Barbara McDonell


About Barbara McDonell

I live on the west coast of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia. That's located on beautiful Vancouver Island which is so large that it takes eight hours to drive the length of it. Wildlife is abundant - sometimes even in the city. Once upon a time, a cougar walked into the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea!

I’m crazy-nuts about animals so it was destiny that my first job would be working in a pet hospital. Despite long hours and minimum pay, I loved it...but the veterinarian told me I got too emotionally attached to my patients.

For several decades I was an administrative secretary, which is where I learned the importance of organizing chaos into calm. Later, I used that knowledge to reinvent myself by taking a leap of faith from a secure 9-5 job to operating my own business as a professional organizer.

Because I adore organizing, I cannot stop myself from sorting groceries into categories (fruit, vegetables, tinned goods, etc.) while waiting in the check-out line. I've been known to reorganize a toy store display that hid the cutest teddy bear in the world in a mess of games (a young couple immediately nabbed that teddy). Later I spent a half-hour reorganizing the whole wall art section because it was so jumbled that I couldn't locate the size frame I wanted.

Because I love variety and have a broad range of interests, I’ve published magazine and newspaper articles on hugely diverse subjects: cats, soppy Dobermans, hiking, hang gliding, travel fun, Victoria’s colorful history, housing issues, the making of artificial eyes and even a short erotic piece for “Playgirl” magazine.

I began writing novels on a manual typewriter. What was I thinking? Eventually, shaking in my boots, I bought a scary computer that sat on my desk in its unopened box for several weeks before I was brave enough to even unpack it (my two cats liked the machine because they could lie on top of it and stay warm). I'm always writing something and sitting in front of my computer is where I am the happiest.

Smashwords Interview

What's the first story you ever read?
The Pooh books by A. A. Milne were my first reads – gifts from my wonderful Grandpa. My fave character was bouncy Tigger and I loved the rhymes. When I was six, the first book I read without pictures was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The story transported me to the moors of Scotland where quirky characters included a curmudgeonly girl and a disabled boy, living in a dark and dreary house with 100 mystery rooms that were declared out of bounds. I was riveted.
When did you start writing?
As soon as I could read and write, I got pen pals. Then, in Grade 6, I wrote an essay and my English teacher said, “If you wrote this yourself, you have talent and should write some more.” His rather negative compliment somehow inspired me to write some short stories in high school - one was published in the school annual, another in the community paper. At 16, I penned a (dreadful) novel. For several decades I published newspaper and magazine articles, before trying my hand at five full-length novels.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Barbara McDonell online


Anything is Possible
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,270. Language: American English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Investigative reporter Luc Gagnon wants a blockbuster national story. When his boss assigns him to check an alleged sea monster sighting, he’s not happy. He deals with facts and doesn’t believe in anything paranormal. Despite Daria McKenzie’s attraction to Luc, a reporter at her door is her worst nightmare, reminiscent of the tragic media circus her family experienced a decade earlier.
The Bandit Cat Investigation
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,940. Language: English. Published: May 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Family / Siblings
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
Life is suddenly changing for nine-year-old Zoe and Ben. The O’Reilly twins are moving from their house in the country to a city home in a neighborhood they know nothing about. Saying goodbye to friends and leaving familiar surroundings is tough and they don’t want to go. Their cat Purrsnikitty is famous for chasing cows and herding sheep. Without woods, how will he adjust to city living?
The Clutter Queen Spills!
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,470. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Do-it-yourself / general, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation & inspiration
(5.00 from 6 reviews)
Do you long to escape from clutter but have no clue how or where to start? The Clutter Queen waves her magic wand to reveal insider secrets from her 13 years as a Professional Organizer, sharing 100's of practical tricks as she guides you through 3 simple DIY steps to ensure clutter freedom. Written specifically for women, this eBook is guaranteed to make you giggle!

Barbara McDonell's tag cloud

Smashwords book reviews by Barbara McDonell

  • Cats In Clover on Oct. 03, 2014

    A treat for cat lovers! Clever humor, sharp dialogue and engaging characters – not just the endearing cats, but also their quirky caretakers who plan to cultivate 5 acres on an isolated island without having a clue about farming. Although friends have bet the couple $50 that they will return to their city apartment within a year, former accountant Ben envisions selling fruits and vegetables to fund renovations to the rundown farmhouse. Despite her husband’s derision about felines, Holly plots to adopt a cat or two (or six) that their former apartment outlawed. I couldn’t stop turning pages! Barbara McDonell
  • Siamese Summers on Oct. 27, 2014

    I loved Siamese Summers - it's even better than the first book in the Adriana Island series, Cats in Clover! As an avid cat lover, I found the Holly Haven menagerie particularly endearing and was surprised to learn cat behavior I wasn't familiar with. Written with both wry humour and laugh-out-loud moments, the author has nailed small island living in all its kooky entertaining glory!
  • A Proposal of Marriage on May 07, 2016

    A perfect little story to read with your afternoon glass of dandelion wine! Snappy amusing dialogue, intriguing characters, transports the reader deeply into the setting.
  • Two Shakes of a Lamb's Tail on Aug. 16, 2018

    We all use many of the hackneyed sayings author Lea Tassie cites (i.e. “close, but no cigar”)...but do we ever stop to wonder how they came to be? (I’d never heard the word “lethological” but, as a senior, I certainly related to that one!) As Lea delves into their fascinating - and sometimes head-shaking – history and evolvement, the reader also discovers a lot of interesting things about the author herself (Hint: She loves food, a glass of good whiskey and she’s very very funny). Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail will arm you with great conversation-starting data for your next cocktail or dinner party!