It’s been a busy couple of weeks working on final edits for Water Under The Bridge.I’m very lucky to be working with Julie Wicks and Laurie Ormond of Harlequin. Laurie has been with me for a while, working on both Fairway To Heaven and The Vineyard In The Hills.
It is amazing the input that a solid edit gives to a story. A good editor asks the hard questions – even if sometimes as the writer you don’t want to hear them.
I generally work to the rule that the editor is always right, just like a beta reader is always right. If something pulls them out of the story they need to say so, not ignore it.
Thanks to Julie and Laurie, my lovely heroine, Ella, is a much more rounded character. Boy, digging into some of Ella’s history made for very draining, emotional times. She’s had a lot of crap to get through, and by the end of the edits writing her put me through that same emotional wringer!
What I like to do when I’m almost finished my edits is send the story to my Kindle, and read the book like a reader would. That way I have a better sense of how the story flows. I can see when things get slow and the action needs a kick-start, and see when I need to add more detail.
I came across this line from Water Under The Bridge which I’d love to share with you.
Pre-orders are now live on all ebook sites. Check here for a link to your fave.
Print copies coming late February 2018.
I’m so excited to reveal here on the blog first: the new cover for my latest book with Harlequin MIRA, Water Under The Bridge.
This is a story about almost-Olympic swimmer,
Ella, and dyed-in-the-wool sheep farmer, Jake. Water Under The Bridge is Book 1 of 3 new stories set in my fictional town of Chalk Hill, in the great southern region of Western Australia.
The background is the stunning scenery of the Porongurups and Stirling Ranges, wildflowers everywhere, whales at Albany, and the magnificent tall trees of Walpole, Denmark and Nornalup not far away…
So here she is, my Ella… Ta-dah! All she needs is her favourite disco tunes to start playing if you click the picture! (Anyone know the technology to do that?? 🙂 )
All the pre-order links are live, or will be live very soon, so you can order from your favourite e-retailer below. Water Under The Bridge will be out in print too, in all the normal places from March 1, 2018.
About the book:
Ella Davenport hasn’t been in a swimming pool since a bad decision ruined her chance of Olympic gold. So when Ella decides on a new career selling property, she chooses Chalk Hill. The country town is a long way from the water, with no pool in sight. Perfect!
Jake Honeychurch doesn’t want to sell his Nanna’s house, but circumstances force his hand. Listing the property with the rookie real estate agent in town, and asking a hefty price means it shouldn’t find a buyer. Perfect!
But determination and persistence are traits Jake admires, and Ella has them in spades. After all, no one ever made an Olympic team by being a quitter.
When news breaks of a proposed waterski park, a local developer starts sniffing around Honeychurch House. Ella’s first sale is so close she can taste it, until a sharp-eyed local recognises her.
Between sale negotiations with Jake that keep getting sidetracked, and a swimming pool committee hellbent on making a splash, Ella has more to contend with than kisses and chlorine.
Can she throw off the failures of the past and take the chance of a new start? Or will her dreams of a new life be washed away again?
Sharing a quick video about my hometown – Cowaramup in the south west of Western Australia.
Earlier this year I was involved with the group that put together an entry submission for Cowaramup to be named the ‘Legendairy Capital of Australia.’
After lots of consultation with local dairy farmers and representatives of various local groups and committees, I put fingers to keyboard to help write our town’s submission.
In autumn this year, we got the great news that Cowaramup had won the title of West Australian ‘dairy capital’, and would now go on to represent WA in the national competition with the winner announced later this year.
The State nomination and winner’s announcement all happened right before the Deja-Moo 2017 (a huge weekend of cow-themed fun in Cowaramup), and the team from Dairy Australia came to visit our town during the mid-year school holidays and festival. I can only imagine what those Dairy Australia representatives must have thought – landing in the midst of a cold winter weekend of Cow Onesie frenzy!
I feel so chuffed to have written a book set in Cowaramup, involving the increasingly famous Cowaramup Cows. One of the speakers in the video is Kerry Sibly (you see him wearing the cow horns in his cow onesie chatting during the vid); Kerry designed the awesome book cover for Butterfly House Book 1, Who Killed The Bride?
Winding down another school term, one week until school holidays in WA. It’s been a landmark kind of term. I’ve been busy, and today I’m feeling lazy.
I’ve finished writing Book 2 of my Chalk Hill Series. This is The Cafe By The Bridge, following Water Under The Bridge (both working titles), with Water Under The Bridge (Book 1) due out in September 2018. (I’m now under a year till release day and counting!)
Book 2 is currently with three fabulous readers and friends, which puts me in that nail-biting time of waiting to see what they think.
I’m feeling lazy because it’s the most stunning spring day and I’ve just been on a 2.5 hour walk on the Cape to Cape track on the beautiful South West coast. There are wildflowers out, glorious yellow coastal wattle everywhere… and I really do think yellow is my favourite colour in nature’s garden.
Every few metres or so along the track we heard a skittle or scuttle of a gecko or skink (I refuse to think snake)… and we saw donkey, cowslip and pink lady orchids. Plus, my lovely friend Carrie got her arse wet posing for photographs… and that always makes me smile!
Aside from working hard to finish The Cafe By The Bridge I’ve been reading, a few different books to my usual suspects, plus beta reading for Juanita Kees. I’ve also rediscovered two long-dormant hobbies.
The first of these is tennis. I’ve been talked into donning the tennis whites to play a Thursday game with some local girls. The last couple of Thursdays we’ve gone up the court for a hit. OMG!! Major fail! Two weeks ago I tried four serves, none of which got over the net!
I took the plunge and bought a new racquet and this week the ball seemed to come off a little better, and I got some serves over the net. Perhaps this will not be a complete disaster.
So tennis and Lily. It’s a thing. (I even found proof in the dusty trophy cabinet of the tennis club, dating back to 1992-1993! My name engraved on a plaque for ladies singles! OMG I feel old 😉 )
One of the books I read in August was The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. The book was a Kindle Monthly Deal on Amazon which meant it cost me about $5. Really good book. If you’re interested in paying off your mortgage, saving money on things such as credit card and bank fees and private health insurance; if you’re keen to find out how much Life Insurance, TPD and Income Protection you might need, or want to know if the fees you’re paying in Superannuation are fair, middling, or over the top; or you want an intro to shares, or get a sense of how much you’ll need to fund wine purchases in your retirement… this is a great starting point. I’m convinced the Barefoot way makes good sense.
The interesting thing is, in the last week at my work (my admin work) I’ve seen two customers come in with debit cards that had ‘splurge’ written across one, and ‘direct expenses’ across another, and of course now that I’ve read the book I recognised these terms. I commented on the words on the cards, and then had a chat with these two ladies about The Barefoot Investor and the Barefoot methodology.
I like to think I’m reasonable with managing money, but it’s still good to get a practical sense that you’re doing the right thing, and you’re on the right path.
So… The Barefoot Investor brought me to my second long-ago passion, though this one isn’t really a ‘passion’ as such. Many many (many) moons ago… (although not quite so long ago as the tennis trophy), a much younger Lily dabbled in the sharemarket. She dabbled so-oooo much she got completely wrecked in the Tech Wreck… (those old enough will understand the exact Tech Wreck I mean!) I’ve never touched the sharemarket outside of super since, but now after my read of the Scott Pape book, I’m prepared to dabble again.
This will be a different sort of dabble because I’m at a different stage of life. This will be a bluechip dabble, not a speculative seat-of-my-pants dabble. This is supposed to be a middle-aged lady sort of dabble where I won’t stress myself out based on a 10 cent swing…
Tennis and the stockmarket, hey? Who knew it was a thing… hmmm… maybe I should just stick to the writing. Watching Amazon rankings is its own kind of sharemarket rollercoaster ride!
It’s funny this writing game. One minute I’m on top of the world, the next I’m convinced if I wrote a note for the petty cash tin saying I owe it $5, not even the admin nazi would read it.
When I started trying to write a book the year my youngest child turned 1, (way back in 2010), my definition of success would have been as simple as getting that book published. Easy.
Funny what a few rejections do to that self-confidence and those goals. Fast forward a couple of years after slamming into closed doors, and my definition of success changed. In 2011 & 2012 success for me would have looked something like this:
Final in a writing competition (or fingers crossed, win a competition)
Have an agent or publisher request a full manuscript.
Things started to snowball. In 2011, a scene from His Brand Of Beautiful finalled in the RWA First Kiss Competition; and somewhere in 2012, I got the first request for a full manuscript.
After Harlequin offered me a Contract for His Brand Of Beautiful (as an e-book with digital-first publisher, Escape Publishing) and the book had been out long enough for my first royalty payment to come in, (we’re now talking midway through 2013), my definitions for success changed again.
To be successful, I now needed to:
Earn enough from my royalties to actually buy my hubby lunch at the pub!
Maybe win a reader award, like the Australian Romance Readers Association annual awards or an Aus Rom Today award; or final in a round of the Booktopia Australia’s Fave Author!!
Have a print book published (not just electronic).
So, in Summer 2015-2016, I got my first book in print. It was Fairway To Heaven and it was part of a 3-book anthology called More Time For The Beach. For the first time I earned a four-figure royalty and was actually able to sock some of that cash away for a rainy day (plus buy hubby a nice lunch, and myself a bottle of bloody nice bubbles)!!
My definitions of success changed again. Now I needed to see:
My own story in print – a Lily Malone title all to myself.
In September 2016, an e-book of mine with Escape Publishing (then called So Far Into You) was selected by Harlequin MIRA for print and given the new title of The Vineyard In The Hills. I had my first solo print book, you’d think all my dreams would have come true? I must be successful now, right?
No! The success goalposts moved again!
What is success to me now?
To be known for contemporary fiction writing as well as rural romance, and specifically to get my manuscript ‘Ashes’ published.
To publish at minimum, 2 books a year
To support myself financially through my writing.
To be a good friend, wife and mother, and good person while doing all this. (In other words, not turn into a raving psychotic author loony!)
That’s what success would mean to me right now (though I’m sure those goalposts will move). What about you?
About Contracts Today my new three-book Contract for the Chalk Hill series arrived from Harlequin head office. Book 1 of the Chalk Hill Series is Water Under The Bridge, the book I was working on at the start of this year.
Luckily for me, (and hopefully for readers), Harlequin MIRA’s editors loved Water Under The Bridge and on the strength of Book 1, they’ve signed two additional titles set in fictional Chalk Hill. Book 1 will be out in spring of 2018, with books 2 and 3 following in 2019 and 2020.
You won’t find Chalk Hill on a map. It’s the first fictional town I’ve created in my writing journey and if you did have to pin Chalk Hill on a map of West Australia, you’d aim about halfway between Manjimup and Mount Barker on the Muir highway, slightly east of Rocky Gully.
The idea for the book came after a camping trip I did with hubby and our two boys in spring last year to the Porongurups and Albany… little did my travelling companions know how much I was plotting stories at the time, as we climbed the Granite Skywalk and visited the Natural Bridge and the Blowholes, and saw whales in Lucky Bay!
This coming Thursday July 6, I”m thrilled to join rural romance West Australian author, Sasha Wasley, at Dymocks bookstore in Busselton. Sasha has a new book, Dear Banjo, out now – getting rave reviews. The ‘In Conversation’ is Sasha’s gig, but I’ve got myself invited along by lovely Beth Herbert of Dymocks to gatecrash the party…
Cow Fairs Mooooo! Saturday is the big legendary festival of my hometown of #Cowaramup. Not long ago Cowaramup won the accolade of being the ‘Legendairy capital of West Australia’ and later this year we will be judged alongside other legendary state capital finalists, to find the ‘legendairy’ capital of Australia. I’ll keep you posted!
This Saturday marks the birthday for the Cowaramup cows – the life-size herd of fibreglass cows you’ll find in and around Cowaramup’s main street and its parks… Have you visited our cows? It’s great to see the joy the cows have brought so many visitors to our town, and to see that businesses in the town are enjoying the benefits of having people stop and stay a while in the town, rather than dash through…
Saturday’s fair is called Deja-Moo – the Legendary Country Fair.
It kicks off at 9am on Saturday. Apart from a whole heap of family fun, there are many stall-holders and exhibitions. If you’re planning to come to Deja-Moo – please come and find me with my books in the Cowaramup Hall. You can check out my Cowaramup-set Butterfly House book, Who Killed The Bride?, which I always think of as: ‘Bridget Jones meets the Cowtown Cows…’
I’d love to have a chat! If I was any good at baking or craft, I’d have cow cupcakes and butterfly cookies… but I don’t have any of those (because I’m crap at baking and craft). I do, however, have lolly snakes!
It’s still a long way off, but I am thrilled to let you know about a new and exciting readers’ festival coming to West Australia next year.
It’s the West Coast Fiction Festival, put together by a great group of top-selling WA authors and it’s featuring brilliant traditional-published and indie-published writers from all across the country, (and some international authors) coming under the one roof at the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough on November 3, 2018.
And guess what? I will be there… just perhaps not with my pink beanie (it will be almost Summer in Perth by then and my ears would melt!)
What is really exciting is that I will have at least one new book out before the Festival, to join The Vineyard In The Hills as print paperback releases. I’ll also be there with Who Killed The Bride? From my Butterfly House series, to wow everyone with what I reckon will be the most unusual book cover in the Hotel that day! (Yes, I am biased!)
The idea of the Festival is to bring along your own books written by the signing authors (for signatures), plus there will be new books to buy (of course); and authors to meet, greet and have a chat and photo with, if you like 🙂
You can find the list of authors at the Festival’s web page, or click here. There is also a Facebook group set up to give people information about the Festival. Join the group here. And there is also a mailing list you can join by clicking here.
Besides connecting readers with their favourite authors, and new authors, the goal of the event is to raise money for Share the Dignity – a charity which supports homeless women in Australia.