The Important Things In Life – Cake Making

I have made fabulous progress on Fairway To Heaven this week, my new golf romance. (So far, there hasn’t been that much golf in it, actually). I finished Chapter 8 Thursday night, and am approaching the 30,000 words.

This story, so far, is behaving nicely. Although some pesky squid on the Busselton Jetty, are not! Jenn and Brayden just had a squid incident at three paces… fun.

But writing takes a back seat for me this weekend because it’s my son’s sixth birthday and on Sunday, roughly 10 boys and 1 girl (token girl – she’s coming because she’s one of the ‘real’ guests’ sister)… and those of their parents who feel like staying, are all descending on our house. (Our rather on-the-small-side, rented house, I might add).

So shortly, I’m off shopping for party stuff, like: party bags, lollies, prizes and things from which I shall make cake. My friend Kylie from South Australia is the Queen of kids’ birthday parties. She bakes the most incredible cup cakes and made a ‘boat’ cake for her son last year. I’m not going that far, I’d only set myself up for failure – but she’s given me a recipe that sounds simple enough to make an ice-cream cake, and for the actual ‘birthday cake’ I’m relying on a packet. I’m hopeful of any shape that’s not flat in the centre or squashed.

Here’s Kylie’s ice cream cake recipe:

2 cups of cream, 1 tin of condensed milk. Whip, add choc chips or berries.(anything you fancy really) Line dish with plastic wrap then glad bake. Pour in and freeze overnight. The easiest and the best ice cream cake! Happy Birthday to Mr 6. from us. xxxx He will love whatever you do.

Italics on the last line are mine, because times like this I have to remember the simple things!

Now, the lovelyGracie Macgregor, author of Hearts On Hold, invited me to spend Friday night at her Calypso Bar. I figure with the birthday party hanging over me, a bar is just the right kind of place for me (not to mention, I might need it at the end of this weekend!)

Wish me luck and come visit me in Gracie’s bar if you’d like!

Christina, Olivia and Jenn make a wish (Three Wishes Blog Blitz)

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I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine.

Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new  romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be…

The Lily Malone ‘wishlist’ is a bit too x-rated to include in a non-x-rated blog (it includes way too many scenarios with Timothy Olyphant and Charlie Hunnam) so instead I thought I’d let the heroines in my books  rub their own magic lamp today, and tell you what they’d wish for.

Christina Clay is the eccentric, hat-wearing, clay-pigeon shooting, horse-riding, winery executive, city girl, who stars in my Escape Publishing contemporary romance, His Brand Of BeautifulHere’s what Christina would wish for, if she discovered a magic lamp in the op-shops she regularly visits:HBOB

  • A world without snakes or lizards or scaly things that might slither beneath the timber slats of an outback camp shower
  • A bottle of champagne that never ends, and never loses its fizz
  • Legs as long and luscious as those of her best friend, Lacy Graham.

goodbye_ride_low-res.jpgOlivia Murphy is the Ducati-loving viticulturist who features in my contemporary romance novella, The Goodbye Ride. This is what Liv would wish for if she found a magic lamp in one of her vineyards.

  • That her brother was still alive
  • That jeans and a pink beanie counted as ‘smart-casual’
  • That cooking salt and pepper squid was as easy as making baked beans on toast.
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The shack on the beach where Jenn goes to retrieve her missing mojo in my new book, Fairway To Heaven. (Picture is for illustrative purposes only!)

Jennifer (Jenn) Gates is the golf-playing, freelance writing, mother of a toddler son, now coming to life in my new book, Fairway to Heaven. I am about 20,000 words in and Jenn is trying to get her mojo back (after discovering her golf-pro boyfriend cheating on her with one of his golf students) on a long weekend stay at this beach shack.

If she discovered a magic lamp in the shed at the back of the shack, this is what she’d wish for:

  • That her cheating ex-boyfriend, Jack, develops a massive case of the putting yips and never sinks a putt again
  • That her 14-month-old toddler will wake up tomorrow toilet trained
  • That Brayden Culhane doesn’t consider the kiss they shared at this beach house eight years ago as “the biggest mistake of his life.”

Giveaway:

Follow the instructions below to win my prize, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that? 

My prizes include your choice of: a copy of His Brand Of Beautiful, a copy of The Goodbye Ride, and (because it’s so new) the opportunity to have a character named after you in my new book, Fairway To Heaven!  I’m also offering a world-exclusive! Like my Facebook page to read my 3000-word short story Fairway To Heaven, on which this new book is based. (You’ll need to send me an email at lilymalone@mail.com for that one too).

My question: If you could be the heroine of a movie or a book, which heroine would you wish to be and why?

You can answer in the comments. (If you ‘like’ my Facebook page during the Blog Blitz (2 September to 6 September) www.facebook/lily.lilymalone I’m sure I’ll come up with something special for you too!)

Remember: Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/3-wishes-blog-blitz-official-post/ 

The Mother Of All Selfies

To Whom It May Concern:

It’s the first sunny day in Margaret River in weeks, and our owner has just taken us walking. P1020205Cruel, cruel woman, she didn’t even slather us in moisturiser. We went out in public unshaven. We are two shades short of lily white. We bought traffic to a stand-still for all the wrong reasons (apologies to the truck driver we blinded). And SHE called it research for her new book.We are officially on strike, and if she posts our photo, we will sue.

Yours sincerely,
Lily Malone’s legs.

Dear legs,
Perhaps if you’d responded once to the zillion leg-lifts I’d done in my youth, I’d be more inclined to sympathise. However, you have always been ahem, top-heavy in the thighs, despite my every effort, and I have yet to find any exercise that can cure knobbly knees.
Therefore: Suck it up!
Lily Malone.

A few weeks ago, one of those “give us 7 lines from page 7, or 77, of your latest release or work in progress games” went around my friends on Facebook. I was tagged a couple of times but at the time, I had nothing to put out on display that I felt proud of.
In the last few weeks (as readers of my blog will know) I feel like I’ve got my writing mojo back, and except for time out on the RWA Conference, I’ve been steadily working away on my new book.
So please be my guest, and take a world-first-exclusive look at a few paragraphs from Fairway To Heaven – it’s my contemporary golf story about lust in the bunkers and love on the greens. (Although for this particular bit of the story, they happen to be on the beach, and Jennifer Gates (my heroine) is lamenting the state of her legs.) See? Research. The things we do!

Excerpt:
Fairway To Heaven

Then, the beach unfurls before us, mile on mile of hard-packed sand the colour of white pepper, strewn with drying strands of brown seaweed, as if the mermaids cut their hair.

Busselton Jetty straddles the water far to the right. Where the famous landmark meets the coast, pines jut from the foreshore.

“There’s a train that runs out the jetty now,” Brayden says, setting Seb’s feet on the sand. “You’ll have to take him out there.”

“Maybe. We’ll see.” I struggle with forking out cash on tourist things Seb won’t remember. Call me killjoy.

My city brain struggles to comprehend all this space. Geographe Bay curls gently, like a soft scarf cupping a shallow wine glass. We’re in prime school holiday time, yet it isn’t packed. I know that near the jetty—with its funparks and cafes—there’ll be crowds. Here, no one is in your pocket. I like that.

“This looks like a good spot,” I say, heading left, kicking off my sandals so I can enjoy the warm sand on my feet.

Brayden spreads the towels to mark our territory and I rummage in my bag for sunscreen to squirt over Seb’s arms and legs.

“Here.” I hand Seb’s Thomas Tank Engine cap to Brayden. “You see if you have the knack. He won’t keep it on for me.”

He picks the orange bulldozer from my bag and carries it to where last night’s high tide has left a signature on the sand.

Brayden gives the dozer to Seb, who squats on the beach. As he starts ploughing, Brayden stoops and pops the cap on my son’s head. I wait for those little hands to send it cartwheeling toward the sea, and of course, he leaves it perfectly in place. My sun-smart little angel.

I sit on the towel and lean back on my outstretched hands. The sand is incredibly fine, and I bury my feet, then lift them, and let the grains pour between my toes. If I balance my feet just right, I figure I can cover my unpainted toenails, but there’s nothing short of a sheet that can hide my lily white legs.

I really am a disgrace to the female race.

Sapphires, and Stories

I was really interested today to read on Facebook that Imogene Nix has a new release out, called: A Sapphire For Karina.

The sapphire was the jewel used in the Romance Writers of Australia 2013 Little Gems anthology. I know, because I entered a story in the Little Gems competition too. Stories for Little Gems had to be 3000 words maximum and the ‘sapphire’ had to feature somewhere in the story. Imogene said on Facebook that she has “reworked, expanded the scenes and decided to self publish” A Sapphire For Karina.

My Little Gems’ sapphire story was called Fairway To Heaven, and in the story, the Sapphire related to a brand of golf clubs, Cobra Sapphires.

sapphire-blue-driver

One of three judges rated my story in the 90s, but it didn’t sit so well with the other two. The important thing though, I loved it. It was my first foray into writing with a first person point of view, and in present tense.

When I scrapped ‘the book that will never be written’ (see previous post), it was to Fairway To Heaven I turned for inspiration. In the last fortnight, I’ve done more actual fingers on keyboard writing time than I’ve managed since May, when The Goodbye Ride novella released.

Now I’m getting a feel for what screenwriters and authors do when they’re adapting story ideas. I’m having fun creating the characters, scenes and conflicts for what was a 3000-word story, out to something that should become a full-length contemporary romance of around the 80,000 word mark.

Someday soon, I intend to post the original version of Fairway To Heaven on this site… although I must admit after a few Facebook chuckles whenever I mention this title, I’m contemplating changing this for my novel to The Sweetest Swing…

If you’d like to make a vote on the title – you’re most welcome!

 

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I think this writer’s unblocked

I have my mojo back! Yeah baby!!!

Four nights in a row I’ve written this week, after a very long hiatus. (A very well-documented long hiatus, given how writer’s block has dominated this blog of late!) I’m enjoying my words again, and I’m liking what’s happening on the page.

This is what has helped me the most:

a) Scrapping the story that didn’t want to be written (see previous post)

b) Reading a brilliant book. (I read The Yearning by Kate Belle. This book has put a hand in my stomach and squeezed hard. I loved it. I haven’t been so gripped by a book in a long while. Is it a sign of the times that two of the three books I rate highest in my ‘shelf’ this year are paperbacks, and only one is Kindle, yet the percentage of my reading these days is much more Kindle oriented?

c) The Aussies being crap at cricket. Because the Aussies are crap at cricket, the Ashes test finished almost two days early (really it was over about lunchtime on Day 2). I was so fed up with the shoddy goings on at Lords that I tuned out the game unless Warnie was the commentator (upon which I listened with rapt attention – I can listen to Warnie talk cricket for hours).

d) The end of the Tour de France. Yes – I spent hours over the last few weeks when I could have been wrestling with the story that didn’t want to be written, instead listening to Phil Liggett and watching men in tight lycra torture themselves on two wheels. (I could almost [but not quite] listen to Phil Liggett talk cycling all day. He even makes all that lycra okay.

The upshot of all this is: I’ve been able to put solid hours of writing together and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing. When I finished each night’s writing (tonight that’s because the battery in the laptop needs a recharge rather than that I have run out of words), I read The Yearning, and Kate Belle’s story further inspired me to write.

My new book is called Fairway to Heaven. It’s in first person, set in Perth. My heroine (Jenn) will soon move down south to Margaret River after having her heart broken by an arsehole (who else). And in a new place she’s going to rediscover how much she loves swinging a golf club. My Jenn (don’t call her Jennifer) is going to rediscover her mojo too. Quoting a little more Lord Of The Rings: “Jenn is going to wake up, and find she is strong!”

Thank you for putting up with me while I’ve moped on my blog. If you see me grizzle once in at least the next two months (about anything except how crap the Aussies are at cricket), please send me a cyber shake. Or should that be a cyber poke?

The Horse Is Dead… No More Flogging

For weeks now I have been trying to get excited about what would be my third manuscript. It’s actually the first MS I ever wrote, and for almost three years now, it’s been stuck in a folder called Story 1: Fringe Benefits.

I began it as a reunion romance and it spanned the two regions that I’ve called home in the last 40 years. It started in the vineyards at Margaret River and it ends in the vineyards of South Australia. It was to be a love story between, Seth, CEO and big kahuna boss of a bunch of vineyards and wineries across West Australia; and Quin, originally Seth’s employee. After Quin makes a monumental stuff-up… she gets fired for negligence and with her career in tatters, heads interstate. Seven years later, Seth’s company acquires the winery in South Australia to which Quin sells her grapes, and the two are thrown back together.

So there you have the first plotline I ever came up with, (except when I rewrote Bambi when I was 8).

The book has a jealous co-worker, a meddling mother, boss/employee, and an ‘engagement of convenience’… In fact, just about every trope you can think of minus ‘Secret Baby’…

I did get to typing ‘The End’ on this book and submitting it, and it was rejected quick smart, by both agents and publishers. I left it behind and went on a steep ‘craft’ learning curve on the way to writing His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride. Not only have I enjoyed success with both of those, I loved (LOVED) writing them. They didn’t come easy — no book comes easy. But I was always interested and motivated to work, work, work on both of those stories and make them as good as I could.

Sometimes I think ‘Fringe Benefits’ suffered from being the first book. I was writing something that I ‘thought’ would get published. The voice was all wrong and I knew nothing about craft and it shows.

I have wasted about two months, possibly three, trying to save the 55,000 odd words that I had for Fringe Benefits. I changed scenes. I deleted scenes. I rewrote scenes. I changed point of view and tense. It was third person point of view, past tense. My latest rewrite shifted to first person & present tense. I even changed the dud title, without settling on a new one in my mind. Not even the title came naturally.

But really, truly, I think the reason I’ve been procrastinating my butt off; changing it, deleting it, messing with it… it’s because the story stinks.

I read a brilliant post by Alison Stuart this week about what happens when a writer finds “the black moment”. Alison talked about trying to make her book (a square peg) fit the proverbial round hole. She talks about what happened when she realised her book was at the point of Mount Doom (it helps to read her post if you’re a Lord Of The Rings fan – but it’s not hard to get the gist).

I read Alison’s post and I thought: “This is me.” I had the ring on my finger, I had pulled it off and was holding it out over the lava pit of Mount Doom… but I couldn’t give it up. No matter how much my inner Sam pleaded with me: “Let it go…”

Last night, I let Fringe Benefits go. I’m not flogging a dead horse a minute longer.

I have a great little idea that I wrote for the RWA ‘Sapphires’ Little Gem competition this year. I had fun writing the story (3000 words), and I’ve been thinking about how to work with that story. It was called Fairway To Heaven and the ‘Sapphires’ related to a brand of golf clubs. Cobra Sapphires. I even like the working title!

So that’s where I’m turning my attention and if I’m not quite blogging so much in the next few months, hopefully it’s because I’m head down/bum up in a new story. Wish me luck!

In the words of Alison Stuart, I’m going back to Hobbiton to start my quest anew!

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!!)