• Blog

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


    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:



    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

    How to get unstuck in 2016 – stop being the glue


    Coffee and NotebookA new year, a new notebook.

    Some people hate the blank page, but not me. In life, I love a clean slate and as a writer there’s nothing I like more than starting a new project. I know writers that find all that white space staring back at them scary, but not me. I love it.

    I have a girlfriend who says she’s not a finisher and I think I’m the same. We love to start new things. We love the project. Writing that report at the end, not so much. The handover to the client, not really. Formatting and getting the book out, not exactly.

    I love a new project and I love a new notebook. I get the same on each year in a different colour and I’m on my fourth version of the ones I love now (not the one in the photo). One for every year in a rainbow of colours. They’re a record of my writing life and my life in general – it’s a shame I have the handwriting of a serial killer and no one else will ever decipher them. The fresh notebook symbolizes a new opportunity, a chance to write things anew

    If only it were that easy in life.

    2015 wasn’t a great year for me. I’ll be honest with you it was pretty blah. Flat, flat is probably the best word. (Please let me note I know I’m an incredibly lucky person. I live in a safe and beautiful country and I happen to live in a spectacular part of it. Nothing bad happened to me or my family this year for which I’m extraordinarily grateful.)

    Still, it was a year of waiting, or marking time. Not much new happened. It felt stagnant. I felt flat.

    And here’s the really interesting thing about that, from a personal point of view, no one much noticed. I was quite lonely this year, melancholy for some of it and frustrated for much of it. And no one much noticed.

    There are a couple of reasons for that beyond people having busy all-consuming lives.

    We all play roles in life that’s a fact. There’s a reason there are archetypes and stereotypes in stories because we recognise those people. We know them, heck, we are them. One role I’ve played for a long time is I’m the go-to girl. If you have a problem I’m the one you call. I listen, I help, I step up. People like that.

    Most of us have that person or if we’re lucky, several in our lives. Those people are the glue. They hold together families, friendship groups, workplaces. They babysit, they make you food, they call and ask about your sick mother or your job interview or your broken heart.

    It’s amazing however, how little it works in reverse. Somehow you can be the go to girl but not be the come to girl. (Mon, what does that even mean?) It means people don’t come to me to check on me. They assume I’m fine. They don’t ask otherwise, they just roll with that assumption because it the easy way. First of all they genuinely want to believe I’m happy and cruising along and secondly if they think that then they don’t have to do anything.

    And some of that is my fault as well.

    “She’ll reach out if she needs me.” Yeah, no she won’t. Or probably she won’t. Some people aren’t wired that way and if it takes you three days to call back, if you don’t return texts, if you get on the phone or sit down at lunch and start talking about your own drama the go-to girl is wired to assume your needs are greater.

    So there’s that. So if you have a go-to girl or guy in your life I suggest you make 2016 the year you check up on them just a little. Instigate the contact, it can’t hurt after all.

    And then there’s the second reason – social media with all it’s smoke and mirrors. Liking someone’s Facebook post is not the same as sending them a text. And texting, while convenient, is no substitute for an actual phone call. We all rely on these quick and the easy tools to check in with people way too much – I do too. (If you know me you know I love Facebook and I quite like Instagram as well I’m not dissing them.) We see a photo of someone and their dog or their hamburger and we feel connected to them, as if we know what their day was like. We don’t see the mess in the kitchen or the fight they had with their teenager or their crisis of confidence. Of course none of us post pictures of that stuff.

    That means however that we’re basing our relationships on assumptions and not reality. We have the illusion of connection without the real deal.

    So what does this mean for me? I guess it means in 2016 I have to stop being the glue. I have to stop helping other people to hold it together at the expense of my own needs. Hence the title of this post, I need to stop being the glue to get unstuck.

    So time to open life’s new notebook – the new year – and get writing my own story in a more interesting way.

    (If you’re reading this and you know me for real, in the real non-cyber world. This is a blog post about me and my reflections on the year gone and the year ahead – it’s not about you or how I feel about you.)


    Pamela Cook
    12/31/2015 10:08:39 pm

    A very honest post Mon. You are so right about people hiding their real feelings and life situations. We all do it. And you are so right about social media being a superficial connection. I think we all rely on it now because it is easier and quicker but it doesn’t provide the depth of connection a phone call or face to face catch up does. After my experiences in 2015 I’ve promised myself to make more effort in the ways I connect with friends and family – more meaningful conversations and taking more time to be together. Enjoy your new notebooks and I hope 2016 is a better year for you. x
    1/1/2016 02:22:42 am

    As you know I love me some social media Pam. I just think we need not to rely on it as our only point of contact with the important people in our lives…and we all do it. A new year is a good time to reflect on these things.

  • Blog

    Social media questions you were too embarrassed to ask – Part 1. What the heck is a #hashtag?


    Question Mark SlantedIf you have some experience on social media you might be sitting at your desk thinking – “Seriously who doesn’t know what a hashtag is?” And that’s why this is the first in my series –
    Social media questions you were too embarrassed to ask.
    The truth is social media has it’s own rules and language and if you’re not across them the whole idea of participating in social media is daunting. The language of social media is dominated by terms and language and many, many acronyms and abbreviations that confuse people.

    I’ve met lots of people lately who are new to Facebook, don’t “get” Twitter, think Instagram is for young people and have no idea clue what in the known universe Pinterest is. Some of these people want to know but feel silly when they ask and some of them NEED to know but can’t get simple answers.

    I’m going to do a series of simple blog posts that help answer some of these questions. These are questions that people ask me in real life and I try and explain in simple language.

    So let’s get started.
    What the heck is a #hashtag?
    Here is my simple explanation – if the internet is a giant encyclopedia then the #hashtag is a way to look through the index of knowledge and find something.

    If you are on Twitter or Facebook for example and you want to look up pandas you search #pandas (see just pop that hashtag in front) and you will find all the posts by people who have used that hashtag ie people who want to share their panda info with you.

    See what I did just here and what I found (such cute pandas)
    #Pandas Screenshot
    And it works the same way on Twitter.

    On Twitter people also use #hastags to follow certain things that interest them. Kind of like putting a bookmark in that encyclopedia so you can find new information. Here’s a picture of my own Tweetdeck page (Tweetdeck is a platform to look at or sort Twitter information). As you can see each column represents a #hastag.
    Twitter Screenshot
    So that’s it…a #hashtag is a way to categorise and look for something on social media.


    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    9/30/2015 05:11:30 am

    Excellent explanation! It really is that simple. A hashtag is a way of indexing topics. And, boy, is it a great tool for searching! I find all kinds of gems searching topics by hashtags.

    Jayne Denker
    9/30/2015 06:12:17 am

    I feels ya–my mom, a senior citizen, is completely disinterested in anything internet-related, but sometimes she’ll ask a question about it, and I have to wrack my brain to figure out the simplest explanation so she’ll be able to grasp the concept. Great explanation of those pesky things! (In my day it was a number sign! *insert Simpsons pic of newspaper with headline ‘Old Man Yells at Cloud” here*)

    Lee Ann Howlett
    9/30/2015 08:50:57 pm

    Nice and easy explanation! I find myself making up my own hashtags constantly on Twitter to draw attention to a tweet. As a former librarian, maybe it’s in my blood to want to categorize or index everything. 🙂

    Tracy Krimmer
    10/1/2015 09:22:49 am

    So, hashtags. For the longest time I *despised* when people used them on FB. IMO they were meant for Instagram and Twitter. Now when I do takeovers they are awesome. Hashtag in the event #Krimmer1 or something for each giveaway at the end of the post and you can easily go back and find your posts 🙂
    10/4/2015 07:53:37 pm

    That’s an awesome tip for takeovers and FB parties and #hashtags…I really hate that searching through for winners of prizes the next day!