• Marlin Shores series
    Blog

    Looking back on 2021 and towards 2022

    Wow, that’s a wrap on 2021 and I can’t say I’m sorry. I thought I’d kick off looking back on 2021 and towards 2022 for my writing life.

    The year started with my father going to hospital on the first and honestly it’s been a mixed bag since. I lost the first two weeks of January and I was playing catch up for months. (An excellent lesson in not being so last-minute).

    I do try to find the good, so here we go:

    Marlin Shores series

    1. I released Saltwater Tears and Saltwater Wishes in the first quarter of 2021. I love these stories and the town of Marlin Shores – I have ideas for some more stories set there.
    2. I finished my Upper Crust Series with Any Way You Wish It – there may be a spin off trilogy, we shall see.
    3. I released 7 shorts for one pen name in the first half of 2021. That was a lot of fun and that pen name taught me a lot!
    4. I walked away from a couple of writing commitments that were no longer brining me enough joy for the time invested. (This was huge for me!)
    5. I went to Melbourne in May for a week long intensive with a fellow writer and I got all my admin done and that hard work tripled my income in 2 months.
    6. My co-author and I released 6 novels and a list building novella between June and December for our shared pen name. This pen name has been a source of both joy and success for me and the highlight of my year in so many ways.
    7. My March release for a new multi-author series is already written.
    8. My newsletter building/free novella for another new pen name is already written.
    9. I joined two writing groups here in the Newcastle/Hunter region and made lots of new writing friends.
    10. I started doing plotting consults for Love Kissed Promotions and that’s been lots of fun and super interesting.

    Next year:

    1. I have a new release in March.
    2. I will put together a box set for the Marlin Shores trilogy in the first half of 2022
    3. I’m launching a new pen name in March and plan to release 4 books for that name in 2022
    4. I’m expanding my online paperback store to include more of my newer titles in January/February
    5. My co-writer and I have at least 10 books planned for our shared pen name
    6. I’m on the schedule to speak at RWA (Australia) in August about surprise surprise, Launching a Niche Genre Pen Name. (I don’t know that I’ll get to go with border issues, but I’ll cross my fingers)
    7. I’m hoping to go to 20booksvegas – an awesome writing conference I made it to in 2018 and for obvious reasons didn’t get back to.
    8. I’m rebranding a couple of my series
    9. I’m hoping to get my business Indie Author Rescue running properly so I can assist more authors (I do know how to finish a book, manage my time and launch a book that much i certain)
    10. I know it will be my best year yet!

    I hope you have big plans for 2022, do share them with me.

  • Writers on Wednesday
    Blog

    Let’s talk about making friends as an adult…

    Reflection and life advice at the end of 2021

    So a little context here if you’re new to my blog – in late August 2020 (yes, already a tough year, and if I’m honest, my 2019 was already a doozy for me personally) my husband got transferred for work. We packed up our life,friends rented out our house (which needed more than a little TLC before we could do that), we found somewhere to live and moved to Newcastle, located about 2.5 hours north of Sydney (depending on traffic).

    We lucked out on a great apartment, and my husband went to work. As a writer who also does some professional consulting, I gave myself the rest of the year to adjust and went to work writing…or recovering. It was a brutal move.

    It was the suddenness, I think, combined with the fact that we’d built our house and our college aged daughter had never lived anywhere else. Although I never believed she’d permanently live with us again, our new home was not/is not her home. She has no friends here and no emotional connection to the place.

    Layer on the fact that we’re not people who whine and I’m a big believer in making the best of things. Our photos of the local beaches or the view from our balcony made our new life look awesome. And there’s nothing at all wrong with it, but it wasn’t home and the friends I’d spent a lifetime making were not around the corner.

    Let me be frank, I consider making friends very important. I always have.

    My New Year’s resolution every year includes – make a new friend.

    At every job I start, or every new hobby or activity I commence, I make it a goal to make a new friend. Sometimes I just make one. Sometimes I make many.

    I don’t lack for friends. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by the number of people I needed to put on my list and include for my last significant birthday, I took a vacation instead. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

    I have high school friends, college friends, mother’s group friends, tennis friends, P&C (PTA friends), bookclub friend, writing friends not to mention the aforementioned work friends – it’s probably lucky I worked alone so much or it would be overwhelming .

    I collect people happily.

    Sometimes, but very rarely, I shed friends. This always makes me sad and I always have regrets about it, especially if I messed up. None of us is perfect. We’re going to say things or make mistakes and that’s painful to deal with. It happens. That doesn’t mean you should stop putting yourself out there and get bitter.

    All this might lead you to believe I’m an extrovert and you would be dead wrong.

    I’m the biggest home body you’ve ever met – I just also like people. I spend hours and hours alone, in silence and I’m 100% okay with it.

    So what’s the point of this blog post? Making friends as an adult is a skill and most of us don’t develop it.

    As kids opportunities for friendship abound – school, sports, activities. As we grow and go to college, and have kids at school those opportunities seem endless, but for adults without children and empty nesters the opportunities come to you less and less.

    It’s hard work putting yourself out there. It’s hard to make the first move. When I arrived in Newcastle, I knew a couple of writers from RWA conferences and several from online writing groups. At the conferences in the past, I always tried to be friendly, and to talk to people who were standing alone or looked lost. Some of these people I saw for a couple of days once a year but not always.

    Anyway, I didn’t know that some of those efforts of putting myself out there when I could have stood with my friends in the corner would pay off years later.

    I was so grateful when these women invited me to join their writing groups. I started 2021 as part of two writing groups. One meets mainly online and the other in person monthly. Here’s the truth – I really did not want to join a writing group – I just wasn’t in the headspace for it but I knew if I didn’t that I wouldn’t get invited again so I said yes to both.

    They have both been sources of great joy and companionship for me. As a result, I’ve had walks, coffees, Zooms, dinners, and glasses of wine with lots of lovely people and I’ve made new friends…and so have they.

    I started writing this after a morning tea with one of these writers. She asked to meet up and I could read even in her email that she was nervous to reach out. She’s a smart and accomplished woman but I suspect it’s a while since she made a new friend. We had a lovely outing and have plans to do it again. I could see how happy and relieved she was that it went well.

    Why am I writing this?

    Never underestimate the difference your offer of friendship might make to someone and try to make new friends. Yes, it can be risky putting yourself out there. Sure someone people turn out to not be your people but you won’t know unless you try and you never know when that skill might be needed more than you ever expected.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022
    Blog

    A November wrap up – a little late

    We’re drawing to the end of 2022 if you can believe that. No, I can’t either.

    It’s been a crazy year with lockdowns and life changes and adjustments for me.

    Compared to recent years, it looks like I’ve had a light publishing schedule, but the truth is I’ve been working away on a couple of pen names that have kept me very busy. These pen names write books in different genres and they’ve been lots of fun to develop.

    So while books under  my Monique McDonell  name, there have been fewer books, I will have published 9 full-length novels, 2 novellas and 7 short books (10k) this year. That’s around 500,000 words…and I also have my March 2022 Monique McDonell novel drafted so that’s another 50,000 words. No wonder I’m a little tired.

    Anyway, what I’m here to talk about is my November (yes I am aware it’s now December). As well as finally getting to see family after 4 months and some travel to see my daughter who lives 6 hours away (Sniff. Sniff) I did some cool writing things.

    First of all one of the great gifts of 2022 for me has been the writing community here in Newcastle, NSW where I now live. I was invited to join both the Hunter Romance Writers and the Newcastle Romance Writers groups. There is some overlap of membership but the groups are quite different and I love both for different reasons. The Hunter group is smaller, tends to meet online but has more indie authors like me, whereas the Newcastle group meets in person and is a wider cross-section of people (more chances to make friends).

    Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022
    Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022 Attendees

    Anyway, to that end I helped organise and was lucky to attend the first Newcastle Romance Writers Rereat in November.  We probably shouldn’t call it a retreat – it was more of a one day conference. regardless of the name it was a truly awesome day.

    It was a full day of writing, presentations and roundtables. Eighteen of us attended to discuss everything from great openings to conflict to book marketing.

    As none of us can get to the Romance Writers of Australia conference due to COVID travel restrictions and border closures, this was a nice dose of professional development and camaraderie in a year where both have been lacking.

    Lighthouse Arts

    Lighthouse Arts CollageAnother exciting thing that happened this November was I’ve been part of the inaugural group of Artists in Residence in the Lighthouse Arts Program.

    Here’s a little about the program. Lighthouse Arts aims to increase the sustainability and visibility of the arts and culture sector of
    Newcastle City and the Hunter region.
    Lighthouse Arts is an initiative of Hunter Writers Centre inc., a not-for-profit, incorporated
    association established in 1995 and the peak literary hub of the Hunter region NSW.
    Initial funding for Lighthouse Arts has been received via the Industry Response Taskforce grant from the City of Newcastle to provide support for cultural practitioners. Access to Nobbys-
    Whibayganba headland has been obtained under a licence agreement between Hunter Writers Centre and Port Authority NSW.
    The project site is Nobbys-Whibayganba headland. Read its history here.
    Lighthouse Arts’ purpose is to provide supportive, professional and accessible spaces and
    presentation opportunities that foster the development of creative practitioners affected by
    Covid-19, to build a legacy for future creatives and for audiences to experience diverse art forms
    and culture.
    The project includes: Studio Spaces for Artists-in-Residence on weekdays and, on
    weekends, a live events space, an Arts Trading Store and an exhibition space known as The House
    of Stories.
    The program invites creative practitioners to help build a community to produce or advance works
    and offer your original, contemporary creations for exhibition and for sale.

    The project was meant to kick-off mid year, but it didn’t due to more lockdowns, so we headed up the hill to the Lighthouse in early November. My residency has included a gorgeous office every Tuesday to focus on my writing in. I’ve met loads of other writers and creatives as well. I applied to participate with the key objective of connecting with local creatives and I’ve done that.

    Sadly, I have only one more week, but it’s truly been a privilege to have the experience and the opportunity.

    National Novel Writing Month

    Nanowrimo winner badge

    Once again I participated in National Novel Writing Month. If you follow this blog at all you’ll already know it’s a global challenge where authors, established and aspiring, commit to writing a 50,000 word novel – the first draft at least – in a month. If you’re new to my blog, you can get the scoop here.

    I’ve been doing it on and off since about 2006 and most years – unless I’m travelling – I manage to hot that target. This time I was working on a book for a new multi-author series I’m part of in 2022.

    Anyway, as that little image shows – I completed my book. Yay for me!

    So no wonder it took me a little while to get to this blog post – that was a lot to cover and catch up from.

    Onward through December and into an amazing 2022, I hope.

     

     

  • Blog

    New release Friday – it’s back after a hiatus!

    New Release Friday
    New Release Friday

    New release Friday is back!

    I haven’t done this in a while but I have a lot of friends with new books out this week so I thought why not share the excitement.

    These books range from sweet to steamy, so be sure to read their blurbs before downloading if you’re adverse to anything hot.

    Second Shot Pippa Green

    Second Shot: A Fake Relationship Sports Romance (A Minnesota Raiders Novel)

    I’m Seamus Byrne, professional hockey player. I’ve been called a beast on the ice because I never let anything slow me down. But that was before an unfortunate knee injury takes me out of the game for the rest of the current NHL season. As if that isn’t enough, my wife decides she wants a divorce and drops that bomb on me immediately after my injury.

    Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.

    But what’s that old saying about silver linings? My silver lining through it all is my awesome doctor, Nicole Stewart. She’s stubborn and sweet and has a few secrets of her own. She’s also a fighter, and she won’t stop fighting for me to heal and get my career back. Her genuine concern makes me wonder if she and I could ever…

    But I’m all kinds of wrong for her. I should stay away.

    Then I go and do something so impulsive that it puts her future in jeopardy. Now I’m the one who has to fight for her, and I can’t exactly say it’s a hardship.

    Because I’m starting to see how a great woman like Nicole could give a guy like me a second shot at true love.

     

    Whatever it takes

    Whatever It Takes: A Second-Chance Musical Theater Romantic Comedy (A Center Stage Love Story Book 3)

    Leslie:
    Do your best. Be the best. Whatever it takes.

    It sounds like a line from some superhero movie, not a family motto. Except it is the Moose family creed. We even have it on T-shirts. Snazzy apparel aside, it means I’ve grown up with a lot of pressure to, well, be the best.

    Except I’m not. No matter how hard I’ve worked, it’s time to face the fact that I’m never going to have a career as a professional ballerina. I’ll do the next best thing—I can dance in the theatre. Thanks to that eight-week drama camp when I was a teenager, as well as a stubborn-to-the-point-of-foolish drive, I’m ready to take on this challenge, even if it means moving from New York City to a small Upstate town.

    Especially if it means I get to be reunited with the boy I fell in love with at that camp…

    Josh:
    Oh no. I’m not working with her.

    She broke my heart, ghosting me after the most incredible summer together. But now, here she is, and we need her to make The Edison successful. The stakes are high, and if this show works out, there’s a shot I’ll finally get my chance to bring the production I’ve been writing ever since she left me to the stage.

    The show must go on. Whatever it takes.

    USA Today Bestselling Author, Kathryn R. Biel, takes you back to The Edison Theater for Act Three in this powerful and moving tale of second chance love and finally loving yourself.

    Tinsel and Tatas

    Tinsel and Tatas: A Holiday Romantic Comedy Anthology Kindle Edition

    Get a head start on the holiday spirit by reading for a great cause! Nearly twenty of today’s most entertaining rom-com authors have teamed up to sell #Books4Boobs. This collection of holiday shorts ranges from sweet to steamy and promises to entertain. 100% of proceeds will benefit the Young Survival Coalition, an international organization focusing on women ages 40 and under who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Titles and Authors

    • Wilder for the Win by Serena Bell
    • Last One Gets the Booby Prize by Kilby Blades
    • Tattooed Tatas by Kameron Claire
    • Mixing Merrymas by Dylann Crush
    • A Trivia Pursuit by Hope Ellis
    • Two Nights to Believe by Melonie Johnson
    • Tits the Season by Tawdra Kandle
    • Decidedly with Tinsel by Stina Lindenblatt
    • The Great Christmas Race by Elizabeth Lynx
    • All I Want is You by Claire Marti
    • Wreath this Ring by MK Meredith
    • Star Bright by Susannah Nix
    • Ta Ta To Heartbreak by Tracey Pedersen
    • Pretty Packages by Marika Ray
    • Rock, Paper, Santa by Piper Rayne
    • Tinsel Bomb by Arell Rivers
    • A Brit Under the Mistletoe by Brenda St John Brown
    • Booby Trapped by Sylvie Stewart

    Mistle text

    Mistle Text: ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas … (An Accidentally in Love Story Book 5)

    ‘Twas the text before Christmas…

    I’m Holly Snow and I’m in desperate need of a miracle.

    I’ve been raising my five-year-old niece, Faith, since she was a baby. As much as I love her, I was twenty-three when my sister died. There was no way I was ready to be a single mom.

    A few months ago, I managed to get Faith a partial scholarship to a ritzy preschool for gifted children. I’ve been struggling to make my portion of the tuition payments ever since. The bottom line is that I need to make more money. At this point, I’ll take any job that allows me to look after Faith while I work—as it doesn’t involve anything weird or illegal.

    So, when my bestie, Toni, tells me her tall, dark, and Scroogy boss needs a personal shopper to take care of all his Christmas needs, I leap at the opportunity.

    When I say yes, I have no idea Mr. Incredible will also end up needing a fake girlfriend.  Apparently, he’s got to prove to his family that he’s the marrying type or they won’t be turning over the keys to their investment brokerage to him come January.

    I should definitely say no, but I’d be crazy not to take the obscene amount of money he’s throwing my way. (Besides, who wouldn’t want to live in the lap of luxury in a Newport mansion for a few days?)

    As a bonus, Faith and I get completely new wardrobes so we can fit in. Now, I just have to promise myself not to fall in love with him.

    Which is easier said than done.

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – Blog Tour for Alinta Bay Series by Iris Blobel

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    Defying Rules

    Alinta Bay Book 1

    by Iris Blobel

    Genre: Contemporary Australian Romance

     

    Sometimes one has to break rules in order to find happiness…
    Widower Logan Hendrix is puzzled by the recent series of small crimes against his son’s new teacher. It’s a mystery to him, and he offers her his help. There’s an instant attraction, and Logan wants to take their parent/teacher relationship to a more personal level.
    It doesn’t take Addison Ryker long to fall in love with Alinta Bay, the small town she’s moved to for her new teaching position at the local primary school. Her newfound haven is threatened, however, when her house is broken into and she is relying on the unbelievably stubborn but very sexy Logan for help. Although captivated by him, Addison worries her career could be compromised, because there are rules about dating a parent.

    **Only .99 cents!!**

    Goodreads * Amazon

    Tell It To My Heart

    Alinta Bay Book 2

    Confronted with the choice to care for his friend’s family on the other side of the world or to return to Alinta Bay to be with his own newfound family, how will Noah choose?

    Following the death of his grandmother, Noah Fielding returns to Alinta Bay and the first thing — or person — he finds is the next-door neighbour in his nan’s bathroom — naked no less. Still jetlagged, he doesn’t hit it off with Molly at first. Yet, over the next few weeks, as his past uncovers itself bit by bit, she becomes is anchor, his friend, and his lover.

    Molly Reid had the world at her feet, happily married with a young son … until a tragic car accident took everything away from her. With her heart broken, she moves to Alinta Bay to escape the memories of the past. Her peaceful existence, however, is interrupted after a heavy storm floods her house and she temporarily moves into her recently deceased neighbour’s house next door.

    When Noah’s friend and partner goes missing during a routine flight, Noah returns to Alaska to help, but will he come back for Molly?

    Goodreads * Amazon

     

    Between Goodbye and Hello

    Alinta Bay Book 3

    Can two seemingly incompatible people who judge each other on past events be able to find some common ground?

    Harrison Hendrix believes in second chances, but when it comes to Melody, he has every reason to doubt it’s possible. He’s conflicted when he sees her back in town and tries his best to see the change in her that other friends mention. Even more so when spending a night with her after being set up for a dinner date.

    Life hasn’t been kind to Melody Foster, and she returns to Alinta Bay for a new beginning. Hit by tragedy again, she’s determined to live life to the fullest and with no regrets. She creates a bucket list … on which #8 the very difficult, yet extremely sexy Harrison has been included. Why does it seem he’s always around when she’s in trouble?

    Maybe it’s time to take a risk and leave the past where it belongs, but will trusting their instinct be the right choice for them?

    Goodreads * Amazon

     

    Touch Me

    Alinta Bay Book 4

    She loves the feel of his skin beneath her hands …

    Lexie Marshall packs up and moves 3,000 km east with her daughter Zoe, to forget and move on. Now, all that matters is her daughter and her new job. She tries hard to stay focused, but the sexy and extremely kind park ranger, Jesse, is not making it easy. And when her husband shows up in the small coastal town creating chaos, all she can do is hang on and trust her new friends.

    After his last girlfriend walked out on him, Jesse Parker is doing just fine on his own. Until his accidental meeting with single mother Lexie, when he rescues her and her daughter from getting lost in the forest. But when her past catches up with her, he is right in the middle of it all and it might ruin his career.

    Will returning to her old life be the only chance to save his career?

    Goodreads * Amazon

    Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged late in life, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
    Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog.

    Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

    Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

    $15 Amazon

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • My daghter, Goofy and I
    Blog

    Some thoughts on my daughter’s 21st birthday

    On the occasion of my daughter’s 21st birthday, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect, because if not now, when?

    Becoming a mother was my ultimate dream in life, and the journey wasn’t easy. I was at the point of sad acceptance that I wouldn’t be a mother when I discovered I was pregnant with Charlotte. After what can only be described as a rough pregnancy, I was very excited for her to arrive.

    Every day since, I’ve tried to practice an attitude of gratitude about being a parent. Lucky for me, she made it easy. She never slept, but she also rarely got cranky, so I always looked at that as a blessing. 

    This kid came into the world with a can-do attitude and she did most things pretty early (except go to bed!). She walked early, talked early, read early…you get the picture. That meant we didn’t get too long to sit in any one space and, as my mother used to say, ‘she wasn’t a baby for long’.

    For many, many years, my husband travelled extensively for work, so Charlotte and I spent many, many days and weeks and days alone. Well, together, alone, is a better description.

    We baked a million cakes, did a million paintings, and watched a zillion episodes of Dora. We played Winnie the Pooh memory until late at night and one day I played 76 games of Uno Junior with her. I treasure every moment of that. (I don’t treasure seeing The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel 25 times, but that one’s an exception.) 

    She and I would go stay with friends a lot when he travelled and I’ve always said that – I was her home. That’s not true anymore, but she’ll always be my home.

    On the other hand, she’s also always been fiercely independent. Some of that is a reflection of us and some of it is being an only child and always facing the world alone, and some of it is just her nature. 

    We’ve always placed experiences of material possessions. We’d pay for horse riding camp, but not a fancy phone. I’m sure sometimes she might have preferred the stuff, but it meant we had some amazing adventures travelling in Australia and overseas. So many memories made.

    One of the things I admire about her most is her willingness to try new things – as a kid she did soccer, netball, field hockey, Nippers, dance, art classes, scuba diving, horse riding, karate, played the clarinet, did inter-school sports and joined a regional youth council among other things. She didn’t love them all (Nippers we’re looking at you!) but she approached everything with a great attitude. 

    She has grit. When she was the only girl in her karate class and the boys didn’t want to spar with her, the instructor told them. “Don’t worry, Charlotte could take every one of you!” And she could. 

    In Year 12, she saved up enough from her part-time job to take herself on a bus tour of Europe and headed off alone for a month after her exams. She goes after what she wants.

    Her happy place is in the water. As a family, we spent so many hours at the beach or on our boat. Give this kid a book and a beach and she’s happy as a clam. (Right now she can’t get to the ocean and my greatest wish for her is she gets her feet on some sand soon – it’s a small thing but it feeds her soul.)

    Now away at college in a self catered dorm, she’s a fully independent adult cooking and shopping and cleaning for herself for the third year. She’s a Res Staff for her dorm, works part time, is active in campus life, plays soccer and is slogging her way through a double degree during COVID. She’s a hard worker and a goal setter.

    Charlotte is also kind. She does nice things for people. She paints for people; she posts random gifts; she checks in on people. But she doesn’t suffer fools. The kid has excellent boundaries which I love about her. (She could teach me a thing or two in that area).

    Looking back, I did some things I’d do differently. More moments I’d have handled better rather  than the big stuff. I’d have eased up a little here and there, expected less, not more, noticed things she made sure I missed. Overall, looking at how great she is, at the very least, it’s safe to say I didn’t screw up too badly.

    I’d give her advice, but she doesn’t need it. She’s doing just fine – and to be fair, I’ve spent 21 years overwhelming her with advice. 

    Here’s what I told her at 16 here on the blog

    So I’ll just say as I always do that I’m proud of her and I thank her for choosing me to be her mother. 

     

  • Musical Monday
    Blog

    Musical Monday – the Meg Cabot edition.

    Musical Monday

    It’s a while since I did a Musical Monday post but I simply couldn’t resist this week.

    This week I want to talk about the Princess Diaries. I had no idea the Princess Diaries movie was 20 this week until the weekend and let me just say I LOVED that movie. I’m not sure if I thought it was older or younger. In fact, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it and I’ve also lost track of how many Meg Cabot books I’ve read.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read all her adult books – I love them – and she was definitely an inspiration for me when I started writing. She writes sweet, sometimes sexy books about fun female characters who are usually a little bit awkward and out of their depth. The kind of books I enjoy reading. Her male leads are usually pretty tolerant guys, which these ladies need. I’ve fashioned a few or my heroes on similar types of men. I especially loved the Heather Wells series and the Queen of Babble. Last week I read No Offense her latest release, after not having read any of her books for a while and it was a delightful escape.

    Ask any writer and I’m sure most of them will tell you they have a bit of a fantasy of having their books made into movies. Lots of us even cast our books. I know back when I published Mr Right and Other Mongrels I dreamed of Hugh Jackman and Rose Byrne heading the cast.

    It’s hard to imagine anyone dreaming up a more perfect movie casting than The Princess Diaries – come on Julie Andrews as a Queen, Anne Hathaway was brilliant and Hector Elizondo was amazing!

    The Princess Diaries works because it’s the ultimate Cinderella Story, but as much as anything, it’s about the character of Mia growing into herself as anything else.

    This is the perfect mother-daughter movie or sleep over movie or just a movie to cheer you up, and we all need that from time to time.

    I’ve played this song a lot over the years. Probably way more than my husband and daughter have appreciated, but I love it and I do believe miracles happen, sometimes… if you believe.

  • bookstore vector
    Blog

    My new store is open here on the website – finally!

    bookstore vectorI can’t believe my store is finally here.

    Are you a procrastinator?

    I am. Not when it comes to my writing, but I really am not a fan of admin or technical tasks. Sometimes the very thought of them stops me in my tracks.

    I’ve had  the task of creating my online bookstore on the to-do list for months and today I tackled the beast!

    My bookstore is live! (It doesn’t look quite like this in real life, but it sure does in my imagination. I kept picturing Allegra’s bookstore from Mr Right and Other Mongrels – that store is totally real in my mind.)

    The task turned out to be a whole lot easier than I expected and I’ve loaded up all the books I currently have in stock onto the site. At this stage it is only for Australian readers (postage from here would make the books cost prohibitive).

    I will be adding Bookplates which I can ship interntionally – they’re ordered and should arrive in a couple of weeks so that will be exciting!

    (All the books will be available on Amazon as well).

    So if you would like paperback copies of my books, click here and see what’s available.

    My original standalone novels have their original illustrated covers and not their updated ones. It’s kind of fun to have the past and the present merging.

    I’m looking forward to adding my Marlin Shores Trilogy  (Saltwater Song, Saltwater Tears and Saltwater Wishes) and two more No Brides Club books  (No Time for Trouble and No Time for Tears ) in August . The remaining Cinnamon Bay Books, the Jewel Sisters and Courtside Romance series will follow quickly and then the Upper Crust Series.

    Anyway, that’s my big achievement for today. The shop is a work in progress but I’m very happy with the progress thus far.

    Happy Shopping.

     

     

  • Blog

    It’s release Day for Any Way You Wish It.

    Any Way You Wish It sale banner

    Release Day grphic for anyWay You Wish It

     

    Release Day for Any Way You Wish It.

    Can you believe it. It’s finally release day for Any Way You Wish It, book  9 in the Upper Crust series. It has been a long time coming and a labor of love. I’m so thrilled that it is finally in the wild. This is Jacob’s story. We first met him as Lucy’s ex way back i Any Way You Dream It, the second book in the series. This is his redemption story and I hope a perfect way to pull all the characters together.

    I hope you love this sweet Christmas story to pieces.

    Blurb

    Any Way You Wish It is the latest book in the Upper Crust series from USA Today Bestselling author Monique McDonell.

    Sometimes you get more than just presents at Christmas.

    After Jacob’s wife has finally leaves him and his two young daughters, help arrives in the form of a nanny named Angel. It’s like she has been sent from heaven when she takes their chaotic home and creates calm. He knows what he’s feeling is more than just gratitude, and when his wife comes back to town threatening his new life, he needs more from Angel than just a nanny.

    Working for Jacob is a dream and somehow when his ex-wife returns unannounced, she and Jacob find themselves pretending to be so much more than employee and employer. The feelings she has for him are anything but fake, but Angel has already lost one love and isn’t ready to risk her heart again.

    Can two broken people help mend each other and find love this holiday season?

    If you like second chances, fake relationships ,sexy single dads and sweet small town romances Any Way You Wish It is for you.

    This book is part of the Upper Crust Series but it can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel.

    The entire Upper Crust Series is free in Kinde Unlimited…and this week Books 1&2 are free and Books 3-8 are just 99cents so why not load up your Kindle?

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    Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – a recap of the last couple of months

    Taste of Tuesday

    It’s a funny thing how when your life changes you expect certain things to be the same and they’re just not. I don’t know why that is exactly, that we don’t think change will be as universal as it often is.

    You may not be aware but for a long time I had a food blog called My Sydney Kitchen which you can visit here. I was pretty diligent in posting there. 2021 I did 72 posts. (Side bar I also started this blog in 2012 and I posted a WHOLE lot. Where did I get the extra time? I gave up volunteering on my daughter’s P&C and probably gained back 10-20 hours a week of time. Crazy right? It’s a good reminder to be nice to volunteers, they keep the world running!)

    Even though I apparently haven’t posted there in a few years, I continued to take pictures of our food and drinks in the belief I would blog there again. You should see how many unused images I have from the past five years of homemade pizzas, gozleme, cakes and salads – based on the ones from 2020 alone it was clear I intended to share them. Even with our daughter away at college, I continued to cook creatively.

    Then a funny thing happened. We moved up to Newcastle. Our kitchen is functional, but I don’t love it. The induction cook-top, something some people love, disappoints compared to the old gas one. The oven is half the size, and an ill-placed smoke alarm meant even cooking toast was annoying. Thankfully, the last problem is solved. Add in the fact the move wiped us out, and we were eating simple foods, mainly on the grill and the photos dried up.

    Another interesting difference is we eat out a lot more. We can walk to loads of restaurants, cafes and pubs. It’s fun but not all the food warrants a photo.

    It’s funny how you don’t always notice change until it passes.

    I went to get photos for a recap of the past few months and I was surprised at how few there were. Here are a few images from the past few months from homemade seafood salads, to oysters and cocktails, this is just a small taste of the past little while – and coffee of course, there’s always coffee.

    First half 2021 food collage
    Food collage

    The whole process has made me nostalgic for my food blog…maybe I’ll start it up again, with all my free time.