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  • Blog

    Life’s a beach

    2/25/2016

    At least mine is…
    It’s summer in Sydney and I happen to live in one of it’s lovely beach areas. I’m not really a sun worshipper because girls with red hair (sadly) are not designed for that sort of activity – big hats, sunscreen and long sleeves are more in my wheelhouse but I love the beach.

    This week Travel Zoo released its list of best beaches in Australia and I was not surprised to find two of my favourites in the Top 10. As you’ll see Shelley Beach and Manly Beach are often in my photos.
    https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/TravelersChoice-Beaches-cTop-g255055-a_Mode.expanded

    Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my own more recent beach shots with you so you can get a taste of life her on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We have a small boat we like to explore Sydney Harbour on so I’m lucky that I get to photograph it from land and sea.

    I often go for a walk at the beach to clear my head when writing and when it’s not so hot (we’re having a heatwave right now) I also like to go and write down by the water.

    My most recent novels aren’t set here but both my first two both have scenes on the Northern Beaches – Hearts Afire just towards the end and Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a set in beautiful Manly.

    So enjoy the photos and if you feel the urge to escape to the beach via a book consider one of those.

    Shelley BeachPelican in the ocean

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Manly Beach WalkOcean Swimming Northern Beaches

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Monique McDonell and Husband drinking champagne at the beachCoastal Flowers

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Pittwater Northern Beaches

    Northern Beaches Headland Ocean View

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Beach View

    Northern Beaches Beach

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Blog

    Miss Chicklit 2015 – Celebrating Chicklit May

    5/10/2015

    Miss Chick Lit 2015

    Miss ChickLit May Pageant – featuring Miss Allegra Johnston from Australia.
    Introduction: “Hi, my name is Allegra Johnston, and I’m representing the Nation of Australia! I run a second-hand bookshop and I’m passionate about vintage fashion and saving the environment, so I’m saving the planet one retro dress at a time, right. My dream is to make sure everyone around me is happy and has plenty to read…and world peace, I’m all about world peace. Is that right? Is that answer okay. I have never actually seen a pageant because I grew up without television…did I do okay?”
    Allegra Holding Books Illustration
    Doris DaySwimsuit
    I’m a not a huge fan of swimsuits in general, which is kind of a problem for me as I live at gorgeous Manly Beach in Sydney.

    I do love vintage fashion and look at the delightful and perky Doris Day in this swimsuit. I have one just like this for the pageant. It’s demure enough that I don’t feel naked and it has all this amazing sculptural boning inside it. I’m a girl with a curvy figure and this sort of swimsuit is perfect for me.

    You’ll never catch me in a teeny weeny itsy bitsy polka dot bikini or even worse a crocheted one (my hippy mother still wears those in her fifties, heaven help me!). This however is a swimsuit I can feel comfortable in, and a little bit sexy.

    Talent
    My talent today harks back to my childhood. I’m doing an acoustic guitar medley of Joni Mitchell songs. My voice is sadly not as haunting as hers but I hope to capture her essence. I’ll be singing Both Sides Now, Big Yellow Taxi and I Wish I Had a River (to Skate Away on).

    Interview
    What unique thing have you done to help the environment?
    You may not be aware of this but I grew up on a commune so I spent most of my childhood building solar homes and organic farming – basically I had to build my own home and grow my own food or I didn’t eat. I’m not sure how unique it is but I haven’t met too many other kids who have done it.

    ***If you want to know more about me you can read about me in the novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0086L8NBS

    Sephora Gift Card
    WANT TO GO IN THE RUNNING TO WIN A BEAUTY GIFT CARD?

    The Grand Prize for this international drawing will be:

    US/Canada winner – $100 gift card to Sephora

    UK winner – £65 gift card to Lush Cosmetics

    Australia winner – $125AUD to Mecca

     

     

    How to enter: Answer this question in the comments below and LEAVE YOUR EMAIL so we can contact you if you win.

    What unique thing have you done to help the environment?
    A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Monday, May 18th.

    For more chances to win and to meet the other Miss Chick Lit Pageant Contestants visit these wonderful author pages:

    Comments

    Pippa Franks
    5/11/2015 12:43:25 am

    Great post Monique! 🙂 x

    Nicole Skalij
    5/11/2015 01:25:49 am

    ….hmm I recycle every week and use my com-poster to help my gardens.
    Reply
    Monique
    5/11/2015 11:27:49 am

    You need to leave your email to go in the draw Nicole.

    Whitney Dineen
    5/11/2015 01:57:57 am

    Darling!

    Celia Kennedy
    5/11/2015 04:27:14 am

    Loved this… brave to take on a whole nation. I think I need that swimsuit… but I have no musical talent.

    I became a Landscape Architect that specialized in ecologically friendly resort development (true dat)!

    Bethany Clark
    5/11/2015 04:50:30 am

    I really do not do anything unique per say, but my 5 year old is very in to recycling now and he shows me what to do every day!
    Reply
    Monique
    5/11/2015 11:28:52 am

    I love how earnest kids are. (You need to leave your email to go in the draw) You can leave it in this form if you prefer

    Catherine Lavoie
    5/11/2015 06:37:28 am

    Great post! 🙂 Love that Doris Day-inspired suit!

    Rachel
    5/11/2015 09:06:19 am

    I love the title of your book! can’t wait to read it

    Tracy Krimmer
    5/11/2015 09:18:22 am

    Great post!

    Glynis Astie
    5/11/2015 09:34:48 am

    Nicely done, Monique! I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Allegra again. 🙂

    Gina Henning
    5/11/2015 10:58:43 am

    I love “Wish I had a River” by Joni Mitchell and cute suit!
    Reply
    Monique
    5/11/2015 11:27:03 am

    That song always makes me mist up!
    Reply
    Monique
    5/11/2015 11:26:23 am

    Thanks everyone for the comments. I have a retro swimsuit similar to that which is black and white check…quite flattering.

    Monique McDonell
    5/11/2015 11:29:55 am

    TO BE ENTERED IN THE DRAW YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL…
    You can leave it as Monique (at) gmail.com if that makes you feel more secure.

    Danielle
    5/11/2015 11:53:34 am

    I’ve reused food containers to make holders for things like my makeup – floyddg@hotmail.com

    steven weber
    5/11/2015 04:28:36 pm

    I take shorter showers

    Tracie Banister
    5/12/2015 06:56:18 am

    Fun post, Monique! I think that Allegra and Willa (from my book, Twin Piques) would get along well since they both love vintage fashion!

    Jessica Meddick
    5/12/2015 07:06:56 am

    I recycle.

    shireen
    5/14/2015 07:45:48 am

    Hi,
    I self published a Meatless Protein Cookbook on Amazon encouraging people to eat less meat, to save on energy, land, and water.
    Thanks

    shireen
    5/18/2015 04:20:54 am

    I’m shireen, this is my comment, I’m adding my email address:

    Arielle
    5/14/2015 09:06:43 am

    I wish I could say that I’ve done something unique to save the environment but the only thing I can think of that I do is recycle. I do my best to recycle all paper and plastic products and have influenced my family to do their best to separate recyclable bottles and cans too. I’m open to some clever and creative ideas though!

    -Arielle

  • Blog

    Let’s talk character as place…literally…I’m talking

    1/3/2014

    Here is a little video I did last year down at Manly Beach. I’m talking about the beach or a place as a character.

    Manly BeachTo further illustrate the point…this is a picture of the same beach I took yesterday in the height of summer. The sun is brighter, the sky is a different shade of blue and it is a whole lot more crowded.

    I love using the beach and the ocean in my writing because it is so much a part of my day to day life.

    This beach is at Manly in Australia and features in my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

  • Blog

    Summer and the beach in my books

    12/13/2012

    Foot Print in the SandIt’s summer in Sydney. I love summer. I’m not really designed for summer what with the red hair and the pale skin and the freckles but I love it anyway.

    I love the smell of the ocean, walking along the sand, the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. I love the sounds the birds and the insects make. The cicada song is like a lullaby to me.

    What I realised is this love of warmer climates is reflected in both the novels I released this year. Allegra in Mr Right and Other Mongrels lives at Manly Beach and her life revolves around the beach quite a bit.

    In Hearts Afire Cassie and Jack find themselves on a North Queensland tropical island also getting some sand between their toes.

    There is something so freeing about sunshine and summer, I think it reveals a different side to people and certainly I think it does for the characters in both these books.

    Here are some of my favourite beachy photos from this year on the blog…just to warm up those of you in cooler climes.

    Sculpture by the Sea Manly
    Manly Beach rock pools
    Manly Beach

    Comment

    Pamela Cook
    12/13/2012 10:05:43 am

    Thanks for sharing the beach pics Monique. Hopefully we’ll get a decent summer this year and be able to get out there and enjoy it!

  • Blog

    Some photos of places in Mr Right and Other Mongrels

    6/23/2012

    Manly CorsoIt’s been a busy Saturday here in Sydney. It was a cool day but gorgeous and sunny. Now it’s a freezing night.

    I’m having a fun weekend reading through my next novel, Hearts Afire, which I hope will be released in August. As an extra bonus I’m also editing an annual report as part of my day job.

    With that in mind I thought today I would go with some pictures rather than quite as many words. I’ll do a photo run soon and get a few more location shots.

    In Mr Right and Other Mongrels the main character Allegra lives above her bookshop in Manly on a street that runs off The Corso.

    A street that is in fact quite a bit like the one on the left. Can you see her bookshop…it might be tucked in there somewhere on the left.

     

    Manly Corso - Surfection
    This is Manly Corso. The Corso, as it is known is a paved plaza or walkway that runs from Manly Wharf on the Harbourside of Manly down to Manly Beach. It’s lined with shops and restaurants and full of tourists who pour off the ferry on sunny days.

    Manly Beach
    And this is Manly Beach (Admittedly this won’t win me any photography awards -it was a rather drab day when I took this and the surf is terrible.) Allegra runs along the beachfront from here around to that headland.
    Hopefully this photos give those of you have never seen Sydney what it’s like in this little corner anyway. I’ll add more photos in the next

    Comments

    Pamela Cook
    6/23/2012 07:43:55 am

    I can picture the lovely Allegra wandering through the corso and running along the beach. Look forward to the next installment.

    Julie Anne Lindsey
    6/23/2012 11:29:11 am

    Love the photographs. I can’t wait to read this book LOL

    Betina Miller
    6/23/2012 12:06:30 pm

    I’m about 1/3 into your book (I’m a slow reader…lol), and I enjoy seeing the pictures. I’m waiting for you to post more!
    Reply
    Monique
    6/23/2012 12:12:26 pm

    I absolutely will Bettina. And now that it’s sunny I’ll be able to capture the true vibe of the places alot better.

    JessS
    6/25/2012 07:45:45 pm

    I have seen Sydney before, but do they have these markets at Manly near the Corso? I went once and got a really pretty necklace made of this cool cork stuff but I can’t quite remember where it was.