• Blog

    Cover reveal for my new release – Snowbound – which will published November 21st 2016


    Today I am so excited to reveal the gorgeous cover for my Christmas novella – Snowbound….take a look below. Isn’t it gorgeous?
    Snowbound – A Chicklit Christmas novella
    ​When Zara’s boyfriend can’t come home to Sydney from New York for Christmas she decides to surprise him instead. Sure, the ticket costs a bomb and her overbearing family thinks it is a bad idea, but that’s what you do for love right? Or so she tells the tall and hunky ex-basketball star, Kyle, who is squeezed into the plane seat beside her.

    When a blizzard hits and she finds herself stranded in Denver a few things become clear – her boyfriend isn’t that heartbroken about her absence, the airport doesn’t seem like a very festive place to be snowed-in, and there certainly aren’t enough pumpkin spiced lattes to fix the situation.

    So when Kyle offers to take her to stay at his buddy’s empty house she decides to take a chance and make the best of her first white Christmas. What she hadn’t banked on was Kyle’s ex and a reality television crew crashing the Christmas party.

    If you like fun and flirty heroes, ugly sweaters, snow covered mountains and sugar cookies, you’ll enjoy reading Snowbound these holidays.

    Snowbound will be released on November 21st.

    If you are a blogger who would like to participate in the release day blitz please sign up here.

    Snowbound - Cover

  • Blog

    Life’s a beach


    At least mine is…
    It’s summer in Sydney and I happen to live in one of it’s lovely beach areas. I’m not really a sun worshipper because girls with red hair (sadly) are not designed for that sort of activity – big hats, sunscreen and long sleeves are more in my wheelhouse but I love the beach.

    This week Travel Zoo released its list of best beaches in Australia and I was not surprised to find two of my favourites in the Top 10. As you’ll see Shelley Beach and Manly Beach are often in my photos.

    Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my own more recent beach shots with you so you can get a taste of life her on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We have a small boat we like to explore Sydney Harbour on so I’m lucky that I get to photograph it from land and sea.

    I often go for a walk at the beach to clear my head when writing and when it’s not so hot (we’re having a heatwave right now) I also like to go and write down by the water.

    My most recent novels aren’t set here but both my first two both have scenes on the Northern Beaches – Hearts Afire just towards the end and Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a set in beautiful Manly.

    So enjoy the photos and if you feel the urge to escape to the beach via a book consider one of those.

    Shelley BeachPelican in the ocean










    Manly Beach WalkOcean Swimming Northern Beaches








    Monique McDonell and Husband drinking champagne at the beachCoastal Flowers



















    The Pittwater Northern Beaches

    Northern Beaches Headland Ocean View








    Beach View

    Northern Beaches Beach







  • Blog

    Back at my desk for Musical Monday and a give-away

    Gold Coast Beach PathGold Coast BeachGold Coast Beach





    Gold Coast BeachHard Rock Cafe Guitar Sign Gold Coast










    I’ve been a pretty bad blogger the past couple of weeks but admittedly I have been on vacation. See those pictures up above, they prove it. We went on a family road trip from sunny Sydney to the Gold Coast in Queensland. It is the middle of winter so although you see and sand it wasn’t as toasty warm as these photos imply. Whoever said the camera never lies well that guy was a liar.

    Anyway it’s always nice to recharge the batteries, drink a few cocktails, ride some rollercoasters and get ready for the months ahead.

    As a parent I’m amazed at how fast time is passing and am all too aware that my delightful 13 year old will be off on her own adventures soon and I will no longer be part of her vacations so I really do try and seize the moments now because they are all too fleeting.(Having said that I’m kind of theme parked out for now!)

    So back to the desk. My new novella which will be out in August will be making it’s way to the editor this week. That’s exciting for me. I’m working on it’s sequel. The novella is the first in a series and I hope that readers like the characters. I like them. Smart women making their way in the big city while keeping their sense of humour…the kind of women I like to hang out with both in real life and in a book.(Sneak peek of the cover coming soon – sign up to my newsletter if you want to see it.)

    Don’t forget about this giveaway I’m part of. It’s a great opportunity to win some prizes donated by a wide variety of authors. (See entry form below).

    And finally for Musical Monday…one of my favourite songs for singing loudly in the car on a road trip – Story of a Girl. very fitting for a writer whose main characters are usually girls finding their way.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Blog

    Australia Day Blog Hop – memories of Australia Day…


    Dee Why Beach
    I’m the first in line for this Australia Day Blog Hop…

    Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop

    So here comes another great blog hop over the next three weeks from an all Aussie contingent… leading up to a celebration of Australia Day. Over the next three weeks you’ll be reading about what being an Aussie author means to the crew below, or how they celebrate Australia Day, or maybe even a lamington or pavlova recipe. It will be full of surprises!
    And you’ll hear about new books to add to your TBR piles!
    Don’t forget to call in every day and visit the blogs, leave a comment, enter the raffle copter for the fabulous gift basket.


    My Memories of Australia Day

    I thought I’d think back on what Australia Day means to me. It’s a funny thing because I have no memory of Australia Day as a child. In fact, the first memory I have of it is during the Australian Bicentenary and even that isn’t my own memory as I was overseas at the time while images of Sydney Harbour replete with tall ships and ferry boat races were beamed around the world.

    Even for the couple of years after I don’t remember doing much for Australia Day. Maybe I did or more likely I was packing my bags and heading to the country to help with O-Week at the University I attended.

    Then I got married and lived a block from the Dee Why beach where the local Council, in it’s wisdom, decided to start a free breakfast picnic for the locals. (This event still runs every year and is no longer free and is generally so crowded I no longer attend). Still, I have always thought of this as a spectacularly Australian way to celebrate Australia Day. A bacon and egg roll on a picnic blanket, a quick swim, watch the surf boat races and listen to local musicians sing in the park. It’s inclusive and it’s egalitarian.

    When we were first married we’d meet up with friends and sit in the sun, have a few adult beverages and let the day roll away. It was romantic to go home with a smile on your face and sand between your toes having shared the day with good friends. A couple of times we ended up back at our flat dancing on the coffee table as young people in love do.

    Some times there was a new boyfriend or girlfriend for my husband and I to meet and the next year they might be gone, maybe replaced, maybe not. Australia Day, falling as early as it does in the year, was a day full of promise and opportunity. Resolutions hadn’t yet been abandoned, summer felt like it still had lots of puff left and lots of people were just back from travels with tales to tell and enthusiasm.

    As an adult now, and as the parent or a school age child Australia Day has a different feel. In my state it means the end of school holidays. It means school goes back, the routine resumes and reality takes hold again. Not so back then…back then it was a day of romance and hope and friendship.

    (Dee Why Beach is located on Sydney’s Northern beaches about ten minutes from Manly where much of Mr Right and Other Mongrels is set.) Mr Right and Other Mongrels is currently on sale for 99c.

    Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Australia Day Coastal Blog Hop

    You can enter via Rafflecopter below….also below is a list of all the talented Australian authors who are participating in this wonderful blog hop…where you win….(drum-roll!)

    $100 and 26 e-books (some print) from our generous authors
    drawn Australia Day

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    January 1 Monique McDonnell
    January 2 Sara Hantz
    January 3 Annie Seaton
    January 4 Imogene Nix
    January 5 Caitlin Nicholas
    January 6 Tima Maria Lacoba
    January 7 Nikole Flockton
    January 8 Wendy L. Curtis
    January 9 Jacqui Carling Rodgers
    January 10 Susan Horsnell
    January 11 Susanne Bellamy
    January 12 J’aimee Brooker
    January 13 Victoria Purman
    January 14 Ann B Harrison
    January 15 Cate Ellink
    January 16 Jenny Schwartz
    January 17 Donna Gallagher
    January 18 Lily Malone
    January 19 Tea Cooper
    January 20 Fiona McArthur
    January 21 Max Henry
    January 22 Jennie Jones
    January 23 Allison Brideson
    January 24 Eve Rabi
    January 25 Kendal Talbot
    January 26 Annie Seaton-Prize draw

    Annie Seaton http://annieseatonromance.com


    Alison Stuart
    12/31/2013 08:57:27 am

    I don’t think Australia Day was such a big thing when we were young Monique. Our sense of identity as Australians does, as you identify, seem to date from the bicentennial when it seemed we were “given permission” to be who we are and celebrate our Australianess. The ongoing debate about whether Jan 26 is the right date continues but as the years pass it will become impossible to change.

    Janie McGaugh
    1/2/2014 01:09:00 pm

    This is the first I’ve heard of Australia Day (to my recollection). As Mary M. says, it does sound a lot like our Independence Day celebrations (except for the fireworks that we have).

    Susanne Bellamy
    12/31/2013 09:03:39 am

    It’s really become a celebration of our lifestyle, hasn’t it. For me, this year is going to be a bit different and I’m thankful that I live in Australia where so much is possible. Great post to start off, Monique.
    12/31/2013 09:08:29 am

    I agree it has become a celebration of our lifestyle Susanne, that’s a great way to describe it.

    Alison I think you’re right about the Bicentennial being the start of the celebrating of the day – I wasn’t sure if that was truly the case or if as a child and teen I just wasn’t aware of the event as much.

    12/31/2013 10:14:59 am

    I only emigrated to Australia in my 30’s a few years before the bicentenary…. I love the way it is celebrated and am now an Australian

    Angela Hogan
    12/31/2013 11:57:14 am

    I love australia day

    Jennie Jones
    12/31/2013 12:43:24 pm

    Lovely memories Monique – I’ll never forget my very first Australia Day!

    Annie Seaton
    12/31/2013 02:20:51 pm

    Monique..I can still remember watching the television broadcast and the yachts on Sydney Harbour in 1988. Proud to be an Aussie

    12/31/2013 05:23:00 pm

    I was in the City the day of the bicentenial with our 4 young children what a day loved it so many people it will stay with me forever 🙂

    Have Fun

    Marcy Shuler
    1/1/2014 11:04:36 am

    I’m in the US so Australia Day is new to me. I have trouble picturing January 1st as being warm since I’m in frigid Michigan. LOL

    Susan Horsnell
    1/1/2014 11:45:25 am

    Hi Monique
    Great to read your post. We lived in Dee Why a few years back too, beautiful part of the world.

    Mary M.
    1/2/2014 05:27:10 am

    Interesting to hear everyone’s memories of Australia Day, a holiday we never celebrate here in Wisconsin. It does put me in mind of our Independence Day which is a nice, warm holiday to think about as I shovel round 6 of snow off the driveway….

    Karen H in NC
    1/4/2014 07:03:53 am

    Hope your holiday was pleasant. From the looks of the pictures, it was. Enjoy your hot weather. It’s the dead of winter here right now and it is bone-chilling cold! And my old bones don’t do winter so well anymore!

    1/4/2014 07:26:08 am

    I still haven’t been to Australia, but it’s great to hear about the holiday!

    Holly Letson
    1/4/2014 07:26:52 am

    The beach looks very nice.

    Rita Wray
    1/4/2014 08:13:56 am

    I grew up in Australia and still have a sister and two brothers living there.

    Natasha Devereux
    1/4/2014 06:10:35 pm

    I don’t remember Australia Day as a child (50/60’s) or even much as a teenager. When the kids were small it was family picnics in Kings Park overlooking the Swan River and Perth or a day at the Zoo then 30 years ago there was this fantastic innovation called Skyworks and Australia Day burst onto the Perth scene – special events, shows, concerts, all one the Peth foreshore and at night the most spetacular fireworks display set to music – nowadays people come from all over the world the celebrate Australia Day in Perth ( http://skyworks.showmeperth.com.au/ ) I have attende many but when I moved to Mandurah (75km south of Perth) I discovered that my not so little new home town had a wonderful celebration of its own – Oz Day by the sea does it for me

    1/5/2014 10:17:08 am

    Nice memories

    1/6/2014 07:06:49 pm

    I think Australia Day has got more important, I remember being in the UK one year on Australia Day and it made me think of barbecues and beach in the middle of rain and snow, but now there are organised events which I think is great

    Juliee Fitze
    1/16/2014 08:01:11 pm

    I’m Canadian and had never heard of this before , would love to be at the beach in Jan. Going to go read up on this some more to check out what my cousins are up too.

  • Blog

    I finished (won) NaNoWriMo and other news for the festive season


    Verve Clicquot ChampagneWell I am very happy to say that I have completed my NaNoWriMo novel with a few days up my sleeves (not that I have sleeves as it’s kind of warm here in Sydney today).

    It’s been a busy month in my corner of the world and so I feel particularly pleased that I managed to reach this goal this year. One of the reasons I enjoy the process of NaNoWriMo so much is that it gives me a huge sense of accomplishment at the pointy difficult end of the year.

    (I didn’t really crack open the Veuve last night though I did have a wine or two but I have so many Christmas gatherings lined up that I’m not worried that I won’t get my fair share of champagne).

    So onwards, time to get back to the business of being a writer. Writers in the modern age have to balance their desire and love of writing with their need to market and promote. This is true for all writers not just indies. I’m sure many of those writers you see on panels at festivals, signing books in shops or being interviewed would in fact rather be at their desk escaping into their own made up world.

    As part of that promotion I have a couple of fun things happening in December.

    1. I have lots of lovely authors stopping by with holiday posts and doing guest blogs, so make sure you keep an eye open for that.

    2. I’m involved in this Coastal Romance Blog Hop if you want to stop by and win a $100 gift card and 26 e-books for Christmas this is your chance….you should visit the blogs of every author for more chances to win- many are doing their own give away as well!

    Meanwhile don’t forget that you can send people a gift of a book direct from Amazon this Christmas. My books are only $2.99 which makes them an inexpensive way to brighten someone’s day. They’re all available at my Amazon author page!!

  • Blog

    Let’s talk about setting


    Does the setting of a book affect whether or not you choose to read it?

    If you read a book set somewhere you know do you prefer that? Or what about if it’s somewhere you know but in the book you’re reading it looks unrecognisable. “Hey that’s not my town, that’s not right!”

    Here are a few thoughts of my own on setting.
    Sometimes all you need to do is change the name to protect the innocent. In my second book Hearts Afire the island I describe is a real island in Queensland but I changed it’s name so I could take some creative license. Likewise the characters live in Stanton – no such place exists in Sydney’s inner-west, at least not by that name.

    If you want to use a real setting my best advice is to make it real. get the facts right and no one will complain, get it wrong and well, you’ll certainly hear about it.

    So do you like books set in real places or do you prefer created towns, cities and villages?


    Brea Brown
    8/7/2013 10:27:15 am

    I like to read books set in places I know, would like to know, or would like to visit. I’ll admit that if a book is set somewhere that doesn’t interest me, I generally won’t read the book. There aren’t too many places that don’t interest me, though, so setting is rarely something that rules out a book for me. I enjoy writing about places I know or creating completely fictional settings. Mixing the two is also a lot of fun. Great post! Love the video!
    8/7/2013 10:45:12 am

    I’m the same Brea…there are a couple of places that I prefer to avoid but otherwise I’m pretty open…as long as it’s a good premise I’m in!

    Pamela Cook
    8/7/2013 05:37:08 pm

    I love a good setting. One of the reasons I read is to escape (don’t we all?) and an evocative setting will take me away every time. I agree about the need to get the details right. Love the outdoor video. More please!

    Louise Wise
    8/7/2013 07:06:55 pm

    I love to read books and see that it’s set close to where I live. I’d be annoyed if the author was anything but complimentary about my home town, but forgive them if they lived there.

  • Blog

    Musical Monday – California Dreamin’


    Mr Right and Other MongrelsThe weather has turned rather autumnal this weekend in Sydney.

    My backyard is a sea of brown, orange and yellow leaves that make an inviting crunch when I walk to the clothesline. The wind has picked up and there is a definite chill in the air.

    I’m not really an autumn and winter girl. I should be I suppose with my Celtic colouring but the truth is I prefer to feel the warm sunshine on my back than just about anything else. I seem to have cold toes from May to September and when I sit and type my hands get icy cold.

    Lucky for me in just on a month I’m heading to LA on a research trip for the sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

    Lots of readers want to know what happens to Teddy and Allegra next and so I’m going to write their story. I never intended to write a sequel but now that I am I’m excited about it.

    So, because that’s what I’m doing today, in here’s a little California Dreamin’.
    1 Comment
    5/19/2013 12:36:38 pm

    California is dreaming of you, too, Monique!! Just a month to go!!

  • Blog

    Research or procrastination?


    Question Mark and PenI’ve done a lot of research this weekend. Honest I have.

    I looked up places for my various books on Google earth. Am I the only one who feels like superman when the globe spins and I go from Sydney to Los Angeles in a matter of seconds.

    I also planned aspects of my LA research trip for the as yet un-named sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels, that has to be research right? I mean obviously I must know what is on the menu at The Getty in LA a full month before I visit it.

    I might have also done some research on Serendipity 3 in New York because that places and it’s frozen hot chocolate may feature in an upcoming book.

    As a writer you do need authenticity. If you describe a real place it needs to feel real and the only way to get true credibility is to visit or visit via the inter-webs. However, it is a fine line between research and procrastination.

    It’s very easy to get sucked into the vortex and suddenly realise you’ve spent two hours on your computer and not written a word. (And that’s without twitter, Facebook and all their social media buddies). I think it’s a fine line between research and procrastination – it’s like when a teacher gives a child ‘busy work’ to occupy them but maybe it’s not advancing their cause any. (Any Aussie’s out there remember the SRA cards of the 1970’s – OK I just Googled them? How can they still exist?)

    Anyway, if you’re a writer how do you balance research and procrastination? (I imagine for Regency writers or people writing historical novels this must be even harder to balance!)

  • Blog

    A musical interlude for a sunny day


    Beach view from towel
    I was down at Manly today writing and having a coffee. As a writer who also writes for her day job sometimes sitting in the same place day in day out can squash the creativity and a change of scene helps.

    It’s a seriously beautiful autumn day in Sydney and there were tourists everywhere. I have some serious guilt issues and whenever I see tourists in Sydney and the weather is less than stellar I feel very guilty. I always want to go and apologise. Issues man issues.

    Anyway today there was no need at all for that.

    On my way home this song came on the radio and it seemed to fit so well with my current WIP (Work in progress) that I thought I’d share it with you.

    I do happen to believe that love should be easy and shouldn’t hurt but as know in a romance or a chick lit novel the path of true love usually is rather bumpy…that’s one of my challenges in writing actually. I consider my characters to be friends and just like with friends I can’t help my characters to be happy.

  • Blog

    Photo Friday


    Beach view from towelI thought I’d start a new trend on this blog called photo Friday. I’ll try and get a photo up that relates to my novels or my writing life (Be warned you may see lots of coffee cups). Yes I know it’s Saturday in Sydney but it’s still Friday in lots of places and I did take these on a Friday so I’m going to pretend it counts.

    Yesterday afternoon I happened to be at the beach with my daughter and her friends. This beach features in Mr Right and Other Mongrels briefly. Allegra often takes her morning un around to this beach. She’s certainly not alone. This is a very popular pathway to ride, walk or run.

    The beach is also a popular spot to snorkel and scuba dive and yesterday the water was warm and crystal clear and there loads of international tourists making the most of it, and a few locals.

    Anyway my walk down to the beach had me thinking about hidden treasures tucked away in some of our favourite spots and how we associate certain images with certain places and often miss the other aspects of a suburb or town or setting.

    So here are a couple of other images from the same spot. I’m not the world’s best photographer and I was balancing towels, shoes, snacks, picnic blankets, a bowl of watermelon and bottles of water as I took these.
    Hidden Leafy Beach Path

    Morton Bay Fig Tree

    Mr Right and Other MongrelsMr Right and Other Mongrels


    2/8/2013 04:01:29 pm

    Nice to see where Allegra hung out!