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  • Cinnamon Bay booksin KU
    Blog

    A renewed commitment to blogging

    A little catch up on what’s happening in my author life.

    Cinnamon Bay booksin KU
    Get these Cinnamon bay Romances in KU today

    I’m sitting here in my office on a very damp Sunday afternoon blogging. Meanwhile most of the East Coast of my home state of NSW is having an “extraordinary weather event” in the form of way too much rain. Flooding, bursting dams and road closures are affecting a lot of people. Fingers crossed everyone stays safe and dry.

    It’s what you’d call “wonderful weather for writing”, but some days you just feel like curling up with a good book. Am I right? I know that’s what I’ll be doing next.

    The books in the original Cinnamon Bay Series are now all in Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a KU subscriber they’re free for you and if not, you can still buy them on Amazon.

    It’s 9 years since I started this blog and I realised over the last few days I really needed to get back to blogging, so hopefully you’ll start to see some more activity here in the coming weeks.

    There have been some changes on social media platforms of late that have made a lot of people nervous about how much visibility we will continue to have. You don’t own your content o Facebook for example but here this is my own domain (and domain name ha ha!)

    If you talk to any writer, they’ll tell you there are a lot of balls to juggle behind the scenes and sometimes things slip. Hopefully, it won’t be my blog  slipping anymore. I’ll be back hosting cover reveals and other writers here, as well as getting back to some of the memes  (Musical Monday, Taste of Tuesday) I loved during the week.  Thanks for hanging in with me during the leaner posting period.

    Apart from secret pen name projects – which I can’t discuss because they’re secrets –  I’m currently working on Any Way You Wish It, Book 9 in the Upper Crust series and Saltwater Wishes, Marlin Shores Book 3…both will be out mid-year. Both stories are pretty fun ones to write so I hope they become fun to read as well.

    If you have any questions about my writing or anything you’d like to see on the blog please leave me  comment below.

     

     

  • Blog

    Marching into March – an update from my desk

     

    saltwater wishes Fb banner

    The month of March is upon me and I’m wondering how that is possible.

    January is always a crazy month here because of summer vacation, and I had some family commitments that ate into the start. I released Saltwater Tears in January, so it wasn’t a total loss. I hope you enjoy reading Banner’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    February I’ve been hunkered down in my writing cave, mainly working on projects for a couple of pen names and planning out my books for 2021. I’m happy to say I have a Cinnamon Bay romance out in June, which is all plotted and the next (and final Upper Crust Novel) will be ready for Christmas in July. I’ve started that one at least and it is all plotted too. I’m still trying to see if I’ll be releasing Saltwater Tears – the third Marlin Shores book in May or August – I’ve also started Tony’s story, and it’s a fun one to write.

    2021 for me is about reflection – I’ve written over 40 books, over 50 if we count pen names and I love writing but I’m considering moving in a new direction with my books so I guess that will take thought and planning. When I started out, I wanted to write a book, then I wanted to publish, then I wanted to see if I could do it again…and again. I’ve reset my goals many times to include being more productive, grow things like my social media following or release more often.

    Aside from my financial goals, I’ve hit every writing target I’ve aimed for. Maybe that’s where my focus needs to be in 2021.

    Meanwhile, there’s a sneak peak, of the cover for the cover for Saltwater Wishes above.

    I hope you have a wonderful month.

     

  • Shine
    Blog

    Happy New Year and welcome to 2021

    Shine

    Welcome to 2021 my lovely readers. Happy New Year!

    I think we’re all more than ready to embrace the new although I don’t think 2021 will be the instant panacea to 2020 many of us are hoping for. I’m optimistic it will be better.

    My word for the year is SHINE. I hope to shine brightly in 2021.

    I had lots of plans for last year and I achieved some. I did write a lot of words. I have a couple of secret pen names and published under those and my own name. 

    I definitely didn’t release everything I wanted to but that’s okay. I became a USA today Bestseller, I came second in the Australian RUBY Awards novella section and released several new books. We’ll take it.

    We moved out of our home of over 24 years and relocated to a new town with about 6 weeks’ notice, so I’m being kind to myself about my lack of accomplishment in the final quarter of 2020.

    The good news is those projects will be completed in the first half of 2021 so all is not lost.

    I started serializing Playing With Trouble in 2020, and I promise to get back to that and share the rest of it with you in 2021. You can catch up here with the opening meanwhile.

    The next books in the Marlin Shores world will be out in January and March and I can’t wait to share those as well. You can preorder Saltwater Tears here.

    Have you read the prequel Kissing The Captain? If not grab your copy here for free.

    We have big plans for the Cinnamon Bay romance world in 2021 so look out for news about that soon.

    I also have Upper Crust Series news…meanwhile have you seen the box sets I made for the Upper Crust series? You can grab them here and they are free in Kindle Unlimited.

    There are a couple of other exciting projects looming in 2021 so stay tuned.

    Happy New Year – 2021 here we come!

    Playing with Trouble

     

  • Blog

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

    Who doesn’t love a festive Holiday Read?

    If the good people at Hallmark have taught us anything it’s that we all love to immerse ourselves in holiday stories this time of year.

    I love writing them as well, which is why I have so many Christmas stories to share with you. From standalone novellas to romance series, I have holiday stories to delight.

    A Christmas Arrangement

    A Christmas Arrangement takes place in Cinnamon Bay. I really loved this story and was so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Awards with this novella in 2020. Isn’t the video for the book above adorable?

    A Christmas Arrangement - Cover

    Snowbound

    I’m not going to lie this book is one of my favorites. I loved writing it and I love the cover. I think it’s one of my sweetest most feel-good books. I love the characters and the fun they have. It’s an Australian girl snowed in with a hunky basketball star for Christmas – seriously, what’s not to love?

    Snowbound - Cover

    More Than Ornamental

    I wrote this book after I asked a lot of questions on my Facebook page about what people wanted to see in a Christmas book – they wanted a small-town, single Dad romance set in Australia and that’s exactly what this is. It was in the Romancing the Holidays boxset in 2019 and now is a stand alone novella.

    More Than Ornamental

    Any Way You Plan it

    This is the fourth book in my Upper Crust series. I’ve said before I never meant this to be a series so it starts in Boston and moves to a small New Hampshire town. The characters are friends who move between the two places. Marissa in this book is the first permanent small-town gal and she’s had it bad for her friend for years. This Christmas she decides enough is enough – it’s time to move on. Turns out he’s not so keen on that idea and needs to woo her big time. (This can be read as a stand alone).

    Any Way You Plan It - Upper Crust Novel 4 Cover - Monique McDonell

    The Reluctant Bridesmaid 

    This may not look like it but The Reluctant Bridesmaid is  Christms story – it’s Mirand’s story o going home t her small town for her cousin’s wedding. It’s only available for newsletter subscribers right now. You can click here for a free copy.

     

  • Blog

    Today I interview myself about my writing life

    3/26/2019

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Today I thought I’d ask myself the Top 5 questions I get asked about my writing life.
    Something to Savour - Jewel Sisters Series - Monique McDonell - Cover
    1. How’s your writing going?
    This is the question people who know I write but don’t really know about the details ask. It’s the most common question I get.

    It’s going fine. I have another book out next month and my last release was okay although I didn’t promote it properly. It was a novella and I don’t think people really want novellas from me. My January release No Time For Temptation went well and readers are giving it great reviews which makes me happy.

    2. When is the next book out?
    This is the question from my friends who read and love my books.
    Girlfriend, I’m doing my best here. It takes a lot longer to write a book than read a book you know. I’m working really hard here and but you’ll have books in April, May, June so don’t panic. There will be lots to read. I do really appreciate that you love my books and your support makes me cry all the happy tears.

    3. Can I get it in paperback?
    Asked by lots of non e-reading friends.

    You know I used to do paperbacks and they just don’t sell unless you have a book launch or a signing but I have No Time For Temptation in paperback and it will be live on Amazon soon. I’m also ordering duets of the Upper Crust series soon, I promise.

     

     

    Here’s an example!

    Upper Crust Series Any Way You Slice It and Any Way You Dream It - Paperback Duet Example

     

    4. How do you write so fast?
    This is usually asked by other authors who don’t write as quickly as I do.

    Firstly, I have had years of practice at being quick at turning work around in my day job where I’ve basically written all day for a living. Secondly, I’m not bad at time management in general so I’m really good at using 15 minute increments to get stuff done – a Facebook post, some emails, or some behind the scenes activity. Thirdly, I know my best times of day for creativity and it’s good to work these out for yourself. (Mine are 10am -12noon , 2-4pm, and 5-6.30pm) If I can get two one hour blocks in these times I can get 2-3,000 words of a draft done. I try and do a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That adds up. Fourthly, by writing every day I can dive straight back in where I left off which saves time and backtracking. Finally, i enjoy writing (editing and promoting not so much) but I do it because I like it and that makes it easier.

    There is no correct pace to write at. It depends on a lot of things. I like to release regularly because as an indie romance author that helps me with sales, visibility and the pesky Amazon algorithms. Also I read quickly so I understand that kind of reader who wants to read a series back-to-back. That means I need to write quickly and it’s important to me so I make time for it.

    Also I don’t watch TV hardly at all (except the odd cooking show). I haven’t seen a movie since January 2018 and I don’t play sports or have a time consuming hobby. As does meal preparation (we don’t eat take-away) and planning on the home front. Oh yes, and my house isn’t company ready 95% of the time. You’d be amazed how much time that frees up.

    ​5. How do you come up with your ideas?
    Lots of people ask this.

    Ideas are not an issue for me. I have books planned out and so many things I’d love to write that I’ll never get to. The characters appear before me and then I want to tell their stories. Picking the right stories in the right order is the challenge for me as is deciding what people would like to read. I’ll have a plan and then get distracted by shiny new things. Staying focused is the challenge.

    ​If you have any question please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

  • Blog

    A Musical Monday year in review

    12/30/2018

    Musical Monday

    2019 a year in review

    I tried to think of a song to sum up the year and it’s hard to go beyond Seasons of Love from RENT. (Also when is RENT coming back to the stage in Australia it was awesome?) After all, kind of like me the song measures the year in love and cups of coffee.

    This year has been a really mixed one for me in terms of both life and writing. It hasn’t been catastrophic, and I am well aware I lead a very fortunate life, but just like everyone some years are harder than others and this one has been a bit of a slog.

    Let’s start with the not so great writing-wise. I had some plans for some collaborative projects that I was excited by this time last year that fell through – one was a multi-author book and the other was a box set that got cancelled. I was excited by the prospect of not working alone so much, because being an indie author can be pretty lonely. In the end those projects falling through taught me a valuable lesson that I’m often better off on my own working at my own pace.

    I had a target to release a certain number of books in 2018 and I didn’t reach it. In fact I only released three books in 2018 under my name and two under a pen name. That was disappointing and the result of a tough day job that left me no time for anything creative at the end of the day. To be honest i felt out of sorts and like I was swimming through mud from about February onwards.

    So when I think about my writing goals for 2019 I think of this song.

    So moving on what went well? No one wants to dwell on the negative.

    I released the Something to Sing About, from the Jewel Sisters Series just before New Year last year and yesterday I finished the third book in that series Something to Savor so it will be out in February and the final book Something Worth Saving will be out in March.

    I released two books in the new Courtside Romance Series in July and November with two more to come in early 2019.

    Courtside Romance Banner
    The highlight of the year was definitely the release of Any Way You Like It, the final Book in the Upper Crust series. I had a great time with the unicorn themed promotions and the book was really well received. Let’s be honest completing an 8 book series is no mean feat. I did a whole playlist for the book which was fun but this Ed Sheeran song most encapsulates Dave and Tasha’s story and the whole experience of writing the book for me.

    So 2018 was also a fantastic year for me in terms of new opportunities and professional development

    I was chosen to write a book for the No Brides Club Series for Sweet Promise Press which I’m super excited about. It did give me a collaborative experience which I had been looking for. I also joined a group of authors and we established the Coffee Talk on the Boardwalk Facebook group. We’re releasing a series in 2019 and we’ve had a lot of fun with readers naming elements of the town Cinnamon Bay where the stories will be set.

    In July I was in Washington DC for my day job and I hopped over to Denver to visit a friend and meet up with fellow authors attending the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I was able to meet up with the awesome authors who were present from the ChickLItChat Facebook Group for dinner and the next night I met with Melissa Storm the Publisher from Sweet Promise Press and some awesome sweet romance authors.

    In November I was in LAs Vegas for the 20Booksto50k writers conference and I met lots of amazing and inspiring indie authors there. I made some great connections with people I plan to work with and collaborate with moving forward as well as gaining lots of knowledge on how to better market my books – now I just need to implement it all. Finally in December Laura Chapman, a fellow chicklit author was in town and we spent a glorious day talking all things books.

    And I just worked out I read in excess of 200 books in 2018 – okay even I’m blown away by that!

    So what lies ahead for 2019?

    You may not know this about me but I do love a plan. I don’t always stick to my plan but I do like to start out with one. My plan for 2019 is to release a book a month between now and September. The books include for starters a Valentine Novella, No Time For Temptation for the No Brides Club – out January 25th! The last two Jewel Sisters and Courtside Romance novels will be next and then my Cinnamon Bay novel for the Coffee Talk on the Boardwalk series.

    I’m really excited about the year ahead. I’ve quite my day job and will be looking at new things work wise in 2019. Hopefully I’ll have a little more balance and creative energy.

    I’m keen to explore dictating my books so that I can walk and write – You can’t write a book a month, work, run a family and exercise any other way – or I can’t anyway.

    I’m looking to aim high in 2019. What are your plans? Goals? Aspirations?

    We started with a show tune so I figured we’d go out with one. Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and best wishes for a fabulous 2019.

     

  • Blog

    Release Week for Any Way You Like It – releasing a book never gets old

    4/17/2018

    Upper Crust Series Floral Banner - Original Covers
    Happy Release Week to me
    This week sees the release of Any Way You Like It the final book in the Upper Crust Series.

    I worked out yesterday that I’d been working on the series since 2014, that’s quite a long time to spend writing a series you never planned to write. I’m pleased to say that I’ve enjoyed writing each and every one of these stories. There is definitely a bittersweet quality to finishing up but I think that it’s time.

    Dave has popped up in most of the books since Any Way You Dream It so it’s fitting that his story helps us close it out.

    If you want a shot at winning some cool unicorn merchandise as unicorns feature in the novel just a bit you should stop by my Facebook page an enter my release week competition.

    It’s important to celebrate a new release and I know lots of my readers have fallen in love with the characters in the Upper Crust Series almost as much as I have, Thank you to those of you who have kept me company on this fun journey.
    Unicorn Box

    Any Way You Like It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original CoverAny Way You Like It, An Upper Crust Novel

    The first time Dave saw Tasha again he thought he’d imagined her, the second time he wished he had. Years ago she’d broken his heart and never looked back, leaving him stuck in his hometown because of a long held promise to his late sister.

    Tasha was back because she needed a place to hide. It was no coincidence she’d picked the only place she’d ever been happy. She hadn’t expected Dave would to be happy to see her, or that he’d still be single. She was wrong on both counts. Still when she needed a safe place to stay and when he offered her one and she couldn’t bring herself to refuse.

    The town Dave was itching to escape seemed idyllic to Tasha but she hadn’t wanted to belong before – could she convince him that this time everything was different?

    Will their past be a foundation for a new beginning or the very thing that keeps them apart?

    If you’ve ever wanted a second chance at first love Any Way You Like It is for you. Buy it here today.

  • Blog

    Time to welcome another book baby – Something of a Spark Into the World

    12/27/2017

    Jewel Sisters - Something to Sing About - Monique McDonell - Oringal CoverIsn’t she pretty?
    Don’t you just love the cover for Something to Sing About? I adore it. It is one of my personal favourites – I know one isn’t supposed to have them but I do…(Any Way You Want It is my fave Upper Crust Cover).

    This book was a fun one to write. When I started this series I already had this book well and truly in mind. I love Ruby’s character and I do love a bit of unrequited love. Let’s face it we’ve all been there. ( I was the queen of unrequited love back in the day).

    I also love Ryan’s character. He’s really trying to do the right thing by everyone but he seems to just keep getting it wrong – something else I can relate to, the harder I try the more complicated life gets.

    Plus they’re just a really cute couple together and I really enjoyed the banter between them. In fact I like all the characters in this book – well maybe not Pandora so much because she’s somewhat self-absorbed but even she has potential. I can’t imagine living in a world where people fawned over me day and night and said yes to everything I wanted – it must be hard when someone actually says no.

    Anyway, I really hope you enjoy reading Something to Sing About. I released it on Boxing Day because I spend every Boxing Day reading and loading my Kindle and I was hoping others would do the same.

    I’m already at work on Something to Savour which is Emme’s story and Book 3 in the Jewel Sisters series and it will be out in the first part of 2018.

    I have lots of exciting things planned publishing-wise in the New Year which I hope will keep you excited and engaged with my books and characters.

     

    Cheers and Happy Reading

    ​Monique

  • Blog

    Time for an update on my writing life

    9/29/2017

    Long time no blog…
    Jewel Sisters - Something of a Spark - Original CoverIt seems like it is ages because I’ve done any blogging here in earnest and I suppose that’s because it is. Since I went back to work last year I seem to have less and less time to do all the fun extra parts of my writing life.

    I like blogging because I like writing but it gets pushed aside in the favour of the need to actually write the books, which is logical enough I suppose but still not idea.

    I’ve had this blog going for over five years now, so I don’t want it to feel neglected. Like everything else I just need to get myself organised and get it done.

    As I write this Something of a Spark, the pretty cover of which you see to the left, is off with the editor (out later this month) and I am busily working on book 2 in the series, Something to Sing About.

    Writing a new series has been fun, I’ve been doing the Upper Crust series for a while now and even though I love it some of the fun for me is meeting a whole slew of new characters and I can do that with a fresh series.

    I am working on the eighth book in the Upper Crust Series and I will be writing a spin off series in 2018 so I’m not done with those characters yet.

    The new series takes place between Australia and Nashville with a bit of Napa thrown in for fun. I have a cousin in Napa, I wonder if I can visit her in the name of research?

    I also have a book coming out for Christmas in a multi-author box set. I haven’t done that before so fingers crossed it is a good experience for me, because I’m signed up for another one next year as well.

    This is a tough business so I’m always looking at new ways to reach readers so hopefully the box sets help.

    If you really want to keep up to date with my books your best bet is to follow me on Facebook or sign up for my newsletter…that’s where all the real secrets are revealed.

  • Blog

    Any Way You Spin It – Cover Reveal and Kindle Giveaway

    7/16/2017

    I am so excited to be sharing the cover for Any Way You Spin It – this is the 7th book in the Upper Crust Series and I’m really in the mood to celebrate.

    I never intended to write a series when I wrote the first novella Any Way You Slice It and yet here we are seven books later. I’m celebrating by giving away a Kindle with over 30 romance novels on it (I so love my fellow authors who have come together to help me get ready for the launch on August 8th. (You can pre-order Any Way You Spin It NOW).

    Isn’t the cover pretty? BE sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway – I really hope you win!

    ​Any Way You Spin It – Blurb
    Sometimes you must accept that love doesn’t always show up at your convenience.
    Minnie has made mistakes and lots of them. Fresh out of rehab and back in her home town her plan is simple; she needs to make amends to all the people she hurt, especially her children, and get her life back on track. She has no room in her life for men – it was because of men she got in this mess in the first place.
    The minute former athlete and current bar owner, Mitch sees Minnie he knows she’s something special. Now all he needs to do is convince her and the whole town that their being together will not undo everything she’s working so hard to achieve.
    With all the obstacles to her success can Mitch prove he’s not just one more thing in the way.
    If you like long bike rides, picnics by the lake and truffle fries then Any Way You Spin It is for you.


    Any Way You Spin It - Upper Crust Series - Monique McDonell - Original Cover

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Author Giveaway
    Any Way You Spin It - Kindle Giveaway Promo