own ice-cream sundae bar for the kids. It’s big crazy, chaotic fun and we love it.

    Every year I make a signature cocktail. I’ve done a few over the years and the best on yet was a champagne comsopolitan…how could that not be amazing? Champagne and a cosmo in one cup, has to be awesome!

    Here’s my recipe:
    Champagne Cosmopolitan

    250ml (1 cup) cranberry juice
    2 tablespoons Cointreau liqueur
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    6 sugar cubes
    750ml pink Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
    Frozen cranberries to decorate (optional)
    Step 1

    Place cranberry juice in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

    Step 2
    Combine the cranberry juice, Cointreau and lime juice in a small jug. Place a sugar cube in each serving glass. Pour the cranberry mixture over the sugar. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine and serve immediately. Throw a couple of frozen cranberries in each glass to decorate (also helps keep it cool).

    Don’t forget to enter to win the Grand Prize of on the Coastal Christmas Blog Hop and enter my giveaway for a copy of Snowbound and Romancing the Holidays 2 by telling me your fave cocktail!
    Romancing the Holidays Box SetSnowbound - Cover

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Comments

    Elizabeth Ellen Carter
    12/4/2017 03:23:10 am

    That is definitely a cocktail to try this summer! Thank you Monique!

    Brooke Bumgardner
    12/4/2017 12:02:15 pm

    That cocktail sounds delish! I love raspberry peach bellinis. Also, I love your Girl Guide story.

    Susanne
    12/4/2017 03:42:19 pm

    Love the sound of that cocktail! Always on the lookout for a new recipe to try!

    Mary Preston
    12/4/2017 06:38:17 pm

    Thank you for the delicious sounding recipe.

    Renaye
    12/4/2017 07:32:01 pm

    We enjoy satsuma vodka-tini made with fresh mandarins and cranberries😊
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:06:34 pm

    That sounds yummy!

    Victoria
    12/4/2017 07:56:30 pm

    Your recipe sounds amazing, I’ll definitely be trying it out 🙂

    Carla Caruso
    12/4/2017 08:51:16 pm

    Yummo! And such gorgeous book covers 🙂
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:06:57 pm

    Thanks Carla.

    Jenn J McLeod
    12/5/2017 01:30:18 am

    Yum. Tipsy just reading that post!

    Robin Thomas
    12/5/2017 01:43:38 am

    That sounds delicious! My favourite cocktail is a Tom Collins – which is an American one made with lime and vodka. And the glass should have a frosted sugar edge.

    Ann-maree Howarth
    12/5/2017 02:20:45 am

    I love Salted Caramel Baileys that you can mostly only get at Christmas time.

    Rose
    12/5/2017 09:09:48 am

    For Christmas we love Poinsettias. Champagne, Triple Sec and cranberry juice with cranberries in the bottom of the glass.
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:07:32 pm

    Yummy!

    Lesley Walsh
    12/5/2017 09:39:40 am

    I love Bailey’s and ice
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:08:05 pm

    In my new Jewel Sisters series the sisters drink quite a bit of Bailey’s on Ice.
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/25/2017 07:56:07 pm

    Hi Lesley,

    You’re the winner of my books…email me at mcdonellmonique@gmail.com with your email and I will send them to you.

    Suzanne Cass
    12/6/2017 12:39:35 am

    I love a real Christmas tree for Christmas. There is absolutely nothing compares with the smell of a real tree

    Joye I
    12/7/2017 12:21:01 pm

    I love a good Margarita

    sandy haber
    12/7/2017 02:45:11 pm

    I could use one of those right now — thanks!
    Reply
    Monique McDonell
    12/7/2017 03:08:42 pm

    I won’t tell anyone.

    Debbie Martin
    12/9/2017 11:25:53 pm

    I love to make mint jelups in silver jelup cups!

    Suzannah
    12/10/2017 01:21:58 pm

    Well, I don’t drink alcohol however I do love a cranberry spritzer. Sprite and cranberry juice mixed. It’s lovely.

    Deborah Sisk
    12/11/2017 05:27:24 pm

    Thanks for the chance. The recipe sounds lovely.

    Lori Raines
    12/11/2017 07:05:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

    Laura Boon Russell
    12/15/2017 12:47:50 am

    We need to take something to our friends for Christmas. I’ve decided your cocktail is it!

    Kara Vaughan Marks
    12/18/2017 09:41:37 am

    Your cocktail sounds great. I’m a margarita girl, but something different and special is fun for the holidays.

    Nancy Luebke
    12/23/2017 05:10:16 pm

    Sorry, I used to like singapor slings but my health doesn’t allow me to drink those kind of drinks anymore. My splurg now is Root beer or a Strawberry shake. Usually it’s just ice water. Happy Hollidays from Indiana, USA.

  • Blog

    Time for an update on my writing life

    9/29/2017

    Long time no blog…
    Jewel Sisters - Something of a Spark - Original CoverIt seems like it is ages because I’ve done any blogging here in earnest and I suppose that’s because it is. Since I went back to work last year I seem to have less and less time to do all the fun extra parts of my writing life.

    I like blogging because I like writing but it gets pushed aside in the favour of the need to actually write the books, which is logical enough I suppose but still not idea.

    I’ve had this blog going for over five years now, so I don’t want it to feel neglected. Like everything else I just need to get myself organised and get it done.

    As I write this Something of a Spark, the pretty cover of which you see to the left, is off with the editor (out later this month) and I am busily working on book 2 in the series, Something to Sing About.

    Writing a new series has been fun, I’ve been doing the Upper Crust series for a while now and even though I love it some of the fun for me is meeting a whole slew of new characters and I can do that with a fresh series.

    I am working on the eighth book in the Upper Crust Series and I will be writing a spin off series in 2018 so I’m not done with those characters yet.

    The new series takes place between Australia and Nashville with a bit of Napa thrown in for fun. I have a cousin in Napa, I wonder if I can visit her in the name of research?

    I also have a book coming out for Christmas in a multi-author box set. I haven’t done that before so fingers crossed it is a good experience for me, because I’m signed up for another one next year as well.

    This is a tough business so I’m always looking at new ways to reach readers so hopefully the box sets help.

    If you really want to keep up to date with my books your best bet is to follow me on Facebook or sign up for my newsletter…that’s where all the real secrets are revealed.

  • Blog

    Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop (time to win some festive prizes)

    12/8/2016

    Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop 2016 Promo
    Today is my day for a stop on the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop

    Today I’m participating in the Holly Jolly ChickLit Hop. That means you have the chance to win a $10 Amazon Giftcard (so you can buy some fabulous chicklit books I hope). All you have to do is stop to my website, sign up for my newsletter and HOP back to FACEBOOK and tell me what type of Christmas tree you get real or artificial. TOO EASY.
    (existing subscribers can also enter)

    Don’t forget to comment on Facebook after you subscribe!! https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueMcDonellAuthor/

    Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop 2016 Promo

    Make the holiday season even merrier by discovering new reads from some of today’s best chick lit and romantic comedy authors during the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop on Facebook.

    Here’s how it works: every day from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 16, readers are invited to hop around to more than 60 authors’ Facebook pages (with about five stops each day) to receive gifts and enter to win prizes.

    Here is the schedule, which includes the list of authors posting each day and links to their Facebook pages in case you’d like to give them a “like” and follow along:

    MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
    MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13
    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14
    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15
    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16

     

    We will also give away several Amazon gift cards as bonus prizes on the event page. Every day that you participate and leave a comment on the main post for the day, you will be entered into the drawing to receive the prizes. Be sure to check back every day to maximize your chances!

    Happy Holidays to all and to all some fabulous reading!

  • Blog

    December a month of self-doubt

    12/16/2015

    Hearts Afire and Mr Right and Other Mongrels Paperbacks and Christmas DecorationsTime to remember social media is the ultimate holiday brag letter…
    It’s December – the month of celebrations and candy canes. The month of Christmas trees, tinsel and tears.

    Yeah you read that right – tears. It’s the month that people want everything to be perfect and it just plain isn’t. Not because it’s December but because life just isn’t perfect. Not in any month of the year actually but there’s something about the holiday season that has us craving perfect.

    And doesn’t it just look like everyone else is doing it right.? I mean everyone.

    Perfect trees, perfect kids, perfect freaking holiday cookies. Their relatives seem to turn up in matching outfits looking calm and full of cheer. Their kids never bitch and moan. Their husband doesn’t give them a dust buster (and you know they have a husband…everyone has a husband, kids, a holiday home and matching outfits at Christmas right?).

    Oh and then they start reflecting upon the year that was. The raise, the promotion, the climbing of Everest, the losing of the ten kilograms and their new ability to tango.

    And so maybe you were already feeling a bit flat – you’ve lost a loved-one, a job or a dream this year. You have to go to the in-laws and you want to go to your family (sorry even when we love our in-laws this is a BIG bone of contention for many), the Christmas angel you’ve had since you were ten is missing and your burnt those goddamned Christmas cookies (and I’m not even going to mention the gingerbread house) and then you look around and see everyone else’s life and it looks PERFECT.

    So I have one thing to tell you. This is a lie.

    Remember those bragging Christmas letters you used to get? A perfect family’s year condensed into a page? Remember those. Back when I had a small child and had struggled with infertility I advised a friend who was then struggling NOT to read the letters that year. “Don’t do it to yourself.”

    Well social media is the eternal Christmas brag letter and you need to know that. Those perfect Instagram selfies – remember someone worked hard to find one good shot. Those Pinterest handmade gifts – only the well-lit successes make the cut and Facebook, well no one shares a photo of the kid melting down on Christmas morning. No one.

    People think social media brings us together, and it does in some ways, but it also tears us apart, inside where they demons live. This is our fault too. When you share a perfect photo of your dog in antlers and you get 59 likes. If you say you’re feeling low – no comments, no likes, no one reaches out. We like using social media to create the illusion of connection because mostly we just talk about ourselves – just like in that Christmas letter – but it’s only a true connection if you actually reach out to people in a responsive way.

    What’s the point of this post? Be kind to yourself. Step away from social media and go be social. Phone a friend. Meet someone for coffee or lunch or cocktails, especially if that someone is having a tough time.

    And remember – you do not have to read the Christmas letter.

  • Blog

    Merry Christmas 2014 – thanks for the support

    12/23/2014

    Monique McDonell Books and Christmas Decorations
    This is just a very quick blog post to wish all those who have supported me in 2014 a very Merry Christmas. To those who buy my books, read my blog, leave book reviews or interact with me on social media I say a huge THANK YOU.

    My life is richer for knowing you.

    I wish you peace, love, happiness and laughter this festive season.

    May the end of 2014 be filled with joy and books.

    Here are a couple of my favourite Christmas songs… both are Australian …have a wonderful Christmas.

     

  • Blog

    December – a month of madness downunder

    12/9/2014

    Sparkly Reindeer BathmatWe all know December is nuts with the holidays. Here in Australia it is even a little nuttier.

    A random list of reasons why.

    1. It’s summer so it’s hot. Running around like a crazy person is even harder in the heat.
    2. The kids finish the school year. All the end of school things that happen in the Northern hemisphere in Jun happen here in December. Concerts, presentation days, dinners, end of year sports parties – all happen now.
    3. Most Australians pack up for their annual vacation or as we call them holidays and leave the office on Dec 24. It’s usually about January 7 before the country is back in full swing. That means everyone is trying to get everything done before they head off.
    4. Christmas and the summer break mean that everyone wants to catch up with you in December. This is a lovely tradition but people you haven’t seen since May simply must catch up before Christmas. We’re a drinking nation so basically you eat and drink your way through a hot December.

  • 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)!