Australia Day Blog Hop

2016australiaday-bloghop

This competition is now closed and winners have been announced and contacted via a reply on their comment below. If you’re a winner, please contact me within 48 hours of the end of the Blog Hop. Otherwise, your prize will go to another participant. Thank you for visiting. I hope 2016 is a wonderful year for you 🙂

 

I always enjoy Shelleyrae’s Australia Day Blog Hop and I’ve made new and lasting contacts and friendships with many bloggers, authors and readers over the last few years by being part of this blog hop week.

I love Australia Day. This year I’ll be with our neighbours and their kids and the plan is that hubs and I are going to learn to play Poker, while we listen to the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown and I’m sure we’ll have a few drinks on the way.

IMG_7184
The day my print copies of MORE TIME AT THE BEACH arrived at my office. My story, Fairway To Heaven is inside.

In bookish news, it’s been a huge 12 months for me since last Australia Day. I’ve had my first print book published with MORE TIME FOR THE BEACH (including FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN); and all three of my e-books at different times have been in the top 100 at Amazon Australia, including my debut title HIS BRAND OF BEAUTIFUL, now three years young. I’ve also been part of my first romance panel, as a guest of Koorliny Stories On Stage in April with my two writing buddies, Jennie Jones and Juanita Kees, and great friend, (convenor of Stories On Stage) Monique Mulligan.

I should have my novella, THE GOODBYE RIDE back in circulation soon. I finished edits for THE GOODBYE RIDE on Saturday and I’m looking forward to seeing the new cover any day now. This book was initially self-published but like my other self-published titles, Escape Publishing now has a Contract for THE GOODBYE RIDE.

When that releases later this year, I’ll have four country/rural titles available as e-books, with FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN also available in print.

2015 ARRA finalistSO FAR INTO YOU - smaller

 

In other news, SO FAR INTO YOU – my newest release – is nominated for the Australian Romance Reader 2015 awards for Best Contemporary Romance. If you are an ARRA member, and you read and enjoyed SO FAR INTO YOU, you might consider throwing a vote my way. Check your latest copy of your member e-newsletter for voting information.

 

FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN is Kindle Book of the Month at Amazon in January. If you haven’t yet had the chance to grab a copy of FAIRWAY  it is only 99c for Australian readers right now – but this sale ends in four days! Be quick. Amazon AUS customers buy link here. Amazon US (Australian) customers buy link here.

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD PART! My #GIVEAWAY

Today, I’m offering Australian visitors to my blog the opportunity to win a print book of MORE TIME FOR THE BEACH. This is a three-in-one book that also features stories by fellow Aussie authors Victoria Purman (SOMEONE LIKE YOU) and Juliet Madison (FEBRUARY OR FOREVER).

FairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315I also have 5 Kindle e-copies of FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN to give away. Leave a comment for me below and tell me if you’re after the print book (Australian only), or a Kindle ebook (open internationally). Tell me something about yourself and what you like to read, including favourite Aussie authors, or tell me anything that takes your fancy. That’s how I roll.

If you are on Twitter, you can find me at @lily_lilymalone

Don’t forget to visit all the other blogs that are part of this year’s BookdOut Blog Hop. You can return to the list here: https://bookdout.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/its-the-2016-australia-day-book-giveaway-blog-hop/

Thanks for visiting!

Fremantle fun, & Bookish Stuff

How has your start to 2016 been? I have to keep reminding myself every time I write the date that we’re in a new year. But that’s pretty normal for me, it took me until about August last year to stop writing 2014 on everything.

Last weekend we were in Fremantle with the kids. We went to the Erth’s Dinosaur Exhibition at the WA Museum and I’d tell you, if you have junior palaeontologists in your house and this exhibition visits a city or town near you – take them! It was great. This is the second time Mr 6 has seen the exhibition, and the first for Mr 8. They both enjoyed it a lot.

5884_521924201195703_1778355084_nWe went to the WA Maritime Museum at Freo, which is a great modern exhibition and really worth the entry fee. Australia II is there, winged keel and all. There are tours of a submarine that you can do but you need to book. We missed the tour, but it’s something to do another time.

This holiday we used AirBnB for the accommodation. Have you heard about AirBnB? It’s a great way of finding (usually shared) accommodation. If you don’t mind being on a property where you might cross paths with your host from time to time, then it’s a great way to (usually) save some money on accommodation and often you can cater for yourselves a little more than normal – which can save on meals and eating out.

This is Christine’s, where we stayed in Freo. We’d highly recommend it and Christine was lovely.

We also visited Adventure World where our family mastered the new ride there, the Kraken!  Lots of fun – we’ll be going back there a few times over the years I’m sure!

The only sad thing about our holiday was it coincided with the desolation of fires at Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey last weekend. We had to detour around the fire zones (which closed both the Forest Highway and South West Highway) to get to Perth and we could see the smoke for the entire 5 hour journey. Coming home, they opened the Forest Highway that morning and we drove through blackened trees where there wasn’t a leaf to be seen and the ground had burned everything down to nothing but sand. Some power poles were burned through which left power lines hanging in the air.

Barefoot BooksSo sad. I have an Aunt at Coolup where we used to spend every Christmas Day from the time I was probably 5, through to being about 25, minus the years I was overseas. We’ve driven through Yarloop, with all its sleepy timber history. There have often been times my hubs has wanted to stop to check out some of the antiques and other shops and we always said: “we’ll do it another time…” Now I guess, there won’t be another time. I don’t think they’ll rebuild the town and even if they did, you can’t rebuild history.

In Busselton on the way home, we saw this great sign outside Barefoot Books in Fig Tree Lane. The bottom book on the list is MORE TIME AT THE BEACH, the print book which includes my story FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. Barefoot Books sold out before Christmas so it’s nice to know they have more in stock.

Finally, on Friday night I got news that my newest book SO FAR INTO YOU is a finalist in the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Association annual awards for Best Contemporary Romance. This is a big deal! It’s also on the back of a Booktopi2015 ARRA finalista Australia’s Favourite Author nomination earlier in the week. I didn’t get through the Booktopia heats and I’m in a very hot category in the ARRA awards, but it’s very nice to be on a ‘list’… So I’m stoked. I get to use this cute graphic on the left for a while!

Meanwhile, Fairway To Heaven (ebook) is Kindle Monthly Deal at Amazon Australia for January. This means it is 99c for Australian readers, all month and it’s doing well on the charts, reaching No 13 during the week and No 3 in Contemporary. If you have a Kindle and you haven’t read it yet, maybe this is the time to risk it! One click it at Amazon Australia here. If your account is with Amazon US, click here.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 3.21.01 PM

I had a lovely 5-star review for Fairway from Kirsty Wenn who said “I didn’t want this book to end.” That’s always nice! I had a less than lovely 2-star review from a reader who said “Nice story but very boring”… so, it just goes to show in this writing business you have to roll with the punches and enjoy the good times when they come!

On that very zen note, I’ll leave you to your weekend!

 

 

 

Fairway’s Great Escape Story

About a year ago I made a big decision. It was to offer my self-published book, Fairway To Heaven to Escape Publishing to see if they liked it, and FairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315wanted to re-publish it in the Escape stable.

Escape’s managing editor, Kate Cuthbert, sent me a lovely note saying, “this book was great” and from that point on, deal memos and contracts were signed. I hit the ‘unpublish’ button at Amazon to remove Fairway To Heaven from sale and it took four or five months before the book appeared again for sale, under Escape and Harlequin’s banner, in April 2015.

Fairway to Heaven got a new cover. It went through an edit with lovely Laurie Ormond, but other than a few changes to the ending, it remained the very same book it had always been. I joke with my writing friends about Fairway as “The Dodgy Fanny” book. It is a book that takes risks both with the heroine (Jenn’s) story, and for her love interest, (Brayden). Some readers have found it too explicit but not because of the sex – more for the medical issue that plagues Jenn’s life and that she must resolve, during the book. 

It’s quite something to have a “dodgy fanny book” in your portfolio… 🙂 

In this ever-changing publishing environment, many aspiring and established authors wonder about the merits of self-publishing versus going with a traditional publisher. I thought long and hard about it too. I had one title (my first title – His Brand Of Beautiful) with Escape, and after that I self-published two other works, Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride.

Now, all my books are contracted to Escape and I no longer have any titles self-published. In the end, I think it comes down to what individual authors are seeking from their writing, and what stage they might be in their careers. For me, the motivation for moving from self-publishing was multi-factored. One was the ease of being with a major publisher – getting one royalty statement at Tax Time rather than trying to track Amazon sales against my bank statements.

The other was to engage the marketing expertise of Harlequin, the largest romance publisher in the world, and have them repackage Fairway (with new cover, new blurb etc).

By far the major factor was sales. I wanted better sales. My reviews and feedback for Fairway were excellent, but the book didn’t sell as a self-pubbed title.

In August, Fairway To Heaven became a Kindle Monthly Deal on Amazon Australia. In that month it hit the Amazon Top 100 which was the first time any book of mine had reached that level, and then it kept going. Top 50, Top 20, and the highest ranking I saw it reach was 12 overall and 5 in Contemporary Romance.

Fairway spent more than 20 days in the Top 100, and sales of my debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful also bounced to levels I hadn’t seen before. In October, His Brand Of Beautiful was a Kindle Daily Deal, reaching No 22 in the charts. During the time when both these books were doing well, my newbie, So Far Into You came up for pre-release, and pre-sales and sales in its early days have been wonderful, brilliant, great! (I’m not comparing to anyone except me!)

The good news didn’t stop there! Fairway To Heaven will be in a print book bind-up with Victoria Purman and Juliet Madison called More Time For The Beach, released in January 2015-16, but possibly on shelves in time for Christmas. Booktopia is selling it already on pre-order.

So from self-pubbed and wallowing, to a Kindle Monthly Deal, the Top 100, and now a print book bind-up. That’s pretty good going. It’s another tick on my writing bucket list. A print book! My first one.

More Time for the Beach

So that’s my Fairway To Heaven story. It’s not every self-published author’s story and it won’t suit every writer, but for me, I’m so very glad I made the decisions I did, and I’m very grateful to Kate Cuthbert and Escape Publishing for the opportunities they’ve given to me. 

Bye Bye Liv & Owen

My novella, The Goodbye Ride, has come off the cyber shelves for a while.
Today, I signed a Contract with Escape Publishing for the book, and took The Goodbye Ride down from Amazon where it has been self-published since May 2013.
Hopefully it will be back in publication in 2016 with a new cover, and maybe a few edits and tweaks. But, it will always be Liv and Owen’s story set in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills over the June (Queen’s Birthday) long weekend.
I also have big news about Fairway To Heaven. Fairway is a ‘Kindle Monthly Deal’ for August. It’s been discounted to $1.09 (Australia), about 72cents in the US. Today it cracked the Amazon Australia Top 100 – which is virgin territory for me.
I took a screen shot to prove it!

Picture 1

It has been a wild, wonderful, crazy week – and there is more news to come for Fairway, but the powers-that-be at Escape won’t let me tell anyone yet 🙂

 

Rare Air!

I love surprises – when they’re good ones. Not such a fan of bad surprises!

But this was very welcome this morning. The good fairies of Amazon have put Fairway To Heaven on sale for $1.49 at Amazon Australia and when I woke up this morning it was ranked 220!

Right now, I’m sitting beside my wonderful author friend, Jennie Jones, side by side with The House On Burra Burra Lane and 12 Days At Silver Bells House. It’s got to be said, I don’t often get to sit beside Jennie, unless we’re drinking champagne!

Somehow, that makes my day even more special!

Picture 1

The trick here is, it’s impossible to know how long the sale lasts. So please make sure you check before you click, just in case it’s all over red rover 🙂

Amazon Australia Buy link

Naming Babies (and book characters)

I’m thinking about my next book, which means I’m thinking about characters and character names. I like this stage very much – it’s a bit like naming a new baby. 

These are the names I’ve used so far for my main characters, and a bit about why I chose them.JPEG Names

His Brand Of Beautiful

Christina Clay
Right from the beginning, I thought of having a character who would be nicknamed CC by her friends. I also needed something that would work with the name of the family winery in this book, Clay Wines. In the book, a brand is developed for Clay Wines that is called Cracked Pots. Clay. Pots. Get it?

Tate Newell
On a visit to the Sunshine Coast in 2012 we drove on the Newell Highway… need I say more? As for ‘Tate’ this book begins with a ‘mistaken identity’ premise, and I needed a quick short name that could get confused if heard over dodgy reception on the phone. So for me this became a mixup with Tate and Nate.

There is also the character of Christina’s best friend, Lacey in this book. Lacey’s name came from the American So You Think You Can Dance that year.

The Goodbye Ride

Olivia Murphy
Olivia is a personal favourite. If I’d ever had a baby girl, I would have called her Olivia, or Liv, as Olivia gets shortened to in The Goodbye Ride. As for Murphy, I’m not so sure. There was a family with the surname ‘Murphy’ and they had a boy going to my son’s school. I don’t think it’s any deeper than that.

Owen Carson
Being brutally honest, there was an ‘Owen’ in my early years who I didn’t like much at all, but it’s a nice name… As for Carson, I have no idea. Carson’s Law anyone?

Fairway To HeavenFairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315

Jennifer (Jenn) Gates

I have met and got to know so many Jenn’s since I started this writing life. Jenn J McLeod, Jennie Jones, Jenny Schwartz, Jennifer Scoullar, Jennie Brumley, Jennifer St George… it starts to read like the ‘attack of the Jen’s’ – and they are all lovely. The Jenn in Fairway to Heaven was never going to be named anything else. From the time she first swung a golf club, she was Jenn in my head.

Brayden Culhane
My mother is convinced my fictional ‘Brayden’ and my real husband ‘Brian’ are one and the same… I have no idea if she’s right of course 😉

Sebastian
Sebby is Jennifer’s toddler son in Fairway. I know a lot of Sebastian’s (Sebby’s) and they are great kids. Kudos to my cousin Yvette and my friend Tanja for this name. Thank you for letting me borrow it!

So Far Into You (Out October 2015)

Remy Hanley
Remy Hanley was ‘Quinn Jackson’ for a very long time. Years in fact, because this book has been brewing in various guises for about that long. Somewhere in the last rewrite in 2014, Quinn became Remy in a massive case of ‘Find and Replace’. I blame the same friend Tanja once again. She has a daughter called Remy and I love this name! I’ve lost touch with a lovely friend I had years ago with the surname ‘Hanley’… maybe that choice is a tie to her, but I don’t think it was one I consciously thought about.

Seth Lasrey
Big bad Seth was ‘Dex’ all the time ‘Remy’ was ‘Quinn’… then when Quinn became Remy (are you confused yet?) Dex became Seth. This time, I blame a brilliant television show called Deadwood, starring the delectable Timothy Oliphant. (Or Raylan in Justified if you prefer). The moment I discovered Seth Bullock hiding in Deadwood, Dex Lasrey died and was reborn. I like him much better as Seth.

The New Book (No Name)

Characters so far are: Cally Morgan, Sienna Devereux, Uncle Bruce Devereux, also a dude called Brookes… and now I’m wondering, my Mum might be right in her comment about me and ‘Br’ names… Brian, Brayden, Bruce and Brookes. I’ve also got a secondary character of Bryce in So Far Into You and a Burt in another book I’ve been messing around with. ‘B’ and ‘C’ names seem to be on my hit list. I have a sister-in-law called Bronwyn and a wonderful neighbour called Carrie… I guess that puts them on the hit list for a character one of these days!

What about you? If you could name the heroine and hero of your own book, who would they be? If you’re a writer, do you have any deeper motivations than me about what makes you choose a name?

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.