• Musical Monday

    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.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – or what’s your earworm Monday?


    Musical Monday
    I’m the queen of the earworm. I was just singing one of my regulars and my husband said “you haven’t had that one in a while”. Some people have recurring dreams (Me as well) and I have recurring earworms.
    Here’s the song in question – I’m pretty sure he wanted to leave me the week I watched the movie Dumplin’ on Netflix. I’m not known for singing the whole song of even getting the words right. Let’s be honest – I annoy myself. Anyway, you’re welcome my friends.

    I don’t know that I would describe myself as an optimist but I sure do try and get up in the morning and find the joy in my day. Right now I’m feeling good about my book like. I’m part of a box set – Romancing the Holidays – that comes out Nov 1 but you can pre-order it now and it’s doing pretty well. I also have a new cinnamon bay novella out for Christmas – A Christmas Arrangement – and it’s also on pre-order so I’m on track for my 2019 goal of releasing 12 books this year.

    Romancing the Holidays Box Set Preorder Promo
    A Christmas Arrangement - Cover
    Meanwhile, just like everyone I have things going on in my real life that give me pause. That of course influences my “musical stylings”. Who are we kidding I have no musical style. I like what I like and that’s that.

    I’m known for my ability to cry in any situation and I just had a cry to this song. I don’t know if music helps or hinders my ability to cope some days but music definitely touches us in ways nothing else does. I just heard this one and had a good cry.

    Still I’d rather have a happy ear worm than a sad one. I haven’t got the time or the enrgy to be crying all the time. Cryings is nothing if not exhausting so I’ll leave you with my happy earworm that stays with me if I hear it on the radio. Fun fact I’m not a big Justin Beiber fan but I love everything he does with Ed Sheeran.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday with Kirsty McManus author of I Thought It Was You.


    Musical Monday
    Happy release day to Kirsty McManus author of I Thought It Was You, the latest release in the Oceanic Dreams series.

    I Thought It Was You - CoverGrab your copy today https://www.amazon.com/B07RNZGYHK/

    Every book in the series is named after a song title. Why did you choose this song for your book?
    I actually started out by googling songs that were about mistaken identity, and I Thought It Was You by Herbie Hancock came up. I’d never heard it before, but instantly loved it. It seemed like it would suit a cheesy cruise, but it is also a very cool song for its time. I’ve heard people say Daft Punk must have used him for inspiration.

    What song(s) are you currently listening to/loving and why?
    I hardly get a chance to listen to my own music lately, because my boys hog Spotify at home and in the car. Thankfully, I don’t mind their taste. My eldest finds a lot of great experimental dance music (because he wants to be a DJ when he’s older) and my youngest loves rock and acoustic stuff (because he wants to be a rock star when he’s older!). One of my favourite songs at the moment is The Comedown by Ocean Alley. We all just saw them at Bluesfest in Byron Bay this year, and I love that a part of that song reminds me of the soundtrack in Labyrinth (my favourite movie as a kid).

    Do you have a go to karaoke song?
    Haha – yes! I lived in Japan for a year and went out to karaoke all the time with the English teachers I worked with. I always choose Just Lose It by Eminem. I’m not good at it, but it’s fun to pretend I can rap. For something a little more melodic, I sometimes choose All That She Wants by Ace of Base, or I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.

    ​If you had to choose your theme song what would it be?
    Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones. I don’t know about the lyrics, but it is a very cool song to strut around to!


  • Blog

    Musical Monday with my fellow Oceanic Dreams author Tracy Krimmer


    Musical Monday
    Circle in the Sand - Promo Banner

    Circle in the Sand is out now – now – download your copy today and don’t forget to read the whole Oceanic Dreams series!

    1. Every book in the series is named after a song title. Why did you choose this song for your book?
    ​My book didn’t have a title. I hadn’t even considered one yet. One day while making dinner I had my Google Mini playing me an 80s playlist. “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle came on. I had her cassette tape (yes, cassette tape) and loved that song. It just felt like the perfect title for my Oceanic Dreams book. ​

    ​​2. What song(s) are you currently listening to/loving and why?
    I am always listening to James Arthur. I love his song “Say You Won’t Let Go” and his newest, “Falling Like the Stars” is like a follow up to it. I am also obsessed with “Dynasty” by MIIA and most songs by NF. I don’t usually listen to Ariana Grande but I really like her new one “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.” ​

    3. Do you have a go to karaoke song?

    Um, no. I don’t do karaoke. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I would do karaoke in my parent’s basement with only a few people around. They have a big karaoke collection. I don’t have a specific song I sing, though.

    4. If you had to choose your theme song what would it be?’

    ​Right now I would have to say “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco. I honestly have heard the song so much that I tend to change the channel now when it comes on. But I love the message and it’s very relatable.



  • Blog

    Musical Monday with Oceanic Dreams author Holly Kerr


    Musical Monday
    In the second of our Musical Monday posts with authors of the Oceanic Dreams series let’s chat with Holly Kerr, author of I Saw Him Standing There.
    I Saw Him Standing There - CoverEvery book in the series is named after a song title. Why did you choose this song for your book?

    I picked I Saw Him Standing There by Tiffany. Yes, I know it was originally a Beatles song, but Tiffany was talking about a boy and I’m an 80s girl at heart! I actually had a different song title that I was going to use but there’s a bit in my book about Siggy watching Will standing in the lounge that I like and one day the Tiffany song came up on my playlist and it just fit.

    What song(s) are you currently listening to/loving and why?

    I’m currently loving the new Shawn Mendes song, If I Can’t Have You and the Ed Sheeran/Justin Bieber I Don’t Care. But I keep going back to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman – just love it!




    Do you have a go to karaoke song?

    I haven’t done karaoke in a long time, but I think I’d go with ABBA or maybe Dolly Parton. I’ve been listening to a lot of Dolly lately and I think I could pull off Here You Come Again.

    If you had to choose your theme song what would it be?

    Dancing by Myself. Because that’s what I do! Give me an empty kitchen and some loud tunes, plus a glass of wine and I’ll all set!

    I Saw Him Standing There get your copy today

    This stowaway sets sail for love! Small-time con artist Siggy needs to get out of town fast. When she’s offered tickets on the legendary Oceanic Aphrodite, Siggy jumps at the chance to get away. A week on a luxury cruise ship, with a suitcase full of clothes and all expenses paid? Yes, please! The only catch is that she has to pretend to be someone else.
    No problem. Siggy has no intention of getting close enough anyone to discover her secrets.
    But this is the Oceanic Aphrodite and love is in the air. When Siggy sees assistant cruise director Will taking tickets, Cupid’s arrow hits the target. Luckily, Will’s too busy smiling at her to check out her fake passport because he’ll toss Siggy off the ship if he finds out about the scam.
    Onboard, dolphins and cameras and runaway ferrets bring Siggy and Will together. The more time they spend together, the more Siggy wants to tell him the truth.
    Cupid’s arrow has struck deep but can Siggy stop running? This novella-length romantic comedy is the first book in the Oceanic Dreams series

    Books in series:
    I Saw Him Standing There by Holly Kerr
    Time of My Life by Laura Heffernan
    Circle in the Sand by Tracy Krimmer
    I Thought it Was You by Kirsty McManus
    I Will Follow Him by Holly Tierney-Bedord
    Take a Chance on Me by Delancey Stewart
    Shut Up and Dance With Me by Monique McDonell
    The Best of You by Sophie-Leigh Robbins

  • Blog

    Joanne Dannon joins us for this week’s Musical Monday blog post


    Musical Monday
    Musical Monday with Australian author Joanne Dannon
    Thanks to Monique for inviting me to her Musical Monday blog.

    I love music and dancing but my favourite music is jazz and swing. I’ve always had a thing for songs by Gershwin and Berlin. It must be the romantic in me.

    As an author, I’ve always written the books I want to read, rather than “writing to market”. I don’t write a book and use a trope simply because it’s popular and everyone else is doing it.

    I love the “opposites attract” tropes for my books, because it happens with love. When you fall for the person you don’t expect to. Often we have preconceived notions of who we want to be with, and sometimes the person that makes us believe in love is the person we least expect it to be.

    At the time of writing Kissing under the Spotlight, Michael Bublé was in Melbourne and I went to his concert (of course!!) and it made me think…what would happen if I met him? I’d probably dissolve in to a pool of giggles and act like a complete tosser around him because I’m a huge fan.

    I used that as the basis for my book. What would my heroine do if she came face to face with the world famous singer she has a major crush on? And ta-da, I wrote the book which has a fairy-tale ending.

    And because all awesome women need a fab BFF, I gave my heroine a friend. But at the end of the book, I couldn’t let my characters go…so I wrote another book, and then more after.

    I have book one of my Kissing Down Under series for free, and I hope you download and enjoy this romance between a superstar and an ordinary gal (like you and me).

    If you like handsome crooners, then Kissing under the Spotlight is for you. Here’s an excerpt –

    “Yes. We agreed our kiss was a mistake—”
    He snorted. “I never said it was a mistake.”
    The speech continued, with rapid vagueness. “Well, whatever. You’re Alex Jackson and I’m Violet McKenzie. You’re a somebody and I’m a nobody. You’ve got gazillions of women falling over themselves to be with you.” She paused. “Which I get, who wouldn’t? Plus you’re a great kisser. But we come from different worlds and we should keep it that way.”
    His brow arched. “You think I’m a great kisser?”
    Her eyes widened to the size of a small planet. “Um.” She cleared her throat a couple of times. “Well, yes.”

    Kissing under the Spotlight is free for a limited time, and the second book in the series, Kissing like she means it, is on sale at $0.99 (instead of $3.99).
    Note – these books are not sweet and have a 3/5 heat rating.

    Joanne Dannon
    ​About Joanne Dannon

    Best selling, award-winning Australian author, Joanne Dannon, writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savor–indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

    Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.


  • Blog

    Musical Monday with Harpist and author Diane Michaels


    Musical Monday
    Diane MichaelsI’m really excited to have harpist and author stopping by for Musical Monday this week.

    My career as a harpist informed both of the books I have published. Stories from my gig life became a backdrop against which to set the plot of my novel, Ellen the Harpist, and my experience working with soon-to-be married couples occupies a central place in my wedding ceremony music guide, From Here Comes the Bride to There Go the Grooms. Each of my books comes with its own playlist.

    The marriage between my musical and writing careers melded together harmoniously in Chapter 25 of Ellen the Harpist. I play tea at the St. Regis New York a few days each month. Four years ago, while playing Perfect Day by Lou Reed at the hotel, my mind wandered. I pictured a scene in which Ellen and her bff’s, Chloe and Gwen, spend a day following the activities laid out in the song’s lyrics.
    Traffic jams at the Lincoln Tunnel that afternoon delayed my bus’s departure by half an hour. I scrawled my ideas from teatime into my notebook as I waited in line at Port Authority. Route 3 westbound was equally snarled. I continued scribbling away as we crawled home. After a quick dinner and a glass of wine, I spewed a 2500-word chapter into my laptop. We follow the three friends on their Lou Reed-inspired journey in this excerpt from the chapter:

    And now we were heading into Manhattan. Without the budget of ladies who lunch, we invented games to play whenever we hung out in the City. On an adventure last August, we followed the itinerary laid out in Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. We opted to see a movie first and were stuck watching the only thing playing at 11:30 am at the theater on East 72nd St., The Expendables. After far too much explosive action from Stallone and friends, followed by hot dogs from a cart, we headed over to the Central Park Zoo. We planned our visit to the zoo to coincide with the 2:30 penguin feeding, but they had shut the penguin enclosure for maintenance. Gwen’s backpack harbored a bottle of some pre-fab sangria. We passed the contraband back and forth while we perched on top of Rat Rock in the park and wished we had purchased a more palatable selection. We laughed with the sense of abandon of women getting drunk in public under the August sun. By the time we emptied the bottle, we were ready to go home, even though it was not yet dark.

    The music continues to play in my work-in-progress. In my first novel, Ellen attempts to use her arrangements of Radiohead tunes to seduce Josh when the two of them play their first duet gig together. She takes her love of Radiohead’s music with her into book number two. Here’s a sneak peek of a passage from my WIP:

    A perception of someone scrutinizing me from behind my back sent a wave of shivers across the surface of my skin. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that Sheldon had taken his place at the piano. Squaring my shoulders, I plucked out the next verse, prepared to ignore whatever criticism he planned to hiss at me. It was the piano, not Sheldon, who raised his voice, singing along with the harmonies.

    “What did I just play?” Sheldon asked when we reached the end of the song and my set.

    “Creep.” He lifted himself to his full height and leaned back, his eyes telegraphing his sense of horror at a perceived insult. I stuttered, “I mean, the name of the song is Creep. It’s by the band Radiohead.”

    In order to bring the music to life in my next novel, I plan to embed links within the digital editions connecting the reader to videos of me performing music cited in the book. I have begun my recording project, and I am excited to share with you the video I will embed in this passage of the novel. You can check out my new cover of Creep over on YouTube. Thankfully, I didn’t have a creepy, haranguing pianist hovering over my shoulder as I recorded it!

    Bio: Diane Michaels is a professional author and harpist living in Bloomfield, NJ. Her career has taken her from Carnegie Hall to the wedding hall (she has played at least 1000 weddings). Her articles on establishing and sustaining a career as a musician have appeared in Harp Column and Allegro. When not performing or writing, she and her husband make up songs about and for their miniature poodle, Lola.

    Ellen the Harpist - Cover
    Available on Amazon:​https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Harpist-Diane-Michaels/dp/0997710713/




















    From Here Comes the Bride to There Goes the Grooms
    You can find more about Diane’s books and music here http://dianemichaelsbooksandharp.com

  • Blog

    Keeping things moving forward on #MusicalMonday


    Musical MondayTime for a new week and there is a lot happening this week. I was just talking to my daughter about one of my favourite songs (okay I was singing it off-key as I unloaded the dishwasher).

    Good songs like good characters in a book, or a great and intriguing plot stay with us. Sometimes I think we happen on a song or a book or even a painting at just the right time and that’s why it resonates with us and the person next to us couldn’t care less about it.

    I’m writing a new series of books and one of the characters is a lyricist. That means I’ve been writing my own song lyrics that I hope will speak to someone. Of course I hope the whole book does too, but writing lyrics is a different skill. It’s fun to do new things especially as I’ve been writing a long time now.

    When Any Way You Build It releases in April It will be my 12th novel, I’ve had another two pieces in anthologies…that’s a lot of novel writing so song writing that’s a refreshing change.

    Here’s one of my favourite songs for you. It’s not really a classic but it’s a classic at our house. The other week I met my husband in town for lunch and this was playing at the burger joint so I guess it is a classic for someone else as well.

    Quickly before I go I want to let you know that Any Way You Dream It is #free right now so you might want to grab a copy if you haven’t read it yet. And I’ve also set up a Fun, Flirty Fiction group for readers over on Facebook so if you want to join just click here.
    Any Way You Dream It - Promo - Original Covers

  • Blog

    Muses, musing and Musical Monday


    Any Way You Fight It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverI seem to have been a bit lax in the blogging area of late.

    One of the things about having a #1000wordsaday challenge going is that I spend a lot of time thinking about what to write next in my novels, I think some of that time I used to spend thinking about what to blog next.

    I don’t think we have a finite amount of creativity but I do think we have a finite amount of time to be creative and so we have to pick and choose how we spend it.

    I’m not a huge believer in muses or waiting for the creative impulse to strike. That’s not true either. I happen to think that is a wonderful thing. If I don’t feel like baking a cake or redecorating then I might wait for inspiration. If I was writing purely for pleasure I might do the same.

    However if you have a schedule and deadlines and an agenda just like in any job sometimes you just have to show up and get to work. I had an editing disaster earlier this year. (Actually I had two and neither were my fault and editing is already the least pleasant part of this process for me so frankly, I’m still a little bitter about it.) Anyway, I made a decision when I was an hour away from sending my book to the editor and I lost 10,000 plus words and ten days work. I decided that if this was a job for a PR client I would have sat my bum down in the seat and started again. So that’s exactly what I did. I’m not sure the muse would ever show up and make me feel inspired to do that task. I still feel kind of ill at the memory.

    I guess my point is that sometimes you have to push through even when you feel uninspired but there’s a limit to how many areas in life you can do that in. Apparently, for me blogging has gone by the wayside.

    Still I have managed to complete all six books in the Upper Crust Series so you can expect four more releases from me in 2015. Don’t you love the cover for Any Way You Fight It? (I’m sending the book to the editors in the next few days so expect an August release).

    I’m also working on a Christmas novella and I’ve written a summer/Valentine novella as well so I guess the blogging has been lax for a reason. You can’t do it all.

    For Musical Monday here is one of my all time favourite songs by the Eurythmics – Right By Your Side – I actually saw this tour back in 1987 in Sydney. The song is a perfect fit for Zara and Kyle the characters in my Christmas novella.