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    One week in…


    7,000 / 365,000 words.
    I do hope if you’re reading this your 2015 is off to a great start.
    Mine has been a lovely mix of boating, sleeping in, sunshine and writing.

    I’m keeping up with my #1000wordsaday challenge. Some days I have skipped but I’m making sure I catch up the next so that I stay on track. This is as much about establishing good habits for me as it is huge word counts.

    I’m at the end of a book. Usually I write chronologically in a story, which is much better for me, but sometimes if I have a block I skip ahead so I don’t stall and then lose a month procrastinating. This week I’ve been going back and filling in missing scenes in book 2 in my Upper Crust Series. This is some of the hardest bits of writing for me and I read through the novel along the way changing bits, adding bits and making notes of what is missing. I think it’s hard because you’re focussing on the flaws. Oh yes and sometimes the reason I have skipped a scene is because it’s hard to write and a couple of months later, well nothing has changed.

    Anyway, after today I’ll be done with that and moving on to Book 4 in the series or perhaps a novella I have an idea for.

    Being out on in the summer sun has made me want to write a book about Sydney again. I have a fun fish out of water idea that I think will work well for a novella so maybe that can be my January project, while the sun is shining and I’m melting into my keyboard.

    One of the reasons I like that idea is I have lots of American readers who find the opposite scenes and traditions here in Australia a little disconcerting so I thought I might write a book for them.

    Meanwhile here’s the cover of Book 2 in the Upper Crust series. If you’ve read Any Way You Slice it you may recall Lucy, who works with Piper at Pied Piper’s Pies. This book is Lucy’s story. Lucy needs a date for her high school reunion and Cherie is keen to put her matchmaking skills to good use again. It’s a fun story about families, friendships and finding your way.
    Any Way You Dream It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

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    Two 99cent books, writers’ groups and Musical Monday.


    A Fair Exchange - 99 Cent Sale PromoI really am not quite sure how it got to be Monday again. What is happening to 2014? Whoever has control of the handbrake is welcome to pull it now and make things stop or slow down a little bit. I will be totally fine with that.

    Last week I went to an event for writers’ groups at the NSW Writers Centre. My friend Pamela Cook spoke on behalf of our group which was the Writers’ Dozen but these days is the Writers’ Half Dozen. It was a lovely night and really interesting to hear about the many groups out there and see so many enthusiastic writers.

    It was also a sharp reminder of the importance of community and the need we all have to be supported on our journeys. Our little group has had remarkable results in terms of people being published, continuing to write, winning competitions and the other tangible signs of success. More than that though it reminded me what a gift those people and that group have been in my life.

    I’m plugging away on the sequel to Any Way You Slice It, Book 2 in The Upper Crust Series. One of my problems is I have too many ideas and not enough time, and probably discipline, to complete all the projects I would like to. I really must get a working title for that novel. I had one in the middle of the night a couple of weeks back and wrote it down…must find that piece of paper.


    Any Way You Slice It - 99c Sale Promo - Upper Crust SeriesAny Way You Slice It is still 99cents and this weekend until Tuesday A Fair Exchange is 99cents too. If you haven’t read them now is the time and if you have I’d really appreciate a review.













    Musical Monday has rolled around again.

    As I was driving home from the NSW Writers Centre I was listening to a radio show where people call in requests and someone requested American Pie. I hadn’t heard the song in forever and that was a good thing because when I heard it Wednesday I was struck by the beauty and complexity of the lyrics a bit like when you hear or read something for the first time.

    So given I am writing books about pies I thought it was fitting.

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    Why did I write Any Way You Slice It, or what do Piper and I have in common?


    Any Way You Slice It - 99c Sale Promo - Upper Crust SeriesUsually when I talk about my books I alwyas say, the main character is nothing like me but we have something in common.

    That’s not true for Piper from Any Way You Slice It and I. well, we are both Australian and we do both have redhair but I’m not sure that’s enough to claim a kinship.

    The idea for this novella came about when I read a popular romance novel with a marriage of convenience in it and it made me really annoyed. In the book the main character went from a successful business woman to a simpering idiot in the space of about a chapter. And I wanted to throw my book across the room.

    Even if you agreed to marry someone for money, which this character had (though no hanky panky of course), simply because you had financial problems that needed fixing and people relying on you financially, that doesn’t mean all over a sudden you would turn in to a quivering spineless puddle of custard, I didn’t think.

    It annoyed the feminist in me. I believe in happy ever after, I just don’t think you should change who you are to get it and so the fact that character did annoyed the snot out of me. How could she be happy if she was compromised? If she wasn’t true to herself it wasn’t going to be a happy life was it?

    I read that book on a Sunday and got up Monday morning and pumped out 5,000 words of Any Way You Slice It. I wanted to write a character who decided to marry for convenience but very much on her terms. I wrote the whole first draft in two weeks and then I sent it to a few readers and they all liked it.

    That’s how this story came to be. My marriage was definitely not one of convenience, in fact my life has been a largely inconvenient one since the day I met my lovely husband, but I suppose what Piper and I have in common is we’re both true to ourselves, we both believe in love and we both can’t quite believe it when things turn out better than we might have imagined.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – Grease is the word!


    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original CoverA very late Musical Monday post. It’s still Monday somewhere on the planet I do believe.

    So I describe my latest novella, Any Way You Slice It as a bit like Grease meets The Proposal so with that in mind this Musical Monday I’m sharing random thoughts and memories about Grease (the movie).

    1. The first time I saw Grease was on holiday in Fiji. I was wearing a floral wreath on my head I’d made out of frangipanis. I was so young that when they said Rizzo had missed her period I thought “why is so one so freaked out that she missed a class at school?”

    2. I saw Grease 2 at the drive-in movies in Dubbo, in Central Western NSW. All I really remember about that movie is Michelle Pfieffer and the song Reproduction. Luckily I had learnt a couple of things between the first movie and the sequel.

    3. When I went on my US High School Exchange, I very probably thought my story would end up a bit like Sandy and Danny’s in Grease (probably not the flying car part). It’s safe to say as I didn’t go to 1960’s movie America that didn’t happen.

    5. Even though (or maybe because) I went to an all girl’s high school we often sang Summer Loving on the bus to and from school excursions (field trips for my American readers). One side was Danny and one side was Sandy. I preferred the male part because I have a very deep and dreadful singing voice and I like to sing the “wella, wella huh” part.


    Melissa A
    9/1/2014 12:07:17 pm

    I used to think “won’t go to bed ’til i’m legally wed” meant sandy wouldn’t sleep in an actual bed until she was married. LOL!
    I thought the reproduction song in G2 was hilarious and I thought Score Tonight was all about bowling a lot of strikes. I was 9 at the time, I believe. 🙂 Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore was in G2. 🙂
    Fun post!
    9/1/2014 04:09:51 pm

    LOL. She was going to be very tired if she didn’t go to sleep till she got married. Lucky she went off in that car at the end 😉

  • Blog

    New release, new week and Musical Monday


    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI’m a bit late with this week’s Musical Monday but I figure it’s still Monday in much of the world and for many of my blog readers so I’m giving myself a pass.
    Any Way You Slice It, An Upper Crust Series Novella released over the weekend. Thanks to those who have purchased it. Much appreciated. If you feel like leaving a review for my books that is always fantastic. All authors big or small appreciate you taking the time to do that.

    I’m already working on the sequel and if I get my butt in gear it will be out in a couple of months. (Working title A Cut Above). Quite frankly I’m a bit tired so finding the writing mojo might be a tad challenging for the next day of so but fingers crossed.

    For Musical Monday I thought I’d give you a wedding song. (Due to the nature of the series there’ll be a few wedding related posts here over the next little while.)

    I’ve chosen this very peppy Bruno Mars song, Marry You. I think it is very on theme for the book. (Plus who doesn’t love a flash mob?)

  • Blog

    Taste of Tuesday – an Aussie Meat Pie Recipe


    Four n Twenty Meat PieIn honour of my novella release this week I thought I would share a recipe for an Australian meat pie with you.

    I think most countries or cultures have some form of a pie or pasty be it an empanada , a Cornish pasty or a pot pie.

    In Australia we have local cake shops in every suburb that sell meat pies and sausage rolls. They are the ultimate take-away food. Long before the Colonel, Golden Arches or various pizza chains graced our shores in the 1970’s this was the food we ate. We enjoy them at sporting events in the same way an American might have a hot dog.

    (My dad has a sister who lives in LA. When they come to Australia my mother gets out the good silver and serves up Aussie meat pies to them at the dining room table. It’s the sort of food you dream about when you are far, far away.)

    In Any Way You Slice It, Piper the main character has a chain of food trucks that sell only pies and while she serves a variety of flavours, the classic meat pie is the corner stone of her business.

    This is a family pie that I make in a family sized pie plate but it can also be made as 4 individual pies if you have individual pie plates. This is one of my daughter’s family favourites.

    Australian Meat Pie – serves 4
    1 quantity of shortcrust pastry or one pie shell (I’ll post my recipe soon)
    olive oil
    2 small or 1 large onion diced
    500g beef mince
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons of soy sauce
    1 beef stock cube
    2 cups hot water
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    2 tablespoons water (extra)
    1 sheet puff pastry
    1 egg yolk.

    1. Heat oil in pan and add onions, cook stirring until soft. Add mice, cook stirring until browned.
    2. Stir in sauces, stock cube and water (I dissolve the stock cube in water first) simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cornflour and extra water. Stir over high heat until it boils and thickens. Cool.
    3. Grease a pie plate with butter or olive oil and roll pastry to fit pie plate. Cover pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake in moderate oven 8 minutes. remove beans and cook a further 8 minutes.
    4. Fill pie shell with meat mixture. Brush edges or pastry with egg yolk and press puff pastry on top. Cut to fit. You can use any scraps to decorate. Brush pie with more egg yolk. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until golden.


    Don’t forget Any Way You Slice It, An Upper Crust Novella will be out later this week.
    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

  • Blog

    Release week for my first novella Any Way You Slice it and Musical Monday


    Any Way You Slice It - Upper Crust Novel - Monique McDonell - Original CoverBy this time next week my new release Any Way You Slice It, An Upper Crust Novella will be out.

    This book is the first in a series and so I’ve gone with a new look to distinguish it from my other stand alone titles. I love my illustrated covers but I adore this one too. It’s bright and fresh in a way that I hope reflects the story inside.

    This novel is a little bit like Grease meets The Proposal. Below is the blurb, which I am still tweaking, but I wanted to share it so you can get a feel for what the book is all about.


    Anyway You Slice It, An Upper Crust Novella

    By Monique McDonell

    Piper has one month to find a husband, and get a green card, or be kicked out of the country just when her chain of Aussie Pie trucks is about to start making some serious money.

    Aaron is an ambitious lawyer keen to make partner but his Boston law firm only promotes lawyers who are married.

    A marriage of convenience could solve both their problems if they keep it strictly business but convincing everyone else that this is true love while trying to convince themselves that it isn’t is a sure recipe for trouble. All the kissing and touching to prove that this is a true love sets the heat rising faster than the pies in Piper’s kitchen.

    While Aaron is happy to be friends with benefits, Piper knows better than to mix business with pleasure, despite the undeniable chemistry. Getting married to save her business is one thing, but falling in love would mean risking her heart. Any way you slice it she’s getting more than she bargained for.


    Fun right? I’ll tell you more about the book and where the idea came from throughout the week.

    And now for Musical Monday – it is wet, wet, wet here in Sydney. I live in a house with an aluminium roof (and no that’s not a typo that’s how we spell it down under) so I can here every raindrop and there are millions of them. In fact it’s so dark in my glass walled living room right now I almost can’t see the keyboard.

    So here is an 80’s classic from the band Wet, Wet, Wet. Love I is All Around.


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    Musical Monday and a reminder – $25 Amazon Gift card give away


    A Fair Exchange - CoverThis week I thought I’d give you a break from talking about A Fair Exchange because I know if you visit my blog that you already know it came out last week and is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBPPC08.

    The thing about being a writer is that by the time one book is released you are usually well and truly knee-deep in the next project.

    I have a few projects up my sleeve but lately I have been working on a novella with the working title Any Way You Slice It. (Even though I like that title I’ll need to change it because that’s way too long for Twitter. I’m serious.)

    The characters in the book have an interesting journey and this song by Justin Timberlake completely resonated with me when I heard it. This is the perfect song for the main male character to sing to the female – if in fact the book were a musical, which of course it isn’t.


    I wanted to remind you that my Book Blog give-away is still going until April 11th so if you want to go in the running for the $25 Amazon gift card please enter below.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway