Lots of Bookish News

Well, not heaps of bookish news, but some.

First, my next book for release, So Far Into You, is currently in the hands of one of the wonderful team of Harlequin editors, the lovely Belinda Holmes. Belinda has edited some of my work before, for an anthology called It Happened At Cafe Nix that was released by a group of Escape Publishing authors earlier this year. It made me all warm and fuzzy inside to think I’d be working with Belinda again.Lily's Nix cover

So Far Into You begins in Margaret River and moves to the Adelaide Hills, so it’s sort of mimicking my life. I was born near Margaret River and went to school here before moving to South Australia in late 2001 (although I’ve since moved back to Margaret River in 2013). The book is set in the wine industry and involves several events from my memories, the Margaret River Vintage Festival being one.

My early memories of the Margaret River Vintage/Wine Festival were way back when it was set in what was then a vacant lot (now a carpark and supermarket) beside the Settlers Tavern. I remember plank-walk races, and barrel races, and that the festival involved laughs, community, and drinking lots of wine.

So Far Into You begins with a meeting between the heroine, Remy, and the hero, Seth, at the Margaret River Wine Festival just prior to a storm that puts paid to the day. The book also includes some other favourite memories, such as bushwalking in spring and looking for orchids, which these characters do. Seth doesn’t know his donkey orchid from his cowslip, but Remy sets him straight.

Orchid spotting on a spring bush walk near where I live.
Orchid spotting on a spring bush walk near where I live.

I’ve been told the book will be ready for release in October 2015, which is very exciting!

Yesterday, I heard from Escape about my last remaining self-pubbed work, the novella, The Goodbye Ride. After picking up Fairway To Heaven last year (this too was originally self-pubbed), Escape Publishing has now agreed to take The Goodbye Ride into their expert hands.

For me right now, I’m moving away from self-pubbing my work and I’ve been happy with this decision.

Last, just for a change of pace. A few of us in our writing group, The Naughty Ninjas, challenged eachother to write a shapeshifter romance in the last week or so. So I just did that (you know, as you do). It’s about 3500 words, involving a prehistoric animal as the ‘shifter’… I don’t have a name for the story yet, but it might just find a home at Wattpad.

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.

Angry Birds & Turtle Doves | A free read on #Wattpad

Lily's Nix cover“Sydney’s hot. Adelaide’s hot. And it’s getting hot down under the tablecloth.”

Have you been following the collaboration of Escape Publishing authors writing “It Happened At Cafe Nix?” It’s been on Wattpad, which is a free reading platform, for the last week. There are 14 authors involved and I’m one of them.

My story Angry Birds and Turtle Doves went live today. It features Seth and Remy from my yet to be published book now contracted to Escape, called So Far Into You.

Here’s the blurb:

About So Far Into You

A new Australian vineyard romance from Lily Malone, author of His Brand Of Beautiful and Fairway To Heaven.

Millionaire wine tycoons don’t usually go all soft and gooey over love at first sight, but Seth Lasrey wasn’t a millionaire when he met Remy. He wasn’t a tycoon, either. Not yet. All that would come later.

When she cut her viticulture degree short and moved home, Remy wasn’t thinking about anything more than making the next dollar in her pocket. Working two jobs to keep food on the table and a loan shark from the door, Remy and her mother are slowly building a life together. Then a freak storm rips apart the Margaret River Wine Festival, and Seth and Remy’s worlds collide.

He’s old money. She is no money. 

He’s the boss. She’s his employee.

Together they are so far wrong, it can’t ever be right.

But when love runs you off the track, how far would you go to get a second chance?

****

Now the short story does come with a language warning. If you’re game, check out mine, and the other Cafe Nix short stories on Wattpad while you’re there. Escape Publishing has some amazing authors and it’s been a pleasure to be part of Cafe Nix.

This link will take you straight through: http://www.wattpad.com/113743182-it-happened-at-cafe-nix-angry-birds-and-turtle/page/4

Why I’ll Stop Self-Pubbing (at least for now)

I’m lucky enough in my writing journey thus-far to have one book published with digital publisher, Escape Publishing (my debut novel His Brand Of Beautiful); and a novella (The Goodbye Ride) and a second novel (Fairway To Heaven) that I chose to self-publish.
978085799030311.jpgI’m always asked by writing friends, and reader friends about my decisions to opt for self-publishing. Mostly these have been to do with the timing of my books. For The Goodbye Ride, it was written for the June long weekend (the Queen’s Birthday long weekend) and it was ready in May. For Fairway To Heaven, it’s a summer book, written for January/February and I had it ready in December. So the decision for me was about timing. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for a publisher to appraise your book and decide if they will accept or reject or ask you to revise it, and it takes further months from any decision to accept it for publication, before it gets through the process and gets published.

And I’m impatient. Yes, there… I’ve said it. It is so nice having got to the end of the writing process, having bought a customised cover, to actually hit that ‘publish’ button and get your book out there.

Something I like about self-publishing is it removes the awful roller-coaster that is the path to publication. There’s no more ‘will the editor like it, will he/she take it… wait for that email, and wait, and wait some more.’ There’s so much waiting in writing.

And did I tell you I’m impatient?

So, having said all that, here’s my big news.

I’m about to tell you that Escape Publishing, with editor Kate Cuthbert, recently agreed to publish Fairway To Heaven, and this weekend I’ll be signing the Contract to let Escape do exactly that. It means I’ll be removing Fairway from cyberspace, hitting that ‘unpublish’ button that I pressed so happily about 9 months ago, and waiting another possibly six months before Fairway (or it may be called something different at the behest of Escape) again gets launched to the world.

It will have a different cover. It may have a different name. And it may not even be quite the same book, as it will go through another editorial process on the way. But given the lovely Kate responded to me with the words: “It’s great”… I’m hoping any changes will be minimal, captain.
So how did it come to this? Here’s what I can nail it down to.

a) Tax Time. This was the big one. July 2014 gave me a huge eye-opener. I had payment receipts from Amazon US (US Dollars and they have a different reporting year/tax year to Aus). Some of the payments were cheques. It cost me $15 per cheque to bank into an Aussie bank (NAB). The Goodbye Ride is $2.50 (AUS) and I get 35% of that from Amazon so you imagine how many books I have to sell just to pay to bank their cheque! Now at least Amazon pays me direct into my account but it was like pulling teeth to get that to happen. Tax Nightmare! Compared with this the Escape royalty statement that spells out sales and earnings for His Brand Of Beautiful was an absolute breeze.

b) Sales. Yep – that old chestnut. I believe in my book 100% and both Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride have excellent reviews, not all written by my mother or sister. (In fact, neither my mum nor my sister have ever written me a review. Note to self!) Could the sales be better? (Yes!) What might make the sales better?

c) Marketing. I paid attention to a few social media discussions with book marketers going back a while and they tell me that if reviews are solid, the next thing to look at is the cover. I love both my covers for Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride, but are they exactly right for the demographic? That’s the question I have to ask, and I’m prepared now to test it with the experts. What about the title? Fairway To Heaven works for me and it just felt right… but does it label the book a sport/golf book? And does that mean prospective buyers are looking at my book and thinking they don’t like golf, so they won’t enjoy the book? Have i missed sales because of either the cover, or the blurb, or the title? Probably. I have enjoyed being able to test promotions, such as the ‘free’ promotions with Amazon Kindle Direct. They are great fun to do because it’s so nice to think how many of your books are flying free off the ‘virtual’ shelves. But at the end of the day you’re giving your work away for free. So where’s the return in that?

d) Costs. I’ve spent about $600 combined on the covers for both my self-pubbed books. I paid $90 to lovely Marion Archer, Marion Making Manuscripts who beta-read Fairway for me – her feedback was gold and she’s worth every cent. I did the editing myself, but I’m an editor by trade. I paid $90 to get Fairway formatted for Kindle and for Smashwords (which feeds to iTunes/Nook/Kobo etc). With The Goodbye Ride I did this myself, but Goodbye Ride was only ever on Kindle. Smashwords is harder to get the formatting right. I didn’t ever spend money on things like Netgalley (I couldn’t afford it), or FB ads. That investment is gone now – I’ll never get it back. But if I stick with the status quo because I’ve sunk money into it, where does that leave me in another year? Still wondering what might have been?
e) Control: Lots of authors say to me: don’t you love being able to control everything? The blurb. The cover. The marketing. The title? They tell me: “I do all this marketing and promotion and my publisher expects that, and my sales are still lousy. So tell me what the publisher actually does for their cut?” Control is good. But remember – if you have all the control and your sales are still lousy… you only have yourself to blame. It’s human nature to find the grass greener on the other side.

f) Quality: I think self-pubbed books can get let down by the mass of badly (or non-existently edited) crap that is out there! It’s easy to get tarnished with the same brush.

I could let things roll along. I could change nothing, and I could continue to feel that my self-pubbed sales could be better, or that I could/should do more to promote them. I also know that having Escape select my book(s) for publication alone will not guarantee me improved, or even ‘good’ sales. They are taking a risk too. The entire business is a risk. My expectations are much different now, a few years along, than when I first got that wonderful ‘call’ that my debut book had been accepted for publication.

There’s no going back. Once I sign that Contract this weekend, Fairway To Heaven leaves my control. Pretty much forever unless sales are so abysmal, Harlequin decide in about 7 years, they don’t want it anymore.

NewFinalFair#2

Meanwhile I’m ‘writing the next book’. It’s a follow up to my debut His Brand Of Beautiful, not with related characters, but with the title, currently: Her Brand Of Bargain and because it’s back to the wine industry/vineyard-set books of both His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride. It has always been in my mind to write this book with view of offering it to Escape.
All this is just my opinion, and it’s only my view… but it’s been a long decision and not taken lightly. I can’t wait to see what Escape come up with for Fairway’s cover and blurb… and it will be fun to see what new readers might make of my book about Jenn and Brayden on a Busselton beach. Meanwhile, they’re waving goodbye, until sometime in the new year.

Eliza and Lily cook the perfect bloke

Thanks to our publisher, Escape Publishing, we were invited to take over the Escapades’ blog this week. This is what we cooked up! You can check the original post here – it’s got all sorts of cover shots & links.

Eliza and Lily bake the perfect bloke by Lily Malone & Eliza Redgold

“Once upon a time, two Escape Artists, Eliza Redgold and Lily Malone were sitting in… hold on, Eliza. Where were we sitting again?”

“Sitting beneath your verandah, Lily,” Eliza said, taking another fat green olive from a glazed pottery dish and popping it in her mouth.

“Do you think that’s exotic enough? My verandah?”

Eliza spat the pip delicately into her palm and swallowed. Lime and chilli-marinated olive scorched a salt aftertaste down the back of her throat. “You have to write what you know.”

“Good point. Where was I? Eliza and Lily were sitting under the verandah, co-authoring a blog post about what inspires them to write romance chock-full of food and wine.” Lily’s fingers clattered across the keyboard. She looked up at Eliza expectantly: “Then what happens?”

Eliza reached for another olive. “God those are good. Did you try one?”

Lily glanced at the growing mountain of pips surrounding the olive dish, like an army of climbers planning an Everest summit. “Yeah. I had one. Now focus, Eliza. What else can we say? Our pacing is off. Our plot is crap. Kate Cuthbert will reject it for sure.” She reached for her wine. Times like these, Eliza noticed, Lily always reached for her wine.

“I’ve got it!” Eliza slapped the table, hard enough to make Lily jump. There was a shallow bowl of extra virgin olive oil near the prosciutto-wrapped melon balls, and it vibrated deliciously. Oil ripples.

“Shit. I got wine up my nose,” Lily grumbled, wiping her face with the back of her hand. “You’ve got what?”

“I’ve got the answer to our plot problem. We bring in a man!”

Lily almost choked on her Chardonnay. “A man? Now? It’s the first bloody paragraph. What happened to structure?” Lily put her wineglass back on the table, fiddling slightly so it covered an already-existing wet circle. “How exactly, Eliza, do we get a man into our blog post?”

Eliza swiped a cracker into Lily’s homemade hummus. The cracker broke mid-serve, leaving a spike of jagged edge.

“Hey. No double-dipping,” Lily muttered, one eye on the wreck Eliza had made of the dip, the other on the screen. “It’s not fair. I’m doing all the work. You’re eating all the good stuff. Here. It’s your turn. Pass the prosciutto.”

Eliza leaned across the table and swapped the proscuitto platter for the laptop.

Lily topped-up her chardonnay and took a long, slow, sip. The wine tasted lightly of oak, and something else. Peaches. Or maybe that was the melon on her tongue. She lifted the glass up to the afternoon light.

“Here’s what we’re missing, Lily. You’re being too obvious. What we need is subtlety, nuance, hint, suggestion, a little … je ne sais quoi…”

Lily took a swig of wine.  When Eliza started speaking French, she knew she was in for a long afternoon.

“Like truffles,” Eliza continued, fingers flying over the keyboard, “they’re for connoisseurs, for gourmets. They’re about mystery and luxury.” As she spoke she gave each key an extra click. When she stopped, she reached for the olives.

If there was one thing Lily couldn’t stand it was sticky fingers on her keyboard. Just in time she offered Eliza the crackers instead. “So what does mystery and luxury mean, exactly?”

Eliza crunched the cracker and grinned. “Let’s cook Kate Cuthbert a recipe for the perfect man.”

“Genius, sweetie,” Lily squealed, reclaiming the laptop. It was only a matter of time before Eliza smeared it in hummus. “You talk, I’ll type.”

“We-ll,” Eliza spun out the word like soft toffee on a spoon. “He’d have a chest like that guy on that hot cover. You know? The June release. That soldier guy…”

“You mean Jason in The Virginity Mission?”

Eliza snapped her fingers. “That’s the one.”

“Mmm.” Lily typed Jason’s chest and then sat watching the cursor blink. It blinked and blinked and in the end she had to prompt her co-writer. “And?”

Eliza shook her head. “Sorry. I was thinking about that cover.”

“Easy enough to do,” Lily conceded, crossing her legs under the table. “What about the perfect eyes?”

“That would be Xavier Antoine in my book, Black Diamonds. He has eyes like truffles: the darkest, deepest, blackest ones… the ones that are hardest to find.”

Lily typed Xavier’s eyes and prayed Eliza would shut up about truffles. To distract her, she asked a new question: “What about his buns?”

“Buns?” Eliza gave her a blank look. “Baguettes? Flat bread? Sourdough? Rye?”

“Buns. Butt. Arse. Backside.”

“Oh. Who’s got the perfect butt?” Eliza asked.

“Scott in Under The Hood was pretty hot in that department, from memory,” Lily said, fanning her face with one hand as she thought about it.

“Whack him in.”

Eliza reached for a chorizo stick and Lily typed, Scott’s butt.

“It’s not just looks that make the man, Eliza. He should have a soft side too. Be good with kids, for example.”

A Man Like Mike.”

Lily typed, then added: “And nice to elderly people and animals.”

Eliza barely drew breath. “Ethan in House on Burra Burra Lane. He’s a vet.”

“He needs a way with words,” Lily mused.

“The guy in your book, Tate in His Brand Of Beautiful. He’s great with words.”

Lily typed: Tate’s tongue, and recrossed her legs, trying not to blush.

“He should have a talent, too,” said Eliza. “Nick Gordon, that sculptor in Drawing Closer. He’s good with his hands.”

Talented hands. Lily typed it in.

“So read me what we’ve got so far.” Eliza had her university lecturer’s face on.

Dutifully, Lily read out the list and when she’d finished, Eliza said: “All we need now is his face.”

They both stared at the food spread on the table. Plump olives. Salty proscuitto. Thick, creamy hummus. Sweet balls of melon.

“Brad Pitt,” announced Lily, at the same time as Eliza squealed: “Ryan Gosling.”

They both laughed and reached for their wines.

Eliza clinked her glass playfully with Lily’s. “Let Kate Cuthbert choose.”

(To anyone who doesn’t know Kate, she’s the managing editor of Escape Publishing. Aka: she’s our boss and we do what she says!)

What do you think are the essential ingredients for the perfect man? Let us know in the comments. 

Find out more about His Brand Of Beautiful with one click here; and Black Diamonds, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escapades: A Love Story

Have you caught up with the Harlequin Escape Artists’ collaboration, A Love Story?
It started on Valentine’s Day, so we’re more than halfway through. 30 Escape authors each write 200 words in a story that’s a bit like Chinese whispers meets Pass The Parcel.

Tomorrow, it’s my turn!
So far, our heroine: Laura, and our hero, Cormac, have discovered she’s arrived at the wrong apartment with dyed hair, on the run from her ex-fiance and gangsters trying to recover her stepfather’s debts. She’s been shot at (thanks to Caitlyn Nichols), she’s been handcuffed (thanks to Juliet Madison), and plans to Fremantle prison have appeared on the USB that Laura stole from her ex, Miles, (thanks to Juanita Kees).

Turns out, our gal is trying to blackmail Miles for the money she needs to repay the gangsters.
Cormac has spent most of the story to date, in a blue towel. That was, until Lee Christine got the towel off. When I met Cormac for Lily Malone’s instalment, he was down to a pair of black grundies (undies). Which, according to Louise Forster’s episode, our hero filled out to “perfection.”

They’ve been tortured and teased, he’s been driven half-mad with desire and anger over this red-haired bint who’s brought a whole lot of trouble to his doorstep, but at least thanks to Donna Maree Hanson and Jacqui Underdown, they’ve now had one hell of a snog.

That’s where I find them, coming down off that after-kiss high with “the taste of him still on Laura’s bottom lip” (beautifully described by Sandra Antonelli).

So, I decided to get Cormac dressed tomorrow! It’s taken all this time for our hero to find himself a pair of jeans. He will find some other items in his wardrobe as well.
Did I ever mention Jason Bourne is a hero of mine? (I must say – the Matt Damon variety more than the later JB, but that would be digressing).

Tune in to find out what I do with A Love Story tomorrow.
http://escapepublishingblog.wordpress.com/alovestory/

A Love Story

Everything’s Falling Into Place

Regular visitors will know that the beginning of 2013 has been filled with new starts for me.

We moved interstate three weeks ago to Margaret River in Western Australia (the perfect place for wine, surf and romance!); and in March, my debut book gets published with Escape Publishing.

All of which is good!

But I’m ticking a few more boxes at the moment:

  • I’ve found a rental house so we can stop squatting at my sister’s place. She’s made us enormously welcome and it’s been a great time, but it’s a VERY long holiday to have four boys under eight running around and three adults, for what will be close to six weeks. I’ve had a lesson in a lot of the ‘modern’ toys here, like Wii’s, iPods, ‘Trashies’ and ‘Skylanders’ – I can hear you laughing Kylie Kaden! My eldest boy is obsessed with Skylanders, particularly Tree Rex!
  • On the writing front, my current WIP (Goodbye River Road), is getting very close to being finished. This is my first attempt at a Novella, and I started it for a competition I saw with Carina Press called ‘Holidays and Harleys’. It is due to be submitted by March 1, and the timing was always going to be tight. I’ve actually been writing a lot here, particularly at night after the kids have gone to bed. It’s good… my writing lets my sister & her hubby get on with whatever they want to be doing, without feeling they have to make conversation with me… They have a lot of rooms here too, so I can set up my laptop in a quiet spot most of the time (once the four terrors are tucked away in bed). Many times, my wonderful sister even offers me wine as I write… ahhh, that’s bliss!
  • I have an entry into the Little Gems competition, Sapphires. I’ve seen the most evocative cover for RWA’s Little Gems this year, I think it’s gorgeous. I’d love if my entry, called Fairway To Heaven, makes the cut!
  • Last on the writing front, I am part of Escape Publishing’s promotion, A Love Story. 30 Escape authors contributing to a love story over 30 days. My entry is on March 5. I have 200 (or so) words to continue the story of Cormac and Laura… So far, she’s rocked up with the key to the wrong apartment and surprised a gorgeous man clad only in a towel; and they’ve already been shot at! You can catch up with it here.

A Love Story

And in all this, I’ve also started a ‘real’ job this week, an administration/reception job for a real estate company. At least, I thought it was reception/administration but then I got my name-tag and that says, sales and marketing co-ordinator… so I am a wearer of many hats!

And in March… those hats shall include, AUTHOR!

(Yes, it’s worth writing that in bold!!)