When a Pantster, Plots

If you’ve had half an eye on my blog of late, you might know that I’m currently working on a new book called Fairway To Heaven. It’s my contemporary golf romance (though they don’t seem to play much golf).

This weekend, I hit 34,565 words after having two good writing days on Saturday and Sunday. Writing days are gold for me. I have two young boys and a husband who aren’t great fans of me locking myself in a writing cave for extended periods. Lucky we don’t have a dog as well. Or a cat. Lucky too my family copes with things like sausage rolls (homemade – thanks mum) for dinner (x2); and soup, and baked beans on toast (plus leftover red sausages from the previous weekend’s birthday party) for lunch!

If it hadn’t been for the two preliminary football finals (AFL), I’m sure I would have racked up a few more words!

But here is the interesting bit. I’m a pantster. And if the jargon isn’t familiar to you, that means a writer who doesn’t plot out their books… but just flies by the seat of their pants.

I’ve seen and read blogs from other authors who have wonderful whiteboards and reams of post-it notes with ‘three-act structures’ and ‘plot points’ and ‘conflict boxes’… arrows running everywhere.

That is not my style. Arrows and flow charts and diagrams make writing seem too much like math. (Did I mention I hate math?)

Now please don’t get me wrong. I always have a basic plot in my mind before I start. A sense of what will happen in the beginning, how it’s going to end, and what might happen as we go along.

In His Brand Of Beautiful, I did at least fill a couple of diary pages with notes about what might happen in each chapter. The Goodbye Ride was a novella, so it already felt short. I can’t remember making notes for that story at all. And definitely with Fairway, not a dot point got jotted down anywhere.

Last night, that changed.

At 34,565 words, I finished Chapter 11. What I then did is kind of unprecedented for me.

I wrote chapter heads for 12, through 20, with a Chapter 21/epilogue at the end, and then for each heading I’ve written a very rough synopsis of what’s going to happen.

See: Plotting for Dummies, and nothing mathematical about it!

Now I get to see how it works. Wish me luck.

If you’re interested in a learning more about Fairway, please click here.

The Important Things In Life – Cake Making

I have made fabulous progress on Fairway To Heaven this week, my new golf romance. (So far, there hasn’t been that much golf in it, actually). I finished Chapter 8 Thursday night, and am approaching the 30,000 words.

This story, so far, is behaving nicely. Although some pesky squid on the Busselton Jetty, are not! Jenn and Brayden just had a squid incident at three paces… fun.

But writing takes a back seat for me this weekend because it’s my son’s sixth birthday and on Sunday, roughly 10 boys and 1 girl (token girl – she’s coming because she’s one of the ‘real’ guests’ sister)… and those of their parents who feel like staying, are all descending on our house. (Our rather on-the-small-side, rented house, I might add).

So shortly, I’m off shopping for party stuff, like: party bags, lollies, prizes and things from which I shall make cake. My friend Kylie from South Australia is the Queen of kids’ birthday parties. She bakes the most incredible cup cakes and made a ‘boat’ cake for her son last year. I’m not going that far, I’d only set myself up for failure – but she’s given me a recipe that sounds simple enough to make an ice-cream cake, and for the actual ‘birthday cake’ I’m relying on a packet. I’m hopeful of any shape that’s not flat in the centre or squashed.

Here’s Kylie’s ice cream cake recipe:

2 cups of cream, 1 tin of condensed milk. Whip, add choc chips or berries.(anything you fancy really) Line dish with plastic wrap then glad bake. Pour in and freeze overnight. The easiest and the best ice cream cake! Happy Birthday to Mr 6. from us. xxxx He will love whatever you do.

Italics on the last line are mine, because times like this I have to remember the simple things!

Now, the lovelyGracie Macgregor, author of Hearts On Hold, invited me to spend Friday night at her Calypso Bar. I figure with the birthday party hanging over me, a bar is just the right kind of place for me (not to mention, I might need it at the end of this weekend!)

Wish me luck and come visit me in Gracie’s bar if you’d like!

Need Some Hump Day Reading? A 5-pack book giveaway

Who likes FREEBIES? Welcome to the next installment of Ros Baxter’s Hump Day Handouts, a new competition where you can win a FOUR-pack of hot new ebooks to read on your kindle, ipad, iphone or desktop. (Only today – just for you – it’s a FIVE-pack!!)

You can win (drumroll please):
1. Nicole Flockton’s bestselling Bound by Her Ring
2. The hot debut Lost in Kakadu by Kendall Talbot
3. My book His Brand of Beautiful AND (of course)
4. Ros Baxter’s very own hip mermaid mystery Fish Out of Water.

BUT WAIT (as the ad says) there’s more!!! Because the lovely Ros is a generous kind of girl, this week she’s  also giving away Taming the Tycoon from the totally fabulous Amy Andrews, who has sold over a million books.

[More details and blurbs for the four books are here:

To be in the running to WIN, all you need to do is like the facebook pages of each of the five authors (listed below) and comment “done” in the comments section of Ros Baxter’s FB page (link here). Easy peasy!

1. https://www.facebook.com/NicoleFlockton
3. https://www.facebook.com/lily.lilymalone
4. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Andrews/382936461720040
AND last but not least:
5. https://www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk

The competition will be drawn at 8pm Sunday AEST.

Good luck, and please share with your friends!

Amazon Kindle Free Promotions: Doing the math again (mutter, mumble)

My contemporary romance novella, The Goodbye Ride is now in its second period of the KDP Kindle Select goodbye_ride_low-res.jpgprogram at Amazon. This means for 90 days (3 months) you list your book exclusively with Amazon and during that period, you get 5 days where you can offer your book on a free promotion. That’s the upside of Kindle Select. The downside is, you can’t offer your book on any other platform (iTunes or Nook for example, or Smashwords.)

When The Goodbye Ride launched in late May, I took advantage of the free days to promote the book on its release. During that period, 2650 people took advantage of the promotion to download my book. The best ranking I saw it gain during the promotion was #282 Free in Kindle Store. (Read that post here if you like.)

Now I have something to compare that initial free period against, as I’ve just completed today, the second three-day free period for the book.

This time, 3174 readers downloaded my book. The highest I saw it rank was #111 (it was so exciting to think it might have gone Top 100 Free, but given it was late Sunday night at the time, I couldn’t stay awake to see what happened next).

Stop press! The lovely Ana from This Chick Reads says she saw it reach 63!! So it did crack the Top 100 Free on Kindle!

Amazon.com (US, Australia, NZ) had by far the biggest download numbers over the period, with 3068—more than 1000 copies of the book a day, which was great.

The interest this time wasn’t so high elsewhere. In the UK 78 readers downloaded the book, followed by Canada (8), India (7), Germany (4), France and Italy (3), Spain (2) and Japan (1).

I didn’t make such an effort at promoting it as I did when it launched (in terms of contacting promotional sites that offer free opportunities to include your book during its free days). But what I think is worth mentioning is, the first free period I promoted quite heavily with my friends, and within the Facebook Group for Romance Writers’ Australia. This time around, most of my friends and RWA contacts would have already read (or downloaded and not yet read) my book. So I feel, though without proof, most of these readers were in the US.

The big difference I think, is to do with the reviews. The Goodbye Ride has 13 reviews now, compared with none when the book launched. All the reviews for it on Amazon are 4 or 5 stars. I think it’s a fair comment to say, there are a lot of books that go free that may not necessarily be particularly good books. If you have some positive reviews before you offer the book free, I think it really helps your book to stand out.

Readers are spoiled for choice. They are also time-poor. There are just too many good books out there, and much like bad wine, life is too short to read bad books (even if they’re free).

I don’t know if I will keep The Goodbye Ride in the KDP program after this next 3-month period expires… but I am a bit slack at the idea of publishing it on Smashwords, or some of the other platforms. I am also trying to focus hard on writing my next book, Fairway To Heaven.

Hopefully some of the people who downloaded The Goodbye Ride over the weekend will take the time to contact me if they’ve enjoyed it, or write a review, or tell their friends (please! tell your friends!). I’ve picked up one lovely 5-star new review so far.

Perhaps if readers like The Goodbye Ride, they may also buy my Escape Published title, His Brand Of Beautiful.

At the end of the day, as a new author, the opportunity to get my work in readers hands, is – well – it’s kinda priceless!

If You Need An Election Cure-all: I Can Help!

My short, sweet (not too sweet) Aussie novella, The Goodbye Ride, is free this weekend (Friday through Sunday) exclusive to Amazon.

Don’t forget to vote though! I’d hate you to be so engrossed in my book, you missed the chance to exercise your democratic rights!

Here’s the link!


Lily Malone Promo pic

Christina, Olivia and Jenn make a wish (Three Wishes Blog Blitz)


I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine.

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…

The Lily Malone ‘wishlist’ is a bit too x-rated to include in a non-x-rated blog (it includes way too many scenarios with Timothy Olyphant and Charlie Hunnam) so instead I thought I’d let the heroines in my books  rub their own magic lamp today, and tell you what they’d wish for.

Christina Clay is the eccentric, hat-wearing, clay-pigeon shooting, horse-riding, winery executive, city girl, who stars in my Escape Publishing contemporary romance, His Brand Of BeautifulHere’s what Christina would wish for, if she discovered a magic lamp in the op-shops she regularly visits:HBOB

  • A world without snakes or lizards or scaly things that might slither beneath the timber slats of an outback camp shower
  • A bottle of champagne that never ends, and never loses its fizz
  • Legs as long and luscious as those of her best friend, Lacy Graham.

goodbye_ride_low-res.jpgOlivia Murphy is the Ducati-loving viticulturist who features in my contemporary romance novella, The Goodbye Ride. This is what Liv would wish for if she found a magic lamp in one of her vineyards.

  • That her brother was still alive
  • That jeans and a pink beanie counted as ‘smart-casual’
  • That cooking salt and pepper squid was as easy as making baked beans on toast.
The shack on the beach where Jenn goes to retrieve her missing mojo in my new book, Fairway To Heaven. (Picture is for illustrative purposes only!)

Jennifer (Jenn) Gates is the golf-playing, freelance writing, mother of a toddler son, now coming to life in my new book, Fairway to Heaven. I am about 20,000 words in and Jenn is trying to get her mojo back (after discovering her golf-pro boyfriend cheating on her with one of his golf students) on a long weekend stay at this beach shack.

If she discovered a magic lamp in the shed at the back of the shack, this is what she’d wish for:

  • That her cheating ex-boyfriend, Jack, develops a massive case of the putting yips and never sinks a putt again
  • That her 14-month-old toddler will wake up tomorrow toilet trained
  • That Brayden Culhane doesn’t consider the kiss they shared at this beach house eight years ago as “the biggest mistake of his life.”


Follow the instructions below to win my prize, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that? 

My prizes include your choice of: a copy of His Brand Of Beautiful, a copy of The Goodbye Ride, and (because it’s so new) the opportunity to have a character named after you in my new book, Fairway To Heaven!  I’m also offering a world-exclusive! Like my Facebook page to read my 3000-word short story Fairway To Heaven, on which this new book is based. (You’ll need to send me an email at lilymalone@mail.com for that one too).

My question: If you could be the heroine of a movie or a book, which heroine would you wish to be and why?

You can answer in the comments. (If you ‘like’ my Facebook page during the Blog Blitz (2 September to 6 September) www.facebook/lily.lilymalone I’m sure I’ll come up with something special for you too!)

Remember: Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/3-wishes-blog-blitz-official-post/