The Goodbye Ride – Free – Release Day

My new novella, The Goodbye Ride, is free for Kindle at Amazon to celebrate its launch today.

I’m doing a mini blog hop – a Lily Pad hop if you like. 🙂

Thanks to Australian Romance Readers Association for hosting my new release today. http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/release-day-the-goodbye-ride/

You can catch me at Jennie Jones Country Door tomorrow (Friday) and over the weekend. Amazing that Jennie had any time to spare with visitors as her new release House On Burra Burra Lane comes out on June 1. http://www.jenniejonesromance.com/jjromance-blog.html

Lilliana Anderson and Laylah Jade (Luscious Laylah Release Day) are also hosting The Goodbye Ride in its release week.

And look!!!! SQUEEEE moment!

The Goodbye Ride: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

Lily Malone Promo pic
Promo image by Lilliana Anderson, author of new release, Alter! Thanks Lilliana!

A few words about the book:

Olivia and Owen both want the same thing: the collector’s item 650 Ducati Pantah motorbike that once belonged to Liv’s brother, and now sits on a front lawn in Liv’s hometown with a For Sale sign at its tyre.

The Goodbye Ride is a story about a boy with a secret, a bike with a past, and what two people can get up to on a birthday weekend (The Queen’s birthday, no less).

Its first review:

“The Goodbye Ride is a novella and the romance takes place over 5 days – so it’s quick … and beautiful.

Lily Malone has some fantastic lines in this novella – my particular favourites were one about a penguin, another about firemen. The writing is smooth, full of the beauty of the South Australian wine growing region, a joy to read.

If you’re looking for a sweet romance, where you can laugh and maybe shed a tear, then this is a great one.” — Cate Ellink (Goodreads review 5 stars)

Free books are a great way to try new authors. Please download, tell your friends, share the love. If you enjoy the book please consider giving it some ‘star love’ on Amazon and Goodreads or any other blogs/sites that you follow. Whether you loved it, or it wasn’t quite for you, I’d love to hear why.

Please drop me a line at lilymalone@mail.com

Thank you!!

If it’s good enough for Alex…

One more day to launch! What a ride it’s been… and now I’m on The Goodbye Ride. 🙂

In less than two months, I’ve had my debut book published (His Brand Of Beautiful – with Escape Publishing) and last weekend I uploaded my new self-published novella, The Goodbye Ride.

Tomorrow, I start a blog hop. Not too many lily pads (so to speak), just a choice few.

I chose the Kindle KDP Select program, which means The Goodbye Ride is only available for hire or purchase using a Kindle, at Amazon for at least 90 days. Why did I go with this and not make it available at as many distribution centres as I could? Well… frankly, I’m doing what Alexandra Sokoloff recommends and if it’s good enough for Alex, it’s sure as heck good enough for me.

Under Kindle KDP Select, The Goodbye Ride can utilise up to five, free days amongst the 90-day exclusive listing. I’m using three of those days for the launch and I hope you take the opportunity to pick up The Goodbye Ride while it’s free.

In a nutshell: It’s a short and sweet (not too sweet) contemporary romance about a boy with a secret, a bike with a past; birds, bees, and a birthday. (The Queen’s no less).

Lily Malone Promo pic
Thanks Lilliana Anderson for the graphic
I’ve already had some lovely reviews for the book. You can see what people have to say at Goodreads and you can add The Goodbye Ride to your TBR pile there too.
More details of my lily pad hops tomorrow, plus I’ll give you a big shout out when the book is available free!

Blurb-o-mania

One of the search terms that pops up most often in my stats is ‘back cover blurbs’. They can be hell to write. I swear, the less words you have to describe your book the harder it gets. I’ve yet to see an author shout loud and proud that she/he loves writing a synopsis. I don’t remember reading about anyone enjoying writing blurbs… and some editors/publishers or contest organisers have the cheek to ask you to tell them what your book is about in one line. One line. Aye Karumba!

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.
Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

This is why twitter is not for me. 140 characters? You’re kidding!

So far, I’ve written one blurb, for my debut novel, His Brand of Beautiful. The gurus at Escape Publishing left it unchanged, so I have to trust they felt it fit the bill.

Here is my blurb for my new release, The Goodbye Ride, a contemporary romance novella due out later this month.

I’d love to hear if you think this blurb does the job. Would you be enticed to click ‘buy’?

The Goodbye Ride

Olivia Murphy is a woman on a mission. Gracing the front lawn of a house in her Adelaide Hills hometown sits the vintage Ducati motorbike that once belonged to her brother.

Liv wants to buy the precious bike and bring it back into her family, and she wants to seal the deal before tourists descend on her town for the upcoming holiday weekend. Tourists with far fatter wallets.

One person stands in her way.

Owen Carson likes rare and beautiful things and he’s got the Ducati in his sights. Until he meets Liv, and finds himself intrigued by beauty of a far different kind.

The Goodbye Ride is a story about a boy with a secret; a bike with a past; and what happens when they all get together on a birthday weekend. (The Queen’s, no less).

By the way: Do you share my dislike of the word ‘blurb’? We slave over these things. I’m sure there should be a far fancier term to sum up 150 words (or so) of blood, sweat and tears!

Early Review Copy Of The Goodbye Ride, anyone?

I have heard from two of my critique partners’ about my novella The Goodbye Ride, and I’m waiting on the third set of comments from Musing Maddie (who by the way, is soon to start her own proof reading and beta reading service for authors, Making Manuscripts. Check her out on Facebook.)

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.
Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

Here’s what they’ve said to date:

“This is a really heartwarming story, I enjoyed it. It is spiced with apt
new phrases and a wryly ironic narrator.” Comment 1.

“Well I enjoyed it. I loved from the love scene to the end the best. I was
flicking ahead wanting to see what happened then and I only do that in good books.” Comment 2.

“I have to say, I really do love this story. I love how you have fleshed it out thus far too. Really good! I’m right at the start of the weekend at the vineyard…” Comment 3.

 

As for me? I would want to read The Goodbye Ride based on its gorgeous cover alone!

Would you like an early sneak peek of The Goodbye Ride? And would you be prepared to give the novella your honest review on Amazon and Goodreads when it launches later this month?

If so, please let me know! You can catch me in the comments below, or by email: lilymalone @ mail.com

Rewrites. Done.

I finished rewrites of The Goodbye Ride this afternoon. It’s now 28,000 words exactly. I had this ‘thing’ about getting it to 28,000 words when I realised how close I was. I went 28,028; then 27,992 and up and down and then, 28,000. Thank you delete key. Thank you word-count function.

It’s silly really, but when you have a nice big even number like that, it’s fun to hit it exactly.

It’s funny how The Goodbye Ride has inched its way into this very special place in my heart. I think it’s because it’s a story based on true events. I’ve written elsewhere about my inspiration for it, but if you’d like to read it, you can here.

I am going to self-publish it. This has been another momentous decision and there have been various factors influencing that decision.

  • At 28,000 words it’s a novella, and testing the self-pubbing waters by starting with a ‘smaller’ book seems a good plan
  • I love the idea of having more control over the book, its cover and marketing
  • Events in the book take place over the four days of the June Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, and no publisher even in this digital age, can turn a book around that fast.

Tonight I emailed the manuscript to my Critique Partners, and to Musing Maddie (a book blogger and avid romance reading enthusiast who offers a Beta Reading service).

I’m so excited to see what they think. I’m so excited about self-publishing it.

I’m just… excited!

 

 

The Goodbye Ride – Cover Reveal

So excited by the cover of my new novella, The Goodbye Ride.

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.
Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.


This is designed by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl. Wendy is from the Barossa in South Australia and she loves a good red… a good white… a great bottle of bubbles. She’s the perfect cover artist to design a book that has wine in its veins.
I’m blessed to count two wonderful graphic designers as friends, Wendy and Lu. (Lu is convinced though, that she is destined to be a nurse).
Now the trick for me is, stop cover gazing and start writing. I need to push through with my revisions…
If you would like to read the start to The Goodbye Ride as an excerpt, click here.

Can You Spot My Boob?

It has been a momentous week in the Malone household. My husband is reading my book, His Brand Of Beautiful.

Now to give you some context, these would be my husband’s favourite authors: John Sandford, Michael Robotham and Leah Giarratano – all crime/thrillers. The last book he read was: Dogs Of Winter by Kem Nunn which is about a journo who goes in search of a mystery big wave surfing spot and encounters no end of trouble on the way. I’ve read this book too and it is BLEAK. (Great book, but seriously. HEAs are very few and far between in this one.)

My Crit Partner was surprised to hear that hubby hadn’t read HBOB. My problem was, there was no way I was going to let my husband read it until I had some validation that it was actually any good. (Which, I now have, thanks to Kate Cuthbert at Escape Publishing, and some lovely reviews).

So when hubby announced he wanted my Kindle so he could read my book, I handed it over. Which means I now get the fun of sharing some of his comments along the way (comment in bold):

I like how you describe things. (And he picked out this passage below).

Dark fish-hooks and dagger points curled in his fringe and at his temple, a fat raindrop quivered like it didn’t dare slide.

You know? I’m not enjoying this too badly at all. (Someone tell me whether that’s a double negative?)

Then a conversation I never thought I would hear: Hubby on the phone to his mother talking about my book. (You’ll forgive me that it’s a one-sided conversation – but it will show you that I paid attention in Point Of View school!)

“I’m reading Lily’s book at the moment.”

“No. It’s good. I’m enjoying it. But I haven’t got to any steamy sex scenes yet.”

Me: *Blush*

But then this one came from out of the blue:

“I found a mistake in your book.”

“What? Where?”

Now I could tell you the boob he found, but that would ruin my fun. I have decided to run a competition for anyone who has already read HBOB to spot the mistake. I will give you some clues.

  • I think only a bloke would find it (or a woman who is very mechanically minded)
  • It involves an item of household machinery
  • It involves my description of a sound that machinery makes
  • It isn’t to do with a wrench or a spanner or a red shirt (sorry Juanita Kees)

Hubby’s reading of HBOB was interrupted by the weekend and its bevy of football games, but I have just been out for my Sunday afternoon walk and on my return, he is once again ensconced with my Kindle… and he’s just given me another comment:

“I think your main character, Christina, swears too much.”

This is the section he read:

Then she heard it. Pow. Pow. Pow.

All the air rushed from her lungs and she felt tears overflow, slide down her cheeks.

My God, Tate! It sounds like a hammer. Like our kid’s a fucking carpenter.

“I think Christina is too prim and proper to swear so much.”

“She’s not prim and proper!” I say defensively.

“Well, she’s the CEO of a winery… she’s a city girl,” he says defensively. “I don’t think she’d say that in a doctor’s surgery.

I get the last word: “She doesn’t say it, she thinks it!”

And hubby shuts up.

So having had my fun for the afternoon at my wonderful husband’s expense… I’m signing off.

Anyone who would like to play ‘spot my boob’… (ahem), if you can leave me a comment and if someone gets it right (or gets close)… I will gift any person you’d like to nominate their own e-copy of His Brand Of Beautiful.

 

Hello to The Goodbye Ride

I’ve been inspired by Ros Baxter and Lilliana Anderson and Cate Ellink in recent weeks, all of whom have shared some amazing short stories and excerpts on their blogs.

I’ve been kicking my own goals with my WIP, The Goodbye Ride. I’m about to share it with my critique partners, but I thought – what the heck – let’s share some with the world!

The Goodbye Ride. Lily Malone.

Chapter 1.

Olivia Murphy had brass in pocket. One thousand dollars’ worth of brass to be exact—all hers and all hard-earned. Technically, the money was in her handbag not her pocket, but Liv wasn’t about to split hairs. The sun—for the moment at least—was shining, she’d given herself the day off tomorrow, and her parents were in Melbourne. She had the house to herself for four whole days.

Bliss.

The Lang’s place wasn’t far—just another few hundred metres heading out of town along the Hahndorf main street. She couldn’t see the glint of red, not yet. There were too many hedges in the way, too many neat brush fences, and her prize was set back from the road. Luke’s bike. Her brother’s Ducati Pantah 650. The bike she was about to give Dean Lang ten thousand dollars to buy back.

Her chin rose. If there’s one oak leaf stain on that paintwork, Mr Lang, you better get ready to knock another few hundred dollars off your asking price.

Liv checked over her shoulder, just as she’d checked every thirty seconds since she’d left the bank carrying ten hundred-dollar notes crisply folded in a plastic bag. The odds of getting mugged in Hahndorf weren’t high, unless by a Japanese tourist who wanted a photo taken. But why tempt fate?

She quickened her pace.

Her handbag bumped her hip. Liv clutched it closed with her elbow and concentrated on where she put her shoes. Rotting autumn leaves made slimy passage underfoot and the pavement was a twisted rollercoaster of treacherous roots.

On the opposite side of the road, up ahead near the sixty sign, a bright red utility pulled to a stop. The driver braked hard enough to grind shining Mag wheels through the roadside slush.

Liv hated the vehicle on sight.

It was one of those big bristling testosterone-fuelled boy toys—one with more aerials than a radio station, mudflaps the size of a swamp, spotlights everywhere. A bull bar covered in RM Williams’ stickers snarled across the front.

Liv figured the driver must be heading up to camp in the backwaters of the Murray River for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, some choice spot where he could shoot pigs and suck beers. He’d probably stopped to change CDs, throw One Hundred Best Beer Songs of All Time into the stacker.

“Neanderthal,” she muttered under her breath.

The driver-side door opened and two feet eased out. Two feet clad in thongs. Thongs! Liv pulled her scarf tighter at her throat. Didn’t he know it was June?

Those feet were attached to a muscular pair of legs in black cargo shorts, and from there to a ripped torso in a tee-shirt half a size too tight. A nun would go weak at the knees if she saw that chest and Liv was no nun—although there were times lately, it felt like it.

The driver shoved his sunglasses to the top of his head, checked left and right, and his weight edged forward.

Fear iced her spine.

The brute had parked opposite Dean Lang’s house—directly opposite the bike she’d come to buy—and now he zeroed in on her Ducati like a heat-seeking missile.

Dammit. Where was a Greyhound bus where you needed one? Not to hit him, mind. Just to slow him down. Okay, maybe wing him.

Liv missed her step, skidded on an ice-rink of acorns. Her legs slid like a new-born foal’s. It took a few seconds to regain her balance and in that time, the driver loped across the road and up the embankment. Liv lost him behind the neighbour’s hedge, but she was almost level with the Lang’s driveway now. Almost there.

Then the earth moved.

She had just enough time to thrust out her left hand before she hit the ground. Pain shot through her palm and it felt like a sledgehammer whacked her hip. Her handbag catapulted from her shoulder to the pavement, scattering lip-eze, a pack of chewing gum, and a mobile phone. Her precious plastic bag of cash skidded out late, like the last girl asked to the dance.

“Whoa! Are you okay? Hold on.”

Liv heard a flap, clap sound and thought for a second that some arsehole was applauding her fall. Dimly, she looked for the arsehole, wanting to give him a piece of her mind. She tried to push herself up and turn over but before she could achieve either goal, a muscled arm reached down and a dark shape blotted out the tangle of branches over her head. Her saviour’s bare arm cushioned her shoulders while his voice cajoled her to sit.

“You’re wearing thongs in the middle of winter.” It was all she could think of to say. Liv heard comfort and warmth in his chuckle before his arm again tried to propel her upright. “Give me a sec. My head’s spinning. I need to get my breath.”

“That was some fall.”

She examined her sore, scraped hands, aware of a damp spot spreading on the butt of her jeans. Somehow, she got her feet beneath her. “I’m fine. Thank you. Really.”

He picked up her handbag, lipstick and phone. Then she saw him reach for her money.

“I can manage,” she snapped, bending, stretching for the plastic bag.

The earth spun again. She ended up with her hands on her knees and her head at her thighs. His big knuckled fingers rubbed her back and at some stage, her pink wool beanie fell off and landed on top of his bare toe. That toe looked wild enough to crawl into the nearest cave and hibernate. Most male toes she’d seen in her twenty-four years didn’t look like that. Her brother, Luke, had forgotten more about pedicures than Liv had ever known.

Loss spiked her chest. Luke. 

Liv sucked two quick breaths and stood. She was here to buy Luke’s bike from Dean Lang, not think about pedicures or toes, or caves.

“Here,” the guy said gravely, picking up her cash and beanie, stuffing one in her handbag and the other over her head. Eyes the charcoal side of black seemed to click with hers and it was as if she heard a little voice inside her head sigh: Oh, hello. 

Olivia Murphy didn’t listen to little voices sigh. She was far too sensible for that.

###

Thanks for getting through my first 1000 words! I’m hoping to have The Goodbye Ride finished so I can release it for June. Off to the crit partners now and a second Beta read soon.

Please watch this space!

Don’t We All Speaka-da Engleesh?

My books are Australian.

They should sound Australian? Shouldn’t they?

Lately I’ve been thinking about colloquialisms in my writing, because a wonderful Beta reader pointed them out, and I’ve realised I’m guilty of making quite a few.

For example from the opening scene of my WIP novella, The Goodbye Ride:

The name didn’t ring a bell.

Whatever he did for a crust.

“The rear shocks are shot to buggery.”

“You’re pulling my leg.”

I talk about “thongs” and “sneakers” and a “ute.” (Now everytime I see the word ‘thong’ I end up with a vision of Ali-G and his man-kini… see… it’s not pretty, is it!)

I’ve spent a lot of time around your average dinky-di blokes. This is how people I know talk. This is how my characters think, and talk, and they feel right when I write them. But what would an American reader make of my book? At what point does enjoyment of writing cease, because a reader needs to keep googling colloquialisms? Is this part of the reason I often hear that US readers tend to read US writers (more readily at least, than international authors unless they’re big names?)

I was lucky enough to have a lovely review for His Brand Of Beautiful from a writer and blogger in Florida, Victoria Pinder. She added some translation into her review, mentioning how the book begins with a “hen’s party”… (bachelorette party in the US). When I thanked Victoria for the translation, she said part of the enjoyment for her is reading in the local language. She wouldn’t have wanted to read an Australian-based book using American language or lingoism.

I had another funny experience on Saturday at Jennifer Crusie’s blog. It was an Easter conversation and in the comments, there were many mentions of “peeps.” Now to me, ‘peeps’ are Twitter followers and not much else, and as everyone was talking about cooking, microwaving and eating these ‘peeps’ – I asked the question: “What are peeps?”

I found out they are “little marshmallow chickens that are covered in some sort of spray dye and crystallized sugar.”

Eeewww. I kinda wished I hadn’t asked.

I then found out that in the US people make peeps into tableaux, and enter them into contests. One of the commenters even suggested some links! Seriously – check these out – they’re amazing!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/peeps
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/mar/29/peeps-in-paradise-contest-entries-show-a-diverse/.

So in the end, I learned something and felt good about the process.

I think I can have my peep and it too. I’m going to be more aware of colloquialism in my writing and do what I can to remove some of it, especially when it really won’t matter if the line was written in another way. But where colloquialisms add to character, or setting, I think I’ll vote to keep it. And I’ll hope that my reader gets involved enough not to let it stop her flow. And in the best case scenario, perhaps she will get a sense of our great Aussie culture in the process.

Now that would be nice, peeps! What do you think?

The Art Of Self Promotion

I suck at it! But I’m learning…P1010700

Here’s the scenario. Two weeks ago I’m sitting in a doctor’s surgery for a regular glucose tolerance test. (For anyone not in the know, these take two hours and in that time you have to sit still and do nothing for the duration). For a working mother, permission to sit still for two hours and do nothing is BLISS…

I opened my book (at the time, The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy), and I had my Kindle on stand-by. I chose an unobtrusive seat, fluffed my feathers, and made myself comfortable.

Ten minutes into my ‘alone time’ the surgery receptionist sat by me (the surgery was empty) and said:

“What are you reading?”

I showed her the cover of the Chimney Sweeper’s Boy. “This.”

“Is it good?”

“It’s okay.”

“I don’t know what’s struck me lately, but I’m in a book-reading mood. Do you know of any good books?”

My heart starts beating faster. His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her, His Brand Of Beautiful. “Well… what do you like to read?”

“Oh. Anything. I don’t know.”

His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her, His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her House For All Seasons. Tell her Under The Hood. Tell her Fast Forward. “If I think of something, I’ll let you know.”

Now – there will be those out there (Jenn J Mcleod, Juliet Madison) who all cringe on my behalf and say: WHAT A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY!

I was way too shy to own up to having just written a book. Opportunity missed.

All this ‘promotion’ discussion reminds me of a line the real estate agent used when she was discussing the marketing program for selling our Hahndorf house. I wasn’t certain I wanted a sign out the front and she looked at me and said: “Lily… You can’t sell a secret.”

How those words have haunted me since my book launched in March. It’s hard to turn around a mind-set of not wanting anyone to know you’re writing… and turning that around to wanting everyone to know you’re writing.

Outside of Facebook friends, I’d hardly told anyone. Not friends. Not family.

And then of course, I suddenly want sales for my book. Because I’m serious about turning my writing into my second career. My 5 and 10-year goals are to increase the amount of income my writing can substitute from my ‘day job’… I’ll call my writing my own, personal, Self Managed Super Fund.

One month after my launch and my desire for sales is trumping any shyness I had.

Here’s some examples of my growth:

At the weekend, we had a family reunion. It would have been my granddad’s 100th birthday on Sunday (were he still alive) and my mother’s side of the family all got together at an Aunt’s farm for a big birthday shin-dig. Here, I actually ‘fessed up to having written a romance book, telling them my author name and the book title, and how they could buy it. (If they didn’t mind the heroine letting loose with the odd F-word and could handle steamy sex scenes and would still send me presents at Christmas.)

Yesterday, my boss told me she had asked the ladies in her bookclub if they’d be interested in me talking to them about e-publishing and my blog and my book… All these ladies know my family (particularly my father), and if you asked me a year ago whether I’d like this particular group to know I was writing, I would have said: “No Way Jose!!!”

This time around, I’m actually looking forward to it. Though they’re all on Pain Of Death not to breathe a word to my old man!

And finally.  I had a follow-up appointment at the Doctor’s surgery on Monday, getting the results of the tests from two weeks prior. This is how the conversation went:

“Hi Jane. Are you still in your book-reading phase?”

With a double-take that I’d remembered, Jane says: “Yes. Actually right now I’m reading Jim Stynes biography.”

“I have a couple of book names that I wrote down for you, if you’d like them?”

“Yes, please. That would be great.”

So I handed her my handwritten (because I’m not yet organised enough to get bookmarks or business cards or that sort of thing), notes with the names of: “His Brand Of Beautiful by Lily Malone”; “House For All Seasons by Jenn J McLeod”; “Under The Hood by Juanita Kees”; Fast Forward by Juliet Madison; “White Ginger by Susanne Bellamy” and “Fractured by Dawn Barker.”

You can’t sell a secret… It just took me a heck of a long time to realise this!