‘In Conversation’ : Lily Malone, Louise Allan and Monique Mulligan at Busselton Dymocks : March 22

On Thursday March 22 at 6.30pm at Busselton Dymocks, I will have the tremendous pleasure of being part of a book chat with some wonderful pals, Louise Allan (author of The Sisters’ Song) and Monique Mulligan, (writer, author of children’s books such as Fergus The Farting Dragon, and My Silly Mum; and co-director of small Perth publisher, Serenity Press).

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.44.09 PM
L-R: Lily Malone, Monique Mulligan and Louise Allan.

9781760296315Louise’s book debuted in January and has had incredible feedback and reviews. I’ve read her story and it’s wonderful. I’m a little bit biased because I saw an early version of this story almost two years ago, and I’ve been riding with Louise every step of its journey to finding an Agent (Lyn Tranter of Australian Literary Management) and publication (with Allen & Unwin). The book is going gangbusters, and has already been sent for a new print run.

Monique (who’ll be asking the questions), Louise, and I are all part of an accountability writing group that began in early 2017, plus we’re great mates, so I have no doubt the In Conversation will be great fun, and hopefully informative for those who come along. I have specifically requested there be no curly questions from Monique! Given she rarely listens to me, I will most likely find myself in a state of permanent blush when it comes to answering the romance questions. (e.g., Where do you find your ideas? Is it from real life experience? Does your husband help you plot the sex scenes? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done… etc etc.)

If you live in the South West and you’re interested in coming along, please visit the Dymocks Busselton Facebook page to register your interest, or phone 9754 4410 or email busselton@dymocks.com.au

$10 entry includes a glass of champagne, door prize, author chat and book signing.

WUTB coverLouise, Monique and I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, Water Under The Bridge is available everywhere books are sold across Australia. Look for Ella on the front cover in that mist of purple sky…

Here’s a snapshot of early reviews on Goodreads:

I love all of Lily’s books, but I think this is my favourite so far. She has written a really enjoyable story set in a small town of Chalk Hill in WA that I could totally envision. Claire.

I heart this book! I cannot rave enough about the story, its characters and their triumphs, and tribulations. Talking Books Blog.

Water Under the Bridge shows Lily is one of the best Aussie authors I have read when it comes to really nailing characterisation. Jenn J McLeod.

I found this to be an enjoyable, gentle book about moving on and finding your place in life and a community. Marlin.

I loved the setting what a town and the characters come to life on the pages, I felt very comfortable in Chalk Hill and look forward to more in this series. Helen.

A wonderfully complex novel, Water Under the Bridge was an excellent read which I highly recommend. Brenda.

If a Book was a Ship…

27750280_1276377222506164_1535408654311169734_n…I could smash a bottle of champagne across its pages to mark its birth into the world. But, alas, much as I’d love to swing a bottle of bubbles at this new baby of mine, all I’d end up with is a mess of soggy pages.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE came into the world on February 19. On March 1 we held its official launch at the Margaret River Bookshop with a crowd of my friends and family and readers.

It was my great pleasure to talk about the book at the launch in an informal chat with my good friend, Jill Turton of Stocker Preston Real Estate. Jill was the perfect choice to share in the book launch because the story begins with the main character, Ella, leaving Perth on a tree-change, to the small country town of Chalk Hill, where she is about to start a new life as the rookie sales representative for Begg & Robertson Real Estate of Chalk Hill.

Just such a fabulous evening with wonderful wines sponsored by Fermoy Estate Wines, and in the company of marvellous readers, my hubby (who I dedicated this book to) and many friends and family.

I’ve had so many messages of support about WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE; reviews, shelfies, photos, mentions of people buying or reading my story – it’s those little notes that keep an author writing, and I can’t thank you enough on this page, and in person, for your enormous and fantastic support!

Here’s a snapshot of what people are saying about the book on Goodreads:

I love all of Lily’s books, but I think this is my favourite so far. She has written a really enjoyable story set in a small town of Chalk Hill in WA that I could totally envision. Claire.

I heart this book! I cannot rave enough about the story, its characters and their triumphs, and tribulations. Talking Books Blog.

Water Under the Bridge shows Lily is one of the best Aussie authors (I have read) when it comes to really nailing characterisation. Jenn J McLeod.

I found this to be an enjoyable, gentle book about moving on and finding your place in life and a community. Marlin.

I loved the setting what a town and the characters come to life on the pages, I felt very comfortable in Chalk Hill and look forward to more in this series. Helen.

A wonderfully complex novel, Water Under the Bridge was an excellent read which I highly recommend. Brenda.

You will be able to find a copy of WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE wherever you buy your books all over Australia, or at your favourite e-tailer.

If you live locally to the South West of West Australia, I know Margaret River Bookshop and Dymocks Busselton have lots of copies of the book. There are SIGNED copies at Margaret River Bookshop, and I will be coming to Dymocks Busselton on March 22 for an author chat, and would be thrilled to sign your copy there.

28058961_1410684142371542_4733707321236608800_n
That’s a lot of books at Dymocks Busselton

The release of a new book is such an incredible time for an author, I doubt it would get old even for the Wilbur Smith and James Patterson and Stephen Kings’ of the world who’ve done it hundreds of times, but for me it’s still a new journey and so very exciting.

This ship is just setting sail…

 

xx Lily

Ella & Jake: Book 1 in Chalk Hill is almost here!

They’re so close…

Rachael Donovan at Harlequin MIRA sent me this very exciting photograph last week. It’s a picture of the finished print copy of my new story, WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE. 

IMG_0449

I’m expecting to see my own print author copies any day now…

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE is on pre-order everywhere, available February 19, ebook, and print.

Please check this list for your reading choice:

Amazon Australia http://amzn.to/2yhS99f
Amazon.com Kindle: http://amzn.to/2xzS7Gs
iBooks: https://goo.gl/dUAYZq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2hCDD2y
Booktopia: http://bit.ly/2xzPq7Q
Bookworld: http://bit.ly/2yG1xFb
Dymocks: http://bit.ly/2g1qM9M
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hD2B1B
Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2yhnWan

E-reader sale – The Vineyard In The Hills

My Margaret River/South Australia vineyard romance, THE VINEYARD IN THE HILLS is one of a special selection of Bestselling ROMANCE books at a special price on iTunes, Kobo and Amazon for a limited time. Honestly – at only 99c, I’ve never felt so cheap!

If you haven’t bought any of my books before and you’d like to give a title a try, it’s the perfect time:

iTunes: https://goo.gl/pNkvk7

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 4.26.32 PM

Kobo has THE VINEYARD IN THE HILLS for 99c, also for a limited time.
https://goo.gl/55kPB3

Amazon has also come to the party, with THE VINEYARD IN THE HILLS for 99c.
https://goo.gl/M3GPBr

You will also find a WHOLE HEAP of books by some of your favourite Aussie authors going cheap!

Happy reading,

Lily xx

 

Adding Up The Hours: How Long Does It Take To Write A Book?

“Lily, how long does it take you to write a book?”

It’s a question I get asked all the time. Possibly, the only question I get asked more often at market stalls or fairs where I promote my books is: ‘are you the author?’ ‘Did you write these?’ and ‘Does the bride really die in this?’ *holding up a copy of Who Killed The Bride?*

Yes, I’m the author. Yes, I wrote these. (Through blood, sweat, tears, and an ocean of self-doubt I wrote these.) No, the bride doesn’t die.

WUTB coverSo how long does it take me to write a book? Well, I’ve just finished my new release for February 2018, Book 1 in the Chalk Hill Series, called Water Under The Bridge, so it’s a great time to break it down for you (and for me) while it’s all fresh in my mind.

I got the idea for Water Under The Bridge during the Rio Olympics in 2016. (Blame the very gorgeous dripping puffing panting swimmers!)

Pre-planning, plotting, dreaming & opening chapters
September/October 2016: 40 hours

I started writing Water Under The Bridge for real during National November Writing Month NaNoWriMo in 2016. The idea of NANO is to race through a first draft without editing, the sole purpose being to get a bazillion words on the page.

I wrote about 30,000 words in November 2016, possibly just over… but then I hit the run-up to Christmas and my writing stopped until the new year. When I started writing again in February (when school went back in 2017), I discovered I absolutely hated just about every word I wrote, and I deleted two-thirds of the story and started again. For this reason I decided NANO is not for me and I won’t try that strategy again.

So, in 2017 I changed my work/life balance to enable more time for writing. For most of 2017, outside of school holidays, I’ve spent 3 days a week writing. From the first week in February 2017 (when school went back), to the school holidays at the end of First Term, I estimate I spent 15 hours a week on Water Under The Bridge.

17021870_1041836872626868_4634934122275569774_nFirst draft
NaNoWriMo November 2016 = 30 hours
11 weeks @ 15 hours a week = 165 hours

April 2017: The End! Hooray, break out the champagne… but wait, it’s only The End of the first draft.

First edit
I’m naturally an ‘edit as I go’ type of writer so I like to think I end up with reasonably clean drafts, but even so – they always need another read-thru.

2 weeks @ 15 hours a week = 30 hours

Now I send the story to my Beta reading team and after they come back to me, it’s when the official second draft starts.

Second draft
May/June 2017: Incorporating Beta Reader feedback.
2 weeks @ 15 hours a week = 30 hours

Wahoo, now it’s like, REALLY The End! I submitted the book to Harlequin MIRA editors and my agent Haylee Nash, and about two months later, July 2017, I discovered they liked it a whole heaping lot. Harlequin (now Harper Collins) offer me a 3-book Contract to write the Chalk Hill series.

Cue Champagne!!

But now we wait… the publication date is a long way away (September 2018), and I start writing Chalk Hill Book 2, The Cafe By The Bridge. I have heaps of time for checking covers and writing blurbs and doing edits on Book 1… heaps of time. Not.

Big news! I learn there will be an earlier publication slot for Water Under The Bridge. The publisher is pulling it forward, months and months forward, to March 2018! That means in October 2017, Water Under The Bridge comes back to me after the wise eyes of Harlequin editors Julie Wicks and Laurie Ormond have read it, dissected it, and found all my very dodgy commas and a whole lot of other things they questioned, queried, and asked me to expand upon… phew, this part of things was really tough!

October/November 2017: Structural & Copy Edits
1st round: 2 weeks = 30 hours
My edits go back to Harlequin, all of us using Track Changes in a Word document with arrows going everywhere and lots of queries about the use of toward or towards and which is more English/less American 🙂 Toward won.

It’s got to be finished now, I hear you ask? But no! I don’t know that there is ever a good time to ask your author friend: ‘Have you finished your book yet?’ About this stage of the process, she is very likely to make you a character in the book and knife you.

Edits of the Edits
2nd round = 5 hours
Then the edited edits come back to me again, with everyone’s comments on the comments and stuff we all agreed and stuff we didn’t. But it really is pretty much done and dusted now. The hard bit is done.

Woohoo! This time when I send the book back, it’s off to the typesetters to be beautifully laid out. Now it is the time for the fun stuff. I get to update my author bio, and write acknowledgements and dedications… Water Under The Bridge is the first book I’ve dedicated to my hubby, Brian.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 2.00.10 PM

Acknowledgements, Dedication
2 hours

Proof reading
Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 2.10.44 PMIt’s baaaa-ccck. Every time I send it off, I think it’s the last time I see Water Under The Bridge until it’s on a shelf in February… but still it comes back one last time. It’s getting very exciting now. Now I get to see it laid out as a PDF. It looks like a proper book with beautiful formatting, and yet another set of eyes at Harlequin have proof-read my baby. Annabel Blay is the sharp-eyed reader finding any further dodgy commas, and a few roman quotes, and many times when a word breaks over a line and just looks bad. Line breaks. Scene breaks. More use of toward/towards. How many times do I write the word just?? Little stuff. Truly, we are nearly there. All I have to do is check the things Annabel has queried or amended, make sure I’m happy, and fix up any other little weird thing.

PDF proof read
2 hours

And finally, this is THE END! I send the file back to Laurie Ormond and hold my hand out for the wine…

If I tally those hours above, I figure it took me 334 hours from beginning to end to produce this book.

Water Under The Bridge is about 90,000 words.

I’m a lousy mathematician, but I’m thinking that means that from beginning to end, through dreaming, writing, editing, revising, editing, proof reading, editing some more… it takes me an hour to produce 269.46 finished, perfect words.

And in author-land, there is no such thing as perfect. We always feel like there’s always one more comma we could change, one more paragraph we could polish… at this point, please, take the damn book away from us and hand us more wine… 🙂

xx Lily
(who is very excited about Water Under The Bridge, coming soon. Pre-orders are live everywhere right now!)

WUTB coverHarlequin: http://bit.ly/2yhnWan
Amazon Australia http://amzn.to/2yhS99f
Amazon.com Kindle: http://amzn.to/2xzS7Gs
iBooks: https://goo.gl/dUAYZq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2hCDD2y
Booktopia: http://bit.ly/2xzPq7Q
Bookworld: http://bit.ly/2yG1xFb
Dymocks: http://bit.ly/2g1qM9M  (coming soon)
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hD2B1B

 

Edits. Edits. (Oh, and a photo of hair)

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.

Ella

Pre-orders are now live on all ebook sites. Check here for a link to your fave.
Print copies coming late February 2018.

New Cover, New Book!

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,

WUTB cover

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?

Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2yhnWan
Amazon Australia http://amzn.to/2yhS99f
Amazon.com Kindle: http://amzn.to/2xzS7Gs
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2hCDD2y
Booktopia: http://bit.ly/2xzPq7Q
Bookworld: http://bit.ly/2yG1xFb
Dymocks: http://bit.ly/2g1qM9M  (coming soon)
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hD2B1B  (coming soon)
iBooks: coming soon

I can’t wait for Ella and Jake’s story to be alive in the wild… so exciting to think that March isn’t that far away. Roll on 2018 🙂