Happy Release Day To Me

Dear World,

Would you please slow down? I cannot keep up with today!

FairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315It is release day for Fairway To Heaven – Mark 2 – out today with Escape Publishing. If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll know Fairway was first launched in 2014, but due to subsequent decisions about self-publishing not being the best fit for me, Escape accepted Fairway for publication late last year.

So – Fairway To Heaven – with a new cover, new blurb and a slightly newish ending, is out again today. It’s like having deja-vu all over again.

Amongst wonderful things that have happened today is:

  • a blog post about what makes a house a home with blockbuster rural romance author Je11113188_611761328954918_9085248960645861122_nnnie Jones at her place (so much classier than my place).
  • This great image by the incomparable Rhyll Biest, which won’t mean much unless you either wrote Fairway To Heaven (like me) or you’ve read it.
  • An amazing amount of support from fellow Aussie authors and bloggers, and Facebook and Twitter friends. I appreciate your support so very much. When I got home from work, my FB notifications were at 62. 60-bloody-2, and don’t mention Twitter!
  • Later today, I’m a guest at http://www.readingromance.com/ talking about how I come up with book titles.

So, in the words of Bill Lawry (sorry, couldn’t help a cricket reference) It’s ALL HAPPENING!

Lots of love from my place, to yours

Lily

xx

And if you’re interested in taking a look at Fairway To Heaven, please visit this link. Whatever your e-reading option, you’ll find a buy-link from here.

Guest Post: Why I write Historical Romance by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter has been a guest on my blog before, and it’s always lovely to have her back. She’s witty, fun and very informative. I always EECarter400hlearn something from EEC, and she has a new book out, Warrior’s Surrender.

So take it away Elizabeth:

Lily has asked me why I write historical romance. Well, I have a confession to make. I’m lazy.

True!

One of the most incredible genres for exploring the heights and depths of human nature is in science-fiction and fantasy and I’m too lazy to create richly detailed universes with people and language, customs and laws, so I raid history instead. Everything is done for me!

Strange customs? Check (“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” – The Go-Between).

The same desire to live, laugh and love? Check (“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3)

In all seriousness though, Edmund Burke, the 18th century political philosopher observed “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it”. Well that’s right too.

In actuality, the past gives shape to our future. I’ve written a large number of blog posts related to Moonstone Obsession discussing how the Englightenment philosophy of the 18th century gives rise to the best (universal franchise and the abolition of slavery) and worst (Communist & Nazi pogroms) of the 20th century. Without those issues being discussed and canvassed, we would have no framework for what we consider right and wrong today.

History also provides escapism from our modern world. We can identify with the hero and heroine’s struggles without having to worry about stress of the every day world and conveniently ignore the lack of refrigeration or indoor plumbing. It’s a compromise, but one we’re happy to make for a few hours of reading pleasure.

WarriorsSurrender-ByElizabethEllenCarter-300x450-300dpiWarrior’s Surrender goes back nearly 1000 years before the present – 1077AD – and even so, medieval times are filled with events which shape our world today – the origins of modern universities and the concept of the ‘hospital’ as a place for medical treatment, the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 which codifies limits on governmental powers.

My deepest privilege and fondest wish is that I reacquaint readers with these important times with characters they fall in love and situations they can relate to. The author who did that for me was an American writer by the name of Rebecca Brandewyne. Her novel, Rose of Rapture (1982), set just prior to the War of the Roses opened my 17-year-old eyes to the world of Plantagenet England and provided a more sympathetic portrayal of Richard III than I had been exposed to in school.

Tell me in comments below, what is your favourite historical period and what influenced your choice?

 

Warrior’s Surrender Blurb
A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.

To save her gravely ill brother’s life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion. But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him.

As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…

Warrior’s Surrender Excerpt

Sebastian regarded her. Lady Alfreya thought like a man. No, like a warrior. Reluctantly, he found himself impressed and suddenly considering her manner and appearance.

Despite her fiery temper, which she seemed to work hard to control, Earl Alfred’s daughter had grown comely, although a little on the thin side. Her figure might best be described as willowy, but her outstanding features were her hair, the color of newly harvested hay, and her bright blue eyes, which examined him with caution.

“Then what do you bring to this truce?” Sebastian finally asked.

“Our band now numbers but thirteen, all of whom are good men and loyal to my father. They accompanied us to Scotland when William the Bas—” Frey corrected herself, “…when the king harried the north.

“They are local men and without my father to lead them, all they wish now is to go home to the families they haven’t seen in four years. They will cause no further trouble; you have my word on that.”

The baron shook his head.

“Your little rebellion has gone on for months even after the death of Earl Alfred,” responded Sebastian, “and you yourself speak of their abiding loyalty to your late father. So forgive me, my lady, if I require more than just your word.”

Frey nodded. It seemed his objection was not unexpected.

“Then I offer myself as surety,” she said simply.

“A hostage,” Sebastian stated blandly.

Not an unusual offer, he thought. King Malcolm of Scotland’s eldest son, Duncan, had technically been a hostage of King William for the past two years, yet by all accounts the lad was well treated and, indeed, educated alongside William’s own sons.

So, Lady Alfreya was taking a gamble on what kind of man he was. Interesting.
Buy links:
Look for Warriors Surrender, and Elizabeth’s debut book, Moonstone Obsession at all good bookstores.

To find out more about this treasure trove of historical authors, catch up with her below:

Author links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethEllenCarter
Web: http://eecarter.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EECarterAuthor

Guest Post: Susanne Bellamy, Lady Of The Rings

My lovely writing friend, Susanne Bellamy, has a new book out this month called Engaging The Enemy. It’s set in Melbourne, and it’s doing great things on the book charts. I’m very pleased to invite Susanne to my blog to talk about her new book, but first, a little education from the Lady Of The Rings.Ring5

 

“Marry me.”

“Will you do me the honour of being my wife?”

“Let’s get hitched.”

No matter the form of the question, it’s a signal that life is about to change for two people. Usually. What is so important about an engagement ring, aside from the evidence of a promise to wed?

It began as braided grass around a woman’s wrist/ankle/waist as a means of ‘marking’ her as her mate’s property. Early Roman women wore an iron ring in the home to denote the wife’s legal acceptance of being owned. Asian sheiks used puzzle rings to track their wives.

Diamond rings appeared in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave one to Mary of Burgundy, flat pieces of diamond in the shape of an ‘M’. But it was the discovery of diamonds in the Cape Colony in South Africa that led directly to the booming industry today.

In 1886, Tiffany & Co. introduced the “Tiffany setting,” a six-prong ring designed to maximize a diamond’s brilliance by raising it up from the band.

Ring1My favourite piece of trivia though, involves Cartier who created the Trinity Ring—intertwined hoops in pink gold (love), white gold (friendship), and yellow gold (fidelity)—for Jean Cocteau to give to his lover, poet Raymond Radiguet. It is still a traditional wedding ring in France. Love, friendship and fidelity—these are the cornerstones of marriage symbolised by the three gold types. Who could ask for anything more?

In the case of my latest release, Engaging the Enemy, the proposal doesn’t happen quite as expected. Matt Mahoney needs Andrea de Villiers to agree to a fake engagement. To give credibility to their ‘engagement’, Matt gives Andie an emerald ring. Reluctantly, she wears it—sometimes. Unable to tell a lie to save herself, Andie finds living this lie more challenging than even she expected. They are enemies but Matt brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Here’s more about Susanne’s new book, published by Escape Publishing, called Engaging The Enemy.

One building, two would-be owners and a family feud that spans several generations: all relationships have their problems. 

Andrea de Villiers can’t lie to save herself. But when developer, Matt Mahoney, buys the building she and a friend have established as a safe house in the Melbourne CBD, she decides that protecting The Shelter is more important than her aching heart. She will confront Mr Mahoney, and she will emerge victorious. There are no other options.

But Matt has other plans for Andie, and she soon finds herself ensnared in a web of well-meaning lies and benevolent deceit. To protect the building and the families that depend on her, Andie agrees to play the part of Matt’s fiancée, and play it convincingly.

But lies soon bleed into truth, and what was once a deception starts to feel all too real. Can Andie accomplish her goals and protect The Shelter, without losing her heart to the charming Irish developer?

For further reading, try: http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/the-history-of-engagement-rings/

 

Buy the book:

Escape:

Amazon AUS:

Amazon US:

iBooks:

Google Play:

Kobo:

Yo, Donkey Dick… go chase that dog

Georgina Penney (author of Irrepressible You, my most giggled-over book of 2014) has a new book out Georgina Penneysmlthis month called Unforgettable You. I’ve been lucky enough to read it already, and I loved it every bit as much as Irrepressible You. The two books are part of a series, but while Irrepressible You was released first, Unforgettable You is actually its prequel. Which order you decide to tackle Georgina Penney is your decision. Just tackle her, soon, with bells on. She’s worth it.

So in Unforgettable You, we have the heroine, Jo, who works on an oil rig off Mauritiana in the glamorous-sounding role of ‘Mud Engineer’… yes, I think that’s kind of different for a leading romance lady, too. So I set out to learn more about what makes Mud Engineers tick on a mission to discover the murky depths of the character of Jo Blaine in Unforgettable You.

I know a little bit about wine, but zero about mud-engineering… so I talked to Anja Dreyer, who has been around oil rigs most of her working life, to find out more. Anja is originally from Perth, and now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She’s also Georgina Penney’s great mate, and the inspiration for much of Jo Blaine…

Let’s start with the easy one first, Anja. What is a Mud-Engineer? Can young girls consider it a cool job?
Mud Engineers, otherwise affectionately known as Mud Doctors or mudmen, design the drilling fluid used while drilling oil wells. They adjust the chemical quantities to give the fluid exact dynamic and static properties.
Cool – definitely. Glamorous – not so much. Although it depends on your definition of the word. It’s exciting, unusual, a little bit messy and will definitely take you to some far flung places.

1397176048180If you go into a job like mud-engineering, is it pretty much guaranteed you’ll end up working offshore, or in the desert somewhere. In other words, somewhere highly remote and not particularly scenic?
There’s a joke in the oil patch that the most reliable way to find oil is to be in the hottest, coldest, windiest, wettest or driest place on earth because there’s guaranteed to be oil there. Sometimes you can get an assignment in a decent spot. The day they find oil in the Bahamas, I’m there!

What’s the best joke you ever heard on an oil rig?
An old time Driller always writes “Fucking the dog” on the books whenever they are on down time. The Tool Pusher tells him they have a new secretary in the office and she’s real religious so don’t be writing that anymore.
The Driller starts writing “Chasing the dog” instead. This goes on for a while. One day after being down for a while he’s in a hurry and forgets. He writes “Fuckin the dog”.
A few days later the Pusher brings out the pay cheques. The Driller opens his and inside is a note from the secretary. It reads “I see you finally caught that dog.”

Have you ever had to tell a six-foot something 100-kilo something roughneck, that he’s fucked something up so severely, you don’t know how he ties his shoes in the morning?
“Billy-Joe-Bob, you’re an idiot every day of the week, why can’t you just take one day off!” But seriously, sometimes it’s easier to just stare at them with an intense look of disappointment on your face. I dunno know why that works so well. Maybe I just remind them all of their mother. Apparently my new nickname around here is Mama Bear. As in ‘don’t piss off the bear’. I’ve also been affectionately known as ‘Dragon Lady’ and ‘Iron Maiden’.

How many women are there (on average) working on an offshore oil rig? And how many blokes. Any idea of the ratio?
Yep. Usually there is around 100-120 people on an average offshore drilling rig. Of that, maybe 4 or 5 are women. And that’s quite high compared to when I first started in the early 2000s. Back then I was the only woman.

Do the blokes really look like Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Owen Wilson in Armageddon?

Willie Robertson
Willie Robertson

They usually look more like Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty. But after 6 weeks offshore, even that starts to look good. That’s when you know you need to get off the rig. Like, right now.

In Unforgettable You, Jo has to share a room with one of her male colleagues? Could that really happen?
Yep, there are a limited number of rooms on a rig. They will usually try to have all the girls in one room, but if there’s an odd number, or not enough rooms, then you can find yourself sharing a room with the blokes. I learnt how to sleep with ear plugs, because based on my experience, 90% of men snore. Loudly.

Is the food on an offshore oil rig generally crappy and bloke-ish? (eg lots of grease) If you were vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant, would they cook that for you or would they tell you to get a job in a bank instead?
I think they would probably stare at you dumbly and ask what “gluten” is. The food is generally decent and there’s a lot of it, but it’s definitely not haute cuisine. And the quality is indirectly proportional to the amount of time since the last supply boat came by. 1st day: steaks. 2nd day: stroganoff. 3rd day: stew. 4th day: pie. 5th day: indeterminate meat in a thick curry sauce that hides all flavour.

What would the ultimate worst-day-on-the-job be for an Mud-Engineer? Like, nightmare of nightmares where everything went wrong.
Hmm let’s see. Your roommate snores all night louder than any possible decibel level earplugs could block. You get woken up in the middle of the night because your night hand screwed up some simple task. The well starts drinking mud (that’s when the drilling fluid is being lost to the rocks you’re drilling through) so you have to keep building more mud to replace it. Some rig hand flips a wrong valve somewhere and you spill a bunch of mud into the ocean. That’s very, very bad and requires a shit-tonne of paperwork. And then you get told your relief isn’t coming back to the rig and you have to stay an extra week or three. Yep, that would be a pretty bad day.

What about the ultimate best day ever on the job for a Mud-Engineer?
The day you go home!

Oil-rig jargon must get fairly suggestive… all that rigging, drilling, piping… can you give us some of the best (or worst) lines/jargon you hear on the job?
It’s a zoo on the rig. Everything seems to be named after animals. Cat walk. Monkey board. Dog house. Pipeline pig. Donkey dick. Then of course there’s all the ‘technical’ terms related to the well. Somebody once told me an oil company discovered a field and named all the wells after senior executives’ wives. But when they drilled the wells they were all found to be dry and tight (yes, those are actual terms used to describe wells).

How do mud-riggers like to let their hair down at the end of a shift (like when they hit dry land or home)?
Get drunk. Very, very drunk. Which isn’t hard when you haven’t had a drink in over a month.
Me? First I would take a really, really long shower or bath, wash my hair twice, loofah till my skin was red, wash my hair a couple more times for good measure, de-hairify. Sleep for about 16 hours. Eat some real food. Walk around naked, because I could. Sleep a bit more. Wash my hair again. You get the picture.

If you just arrived back home after your five-week work stint, and you discovered your house-sitter had kind of sub-let your house to a mate because they thought you were still away… What would you do to get back at the house-sitter?
I think Jo’s reaction in the book is exactly what my reaction would have been. I would be too exhausted to even argue. When you get back from a month offshore, you are bone tired, and all you want is space, peace and quiet and to just generally be away from people. I probably would have gotten a hotel room until I felt human again (which usually took about 4-5 days) then I would have had a very serious talk with the house-sitter.

What do mud-engineers dislike (i.e. it makes their job harder)?
Trainees. Actually, no, we get paid extra if we have a trainee because it means you get woken up a lot and will usually work 20+ hours a day. I would really hate it if I had to work with someone that had just been promoted from trainee (so I didn’t get the trainee pay anymore) but they were so stupid I still had to work 20+ hours a day because they couldn’t do anything on their own.
Geologists. Because everybody on the rig hates the geologist. Sorry to any geos out there, but it’s the truth.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever accidentally overheard blokes speaking about on an oil-rig… like if you’re in the canteen and they’re talking all blokeish within earshot?
I once walked in on a group discussing the finer points of donkey sex. The weird thing is they didn’t stop when they saw me. That’s when I realised I had truly become “one of the guys”.

Which celebrity would you like to see cast as a female mud-engineer in a movie?
Well it depends if it’s going to be a realistic movie, or a Hollywood blockbuster.

Irrepressible You CoverIf NASA arrived at your oil rig and said there was a meteor that was going to demolish the earth and with one week’s training, they needed you to join a hand-picked team (led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck) and fly up to land on the meteor and drill a hole in it to set off a nuclear bomb and thus save the world… would you put your hand up?
Yes. Because I know that there’s no way blowing up that meteor would have saved the earth and I’d rather die quickly in space than slowly on Earth. (Hey, I’m an engineer, we’re known to be overly logical!)

What do you think is sexy about female oil-riggers?
They are capable, take no crap from anyone, usually in pretty good shape (it’s a physical job), and they know what they want and how to get it.

How do you feel thinking that a book character has kind of been ‘moulded’ on you?
I feel absolutely honoured. George always told me I lived a very interesting life, but to me, it felt normal. It still does now. Seeing it in print, I realise I have been lucky enough to see and do some amazing things, and for that I am thankful.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about mud-engineering, Anja?
Not really. There’s a reason George is the writer in our friendship. She has the talent for words, not me!

Thanks heaps for being part of it!
No worries, thanks for asking!

Now you tell me: having read a little bit more about Anja and her life as a Mud Engineer… can you imagine how much fun it would be to read an entire book with a main character based on her?

Unforgettable You is brilliant. It is out on May 15. I gave it 5 big schmacking gorgeous stars… you can read my review here.

Buy the book:

Amazon US

Amazon AUS

And I’m sure you can find it in your favourite format, at all good bookstores.

 

 

First Encounters Of The Detective Mark Kind

page1Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? I have, with Juanita Kees’ character, Detective Mark Johnson from her Tag Raiders series. Detective Mark is a secondary character in Juanita’s first two books, Fly Away Peta and Under The Hood, but he gets his own story in the final Tag Raiders installment, Under Cover Of Dark, which was recently accepted by Escape Publishing.

About a year ago, when Juanita was drafting UCOD, she wrote something on Facebook about “Lily and Detective Mark”… it might go to show my frame of mind around Detective Mark and his impressive ‘guns’, that my attention was grabbed, and I had this instant thought that the ‘Lily’ Juanita referred to on Facebook was in fact, me! A few other writer friends who saw Juanita’s post, also commented that they thought ‘Lily’ was a reference to little old moi.

Ba-dooooiinnng!!! Juanita soon set me straight, pointing out ‘Lily’ is Lily Bennetti, not Lily Malone. (Sigh) Alas, Detective Mark’s romantic inclinations are for another… a sleek, glamorous blonde ‘Lily’  who wouldn’t wear a pink beanie in a purple fit.

At the time I joked with Juanita on Facebook that I’d write a scene with myself as ‘Lily’ and Detective Mark, just for fun… and so I did, and for your reading pleasure, you can find it below. Please enjoy it for what it’s worth… it was always just meant to be a night’s writing for fun a year ago. That said, writing this little scene got me writing in first person POV for the first time and within weeks, I was deep into drafting Fairway To Heaven which is a first person POV book. So I owe ‘Lily’ and Detective Mark for helping me find my voice for Fairway. Thanks Juanita for writing such a wonderful character. I know you meant him especially for me! xx


Lily, Lily, and Detective Mark

Do you ever get sick of being called ‘Lovely’?

I tell you. If you hang out with a bunch of writers long enough and your name is ‘Lily’… sure as shit everyone wants to call you the “lovely Lily Malone,” cos writers love that alliteration stuff. It’s why you get books called, Gone Girl; Dixie Divas; Billionaire Bachelors… give an author a common letter to play with and they give out the kind of ear-splitting squee that would split six sausages.

I’m not lovely. I’m not even nice. I have a mean streak, and it’s a mile long. A green mile.

I’m jealous of another Lily, because she has everything I want. She has Detective Mark Johnson’s complete, utter, undivided, attention.

But I’ve got ahead of myself. Let me explain.

You see, I’ve been watching Detective Mark Johnson for a while. Ever since he was the big kahuna policeman in the little West Australian town of Williams. You should have seen the girls fall over him there. Girls in the club. Girls on the street. But Detective Mark never had time for any of them. He was too busy saving his sister, Peta, from her psycho ex.

And there I was, masquerading behind the counter of the drive-thru at the Williams pub, making truly great recommendations about which wine went best with what. “You’re cooking steak tonight, sir? You need a big, gutsy red.”

Most men, if I look them square in the eye and mouth “big, gutsy red” … well, they melt like a Tim Tam in a two-year-old’s fist.

Not Detective Mark. He was all business. Oh don’t get me wrong, he was never rude. But he looked through me, I don’t think he ever properly saw me. He was a man on a mission, and that mission was never me.

Williams didn’t have enough to hold Detective Mark. Not once his sister found the man of her dreams and the psycho ex got his just desserts. Detective Mark headed for Perth HQ and got himself promoted. Got himself a shiny new blue and white car and a shirt with more stripes.

I didn’t stay after Detective Mark left. There’s only so many times you can tell someone: “white with seafood”, “red with meat”… “sparkling anytime”… “Lambrusco… never.” And something about Williams without Detective Mark smothered my words. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t breathe.

So I quit.

I found a flat near Cottesloe Beach where I can hear the surf and the seagulls. I walk on the beach here and get sand in my toes. I’m writing again. The words aren’t flowing; they come in splatters and dabs. But it’s progress. It’s more than I had.

I waitress nights at the Perth Convention Centre. Tonight there’s a big Awards ceremony, Apprentice Of The Year, but the Awards have been run and won already, speeches have been spoken. Me? I ducked outside for a smoke when the DJ struck up the Macarena. That song makes my head hurt, it’s too damn happy.

And that’s when I see him, talking into his phone. Detective Mark. He still has that same way of standing, like he’s already moving, legs slightly spread, right hip cocked, as if he’s about to hurdle a fence and catch the bad guy. It’s his Daniel Craig thing.

I suck in an extra chunk of oxygen with my smoke. It makes the cigarette flare orange, and he sees me. He screws up his eyes and steps closer to where I hog the shadows.

“Lily?” He takes the phone from his ear, “Lily Marlene?”

“Malone,” I sigh on the inside. “Lily Malone.”

He hits his forehead with the palm of his hand, which is the first time I notice the gun. “Lily Malone. Shit. I’m sorry. I remember the hat. How are you?”

I can’t help the way my stomach does its own Macarena at the knowledge he’s remembered me. Well, he’s remembered my hat.

Trust me, I rock my work uniform—short black skirt, buttoned-up white shirt, and I grabbed my trademark pink beanie before I snuck outside—but already, Mark has his phone to his ear and his other hand comes out to me, like he’s telling me to be quiet. Does he know he’s just waved his big ugly gun in my face.

The writer in me gasps at the same time as she takes a mental snapshot. What am I thinking? What is he thinking? Who’s the protagonist here? What do I smell? What can I hear. God, this plastered brick scrapes my shoulders…gonna snag my shirt.

That’s when I see the woman running through the shadows at the edge of the walkway around the Convention Centre.

I know her. How can I not know her? We share the same name. Lily Bennetti and her lawyer husband, Gino, hold the deed to every social page in every newspaper in this city.

A shiver sneaks down my spine. Gino Bennetti makes a better mafioso, than a mafioso. A better Squizzy, than Squizzy.

“Detective?” She’s out of breath, scared. Silver-blonde hair has broken out of what probably started the night as classic bun. Somewhere in her flight, she’s broken a heel because her knees aren’t working right, she’s running all stooped over, and yet when she reaches him, she manages to make his name sound like a purr. “Detective Johnson?”

Mark steadies her with a strong hand on her elbow. “Mrs Bennetti. It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

What does it say about me that as I watch his fingers curl about her arm, I wish she’d snap the other heel? She’s wearing shoes that cost more than I’ve made from selling my books in a year. I bet Lily Bennetti played Rapunzel in the school play. When she was born, Tinkerbell must have been right there sprinkling fairy dust on the crib.

Then someone opens a door on the balcony above us and there’s a splash of light. In it, I see her bruises. I see her tears. I see pain etched in a face so beautiful, it makes my throat hurt.

Detective Mark has forgotten me. Lily Bennetti doesn’t know I exist. They’re caught in a moment I don’t want to watch, and yet I can’t tear my eyes away. I’m such a sucker like that.

And that’s when I see the car beyond Mark’s broad shoulder. It’s long, and black and sleek, and it’s cruising silent as a shark.

“Um. Detective?” I mumble, pushing off the wall.

He tilts his head without looking at me, his eyes are locked on Lily’s milky skin.

I try again. “Detective. I know that car.”

My namesake turns, her knees give and she stumbles, just enough to make Detective Mark pull her close.

I’ve seen enough. If they want to mess with Squizzy, they’re on their own. The night air has calmed the ache in my head, and inside they’ve killed the Macarena. Someone’s playing Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run. 

That’s enough of a message for me. I’m outta here.

####

p.s.: If you see this, Jenn J Mcleod: Lily Marlene is for you. 😉

How I write: Like, right now, not at all

This little meme has been doing the rounds for a while now, it’s a ‘pass it on’ kind of post about how a gal (or boy) author, writes. I was asked by Jennie Jones and Susanne Bellamy to be part of the blog, but I was a bit busy back then because I’d just *ahem* released my new book, Fairway To Heaven.

me & sof
Sandra Antonelli, alias ‘Old Bitey’, alias ‘CookieFace’ and I bet there are more…

So when Sandra Antonelli tagged me last week and said such lovely things about my work (she did, true, she said my books were “witty and enchanting and made her want to drink wine”) I said I’d love to!

First, a teensy bit about Miss Sandra (also known as Sandra CookieFace Antonelli who is one-sixth of the naughty ninjas). Sandra will not mind one teensy bit if it’s just teensy, because Sandra is kind of, teensy herself. Lucky she has a great big heart! She’s got two books that I know about, and probably many more that I don’t know about. This is a gal with a helluva lot of aliases!

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And so to the Burning Questions Sandra asked.

  1. What am I working on? *shuffles shoes* *takes beanie off* *puts beanie back on* and admits… I am not working on anything right now, at all. I have the biggest, most severe case of Writer’s Block you’ve ever seen. I’m more blocked than Elvis ever was. If I have to pick something, then it’s a book I’m calling “His Brand Of Business” which as anyone who visits here often will know, is a follow-up, though not with related characters, to my Escape Title His Brand Of Beautiful. But I am so struggling to get any words on the page… woe, woe, woe.
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? My characters drink a lot. In Fairway To Heaven, lily2my heroine has a dodgy vagina (her words, not mine). Her goal throughout the book is to have ‘normal, every day sex’ rather than multiple orgasms – because she has a physical problem that makes sex damn hard work most of the time. So yeah, I guess that’s different for a romance!
  3. Why do I write what I do? I love sport and I love wine, so it makes sense that I’m writing about golf and wine.
  4. How does my writing process work? See question 1. Right now, it doesn’t work at all. Particularly when I’m starting off, I need a lot of peace and quiet and just time to ruminate and write. I have two small boys and a husband and we’re currently building a house, plus I work four hours a day, each weekday. Time. Time. Time. I don’t seem to have it. Once I’m into something I can be very disciplined (which helped me release 3 books in 2013); but getting started is the hard part for me. I am Lily ‘The Beanie Queen’ of procrastination.

Okay! That’s the end of my part in the process.

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Kylie Kaden. Isn’t she the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen!

Now I get to pass this mystical baton to the wonderful Kylie Kaden, she who is about to be a newly published Random House author in April with her mysterious and haunting book, Losing Kate. I am so looking forward to Kylie’s story. We are critique partners, and when I first read Losing Kate, it was under an entirely different name. There was a line in Kylie’s story in the early pages which was about the character Meg, a neighbour of the heroine, and it said something like: “Meg comes to my place with her sticky brood of boys…” I will never forget how the ‘sticky brood of boys’ grabbed me and some little lightglobe in my head went off and I thought *this* is a writer I will love!

51KSz--WcoL._AA160_Congratulations Kylie. I cannot wait to cyber-celebrate Losing Kate with you in April, and I look forward to the next time we catch up in person!

Guest post SE Gilchrist: Release day for Star Pirate’s Justice

Tomorrow (February 1) marks the release of Star Pirate’s Justice, a brand new installment in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic Sci-Fi series about a dark and delicious alien race on a desperate quest for survival — and the human women who can cure their years-long curse.

SE Gilchrist is one of the Escape Artists, an author published by Escape Publishing, who also published my debut book His Brand of Beautiful. I met SE at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle last year, where we enjoyed several glasses of lovely red wine. Also like me, SE Gilchrist self-publishes some of her work, and there’s more about that later in her guest post (plus the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and get yourself SE Gilchrist’s first book in the series FREE).

Welcome to my blog for the weekend SE, and congratulations on the new book! Please tell us more about it…

Star Pirates Justice for web pagesThe Blurb

Carly has one focus in her life: to return home to her terminally ill younger sister. When she learns that a Darkon traitor possesses gateway maps to Earth, she uses all her skills to track him down. But capturing the charming star pirate turns out to be trickier than she anticipated…

Volkar is determined to prove his innocence to those who drove him to a life lived on the Outer Rim, and he will overcome anyone who gets in his way. But his surprisingly sweet captor has some skills that will come in handy, so he strikes a deal: the maps for her help. Neither expect their partnership to turn into more, but as dark secrets are revealed, their lives become forfeit — and the relationship blossoming between them nothing but a starburst of happiness in the deep shadow of the sky…

Buy Star Pirate’s Justice at:

Amazon (US)
Amazon (Australia)
itunes
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Escape Publishing is offering the first title in this series, Legend Beyond The Stars, FREE from February 10 to 26 at the iBook store. Currently you can buy Legend Beyond The Stars for $0.99 cents at Amazon.

SE Gilchrist’s Self Published Titles On Sale!
As I said right off the top, SE Gilchrist also self-publishes some of her work. She’s reduced the price of her indie published backlist for the month of February 2014. Check out what’s on offer by clicking here.

Competition!
WIN $25 Amazon gift voucher and 2 SE Gilchrist titles (Legend Beyond The Stars and Star Pirate’s Justice). Enter via Rafflecopter at the link below. (Closes midnight AEST 16 February 2014).

a rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations SE! Enjoy your release week!