Three Months Of Firsts

water under the bridge smallWater Under The Bridge has been out in bookstores and cyberspace for three months now, and I figure as she’s a little more mature, it’s a good time to reflect. It’s been 3 months of firsts for me, with lots of positive news.

  1. For the first time, I had a print book receive a ‘top up’ print, ie, a second print run. This means that there was enough demand for the book from bookstores to encourage my publisher to print additional copies to make sure those orders could be met. Super news!
  2. I made a list! Water Under The Bridge was the 7th highest-selling romance in Australia for the month of March, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. I made a hashtag… what began as a bit of fun with a writing mate, Holden Sheppard, has turned into one of my favourite things to check on Amazon rankings. I give you, the #AbSandwich (meaning Ella is sandwiched between a couple of hefty bookish chests)… Amazon in its wisdom put my ex-nearly-olympic swimmer lady Ella in Water Under The Bridge in the category of ‘sports romance’, as well as ‘small towns and rural’, and this has led to many photo opps with err, ripped torso book covers like these below 😉DYO-dE1X0AAA2Hy.jpg-large
  4. I made the Beauty & Lace online Bookclub… with 20 of the B&L readers reviewing Ella and Jake’s story. I’ve never had a book in an online bookclub discussion before
  5. Water Under The Bridge was published the same day as two other Harlequin MIRA stablemates Fiona Lowe with Birthright, and Vanessa Carnevale with The Memories The Make Us. The three of us have enjoyed several Facebook conversations since release day, talking about book tours and speaking gigs, and it’s been lovely to share Ella and Jake’s release launch with these ladies. I think it’s fitting that, as our book babies turn 3 months old (which means we’re now too darn old for what Amazon deems a ‘New Release’), I managed to snap this screenshot of our 3 books all in a row in the Amazon Australia ‘small towns and rural’ category.Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 7.41.52 PM

From a branding perspective, I’d describe myself in the ‘emerging author’ category so I need to keep making leaps and bounds if I’m to graduate to ‘established author’ status. Quite where these two lines blur is a bit of a mystery, but I think for me it might be when the second of the Chalk Hill books comes out next year (February 2019).

The Cafe By The Bridge: Chalk Hill Book 2 will bring me to 3 traditionally published print works (The Vineyard In The Hills; Water Under The Bridge; and The Café By The Bridge); 1 trad-published anthology (Fairway To Heaven), 6 ebooks (adding my first two stories His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride to the list); and 2 self-published novellas Butterfly House Books 1 and 2.

But on the purely personal front, I’ve absolutely loved the surge of support I’ve had for Ella and Jake’s story in its first three months of publication. There have been lovely reviews on Goodreads and Amazon; I’ve had emails from readers and Facebook photos and messages; I’ve had wonderful support from family and friends who’ve bought, read, gifted, and recommended the story, and I have a happy agent and publisher, which from a business and career perspective, is a truly important thing.

Thanks to everyone who has been on this ride with me… here’s to many more years of firsts ahead.

xx Lily

West Coast Fiction Festival pre-order form

Use this link to go to Lily’s pre-order form for the indie-published Butterfly House series:
Book 1: Who Killed The Bride?
Book 2: Who Killed The Movie Star? (So new, I can’t show you the cover yet)
Normal retail $18.95 per book.
At West Coast Fiction Festival, each book is $15 and while stocks last, includes a special gift from my hometown – the ‘Be Nice To Udders’ fridge magnet.
butterfly-magnet

Q & A with Lily Malone, Author of Water Under The Bridge

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Amanda Barrett of ‘Mrs B’s Book Blog’ recently, about Water Under The Bridge, and about my writing life.

Mrs B's Book Reviews

It is my pleasure to welcome Lily Malone, one of my  favourite West Australian romance writers to Mrs B’s Book Reviews for a Q & A session. This follows a glowing review I published last week of Lily’s new novel, Water Under The Bridge on the blog.

About the author…

Lily Malone might have been a painter, except her year-old son put a golf club through her canvas, so she wrote her first book His Brand of Beautiful instead. Lily writes realistic contemporary romance about places she knows. She loves her wine and many of her romances are set in the vineyards and wine regions of Australia, particularly in the tourism towns of Margaret River in West Australia (where she now lives) and in the Adelaide Hills near Hahndorf where she spent most of the 2000s.

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Lily has worked as a journalist and editor of wine industry magazines, but discovered…

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True Stories in Fiction

WUTB coverA question I get asked a lot is: “where do you get your ideas for stories?,” and “is your book based on real life?”

My answer to that is easy. “I wish my life was so interesting!”

But definitely some real life events prove as catalysts for my stories. A great example is in my new book, WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE, out now.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE begins with the heroine, Ella, finding an escaped cockateil, and as it turns out, the very hunky man who owns said cockateil is the hero of the story, Jake Honeychurch.

On Boxing Day 2015, I was sitting on the deck of our house with my great mate, Carrie, watching our combined kids bounce on the trampoline. There was a ruckus in the bush nearby and all of a sudden a sweet little bird landed near the tramp on the ground. Other birds dove at it, but our kids and all the bouncing scared the other birds off. (4 kids on a trampoline scares me too, just quietly!)

1917794_10156330023985285_7079375646328425119_nThe only one not scared by all the bouncing was the bird. He was obviously used to noise and young children, and he was more comfortable with little humans than those nasty other pecking things with wings. So my hubby, who knows a thing or two about

picking up birds, approached the little guy with big eyes and coo-ing sounds. Before I could blink the bird was on my hubby’s finger, then shoulder, making no signs he wanted to leave anytime soon.

We put a notice on the #Cowaramup Facebook page with a photo to find the bird’s owners. It turned out he belonged to a local family who was missing him dreadfully. Everyone was reunited and like a very good romance, we all lived happily ever after.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE is about ex-Olympic swimmer Ella, who has come to Chalk Hill in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia to restart her life. Chalk Hill is a long way from the water and that suits Ella just fine. She’s left the water behind for good. Oceans. Rivers. Lakes. Swimming Pools. Creeks.

Isn’t it lucky Jake Honeychurch has a very big dam 🙂

It’s also lucky he’s good at picking up birds…

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE is available on all your favourite e-tailer platforms and in print at all good bookstores.

Popular links
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

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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

 

Bulls, Bears, Barefoot, and Backhands

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.

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Cape to Cape track, south of Ellensbrook.

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!

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Seconds after this… Carrie got her arse wet 🙂

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 😉 )

51FdXQ7p-OLOne 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!

xx Lily

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So very lucky to live where I live… the ocean was stunning today 🙂

 

Are we there, yet?

success-2076812_1920It’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:

  1. Final in a writing competition (or fingers crossed, win a competition)
  2. 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:

  1. Earn enough from my royalties to actually buy my hubby lunch at the pub!
  2. 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!!
  3. 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:

  1. 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?

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  1. To be known for contemporary fiction writing as well as rural romance, and specifically to get my manuscript ‘Ashes’ published.
  2. To publish at minimum, 2 books a year
  3. To support myself financially through my writing.
  4. 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?