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  • Blog

    Don’t Mean a Thing Blog Tour with Renee Connoulty

    12/11/2016

    Don't Mean A Thing Blog Tour 2016 Banner
    Don't Mean a Thing - Renee Conoulty - CoverRenee is a debut Australian author who I was lucky enough to meet in person at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference this year. I hope you enjoy her novel – Don’t Mean a Thing.

    Title: Don’t Mean a Thing
    Author: Renee Conoulty
    Series: Got That Swing #1
    Release Date: November 2, 2016
    Genres: Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy, Women’s Fiction
    Publisher: Kindred Ink Press

     

     

    Summary

    What if you finally took the lead, but life refused to follow?

    Thirty-year-old introvert, Macie Harman, has finally found a career she is passionate about, and after months of training, she’s begun her new job in the Royal Australian Air Force. Leaving behind her family, friends, and the life she knew, Macie has travelled to the other side of the country where the only person she knows is Rachael, the extroverted girl she went through basic training with. Everywhere Macie goes, Rachael is there too.

    While looking for a way to widen her circle of friends in her new town, Macie discovers a local swing dancing class. The jazz music captures her heart, and Matt, the sexy swing dancer, sweeps her off her feet. Matt has claimed the tropical Northern Territory as home and has no plans to leave. He loves his teaching career with its predictable routine and has a great bunch of friends. All he wants now is the right girl to make his house a home.

    Military life is tougher than Macie expected, and not everyone can deal with the inevitable separations and last minute changes. Is this exciting but unpredictable life something Macie wants to fight for, or could she give it up and put down roots with Matt?

    Renee Conoulty
    Author Biography

    Renee Conoulty is an Australian Air Force wife and mother of two. Her debut chick lit novel, Don’t Mean a Thing, is now available through Kindred Ink Press.

    When she’s not devouring books, reviewing and blogging on HeySaidRenee, or writing her own stories, Renee can be found swing dancing. Or possibly napping. She tweets about reading and reviewing @HeySaidRenee and about writing, military life and dancing @ReneeConoulty, but hasn’t created a handle for nap talk yet.

    Sign up for Renee’s monthly newsletter for her highlights on blogging, reading, writing and life. http://eepurl.com/bPay5r

    Book Links

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32219339-don-t-mean-a-thing
    Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4RFBS6/
    Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M4RFBS6/
    Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B01M4RFBS6/
    iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1171945608
    Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-mean-a-thing-renee-conoulty/1125165298?ean=2940157140847
    Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/don-t-mean-a-thing
    Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/678344

    Social Networking Links
    Website: http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au/
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14782154.Renee_Conoulty
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReneeConoultyAuthor/
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/reneeconoulty
    Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/Renee-Conoulty/e/B01M2CTMXS/
    Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/bPay5r

  • Blog

    A tale of two shoes (or the writing shoes)

    12/11/2015

    Put one foot in front of the other.
    Shoes
    Once upon a time there was a writer who was lucky enough to make some lovely friends. She joined some writing groups and organisations and met lovely writers from around Sydney, across Australia and even around the world.

    One day she took a plane to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Freemantle. She shared the journey with one of the lovely girls in her writing group. When they went to get dressed for a pirate themed cocktail party that evening, the writer realised she had brought with her two flat black shoes that didn’t match; a left shoe from one pair and the right from another. She had a decision to make.

    Would she walk with a tilt all weekend or get new shoes.

    She really didn’t want new shoes but she went to the Freemantle Markets and a nice lady there sold her some super soft ballet flats made from goat leather (Yes goat, sorry vegans). And she walked without a tilt all weekend (at least before the cocktails) and for the next two and a half years every time she wore those shoes she thought of the conference and her writing friends and what joy that brought to her life..

    Then on a sunny December morning she headed into the city for her end of year writer’s lunch. She realised she had been in this writing group for ten years now and it was with love in a heart and a spring in her step that she slid the shoes on, her writing shoes and headed out.

    It was a beautiful lunch with gorgeous friends that turned into cocktails beside sparkling Sydney Harbour.

    And then the heavens cracked with lightning and thunder and the last remaining writers ran through a storm to get to the station and our writer and her shoes were soaked. Each shoe contained a small lake at the ball and when she walked she could feel it wash over her toes.

    “How delightful!” She said. feeling anything but delighted by this turn of events as they laughed their way to the train.
    And when she climbed into the car, where her delightful husband was waiting, she knew for certain her writing shoes would never recover and she sighed. And for a brief moment she was sad.

    Then she reminded herself better to have good memories and a story but no shoes, than perfect shoes, no new memories and no story .

    Monique McDonell and other writers at RWA 2015 lunch

    View of the Harbour Bridge and Overseas Passenger Terminal Sydney

    Cocktails

  • Blog

    I’m leaving my garret for #RWAus15

    8/19/2015

    The truth is I don’t have a garret. I know dear readers you are all very shocked by the news. I also don’t own a beret and I don’t smoke elegant cigarettes in long holders or drink copious amounts of rum while I write. (Good news on the last two because I might well be dead if I did – though I don’t mind a wine in truth when writing some of the sexier scenes).

    Even without the garret I do spend large chunks of time tucked up at home alone with my characters. Now, even though my characters feel like real people to me when I’m writing them, even I know that they’re not. Real people laugh and tell jokes and wear fancy dress costumes. Yes you read that correctly, fancy dress costumes. I know this because I’m heading off to Melbourne for the #RWAus15 or the annual Romance Writers of Australia Conference.

    This year I believe that means that along with just shy of 400 other delegates I will descend on the Park Hyatt in Melbourne for three days of writing, reading and learning my craft. It is in fact the largest writing conference held in Australia. I’ve tried to work out how many I’ve been to and I do believe this is my 6th or maybe 7th (non-consecutive conference).
    Monique McDonell All Books Promotional Card
    If you don’t know about the RWA and you write then you should pop by their website and learn all about them.
    http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/1/Home

    If you’re American check out the Romance Writers of America
    https://www.rwa.org/

    The conference brings together traditionally published writers, indie authors, fledgling writers, publishers, agents and other industry professionals for a weekend of fun and knowledge.

    I was at the RWA a couple of years once and I happened to run into a journalist who was doing a story on the conference for a local paper and she was blown away by the kindness and positive energy of the event. I know everyone thinks almost 400 women (There are a few men) man that must be witchy but the opposite is true. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more supportive group of people.

    So I’m packing my bag, my business cards, my fancy dress costume and my enthusiasm for a weekend that I hope will be filled with friendships old and new, lots of laughter and hopefully some inspiration too. I would pack my beret if I had one, maybe they sell them in Melbourne…

  • Blog

    Writing on Wednesday – 5 ways not to feel isolated as a writer

    4/7/2015

    Photo Booth Pictures - Photo booth fun at RWA 2014!We all have the image of the starving writer, sitting in an attic on the Left Bank of Paris, wearing a beret and living on coffee and red wine.

    The truth is most writers would be starving if they only write for a living and most can’t afford to get to Paris so they’re living on mac and cheese or Vegemite toast (and coffee and red-wine) in their country of origin. That image is correct in as much as writing is a lonely and generally solitary existence and people who talk to the characters in their head for fun can get a little bit nuts.

    Lucky for us in the 21st century there are lots of ways to write and curb the loneliness are isolation.

    Here are five suggestions for anyone starting out or anyone just sitting at home pulling out their hair strand-by-strand.

    1. Join a writers’ group
    The truth is a writers group is the very best way to connect with other writers. It seems like a really scary thing to do and it takes courage to leave your home with your precious novel, poem or play and go share it with complete strangers and it is. On the other hand these are people who love writing, love reading and know exactly what you are going through.

    So how do you find a writer’s group in your area?

    In Australia every state has a Writers Center and there are also several regional centers. They host writer’s groups and they have lists of groups you can join and get in touch with. (Check out my Writing Resources page for a few of them).

    There are also wonderful writing organisations that offer writing groups and critique partners such as The Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of Australia. Find a group and take a chance.

    Not every group is a good fit for you, but don’t be put off if the first one you try isn’t right. Your people are out there.

    2. Attend a writers’ conference and oragnisation
    The first time you attend a writers conference is terrifying but the opportunities you gain far out-weight the vomit-inducing fear. Every weekend all over the world there are writers conferences taking place. Some are genre specific, which is perfect for many, but lots are not and there really is a conference for everyone.

    Not only will a conference help you feel less alone because you will be surrounded by writers you will learn new skills, hone your craft and make friends. Of course you won’t make friends if you hide in your room mainlining coffee so go mainline coffee in the breakout rooms.

    I know lots of people who have met their best friends, writing partners and literary soul mates at writing conferences. You could too.

    Even if you don’t do a conference first off most writing organisations offer great workshops, newsletters, online resources and other opportunities for you to work on your craft and be in contact with others.

    3. National Novel Writing Month
    This is an event that takes place every November where like-minded people across the globe all endeavour to write a 50,000 word novel.

    There is a vibrant online community you can join who will help encourage you, plug plot holes and answer your research questions. More than that they hold local events such as write-ins, overnight parties and other gatherings. You can meet writers in your genre and in your hometown. That’s got to be a good thing.

    4. Facebook Groups
    Social media is supposed to be social. Those cat and dinner photos are fantastic but that’s not really the idea. There are thousands of Facebook groups just for writers and they’re a great way to connect with others. Whether you write chicklit, speculative fiction, historical romance or thrillers your tribe is out there on Facebook wanting to help you. Do a search and you’ll be surprised who you find.

    NB. Some groups can be full of trolls (though that hasn’t been my experience) so just read for a few days before diving in if that is a concern for you.

    5. Twitter
    Do you love a #hashtag? Well, then your people may well be on twitter. There are lots of very popular hashtags where you can connect with others. #amwriting, #amreading, #amblogging for example. Most writing groups have their own as well. If you’re twitter savvy you’ll have no trouble finding a hastag where you can connect with people.

    These are just five very easy ways. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them.

  • Blog

    Recovering from #RWAus14 and Musical Monday

    8/10/2014

    It’s Monday and frankly I am exhausted. That’s not a great way to start the week but I am tired for a good reason. I spent from Thursday to Sunday at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference. I really love the conference. I find it overwhelming, exhilarating, exhausting and inspiring.

    RWA2014 Conference SwagHigh Tea

    Photo Booth PicturesMonique McDonell and conference guests

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Champagne GlassCoffee and Bag at RWA Conference 2014

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Some of the highlights this year for me included:

    * Marie Force talking about her indie publishing success. I also attended her reader event in Sydney which was really lovely. (If you don’t know who Marie is she is an amazing author who has sold over 3 million e-books in the last couple of years.)

    * James Scott Bell’s really wonderful talks.

    * Jim Azevedo from Smashworks talking about trends in e-publishing (10 loves a 10 point plan).

    * Catching up with wonderful friends from my writing group and other friends whom I seem to only get to see at the Conference each year.

    Here are a few images from the weekend. They’re kind of random. I really should have taken more photos.

    Musical Monday today is an old school choice. The conference has a great after party where we dance the night away and so for all those writing queens and goddesses I have chosen this classic.

  • Blog

    Preparing for RWAus2014 and Musical Monday

    8/3/2014

    RWA2014 Conference SwagMy swag for the conference.
    So this week I’m off to the RWA in Sydney. I’m really looking forward to this year, probably more than any in the past simply because I feel like I have gotten to know people over the years and so I’m far less worried about being a Nigel-No-Friends this year.

    That’s of course a common fear for anyone attending a conference like this and has more to do with oneself than anyone else. Most people on the whole are very friendly and welcoming at these events. There is the odd frosty type, and of course you get that in any crowd. Sometimes those people make for the funniest stories but I’ll never tell because “what happens at conference stays at conference as they say”. Anyway, I just figure those people are shy and don’t want to make friends so it’s time to move on.

    Anyway, to help out anyone new to the whole conference whirlwind here is an old Conference post on Pitching and the Conference.

    http://www.moniquemcdonellauthor.com/blog/-thoughts-on-pitching-how-does-a-pitch-work

    And of course if you are attending please come and say hello if you recognise me.

    Here are two of the hilarious and confusing things about meeting people at writers conference:

    1. Authors don’t look like their author pictures in real life. In fact they often look like the best version of themselves in author pictures (or even the best version of themselves ten years ago) and that person who introduces themselves in fancy dress at a cocktail party isn’t going to be looking like that.

    2. Lots of authors use pen names (especially romance authors). So the person you know as Melody Smith online might be called Melissa Smythe-Jones in real life. Confusing much?

    So people look different, have different names and may be in fancy dress – it’s not at all confusing now is it? Having said that after one leaps those hurdles (did I mention the Have Chick Lit Will Travel Box set is racing up Amazon in the Sports category) everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming.

    And for Musical Monday because it’s the Romance Writers Conference here is a song about kissing. I’ve loved this song since the day I heard it.

  • Blog

    Let’s link up

    8/21/2013

    Hearts AfireToday I’m going to provide you with some chat and then some links to places I’ve been mentioned in cyber space this week or places I think might interest you.

    As you know I was at the Romance Writers of Australia conference on the weekend. One attends a conference like that for a variety of reasons including professional development, the opportunity to pitch to agents and publishers and as well as networking with other authors.

    I did pitch on the weekend so I need to get busy preparing my submission while busily prepare to launch my next indie title.

    It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people who want to talk about writing and books. (What could be better?) It’s also a chance to put faces to the many writers you meet on Twitter, Facebook and via blogs.

    Now I’m home it’s time to link up. I need to e-mail people, find their Facebook author pages and follow them on Twitter before I do what I did last year and misplace all those lovely business cards I’ve collected.

    Speaking of linking up here are a few links where I’ve been mentioned around the web this week.

     

     

    The lovely Cindy Roesel wrote this lovely piece about Mr Right and Other Mongrels on her blog today.
    http://cindyroesel.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/and-they-live-happily-ever-after.html#.UhVs9KF–P9

    My friend Pamela Cook who I travelled to the RWA with did a great blog post yesterday about our travels.
    http://pamelacook.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/riding-the-waves-my-wrap-up-of-rwas-2013-conference/

    And I understand my novel Hearts Afire has been nominated at Indie Author News for favourite indie book for September here. If you liked it and would like to vote for it this is the link.
    http://www.indieauthornews.com/p/top-50-indie-books.html

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – why chick lit is like French Onion Dip, in a good way!

    8/19/2013

    French Onion DipI’ve recently returned from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Perth. Even though I’m Australian Perth still is a long-haul. (Did you know it was the most isolated city in the world? Probably not.)

    And do you know what is more isolating than being in Perth?

    The answer is -being a chick lit author at a romance conference where ‘everyone’ says chick lit is dead, especially when you don’t believe it is.

    Especially when you must answer the women at the conference, not the publishers or the powers that be, but other authors when they ask you what you write.

    “I write chick lit but that you can’t call it chick lit that you have to call it women’s fiction,” said I.

    And they said “Why?”

    And I said. “Apparently no one reads it anymore. I was told that last year and the year before too.”

    And to a one they say “But I love chick lit.”

    It’s a conundrum to be in a room where you’re being told what you write is out of fashion and yet you’re surrounded by people who say they like it. It’s harder still when you love it yourself.

    Chick lit was like the French onion dip of the conference. It’s not very trendy, you won’t see it on a menu anywhere because it’s been pushed aside by hummus and guacamole and even beetroot dip but still there’s barely a woman who when left alone with some French onions dip and crackers won’t take a bite. Not only that she’ll have another dip. She may even find herself embarrassed by the fact that she ate the whole bowl and loved it.

    She may even find herself grabbing a small tub at the supermarket next time she’s there because she forgot how much she really enjoyed it and how much she had missed it.

    Now she may not serve it up on Saturday night (or in the case of the book, recommend her whole book club reads it) but she will enjoy it.

    I think that’s chick lit right now. It’s not widely available or celebrated but people do like it. It’s not trendy but people still read it.

    You know why that is? To my mind at least, it is because chick lit books are about women trying to find themselves in this crazy world with the help (or hindrance) of friends their friends, family, co-workers and lovers.

    That’s also the story of every woman who was at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference. They were an amazing, wonderful, vibrant group of women who were busy making new friends, building careers while trying to balance family and work. They were trying to find their way, where they fit in and how they could move forward on their journey.

    I didn’t hear anyone talking about their own boyfriends or lovers or needing men to complete them. They were talking about their jobs, balancing that with their families and trying to become their full and happy selves (or happier because there were some gloriously happy people in that room).

    That’s why I believe chick lit (and French onion dip) can both survive because we enjoy them and they are a part of our own stories, even if we may not always admit it.

    (If you would like to come over for a Jatz cracker, some French onion dip and to borrow a book, do let me know!)

    6 Comments
    Deborah Nam-Krane
    link
    8/19/2013 08:35:15 pm

    I would totally come over for crackers and dip if you and I lived close by!

    And I think that’s it exactly- chick lit isn’t dead, but it isn’t trendy like it was a few years ago. Oh well. I think the same can be said for certain kinds of mysteries- and yet people still read them.

    Keep writing what works for you- the internet is filled with stories of writers who started writing to be trendy and are miserable.
    Reply
    Ainslie Paton
    link
    8/19/2013 08:50:20 pm

    Nice one, Mon. Don’t they say, don’t write to where the market is because it will have moved before you get there? Well, that.
    Reply
    Louise Wise
    link
    8/19/2013 11:49:15 pm

    Grrrr it annoys me when I hear people (usually literary snobs) say chick lit is dead. Of course it isn’t. Give me onion dip over the hummus any day!
    Great post!
    Reply
    Anne R.Allen
    link
    8/20/2013 02:20:12 am

    Chick lit is alive and kicking her stilettos! It’s just got to be called rom-com now. But with a new Bridget Jones coming out this fall, I think chick lit will be able to speak its name again. Some people do hate it. I’ve got a troll attack on my bestselling chick lit boxed set right now. People keep giving it one stars because they say my heroine is stupid. No. People who don’t understand an unreliable narrator are stupid. And you could say that of every comic heroine from Lucy Ricardo to Bridget Jones. But they’ve knocked me down to three stars, so I guess they think they’ve killed chick lit.
    Reply
    Monique
    8/20/2013 08:53:23 am

    I don’t understand why some people see the need to spend their time in destruction when to be productive and creative (like us) is so much more rewarding.
    Reply
    Monique
    8/20/2013 08:52:16 am

    I agree you have to write what you enjoy and you have to write the story you want to write and hope it finds it’s audience.

  • Blog

    Saturday Chat – conference prep, pitching etc

    8/9/2013

    Today it’s a sunny Saturday in Sydney.
    This time next week I’ll be at the RWA Conference in Perth. I’m so looking forward to it. I’m helping with the newbies a couple of times so you may see me wandering about in a Pirate’s hat. If you do, come and say hello.

    One think people can do at Conference is pitch to a publisher or agent so I thought I’d bump this blog post from last year that explains the pitch process.

    Pitching

    I think I’m about ready for conference…I have my fabulous new postcards. I almost have my outfits planned. I’m going with my writing buddy the wonderful Pamela Cook so it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. it’s Pam’s first conference and my fifth I do believe.

    I’m looking forward to catching up with some lovely authors I’ve met at previous conferences and also online.

    There are lots of great workshops – let’s see if I can finally master Scrivener. Fingers crossed.

    Meanwhile I’m just plugging away on Building Attraction which will be out soon. Have a great Saturday (I have to take my daughter to netball and then we have her birthday party – what fun!).

    Monique McDonell All Books Promotional Card

    Comment

    Pamela Cook
    8/9/2013 11:00:23 am

    Looking forward to it Monique. Hoping you can show me the ropes. 🙂

  • Blog

    Friday catch-up

    1/31/2013

    Hearts Afire PaperbacksIt’s Friday afternoon here and absolutely pouring with rain. I mean bucketing down.

    I had an author Q&A planned for today but I did something dumb and popped the file somewhere safe on my computer so I woudn’t lose it and then…lost it.

    So you get a little ramble from me.

    My writing efforts this week have been a bit dismal. A long weekend and my daughter starting high school (Yr 7 for you American readers) just threw me off-kilter. I did also have some of my day job to catch up on.

    If it rains all weekend I might easily make up all that lost time.

    The program for the Riding the Waves, the Australian RWA Conference came out today. It’s in Perth. Flying from Sydney to Perth is a lot like flying from New York to L.A. It takes about as long. I’ve never really been to Perth. Well, I did go for a work induction once but all I saw was the inside of an office building.

    I was planning to skip RWA this year and go to L.A on a research trip for the sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels but somehow after lunch with author Pamela Cook on Wednesday to discuss our writing year I came home having agreed to attend. That means I will now simply have to do both trips.

    I guess I better get working on my day job with greater ferocity (might need to get some extra clients) and get some more books out into the universe as well!

    Have a lovely weekend. It’s good reading weather where I am, I’ll say that for the weather.