Five Facts about A Fair Exchange

This month, Monique McDonell is the first author to reveal FIVE FACTS about her latest release (she is also offering prizes. Scroll down for details). During the FIVE FACTS month we’ll  be discovering facts about books that their author would rather not be known.

Over to Monique…

1. Just like the main character in my novel, A Fair Exchange, I was an exchange student in Massachusetts as a teenager.

2. Of all my novels this one had the longest gestation period.

3. I had lots of fun researching this book doing road trips in Australia and eating out at places in the book.

4. The character of Stacey in the book is an amalgam of a few of my friends when I live in America. (Stacey is a very American name and was not common in Australia in the 1980s and yet I had several American friends by that name – all my Australian friends were called Jennifer, Emma or Kylie).

5. Of all the male characters I’ve written Matt is my favourite so far. If I wasn’t happily married he’d be welcome on my door-step anytime!

A Fair Exchange

Who hasn’t wondered about their first love? What happened? What went wrong? Where are they now?
What if you got a second chance?
Amelia Armstrong is about to find out!

It’s just a shame her long-lost love, Matt, has returned (looking way too good and acting way too sweet) when her life is a shambles and she has finally decided once and for all to put herself, and not whichever man is currently in her life, first.
How do you balance that desire to recapture that loving feeling with the need to finally be the best version of yourself? What if this really is the one, how do you choose when to stand your ground and when to cut your losses? Amelia takes a journey from Sydney to New York and back again trying to find the answers while negotiating with pop-divas, ex-lovers, crazy teenagers, a well-meaning cousin and the tabloids.

A Fair Exchange is a story about being a grown up when, maybe, you’d much rather be sixteen again.


It was not as if he was the
first one to mention it. In the past week everyone who had entered my apartment
had commented on the shiny new Vespa parked in the middle of the otherwise
empty living room. In fact, each and every one of them had imaginatively said
“Amelia you have a red Vespa parked in your living room!”  And they all said it in a tone that implied I
might not have noticed, as if it may have magically appeared there.
How could I not notice a
vehicle parked in what was otherwise an empty room?
What amazed me was that the
Vespa was what they chose to comment on.
 Not that Nick had dumped me,
after ten years, for a twenty-one year-old. Nor that he had moved out, taking
basically all the furniture and leaving me with a great view over the beach and
an enormous mortgage.
 No one even commented about
the fact that I, in turn, had quit the fabulous job that had always meant way
too much to me.
 No, they commented on the
 What I could not understand
though was why it hadn’t bothered me until right then, when Matthew Blue
commented. And when he did comment, why had I collapsed into this embarrassing
sea of tears?
 How had this happened? How had
I become this sobbing pathetic figure of womanhood?  And more importantly how had I ended up
thirty-six and alone?
 Didn’t I used to have so much
potential? Everyone had said so, hadn’t they?
 “Amelia Armstrong is something
 I was one of those shiny young
girls who took risks and dreamed big. I was one of the smart ones who knew what
she wanted and went after it. I was one to watch.
 If I hadn’t been that kind of
a girl I would never have met Matthew all those years ago. A different girl
would not have found herself, on the other side of the world, at sixteen,
staring into his dark and dreamy eyes.
 So where was that girl right
now, I wanted to know? And how had a girl with so much potential gotten it so
horribly wrong?

About the author – Monique McDonell:

‘I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn’t write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend – writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.

I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.

A Fair Exchange is the fifth novel I have released in the last two years.’

Three Wishes Blog Blitz – There’s always one person to put a damper on things!

Today, I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison and from  2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including this one! It also opens my September theme of chick lit. Yes, all through September writers of chick lit/contemporary romance have been invited to write in with their funnies–can’t wait!

All you have to do to win my prize is share this article to your social media (*Twitter, Facebook etc) and post the link of your share in the comment section below, then tell me your wishes. TWO people drawn after September will have a choice of prizes (scroll to the bottom, or better still, read to the bottom for the prize list).

*To link direct to a tweet you need to click on the actual tweet (anywhere on the tweet to enlarge it slightly), then click on ‘details’ and there you have your direct link. Copy and paste it into the comment section below and bingo.

So, why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be… sounds fun, right? Well, I’ll be reading. 

There’s always one person to put a damper on things.
three wishes blog post 
Louise Wise

There we were, sitting at our desks and waiting for five o’clock to strike so we could leave off work, and to pass the time we were asking one another what we’d wish for if we were granted with three wishes.

James from accounts is the smart arse and asked for unlimited wishes. Janice undid another button on her blouse, her fingers lingering in her cleavage as she gazed at him, told him he was a naughty boy.

Baby Karen (so-called because she was the oldest person in the office only no one was supposed to know) said she’d have: 1. A house by the sea. 2. A win on the lottery. 3. Good health.

‘That all?’ scoffed James. His eyes on Janice’s cleavage. He dragged his gaze away to continue, ‘A house by the sea could mean you’ll lose it to a cliff fall. A win on the lottery could just be a tenner, and good health will mean you’ll miss out on flu this winter. You have to be more precise.’

‘Like my wishes are really going to come true,’ said Baby Karen, looking hurt that her wishes weren’t good enough. 

James’ eyes reverted back Janice’s cleavage, and I caught Baby Karen looking at her own chest, pulling back her shoulders and pulling down the zip a little on her cardigan.

‘You have to be careful with wishes,’ Big Barry said, and we all nodded in agreement. ‘I know someone who wished to be thin and they died. Starved to death.’

We all ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’. 

‘What are your wishes, Louise?’ asked someone asked me.

‘Goes without saying, I’d like to be rich. Then a long and healthy life for me and everyone I know and my third, hmmm, I dunno. Once you have money and good health what else is there?’

‘World peace?’ said Janice. She sucked on a finger whilst looking suggestively at James and the words came out “Dorld’s Deace”.

‘That’s similar to my wish,’ said Baby Karen glaring at me, ‘but no one complained about her wish.’

‘I was more specific than you,’ I said. Karen could argue with a door.

‘Well, ‘rich’ could mean a ‘rich chocolate cake’ or a ‘rich sauce’. You know, something that’s strong in flavour.’

‘OK,’ I said remembering I was dealing with a middle-aged woman with a mind-set of a toddler—and she wore a cardigan. Believe me, never argue with people who wear cardigans (they don’t get out much and could therefore argue for Britain—and every other country). ‘I wish that I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted, when I wanted and for whoever I wanted and would never have to worry that it would run out. Better?’

She sniffed. ‘Better.’

Despite our squabbles I loved my work colleagues. We had such a giggle! Janice and James flirted like crazy, no one wanted sit beside Karen, and Big Barry moaned a lot but otherwise we were a happy bunch.

‘I’d wish for a cure for cancer,’ Mandy the Mouse whispered from the corner. We all turned to look at her. ‘I lost my parents to that awful disease and wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through. A cure for cancer,’ she confirmed, ‘and I’d gladly give up the rest of my wishes.’

As I said, there is always one to put a damper on things and make you feel badddd.


For my part in this three wishes blog blitz I am offering a choice of prizes for one person drawn from the comments after 6th September:
Once you’ve entered my competition why not visit Juliet’s blog and enter her giveaway, then visit any or all of the other participating blogs to win more prizes! 

You could potentially win loads! Remember, it begins 2nd September and lasts only to the 6th. Click to visit the official Blog Blitz post.

A Proper Charlie

For the rest of the summer 2013 less than a dollar
Purchase links:
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Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee,
and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an
out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very
much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body
as his own rose to her teasing.

Charlie Wallis has everything a girl
could wish for. A loving boyfriend, a nice flat and a fantastic job as a
journalist for London Core. Trouble is, Charlie’s boyfriend isn’t at all
‘loving’, her job title really reads ‘office assistant’ and her flat, at the
top of a high-rise, isn’t that nice either.
Her new boss, Ben, is a huge bear of a
man. A gentle giant, with chocolate brown eyes that hold a secret.
While London Core investigates the disappearances
of local prostitutes, Charlie wants in on the action, deciding that dressing as
a hooker and walking the streets is good research.
Bumping into Ben was the last thing she
Read more about this book here


The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am

“They say I’m ‘as hard as my acrylic nails’ but what they don’t understand is I have to be. It’s called self-preservation.”- Valerie Anthrope

Purchase links:
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What happens when Cinderella is brought screaming into the 21st century,
where the ugly sisters are Valerie’s thoughts and emotions, and the
fairy godmother is a middle-aged busybody from hell.

The fairy godmother bursts into Valerie’s life with her magic wand
(AKA interference) and insists that she can help Valerie–whether Valerie
asks for help or not. And she most definitely does not.

Then there is playboy Lex. The flirty Prince Charming whose “bed ’em
and leave ’em” motto applies to ALL women–until Valerie fails to
fall at his feet as he expects. 

A concoction of fun, tears and cocktails.

Read more about this book here


exploration from 2236 Earth to the newly discovered planet, Eden. The animal
life on Eden is on the brink of evolution and humankind wants a first-hand
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space explorers are separated and Jenny, the only female of the group, is on
her own.
from the planet Itor, is the lone survivor of his crashed spacecraft. He’s been
on Eden for years. He’s watching Jenny–and sees the others leave without her.

has food, shelter and weaponry against the hostile animals on the planet–just what Jenny needs. It’s buried deep in the human psyche to do anything to keep yourself alive, but does that includes sleeping with the enemy? How far will Jenny go to survive?


Don’t judge until you’ve read her story. You’d probably do the same.

Read more about this book here