Everyone is Awesome, you are Too!

I’m surrounded by people who amaze me regularly and it got me to thinking: we can’t all be good at everything, but I think for every person on the planet, there is something they ARE good at. The trick is to find that thing that makes you shine!

One of my boys made a comment yesterday about being crap at a computer game. He lost his shit when someone shot him in the game, and then launched into a meltdown about how he should be better than that person because he’s been playing longer… and you know, he probably just needed a hug and he definitely needed dinner; but my line of reasoning was that he couldn’t be good at everything, and that if the game was making him sad he should stop doing it. Basically, I told him: ‘if it’s not fun, fuck it’.

Yes, I whispered the swear word and told him he wasn’t allowed to say it to anyone else and especially not his brother, but the cut-through of the word had the desired effect. He smiled and his eyes went wide (ooh, Mum you swore!), but he chilled out about the game, had his dinner, and was a different kid.

This happened on the type of day where I felt enormously lucky to be surrounded by people who are truly great at things. Different things. And on several occasions recently I’ve become aware of hidden talents in my friends, things I’d really never known about because they don’t shout about them… 

I’m good at writing books. I’m shit at baking. I can’t wrap Christmas presents (or any present, let’s face it); I will never be organised and I will always run late.

I have friends whose talents are out in the open… Nigel Lullfitz and Kerry Sibly for example. Both are awesome artists: Nigel with sculpture, and Kerry, well he’s incredible at lots of things, but particularly painting cows, sheep, dogs, & VWs on corrugated iron…

I have an old school friend, Sarah. She always had an amazing singing voice, and was the fastest girl in school. What I didn’t know until we reconnected on Facebook was that she can bake and decorate the most amazing cakes.

There is Kylie – who is incredible in the garden and grows vegies like you wouldn’t believe.

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There’s Carrie – pilates queen, sailor, awesome cook, and she can back her own camper-trailer! (Wonder Woman). There’s Jules who can sew, and who puts clothes together with a flair I could never match. Tanja who teaches karate and if she isn’t a black-belt, she’s all but! Bel who can spot an orchid at 50 paces and tell you its name; Dayna who works in the ER and could save your life (plus makes an awesome quiche); Beauticians Thea & Tash who spend their working days making people look good and feel better about themselves.

There’s Anita, Amy, Carol, all expressing themselves through art.

Jo and Lee who can put together incredible mosaics, outdoor furniture and home decor.

Tamara who plays in a band!

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And there are those whose talents are harder to see. They’re the ones working on studying toward a new (or the same) dream; and those who volunteer their time and skills to help others (such as Meals on Wheels or hospital visits) or animals:  RSPCA and placing rescue dogs or cats; or helping injured animals, kids or adults.

Empathy, sympathy, any ability to make people about you feel good: those are skills to be proud of!

So to my amazing friends – you are all awesome! We can’t all be great at everything, but I think everyone is great at something. Thanks for giving me something to ponder this afternoon, and please keep on being you, and being brilliant!

xx Lily

Ahh, holidays!

Family Malone is just returned from 10 days at Kalbarri on the stunning mid-North coast of West Australia. It’s time off from work for hubby, and it’s time away from screens for me with my writing, (and for our boys with their darn addictions to Fortnite et al,) in our campervan, with lots of long walks through stunning coast and country.

We missed the major bloom of the spring wildflower season, but there were still patches of colour here and there. The real action for us was going on in the ocean, with whales heading south for cooler waters. I love seeing the spouts of whales out in the ocean, and knowing these huge mammals are out there, doing their thing. I’m so very glad they’re now protected species in our Aussie waters. They make me feel happy just knowing they’re there.

We did a heap of walking on this trip with our two boys. 8km was the longest walk, on The Loop at Z-Bend in the Kalbarri National Park. We got a cool day with very light rain and it made for excellent walking conditions.

Last year we did the same trip at the same time of year. I remember clearly going for a walk on the ‘Bigurda’ Trail – running 8kms from the Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge along the coast. Last year I saw whales very close to the clifftop walk, breaching, carrying-on and just exuberant as they slapped the water. I couldn’t see another person north or south of me, and it felt like these whales were showing off just for me! (Do I have a big ego or what?)

So this year I did the Bigurda trail again, late afternoon. I did see whales, but they weren’t so close in as last year, nor did they put on such a display. Not that it mattered to me. I walked an hour north from Natural Bridge and then sat on my butt on a flat rock and watched the ocean for another half-hour before walking back.

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Typical for me, my eye gets caught by wildflowers every bit as much as by whales… I have to be very careful that I don’t do this…

 

So thank you for having us, lovely Kalbarri. We hope to see you again next year 🙂

xx Lily

Walking in a Wilyabrup Wonderland…

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan of our South West Western Australia orchids in spring time… and it’s orchid season now. It’s actually just a little bit early for the ones that I know best, but thanks to a local friend, Belinda, I’m learning more about orchids that come in late winter, early spring.

I had some time to kill today before my team play a big footy final tonight, so I figured a bushwalk would be just the thing, and I’d see if I could find some of these new varieties I’ve been hearing so much about.P1010571

I parked at a place where I could get my car off the road and go exploring.

And explore I did!

I didn’t worry about getting lost, or about snakes, or anything like that. I have a reasonable sense of direction in the bush, but the good part is I was walking in a place where I could always hear the sound of cars at the nearby road. Even if I’d got terribly lost I would have known which way to walk.

So, there I am, wandering through the bush… and lo and behold I came across this sign:

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Now I know this family well… in fact, I really should have called ’em up and asked ’em to put the kettle on! So along Jolliffe’s Track I strolled, getting further from my car… till I started to think, you know, I really have been away from home for a while now, and I (stupidly) didn’t tell anyone where I was going. Actually, I told them I was going somewhere else entirely and then changed my mind as I was driving. So if I’d never returned home, not only would the Jolliffe’s have had a guest for dinner… my family would have been sending out the search party on Juniper Road…

I ventured off into the bush, happy that I could find Jolliffe’s Track again any time I liked, and it would lead me back to the car.

About then, I found this:

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Now I thought it was a duck orchid because to me, it looks like a duck bill… but I’ve since learned from my friend Belinda that it’s more rare than a duck orchid and it’s called a ‘warty hammer’ orchid. Okay, so not quite as glamorous by name, but I have never seen a duck orchid OR a warty hammer orchid before (and I still haven’t seen a duck orchid apparently)! I spent some time flat on my stomach taking photographs and this one has come up well.

Eventually, I brushed myself off and headed back toward Jolliffe’s Track… lo and behold, I came across this sign instead:

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Butcher’s Track!! Whatever happened to Jolliffe’s Track???

Never fear. I’m sure it’s a great sign of civilisation if I just keep walking. I can’t be far from my car…

About then, I found this!

P1010566It’s another newish one for me – a jug orchid. Isn’t it cool!

Hmm… you know what? It’s a while since I heard the sound of a car… I wonder which direction my car is? And as the sky gets a bit grey and a few drops of rain fall… I can’t help the little voice in my head that says: “I hope the Butcher’s of the Butcher’s Track are nice people… and not like ‘The Butcher of Wolf Creek’…

Then I saw this:

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and I’m thinking, well, they sound marginally friendlier than the Butcher’s… and I saw this and this:

and finally, I saw this:

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and then, this!

P1010570Hooray! It’s that very rare thing known as a ‘car orchid!’

And I was home… with a lovely story to tell of my wandering day. And it was almost time for the footy.

Go Eagles!

xx

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?
Normal retail $19.99 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.

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…

View original post 2,269 more words

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 🙂