• Blog

    Bag a bargain from the Upper Crust Series


    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner
    It’s release week for Any Way You Fight It book 3 in my Upper Crust series.

    It is always fun releasing a new book and you hope people enjoy it and support the book. To get you hooked, if you’re not already here are a couple of incentives.

    Any Way You Slice It, the novella that started it all is #free. Download it for a fun, fast read.

    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original Cover









    As a further teaser Any Way You Dream It is just #99cents. That’s a bargain. Books 1 and 2 for a grand total of #99cents.
    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
















    The easiest way to get them all in one place is to swing by my Amazon Author Page.

  • Blog

    Release time for Any Way You Fight It


    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
    Available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016LLTVJ2
    Finally it is release day for my latest novel in the Upper Crust Series – Any Way You Fight It.
    I’m so excited that this book is finally out there and available for readers. I really enjoyed writing this novel and I love the character of Cherie who was so supportive of her friends in Any Way You Slice It and Any Way You Dream It.
    This is a story about second chances and letting yourself take them. I hope you take a chance on this novel.

    It is available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016LLTVJ2
    And to celebrate the release Any Way You Dream It is only 99cents so grab a copy while you’re at it.

    Any Way You Fight It – Blurb
    Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates.
    After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy).
    Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past just might prevent Cherie from finding her happiness despite what her Nona’s visions predict.
    Can Cherie and Luke make peace with their pasts and look forward to a new life together? Or will this be the final good-bye?

    Extract from Any Way You Fight It
    “Right—I’m going to give you the abridged version.”
    “I’ll take whatever you offer,” she said.
    “Well, when I was eighteen I had a romance, I suppose you’d call it.”
    “Yeah if this was eighteenth-century England.”
    “Whatever,” I sighed. “And it was a secret. He knew, I knew, and one friend.”
    “No family?”
    “Nope, he wasn’t Italian, and I just didn’t want them stalking me and ruining everything.”
    “Makes sense. I never had that kind of family. I could have dated an axe murderer and my mom would have been happy I had a man, but I can see your situation was different.”
    “Yeah, so we had this lovely summer fling. And then he dumped me.”
    “Yeah, and he just left and didn’t say good-bye.”
    “That’s low.”
    “Yeah, it was. And it hurt and probably more so because no one knew so I had to act all normal and I couldn’t discuss it with anyone.”
    “So, you’ve never talked about it?” Her eyes popped wide.
    “I never have.” I took a fortifying sip of beer. “The thing is I date, I flirt, but I haven’t really met anyone who made me feel like that guy did.”
    “Wow. That’s a long time between boyfriends.”
    “Yeah, I went out with a couple of nice guys in college, one for almost a year, but that spark or whatever wasn’t there. And because of my parents’ whole ‘you can’t end up with someone who isn’t Italian’ attitude and because I haven’t met any Italian guys who lit that flame . . .”
    “You’ve stayed single . . .”
    “Exactly.” I sighed.
    “But now you’re ready to move forward, why is that? I mean I know that was big for you to tell me, but you didn’t tell me anything Piper couldn’t have handled.”
    “There’s more . . .”
    “Oh goody!” She clapped her hands.
    “Calm down, Glinda the Good Witch. This is hard for me.”
    “Sorry, but what’s changed? Is it because Piper and I have found someone?”
    “I think partly, but a couple other triggers have hit as well.”
    “I think we need fries for this part?” she asked, waving down the waiter. “Okay continue.”
    “First, although it didn’t happen first, my mother has waived the Italian rule. Apparently having a single thirty-year-old daughter who isn’t producing offspring means she has to compromise, so I’m allowed to date non-Italians now.”
    “That’s pretty huge for her.”
    “Yeah and for me. The thing is part of me is really resentful about it. I’m happy but I’m also thinking—now, why now? Why not ten years ago, five? All these years . . .”
    “That makes sense.” The fries landed and we each took one and blew it. We had years of experience and neither of us was stupid enough to burn our tongues now. I squirted ketchup in the corner of the basket. We liked to dunk or scrape our fries through not smother them. “On the other hand, better now than never.”
    “I know.”
    “So that’s good news for moving forward.” She snapped her fry and popped half in her mouth. “So, what was the other thing?”
    “I saw him again.”
    “Him? The guy from way back when?”
    I nodded. “The guy.”
    “Wow. Where? When? Who?”
    “Here. Last week. Luke.”

    “Holy shit, Cherie. Luke?” Lucy’s eyes were bugging out of their sockets.
    “Yep, holy shit.”
    “You dated Luke? He dumped you and then he walked in to this very bar years later?”
    “And we made you guys hang?”
    “And how was that?”
    “It was freaking weird.” That was an understatement.
    “He’s very hot; I can see why you had a fling with him. You have excellent taste.”
    “Thanks, I think.”
    “So, did you find out why he dumped you?”
    “I didn’t ask. It doesn’t matter. It’s old news. Seeing him again just proved to me it is time to get on with my life. It’s time to take a chance again, and now that I can date beyond the Italian-American community, I can find myself a Luke-alike.”
    “A what?”
    “A Luke-alike. A guy like Luke.”
    “Why can’t you just date the real Luke?”
    It did seem like an obvious solution but the real Luke was in love with his dead fiancée. I didn’t need to go into that.
    “The real Luke lives in New York and is emotionally unavailable. But I will admit he is hot, and apparently that kind of hot is my kind of hot.”
    “So you want my help to find you a Luke-alike?” she asked, finally putting the pieces to the puzzle together.
    “Chase must know tons of blond, buff babes who could maybe like me.”
    “Babe, anyone who doesn’t like you is an idiot. Have you seen yourself? You are gorgeous. And now you’re gorgeous and open to possibilities.”
    “I guess.”
    She clapped her hands again. “This is going to be so fun. Now I get to be the matchmaker.”
    I wasn’t sure how Lucy’s matchmaking skills were to be honest, but she was all I had. It did feel better to have told someone.

  • Blog

    How to Bake the Perfect Wedding Cake – Release Blitz


    How to Bake the Perfect Wedding Cake Release Blitz Promo Banner
    Gina HenningTitle: How to Bake the Perfect Wedding Cake
    Author: Gina Henning
    Series: Home for the Holidays #4
    Release Date: September 25, 2015
    Genres: Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
    Publisher: Carina UK

    A three-tiered cake. A groom to take. Here comes the bride!
    After an explosive 4th of July, Lauren Hauser is glad to finally be home with gorgeous fiancé Jack by her side. With only three months to go till their wedding, Lauren needs to get planning. But she can’t even choose a wedding dress, let alone a maid of honour!
    And with her job drastically taking a turn for the worse, the wedding quickly approaching and a blast from the past causing problems, Lauren feels like she’s losing the bridal battle.
    At least baking their perfect wedding cake together is something she and Jack, as award-winning bakers, are excited about! But when a surprise wedding gift arrives earlier than expected, suddenly Lauren must take back control of her job, her life and her wedding – before she says ‘I do’!
    Don’t miss the brilliant fourth book in the Home for the Holidays series from Gina Henning.

    The Home for the Holidays series:
    Book 1 – How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie
    Book 2 – How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake
    Book 3 – How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie
    Book 4 – How to Bake the Perfect Wedding Cake

    Goodreads Link

    Buy Links
    Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B013L2OI1U
    Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013L2OI1U

    Author Biography
    Gina Henning currently resides where bluebonnets line the highways in the spring, but she prefers the rock flower anemone from under the sea. Above the ocean’s surface Gina likes to dance with her three boys and travel to exotic places like the grocery store with her husband. Her pooch Schatzi is a mix between German Shepherd and possibly pig. One of Gina’s favorite pastimes is running. She recently completed her one-and-done marathon. At the end of the day her glass of wine is always half-full.

    Social Networking Links
    Website: ginahenning.com
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/photo/author/8034504.Gina_Henning
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinaHenningAuthor/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/henningland
    Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Gina-Henning/e/B00MLSEU14/

    How to Bake the Perfect Wedding Cake - Cover

  • Blog

    Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop


    Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop - Promo Banner
    Welcome to the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop
    Hearts Afire
    here we are on the first hop of the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop. Please stop by all of the stops on the hop this week (details at the bottom) and be sure to enter our competition to win copies of ebooks from all five authors on the hop.


    Character interview with Cassie Callahan from Hearts Afire.

    Let’s find out a little bit about Cassie and her wedding day.
    Were you nervous on the big day?
    Actually I really wasn’t nervous at all, I thought I was marrying someone who really got me. I guess that shows what I knew because my fiancé called to say he’d changed his mind on the morning of the wedding and he wasn’t coming.

    Then I was more mad than nervous.

    Did anything go wrong?
    You heard what I just said right? I was jilted on the day of my wedding. Still that actually wasn’t the worst thing that happened that day, believe it or not. I’m a caterer so I decided to cater my own wedding (okay in hindsight maybe not a great idea) and in all the fuss my sister left the stove on and the kitchen caught fire so the fire brigade turned up. I think the real question should be – did anything go right that day?

    Be honest were you a total bridezilla? (Or do you have a Bridezilla story?)
    It turned out was not even a little bit bridezilla, in fact my fiancé chose my wedding dress – maybe he was a groomzilla. Is that a thing? It should be. I am a caterer so I have dealt with my fair share of highly string brides so I think that made me extra anxious about not being one.

    Bridesmaids, how many is too many?
    Well I was only having two, my sister (more about her later) and my best friend Miranda. I think even one bad bridesmaid is one bridesmaid too many. I never wanted to be like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias…so many bridesmaids.

    You can’t have a wedding without family – how did yours behave in the lead-up to the wedding or on the day?
    I don’t have much family. My parents were killed when I was a teenager so it’s always been my sister and I…she set the kitchen on fire and then came with me on my solo honeymoon with me (may as well use the tickets). However she abandoned me on the honeymoon so all in all I guess my family didn’t exactly have my back.

    Are you still a believer in the happily ever after?
    You know what a funny thing happened since my botched wedding day. I’ve started to see that maybe I was with the wrong guy all along and that maybe the right guy isn’t too far away at all.

    Follow the Here Comes The Bride Blog Hop authors and enter our giveaway
    Monday – Monique McDonell
    Tuesday – Samantha March/ChickLitPlus
    Wednesday – Laura Chapman
    Thursday – Nikki Mahood
    Friday – Kathleen  Irene Paterka


  • Blog

    A day in the life of a writer in the digital age…


    Monique McDonell Upper Crust Series Banner
    So today has been kind of a crazy kind of a day for me but not all that unusual. It made me think about all the aspects of my writing life that don’t actually involve writing so I thought I’d step you through some of what I did.

    Just as an overview I have one book that is in edits for October release (Any Way You Fight It), one book that my BETA readers are reviewing (Any Way You Plan It) and one book I’m doing the rewrites on for the BETA readers Any Way You Want It.

    So here’s a look at what my day has looked like in no particular order:
    1. I woke up to my pretty new series banner for my series (see it above) so emailed my designer Erin and said thank you.
    2. Erin also had a draft paperback cover for me (books 1 and 2 together in a book) so I emailed her about that.
    3. Emailed my writing group for feedback on a paper back book cover for a combined Book 1 &2 and to discuss a possible book launch.
    4. Did my usual round of the Facebook author groups I belong to or run and commented.
    5. Had an email chat with a BETA reader on her thoughts about Any Way You Plan It.
    6. Replied to an email from my editor about the edits coming later today.
    7. Promoted a book on sale on several FB reader groups.
    8. Posted a book cover to Instagram.
    9. Lined up paid promo for Alphabet Dating for late October (the book is set during November so that makes sense).
    10. Replied to emails from my writing group about paperback cover and launch.
    11. Worked out paperback specs for book cover designer – how many pages affects the spine width.
    12. Set up a blog tour for Any Way You Fight It myself (running my own this time so emailed bloggers and authors I know).
    13. Emailed book covers to author for a blog hop I’m helping run next week – Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    14. Set up rafflecopter for the Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    15. Wrote author questions for Here Comes the Bride Blog Hop.
    16. Received edits for Any Way You Fight It and read through the basic feedback, replied to editor via email.
    17. Scheduled some social media.
    18. Wrote this blog post.
    19. Liaised with blog tour operator about scheduling a Facebook party for Any Way You Want It launch for November.
    20. Interacting on my various social media platforms with readers.

    Any Way You Want It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover
    Now I don’t do all this stuff everyday, but it’s not typical.

    Just have a quick look at that list – no writing has taken place yet, and no editing either.

    I have set myself the challenge of writing #1000wordsaday as regular readers know and so I still have to do that.

    There are things on my list I never will get to today. (I have had to work today, for my actual job, and it’s school holidays/vacation here so there are plenty of other distractions too).

    Anyway I thought it was an interesting exercise. I know there are plenty of people who wonder what I do all day and I wonder myself where the time goes. It’s true some days I clearly do stuff about, and some days I spend a lot of time writing or hours editing or planning.

    So if you wonder what a writer’s day looks like in the digital age, here’s an example.




    Pixel Peeper
    9/24/2015 04:54:50 pm

    Wow…I get tired just reading the list! Sometimes, we people with “regular” 9-5 office jobs are jealous of the “relaxed, flit-around-all-day, socializing” people who are self employed and we rarely think about all the very real work that is involved in getting a book out there – and does not involve actually writing the book.

    Looking forward to all your books!
    9/24/2015 04:57:55 pm

    Thanks Pixel…sometimes it’s good to get a look behind the scenes.

    Sandie Docker
    9/29/2015 11:54:44 pm

    Holy Cow! How do writers find the time to write?????
    9/30/2015 12:49:56 am

    I think finding the balance is vert hard Sandy 🙂

    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    9/30/2015 05:25:12 am

    Amazing we find time to write! I feel like copying this list and keeping it in my back pocket so that every time someone asks, “Is your book finished?” I can slam it down on the table and say, “Here. Read this. This is what we do in addition to writing.” Ha! That’ll quiet them.

    On another note, this list is proof of your professionalism and hard work. And the universe always rewards hard work! 🙂

    Item #21 Added this blog post to the Fiction Writer Blog Hop. (See? The work never ends. It just keeps going and going and going…)
    10/4/2015 07:57:21 pm

    I know, Julie. I’m sure people think I don’t do a thing all day but that just isn’t true at all for most writers these days, the writing is only a small part of the gig.

    Jayne Denker
    9/30/2015 06:14:38 am

    And folks think we just sit around in our pajamas eating chocolate and daydreaming! Well…we do that too, but not all the time. 😉 (For the record, I am wearing real clothes as I type.)

    Brea Brown
    9/30/2015 07:29:29 am

    Uh… yeah. Exhausting. Which is why I’m such a slacker when it comes to promotion and marketing (and why my sales are so lame, but… whatever). I just can’t make myself sacrifice that writing time to do the drudgery. Ah, well… Maybe someday I’ll rock both sides of the biz, like you do.
    10/4/2015 07:58:24 pm

    I’m not sure I exactly rock both sides of the biz but no one can say I’m not trying.

    Pauline Wiles
    9/30/2015 10:05:45 am

    I love day in the life posts, but actually this is a great example of all that “other” stuff which keeps us from producing new work.

    Barbara Barth
    9/30/2015 06:51:23 pm

    I’m exhausted from your list – but it is one to learn from, too. Love the book cover!

    Tracy Krimmer
    10/1/2015 09:23:35 am

    Monique, I adore the cover of your book.
    10/4/2015 07:59:19 pm

    Thanks Tracey and Barbara – it’s such a lovely cover isn’t it? I love it too!

  • 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!

  • Blog

    New Release – First & Goal from author Laura Chapman


    First & Goal Promo Banner
    First & Goal - CoverSet your lineups and pull out the old game tape—football is here. This year, you can experience fantasy football vicariously through (or commiserate with) Harper Duquaine in First & Goal by Laura Chapman.

    What begins as a way to make nice with her new co-workers soon becomes an obsession for Harper as she navigates the ups and downs of managing a fantasy football team. Add in a pair of meddling brothers, a crew of quirky colleagues, and a league-mate who makes her toes curl, and Harper’s football season has plenty to keep her interested.

    This new romantic comedy is now available from Marching Ink on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Join in the fun and cheer Harper on as she takes on the old boys club.

    If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Then beat them.

    About the Book

    When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).

    Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.

    With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

    Now Available

    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Marching Ink

    Laura Chapman
    About the Author

    Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and a forthcoming Christmas anthology from Marching Ink. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura is currently in pursuit of a fantasy football championship while penning her next novel.



    Connect with Laura

    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads | Blog | Website

    Or links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/lmchap

    Instagram – https://instagram.com/lmchap614/

    YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/lmchap

    Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7374940.Laura_Chapman

    Blog – http://www.change-the-word.com/

    Website – http://laurachapmanbooks.com/

  • Blog

    Moving forward and maintaining momentum on a Musical Monday


    To be a writer you need to write.
    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI haven’t been much of a blogger lately and my social media engagement had been down as well, I suspect.

    Sometimes I really fret about that stuff – you can’t sell books without an online presence if your books are sold almost exclusively online. You lose visibility and people forget about you, or so everyone says.

    On the other hand you can’t sell books if you don’t write. Without that stage you have nothing to sell. That’s a fact.

    For the last couple of weeks I’ve chosen to focus on the writing and not get quite so distracted by the business and promotion side. Who knows if that’s a good strategy or not but I do feel more energetic, more engaged with my characters and more enthusiastic about writing so those are all positives.

    Any Way You Fight It, Book 3 in The Upper Crust Series is off at the editor now and will have an October release. Any Way You Plan It, Book 4 in the series is with the BETA readers now and Books 5 and 6 are ready for reading too. And I have a Christmas and a Summer/Valentine’s novella ready for readers as well.

    I guess that means I need to take a little break from the writing and get back to the promotion and other aspects of the writing business because that’s what it is, a business. I already run another small business so I guess this makes me a entrepreneur, with two businesses on the go.

    Like any business this one has goals – I want to get those four Upper Crust and two novellas published by January, I want to get better at organising my promos and newsletter, I have sales goals and marketing goals and now all I need to do is maintain momentum. Yeah, that’s the hard part.

    This song came me into my head yesterday for some inexplicable reason…and it reminded me of Marissa and Mike in
    Any Way You Plan It…so here we go an old Australian ’80s classic by Jenny Morris for Musical Monday.

  • Blog

    I’m leaving my garret for #RWAus15


    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.

    If you’re American check out the Romance Writers of America

    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

    Author Pamela Cook stops by for a guest post – What’s all the Fuss About Rural Romance?


    What’s All The Fuss About Rural Romance?

    Rural Romance Novels

    Pamela CookAuthor Pamela Cook
    If you live in Australia and have frequented the book section of any of the big chain retailers (Big W, Target, Kmart) or even bookstores in the last few years, chances are you’ve seen quite a few covers featuring girls wearing hats, possibly on horseback and maybe with a windmill somewhere in the distance. What you have witnessed is the still growing phenomenon that is Australian Rural Romance.

    So what is this thing called Rural Romance, why do Australians love to read it and why is it still so popular?

    Since the queen of the ‘genre’, Rachel Treasure, first appeared on the shelves back in 2002, title after title has been published. And it’s not all about the romance – crime, suspense, environmental concerns, social issues, family relationships, history – a whole slew of themes are dealt with by writers who may or may not live on the land. Most of the novels being written do contain romantic elements, if not a straight romance narrative, and all of them are set in country towns or on properties hence the category, Rural Romance. Best selling authors in the genre include Fleur McDonald, Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, and Cathryn Hein to name just a few.

    At the time I wrote my first published novel, Blackwattle Lake, in 2009, I’d never heard of Rural Romance. But by the time it was accepted for publication (by Hachette) in 2012 the genre had become well established. And it’s popularity has continued to grow, which isn’t all that surprising given our cultural history.

    Australians have always had a love affair with the bush. Our literary heritage is based on the writing of Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Neville and a long list of other writers who used various country or outback locations as settings for their stories. The narratives were often about tough men and hardy women who braved the dangers of the land, overcame disasters and often faced death but finally succeeded. Today’s versions of those stories aren’t all that different. They appeal to our desire to see the underdog triumphing over adversity and to our love affair with open spaces where even those of us who live in the city find a sense of escape and freedom.

    The heroines of today’s Rural Romances aren’t the man-desperate-swooners many people associate with the back-in-the-day Mills and Boon titles. They’re independent, feisty, smart and have a lot going on in their lives which makes the romance side of their stories much more interesting. If they’re going to have a man in their lives he’d better be worth it – and that brings us to the heros of the genre. These guys are hot, sometimes brooding, but with a lot more to them than a six pack and a bare chest. And when the couples do finally get together the sparks fly – sometimes with the bedroom door open just a crack for the reader and often with it ripped right off the hinges.

    As I mentioned earlier the wide variety of ‘sub-genres’ within the Rural Romance category really does provide something for everyone. Whether you like your romance undiluted, or if you like to cross over into the realms of crime, mystery or history, you’ll find a story to suit your taste. Don’t be fooled by the covers – while the girl with the hat on the horse thing is a way of marketing the books to the target audience I’m sure there’s a lot of other readers out there who would really enjoy these stories if they gave them a try.

    Love, get-away-from-it-all locations, sexy heroines and heroes, interesting characters and page-turning storylines – what’s not to love about Rural Romance?

    You can check out who is who in the world of Rural Romance and browse the virtual bookshelves right here on this site: www.australianruralromance.com

    Happy reading!

    Close to Home - Pamela Cook - CoverClose to Home is Pamela’s latest release

    A compelling story of love, lies and loss in a small country town.

    Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for over half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between then haunting memories of her past and her dedication to the job.

    Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backward glance. But it also means relying on the kindness of strangers and, when she meets local park ranger, Joel Drummond, opening her heart to the possibility of something more …

    As tensions in the town rise, can Charlie let go of the past and find herself a new future in the place she left so long ago?




    Buy Links

    Booktopia: http://bit.ly/1LVW4pY

    Close To Home will also be available at Big W and your local book store.

    You can find more about Pamela and her novels at her website: http://www.pamelacook.com.au/



    8/14/2015 05:00:03 pm

    Hi! Monique and Pamela,
    When I arrived in Australia,I fell in love with the Outback after watching, McLeod’s Daughters. My pen friend said there are stories also and they are called Australian Rural Fiction.Got my membership at the local library and since been a huge lover of Rural fiction.The first book l read was Man Drought by Rachael Johns and The Farmers wife by Rachael Treasure.Rural Romance can take the reader on a journey through Australia. Love it.
    8/14/2015 05:17:21 pm

    I agree books are a great window to a country. Whenever I travel I try and read books set where I’m visiting. Rural romance is a wonderful way to explore Australia without actually having to hop on a horse or sheer a sheep…or even leave home.

    Pamela Cook
    8/16/2015 11:03:03 am

    I was a McLeod’s fan too Jessy! So glad you’re enjoying all the rural reads out there at the moment. Thanks for commenting and for your support.

    8/16/2015 11:34:36 am

    Your welcome, Pamela

    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    8/26/2015 10:34:10 am

    Oh my goodness. I’m hearing so much about Rural Romance but didn’t know about australianruralromance.com

    I’m going there now to check out some of the great titles…! 🙂
    8/26/2015 10:48:02 am

    Julie it is huge here…I think I heard 20% plus of romance books are rural romance when I was at the RWAus on the weekend…that’s a big chunk of the market…

    Sandie Docker
    8/26/2015 09:25:44 pm

    Rural Romance is SOOO big here in Australia. And not just in romance, in Women’s Fiction, any genre. When I was draft my synopsis for my current wip, my “editor” made the change from ‘In dusty Lawson’s Ridge…’ to ‘In outback Lawson’s Ridge…’ And guess what, the first person in the industry to read the synopsis made an ‘oohhh outback Lawson’s Ridge’ comment.

    Being a country girl (coastal country not outback), trapped in the city, I can fully get why stories about country town and country folk are so popular. God I miss the country!