• Blog

    Procrastinating on a Musical Monday


    Sydney Harbour BridgeI often say I could procrastinate for Australia. so accomplished am I at this under-rated skill. If there were state selections I’d definitely final.

    To me procrastination isn’t putting stuff off forever or never doing it, but rather putting it off until it wakes you in the night, distracts you from other things and gives you a cold sweat at the mere thought of it, whatever it is.

    This I am amazing at this.

    The things I procrastinate about fall neatly into two categories – things that scare me and things that bore me.

    I think we all have things in that second category. Mine includes folding laundry, sorting mail, anything tax related and anything involving the more technical aspects of the computers (as this translates to my writing anything on Amazon or Createspace). It makes that we don’t relish doing these jobs but like them or not they don’t go away.

    The first category – the scary stuff – also makes sense but putting it off usually doesn’t minimise the fear. My experience of doing this for MY ENTIRE LIFE is that the fear grows bigger, it’s shadow looms larger and it’s weight grows heavier.

    Often the things I’m scared of are new things.

    The truth is it usually takes longer to master something new so one really should take all the available time not leave it until there’s simply not enough but logic and fear have never been logical companions. Sometimes the new things are even opportunities and then you have to add in that little voice that asks “do you deserve this opportunity?”

    Procrastinator and self-sabotage – what a charming picture I paint.

    My to-do list this week is alarmingly long because of the above but today I have scratched my big black pen through quite a few line items. That’s terrific but it leaves me asking as it does every time – ‘when will you learn?’ My guess is never.

    (FYI -I don’t consider flaking out and not completing tasks procrastination. I do eventually get everything done. I don’t miss deadlines that affect other people because at my core I’m embarrassingly polite and it’s rude to mess other people around.)

    So after that we need a perky tune for a Monday. This song is one of my current favourites. Yes it is about a breakup but it is also about a girl going after what she wants and I like that a lot.

  • Blog

    Preparing for NaNoWriMo this Musical Monday


    NaNoWriMo Participant 2014 BadgeAnother Monday…another blog post.

    So much for my regular blogging the rest of the week. I hang my blogging head in shame. I didn’t manage anything since last Monday.

    It’s ten days until NaNoWriMo begins and so that means it is time to get my butt in gear. That means I have ten days to finish a romance novel under a pen name to get off to some BETA readers and I need to finish the draft of Book 2 in the series I’m writing Book 3 during November.

    So that’s writing one book, editing one book and planning one book. That seems a little bit much for me. I generally do better with my mind focused on one thing, not several.

    Bad luck Monique. Or as I often say here in real life “suck it up, Princess.” In order to succeed in November I need to do these things in October. They’re not optional.

    One thing I have tried to do is squeeze in some social activities this month so that November is not too full. The truth is here in Australia, while we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (although my little family does) November means end of year activities by the bucket-load. End of year lunches, dinners and catch-ups all happen in November. I’ve already got two Christmas lunches slotted in.

    Yep the big summer of fun that I so look forward to every year starts about mid-November, so I have to be judicious about what I commit to at the start of the month. I hope people understand but I’ve decided for once that it’s okay if they don’t. I’ve been rescheduled, postponed and cancelled for far flimsier reasons than “I’m writing a novel!”

    In book 2 in the Upper Crust Series Lucy goes to her old home town. Her old best friend Marissa is going to get her own book down the track…I think that will be book 4 in the series. I’m pretty sure Book 2 will be Cherie who featured quite heavily in the novella…unless I change my mind and Marissa is Book 3…see these are the sorts of decisions I have to make.

    This musical Monday I’m giving you one of my favourite small-town songs ever. It played out at the end of Northern Exposure (a show I loved and watched until it’s death knell) and I do actually own several of Iris deMent’s albums, as my husband met her through work, back in the day. This is a song that makes me cry every time. Love, loss and reminiscing and a little laughter…let’s hope I can capture all those things in my novel.

    If you have a treasured song about small time life I would love to hear about it. Happy Monday.

  • Blog

    Teacups, newsletters, sales and a song for Musical Monday



    Hearts AfireAnother Monday rolls around. My to-do list this week is startlingly long and scary. I think that happens most weeks, especially if you kind of fail to get everything on last week’s list done and it all rolls over.

    These tea-cups are pretty right. My two most popular Facebook posts on my author page in the last few months have far and away been the ones featuring these cups. There you go, who would have guessed?

    As a result, I’m doing a giveaway in my next newsletter of one of these cups so sign up if you would like to win one.

    There’s a button on this page, on the front page of the website and even on my Facebook page. So easy.

    In other news I can hardly believe that Hearts Afire my second book baby is just under 2 years old. Where did the time go? I really love that book. I love Matt in that book, actually. The e-book is on sale this week for 99cents so grab a copy if you haven’t already go one.





    Now for musical Monday. I’m kind of torn. I had a song in mind but then this morning I heard this song this morning and I thought, that is a lovely song for a Monday.

  • Blog

    Overwhelmed and underachieving on Musical Monday


    Sleeping HippoIs it really Monday again? Did I really not put up a single blog post in a week? I guess that’s two yeses.

    I’m such a slacker! (That’s me in the picture!)

    Lately I’ve had that overwhelmed and underachieving feeling. I get it every now and then and I can’t quite shake it off. Sadly it doesn’t spur me on to do more it just kind of immobilises me.

    Little things and good intentions slip by unattended to, unfulfilled. Opportunities are squandered.

    It is very annoying.

    Maybe it is because the sun is finally out, after an insanely wet winter, but I feel like I started shaking that off again over the weekend. I made a few plans for myself. Plans that don’t require me to work in with others and that I can quietly look forward to.

    I’m a planner by nature, but I’m married to the man least likely to make a plan. His gravestone could read “Here he lies, he didn’t plan to die.”

    Don’t get me wrong I like to be spontaneous but I also like some structure. A girlfriend and I say we like “organised spontaneity”. I’m happy to go off on a whim but damned if I don’t want to take the bus schedule, some snacks, bandaid, some ibuprofen and a jacket just in case.

    Putting a few plans in place both for my work life, my writing and my home life help.

    Meanwhile I’m plugging away at Book 2 in the Upper Crust Series and deciding which book to write for NaNoWriMo in November. It will either be Book 3 in the series or the sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels (if you have an opnion, do let me know).

    This song is very much the soundtrack in my mind at least for Book 2 in the series. So it’s today’s Musical Monday offering. And it really is a beautiful song.

  • Blog

    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.

  • 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

    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.


  • Blog

    Recovering from #RWAus14 and Musical Monday


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

    RWA2014 Conference SwagHigh Tea

    Photo Booth PicturesMonique McDonell and conference guests








    Champagne GlassCoffee and Bag at RWA Conference 2014










    Some of the highlights this year for me included:

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

    * James Scott Bell’s really wonderful talks.

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

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

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

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

  • Blog

    Preparing for RWAus2014 and Musical Monday


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – with my fellow Have Chick Lit, Will Travel author Geralyn Corcillo.


    Have Chick Lit Will Travel Box Set ImageToday Musical Monday is being taken over by Geralyn Corcillo whose novel She Likes it Tough is on of the novels in the Have Chick Lit Will Travel Romantic Comedy Box Set, that I am also included in and which just released on Friday.


    What a whirlwind weekend I have just had! The Romantic Comedy Box Set Have Chick Lit, Will Travel that I am a part of along with Monique and Jennifer Gilby Roberts is burning up the Amazon charts!

    Can you guess what song has been going through my head all weekend? It is by – not to be biased against Monique and Jennifer – The American Authors! “The Best Day of My Life.”

    And how could these past few days be anything but the best days? At one point on its meteoric blast through the charts, Have Chick Lit, Will Travel was nestled between Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number (which includes the Best First Kiss Scene ever!) and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Sigh…what a beautiful, divinely comfy place to be.

    Back to Musical Monday. Did you ever see the Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner movie Maverick? In it, Foster’s character unearths a secret about the other two. When they ask her how she figured it out, she explains, “You both sing the same wrong words to Amazing Grace.” And that little oddity gave it all away.

    See? Using music in stories can be fun and so much more than background noise.

    In my contribution to the Box Set, She Likes It Tough, my first-person narrator heroine Lisa Flyte constantly relates her life to aspects of pop culture – books, movies, TV shows, and songs she has had trolling through her life. And the hero Jack Hawkins picks up on this through the course of the story and their topsy-turvy relationship. So much so, that when everything between them gets good and truly fracked up, and Jack is trying to work his way back to her, he tries to do it through songs:

    I open the email. No text. It’s an MP3. A heartfelt apology from Jack? A snippet about us from some radio show? I can’t imagine.

    I get up and close the door to my office. Then I make sure the volume on my computer is low enough that only I’ll be able to hear it. I open the attachment.

    With the first riff of guitar strings, I catch my breath. “Joey,” by Concrete Blonde.

    The heart-wrenching lyrics rip into me with their desperate struggle to salvage messed-up love.

    But we got lucky once before

    And I don’t wanna close the door

    I can scarcely breathe. Is Jack asking me to come back? Is he trying to confess something? Explain something? Or did he just send me a song he thought I’d like? And if so, why? Why why why why why?

    The song ends, making it easier to hear my heart pounding.

    The silence of the computer makes my skin prickle. Jack sent me a song.

    Wait. Jack sent me a song? Are we in middle school?

    Or should he get points for choosing THE BEST SONG EVER?

    I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

    The wooing through songs continues, but how does it end up – and what does it mean to the outcome of the story? Does Lisa fight back with songs of her own? Does she ever figure out what Jack wants or is trying to say?

    From Lisa’s cell phone ring to how something about The Ramones gives away one of her secrets, music chirps and trills its way throughout this story. Because after all, like sex and free food, doesn’t music just make things better?

    How do you use music in your life, your work, your art? And if one song from a spurned lover could win you back or at least make you think twice or even pull your hair out trying to decide what to do – what would it be?


    Geralyn CorcilloBiography

    Geralyn Corcillo has work published under the names GVR Corcillo and Geralyn Ruane, as well. Identity crisis? Sure…but she’s got it pretty much figured out now.

    Once upon a time, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo taught high school in Watts and South Central Los Angeles. But deciding she needed an even tougher job, she chose to write.

    Corcillo won a few contests, hit the New York Times Bestseller List with her first short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants,” and got a B-movie screenplay produced by Roger Corman. She Likes It Tough is her debut novel, and winner of Best Humor Book 2013 and Best Indie Book 2013 from the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards. She Likes It Tough was also a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2014.

    Corcillo lives in North Hollywood with her husband Ron, a guy who’s even cooler than Kip Dynamite.


    Pop back tomorrow for a post by the third author in Have Chick Lit, Will Travel Jennifer Roberts



    Geralyn Corcillo
    7/27/2014 03:29:48 pm

    Wow, Monique, you really make my post look fantastic! Thanks 🙂 I applaud the energy and finesse you put into this incredibly fun blog! Being a part of The Box Set with you and Jennifer is truly wonderful, and being on your blog is just more scrumptious icing on the cake 🙂

    Geralyn Corcillo
    7/27/2014 03:43:34 pm

    Have Chick Lit, Will Travel – #57 on Amazon’s Humorous Women’s Fiction Bestseller List! It has been movin’ on up all day 🙂
    7/27/2014 05:26:11 pm

    Very exciting about the ranking. Great post!!
    Geralyn Corcillo
    7/27/2014 06:45:24 pm

    Thanks, Monique. Looking forwards to Jennifer’s post tomorrow!