CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS with the Naughty Ninjas: Lily Malone

It was my turn to be part of J’aimee Brooker’s Creative Conversations feature on the


Lily Malone Lily Malone

What is your background with regard to writing?
I spent years writing as a journalist, and then editing wine industry magazines, and then real estate magazines. So property & wine pretty much sums me up.

When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
After I tried my hand at colour-field painting and my year-old son put a golf club through my canvas.

What is your writing routine?
I wish I could write in the morning, but with my world the way it is (kids/school/work) when I’m on a writing binge, it is usually after the kids are asleep. So about 8pm through to 11. But I haven’t been writing since late last year when I was plowing through final edits on Fairway To Heaven. Once I get going I’m very disciplined, but I struggle with procrastination and right…

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I scored an invitation to visit lovely book reviewer/blogger, Monique Mulligan, and guest at her very wonderful, new-look website.

Write Note Reviews

I’d like to thank Lily Malone for contributing this guest post. We met online (was it Twitter or Facebook?) and have since become friends (even though she’s mad about sport and I’m clueless about it); we’ve even managed a couple of lunch dates. Like me, Lily has worked as a journalist, juggles family and part-time work with writing, likes gardening, walking, wine, and walking in gardens (sometimes with wine). She took up romance writing in November 2010, after an ill-fated dalliance with colour-field painting that ended when her youngest son put a golf club through the canvas. In March 2013, her debut novel, His Brand Of Beautiful,was published with Escape Publishing, and in May 2013, she self-published her novella The Goodbye Ride. She has just finished her third published work, Fairway To Heaven, about love on the golf course and lust in the sand bunkers, set…

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CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS with the Naughty Ninjas

I’ve talked a lot about the Naughty Ninjas here… now thanks to J’aimee Brooker at Creative Conversations – you have the chance to meet them yourself! (They’re a wild & crazy bunch)



It’s possible you’ve already heard the hushed whispers, the whirling rumours, and the throat-kicking swagger of the Naughty Ninjas… If not, the next two weeks will be a real eye-opener for you—as I’m welcoming the 8 ninjas (+ 1 grasshopper ninja) to visit the blog and tell us a little more about themselves and their writing with a tonne of fun, confessions, and naughtiness along the way. Strap in tight, this will be one hell of a ride!

Firstly, let’s meet the Ninjas:

Sandra -Cookieface- AntonelliSandra Antonelli

Describe yourself in one word: 
Badass. OK, OK. Smartass.

What is your Naughty Ninja skill/what do you bring to the Naughty Ninjas?
My über cleaning skillz and ability to wear an apron; smartassed, inappropriate sense of humour that rivals any 12 year-old boy; coffee.

Give us a Naughty Ninja confession (and make it good!):
I hate wearing underpants, but would never be caught without…

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I wish ‘mum’ was the word

I know of writers who have their mum as top of the ‘critique’ list. Their mum reads every word they write, gives feedback, and feels part of the process through the whole crazy trip.

My mum’s not like that. I didn’t tell any family or friends I had started writing romance for a very long time and it was only when my entry made the final of the 2012 First Kiss competition (RWA) that I dared breathe a word about my writing to anyone.NewFinalFair#2

If anything, my poor mum has suffered at the hand of my art, on the great old adage of: “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” She asked me once why I write such “awful” mothers. In my usual spin-doctor way, I said: “It’s a good thing mum. I have to make this stuff up because you did such a great job, and I had such a happy childhood… and who ever reads a book about a girl with a perfect childhood?”

No one. Exactly. (And I should put the disclaimer in here right now that my mum did do a wonderful job and both me and my sister turned out fine!)

In His Brand Of Beautiful, Christina’s mother abandons her as a 4 year old girl and runs off to join a cult.

In The Goodbye Ride, Olivia’s mum is borderline obsessive-compulsive, keeping the cleanest house you’ve ever seen, and has tried to commit suicide at least once after the death of Olivia’s younger brother.

My mum has read both HBOB and TGR. I printed the pages for her and passed them on and after mum finished, I know she gave them to at least one aunt.

But Fairway To Heaven was a bit different. I hadn’t printed Fairway out for mum – she’d never asked me to – but I have a hunch I knew printing Fairway for her would be asking for trouble. I thought I could hide Fairway safely behind my mother’s lack of technological know-how. But she and my sister tricked me.

It turns out my sister bought my mum a Tablet for Christmas, and so my mother now has the power for one-click e-book purchasing. I’m still trying to get my head around this as Mum-Malone comes from the generation that thinks the touching of a mouse is precursor to breaking the Internet.

So last week in the school playground as we were waiting to gather up my kids, and her grandkids (my sister’s boys) from school, mum looks me in the eye and says: “So, I read your book.”

About this point, my heart takes a bit of a dive. It’s not that Fairway is steamy, it’s actually quite sweet compared with the other two books I’ve written. The problem is it is very realistic, sometimes “explicit” in terms of describing a physical problem that lovely Jennifer Gates has, that makes it difficult for her to engage in rumpy pumpy with her hero. It’s also in first person, which automatically makes it personal. (To a mother, anyways).

So this is how the playground conversation goes:

Mum: “So I read your book.”

Me: “How? I didn’t print it for you.”

Mum: “Your sister bought me a Tablet for Christmas.”

Me: “Aah. Sneaky. So did you like it?”

Mum: “Yes…” Hesitantly, as one of our charges takes a wild ride down the slide knocking another kid at the bottom, and I’m distracted. “But, love, it’s very realistic.”

About now, I know where this conversation is going… and it’s really not the type of discussion fit for the kindergarten playground.

Mum presses on: “I mean, your husband’s name starts with B, and you’ve got Brayden in the story… and his birthday is May 24th in the book, which is the same… and so I have to ask…”

Me: as my son wrestles his cousin to the ground in the sandpit. “No mum, you really don’t have to ask.”

Mum: “Well, love. I mean… that problem the girl has in the book?”

Me: trying to check if any other mothers are in earshot. “It’s fiction, Mum.”

Mum: “But how would you know about this… stuff otherwise?”

Me: flapping a hand at her:  “It’s called research, Mum.”

About now, my youngest gets his fingers stepped on and he lets out a squawk, and I am able to drag both boys from the playground with “say goodbye to Nanna” all-round.

As I’m pretty sure she hasn’t worked out how to Google, I’m sure she will ask again. Hopefully she picks a place more conducive than the school playground to have a discussion about why I gave my heroine a dodgy vagina. (Let’s hope it’s not at my hubby’s birthday lunch in a couple of months!)

(p.s. Love you, Mum) xx

To prove I’m not dreaming…

lily2I have rubbed my eyes. I have checked it’s not April 1st.

My little golf (that’s not golf at all) book, Fairway To Heaven, reached 250 on the Kindle Paid Chart Australia today. I got so excited, I had to post it somewhere and I figure my blog is as good a spot as any.



Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#1 in Sea Adventures

Sea Adventures!! How gorgeous is that… It makes me think of swashbuckling pirates and buccaneers and Moby Dick, mermaids and giant waves… not peaceful, serene, Geographe Bay in Busselton, West Australia. But if ‘Sea Adventures’ is coastal, then colour me a ninja dolphin, and watch me wag my tail!

Wow. I’m feeling very lucky, and very chuffed this afternoon. (Given it’s Monday!) Thank you for indulging me!

Dolphin Ninja
Dolphin Ninja says come on a Sea Adventure with me!

Buy Fairway To Heaven at Amazon Australia: click here.

 From March 2 to March 8, you can get Fairway free at Smashwords, on a special promotion. Here’s the link:

One year on, Happy Birthday HBOB

I’ve been a published author exactly one year today, March 1st. That’s when in my brain, I remember making 978085799030311.jpgthe distinction that I could move from being an ‘aspiring writer’ to a ‘published author’… even while remaining very much an emerging author with a lot to learn.

His Brand Of Beautiful hit the cyber-world 12 months ago, thanks to Escape Publishing.

With that release, several things happened:

  1. I discovered Amazon rankings (where to find them, what they meant, and how they messed with your head)
  2. I realised I was as guilty as the next author for checking my rankings, checking them against other author rankings and feeling either pleased, or disappointed, depending on a number.
  3. Even if Amazon rankings were dollar signs, I’d rather see a 1 than a million. (Maybe that’s something I’d actually have to put to the test. I could buy a lot of wine and cheese with a million bucks.)

It’s a hard thing to deal with, this beast inside me that makes me check and recheck my book links on Amazon, Google my name (though I’m not as bad at this now), look for mentions on Twitter or Facebook, and wonder why, WHY? aren’t more people thinking my book is brilliant. Why aren’t the reviews better? Why isn’t that ranking higher? Why is that book I couldn’t even finish sitting in the Top 100 on Amazon? Or iTunes? Or anywhere?

In its own way, the roller-coaster following publication is as bad as the roller-coaster pre-publication, when you are caught in the merry-go-round of queries and submissions, followed by those interminable waits for responses from agents or publishers.

But I’m still here. His Brand Of Beautiful has not made me rich, or famous, but it has brought me many wonderful and cherished friendships, and a lot of fun. I hope it has brought the people who’ve read it, a giggle, a heart-flutter, and some joy.

To see more about His Brand Of Beautiful, click here.