• Blog

    Holiday Wishes Romance Giveaway – enter today!


    Holiday Wishes Romance Giveaway Promo
    December 5-25
    A Sleighful of Prizes and Video Holiday
    Greetings from the Authors!

    Come listen and watch as some of your favorite romance authors give you their best wishes for the holiday in a special video! To celebrate the season, they’re giving away a grand prize package that includes a Kindle Fire, 6-months of Kindle Unlimited, and a $20 Amazon gift card. Santa also has a bag full of runners-up prizes, including gift cards and ebook prize packs.
    Still want more? Check out the fantastic reads in the Holiday Wishes All Romance Genres Book Fair, and play the Scavenger Hunt Game for your chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!

    (This giveaway is sponsored by the authors listed below)

    Allyson Lindt • Amanda Uhl • Angelica Kate • Anne McClane • C.A. King • C.D. Gorri • Crystal Dawn • Danielle M Haas • Debbie White • Diane Benefiel • Elizabeth Rose • Elsie Davis • Emmanuelle de Maupassant • G.K. Brady • ID Johnson • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • JC Andrijeski • Jina Bacarr • Joanne Dannon • Josie Riviera • Judith Sterling • Karen Michelle Nutt • Kat Drennan • Kat Samuels • Kerry Blaisdell • Keta Diablo • Kristy Tate • Laurel O’Donnell • Liz Durano • Maria Elena Alonso Sierra • Melissa McClone • Michelle Jo Quinn • Mona Sedrak • Monique McDonell • Naomi Bellina • Penelope Wylde • Ravyn Wilde • Regan Walker • Rhondi Ann • Samantha Keith • Sara Beth Williams • Shana Gray • Sofie Darling • Soraya Naomi • Stormy Legend • Tammy Andresen • Victoria Saccenti • Zoe Dawson • Aileen Harkwood

  • Blog

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


    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

    December a month of self-doubt


    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

    Time flies and you can’t get it back…


    NaNoWriMo 2015 Participant BadgeSo, wow, I just thought – I must do a blog post and honestly I had no idea it had been so long. Short of when I take a vacation this may have been my greatest blogging dry spell since I began.

    For those couple of readers who wait with baited breath (What does that even mean – breath that smells like bait – ah no thanks, have a Tic Tac) I apologise.

    I guess I got busy doing #NaNoWriMo which I did win/complete and then I just got distracted. Sometimes I feel blindingly efficient and then I look around and I think I’m the least competent human on the planet. I’m sure the truth lies firmly in the middle.

    And sometimes life doesn’t go to plan – like the computer just ate half this blog post for a start…that really doesn’t help.

    Anyway, we’re all just doing the best we can. So my November release will now come out in December and that bumps everything back a month but at the pace life moves it seems more important to be present for people than meet an arbitrary deadline because you never know.

    I’ve spoken to several people who have lost people they loved this December and I think that gives you perspective – people need out time and our attention while we can give it to them…if a deadline is bumped or a blog post or two skipped….that’s probably just fine.

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

  • Blog

    December – a month of madness downunder


    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

    Memories of holiday’s past – the first of the holiday posts this December


    Christmas Star DecorationIt’s funny how, when you sit down to ponder your own holiday experiences, you can be so overwhelmed by memories it becomes hard to decide what to write.

    I consider myself a pretty lucky person because I have celebrated Christmas in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving (Although I’m not American), I’ve been invited to Hanukah celebrations and I’ve even celebrated several Muslim holidays.

    We all think the way we celebrate is “normal”. Doesn’t everyone have a White Christmas or Christmas on the beach, for example. We think our normal is the normal. Celebrating different holidays with different people shows you there is no such thing as normal.

    Even better it shows you there are many, many ways to celebrate.

    When I was a child Christmas looked like this. Wake up in the stinking heat (about 5am if you were me) and do presents with my immediate family, then head to Mass. Next stop family friends for drinks. By noon we were at my father’s family for a long, lovely lunch with pudding, Christmas crackers with the bad paper hats, cheap toys and jokes and lots and lots of cousins. Back in the car and off to the next place for dinner, that was my mum’s side. Repeat the lunch part fo the day, right down to the menu just add different relatives. Finally load into the car again and drive south from Sydney, through the Royal National Park to my grandparents beach house. Anyone exhausted yet?

    One of my favourite Christmas memories as a kid is that my mother would let us have whatever we wanted for breakfast. My sister would choose chocolate custard. I varied my choice a bit – one year it was strawberries and another bacon and eggs. You have to admire someone who did that before the epic day laid out above.

    As an adult my husband and I replicated this huge day trip model until our daughter was three. That was about ten years of married life. Our “best effort” included waking up at our beachside flat, driving to my parent’s house in Sydney’s North, lunch back in the Eastern Suburbs and dessert at my in-laws in a coastal town over four hours north of Sydney. (That was actually a really great Christmas even it might not sound like it!)

    No wonder we ran out of steam! No wonder my favourite day of the year is Boxing Day. My Boxing Day looks like this. Wake up late and eat leftovers all day. Lay in the hammock, drink the leftover alcohol and read a book (My husband always gives me a new book for Christmas). Heaven!

    Once we decided to do my family one year and the in-laws the next our Christmas has developed it’s own rhythm. One Christmas, we were home for lunch because we had family dinner, I asked my daughter what she wanted for lunch. Her answer was party pies. So we had a platter that consisted of prawns, smoked salmon, cherries and party pies – it’s still her favourite Christmas meal.

    As a writer I love reading about how other people celebrate holidays and create their traditions which become their stories. That becomes their normal.

    Mince Party Pies

  • Blog

    I finished (won) NaNoWriMo and other news for the festive season


    Verve Clicquot ChampagneWell I am very happy to say that I have completed my NaNoWriMo novel with a few days up my sleeves (not that I have sleeves as it’s kind of warm here in Sydney today).

    It’s been a busy month in my corner of the world and so I feel particularly pleased that I managed to reach this goal this year. One of the reasons I enjoy the process of NaNoWriMo so much is that it gives me a huge sense of accomplishment at the pointy difficult end of the year.

    (I didn’t really crack open the Veuve last night though I did have a wine or two but I have so many Christmas gatherings lined up that I’m not worried that I won’t get my fair share of champagne).

    So onwards, time to get back to the business of being a writer. Writers in the modern age have to balance their desire and love of writing with their need to market and promote. This is true for all writers not just indies. I’m sure many of those writers you see on panels at festivals, signing books in shops or being interviewed would in fact rather be at their desk escaping into their own made up world.

    As part of that promotion I have a couple of fun things happening in December.

    1. I have lots of lovely authors stopping by with holiday posts and doing guest blogs, so make sure you keep an eye open for that.

    2. I’m involved in this Coastal Romance Blog Hop if you want to stop by and win a $100 gift card and 26 e-books for Christmas this is your chance….you should visit the blogs of every author for more chances to win- many are doing their own give away as well!

    Meanwhile don’t forget that you can send people a gift of a book direct from Amazon this Christmas. My books are only $2.99 which makes them an inexpensive way to brighten someone’s day. They’re all available at my Amazon author page!!