Australia Day Blog Hop

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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.

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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!

‘Squeeze the trigger, the gun goes bang’

Shooting tips from our expert!
Shooting tips from our expert!

Wise words from a wise head!

Last weekend, as part of my work’s Christmas party, hubby and I headed to the Augusta Gun Club to try our hand at Clay Target Shooting. I don’t know about you, but I’ve only ever held a gun once in my life. It was an air-rifle and if I wasn’t ten, I must have been eleven or twelve. We were on a farm with some friends and we were pinging at silver-eye birds that had been demolishing fruit in a fig tree.

I remember being handed this air-rifle and told how to use it. How carefully I lined it up, how very excited I was… how much I concentrated on hitting that target. Squeezing the trigger and hearing that noise… then watching a poor little bird flap and flop from the branches and land on the ground hopping and hurt. I’d winged it you see, and the boys who were with us had to grab the bird and put it out of its misery. I felt like the world’s biggest heel that day, and I’ve never touched a gun since.

Fast forward about 30 years. This time I’m holding a real gun. A proper one. And the first thing I’ll say is: it was bloody heavy! We were shown how to load it, how to hold it, how to shoot and how to eject the cartridge, and how to do all this safely. I really only remember the one warning: “if you squeeze the trigger now there’s a bullet in it, it will go bang.”

Photo from the Augusta Gun Club Facebook page.
Photo from the Augusta Gun Club Facebook page.

A little bit about the Augusta Golf Club… it’s like shooting off the edge of the world. The gun club is high up on the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, overlooking the Blackwood River to the town of Augusta far below. You can see the valley, river and sea and on a clear day, they tell me you can see all the way to Black Point. Saturday afternoon wasn’t clear, in fact, it was hazy and smokey, and someone said it was from smoke blowing across from the dreadful bushfires that plagued Esperance last week.

Now – a little bit of bookish segue here: In my book His Brand Of Beautiful, there’s a scene in the outback where the hero and heroine have a ‘shoot out’ – shooting at rock targets on the branch of a tree. When I wrote that scene, I used Google, and Youtube for shooting research. Christina Clay (the heroine in that book) is a crack shot – having shot clay targets with her father for years… and she beats Tate (the hero) and wins the bet they make. Like many a good romance, the scene ends with a firecracker kiss and a bit of groping by an outback river bed… 🙂 I wish I could go back and write the scene now. I’d have a much better idea of the weight of the gun and how the gun felt in my hand, the noise/kickback/recoil…  you should see the bruise on my arm!

It's fairly impressive this bruise!
It’s fairly impressive this bruise!

Not that we’re competitive or anything (cough) but hubs and I lined up in the first three people to try our hand. We all got a bit of expert coaching, and up we stepped. I can’t describe how completely alien that gun felt in my hands. I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I had 10 real bullets in the pocket of the vest they gave me – and those were heavy and alien too, like having a pouch of 50c pieces or a bag of marbles (or both) in your pocket.

We had to shout ‘pull’ when we were ready. I think two or three of the clay discs flew out before I got it together enough to actually try and shoot one. The first time I squeezed the trigger and the gun went ‘bang’, I squealed so loud another two or three targets shot out because of the noise.

The three of us each had ten bullets, and I think it’s fair to say that the odds of getting through unscathed were very, VERY good for the thirty flying clay ‘pigeons’. I have no idea how close any of us were to actually hitting one. Spectators would comment that we were left of the target, or above or under it, or close, or not close at all. I had no idea.

BUT! I was the first to actually hit one. I didn’t smash it in the middle and obliterate it like some of the others did later. I winged it. But it was a hit all the same… and (not that we’re competitive or anything) but, my hubby didn’t hit one!

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Winners are grinners: This is the face of the woman who hit the clay pigeon first and the man who didn’t… 🙂

For the record, later hubs and I had another 5 bullets each. I didn’t hit anything else but he did, if not 1, then 2. But that doesn’t matter, does it… I hit it first!

Thanks Mark Murray for the expert lessons and for lending us your guns, and for the idea to try clay target shooting for our Christmas party in the first place. It was a whole lot of fun.

p.s. Dear work colleagues, if I can’t type this week because of my bruise, can I have the week off?

 

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. 

Chasing Chris Judd… and other news

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C’mon… you’d chase him too, admit it!

Here’s a snapshot of my Friday. It’s a busy one, coming right up!

First, it’s a school day, so there are two boys to get into uniform, make lunch for and get to school on time. A complicating factor is that the youngest boy turned 6 yesterday, and he has so many presents to play with/look at/draw in/construct, getting him interested in something as boring as brushing his teeth and getting ready for school is gonna prove difficult.

D.I.F.F.I.C.U.L.T

Tonight I have to make a birthday cake for Mr 6’s party tomorrow. Plus, party loot bags. Mustn’t forget to make those. It’s also the local agricultural show starting tonight, which means there may be sneaky firework watching… but that will depend on the appropriateness of above-mentioned cake. Otherwise, I’ll be baking a new cake while the fireworks snap, crackle & pop.

We have a visitor! My brother-in-law arrives from South Australia tonight for a week’s holiday with us. Little does he know there’s a 6-year-old birthday party to contend with tomorrow. (And he thought he’d have peace and quiet… ha-ha).

In bookish news! My debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful (which incidentally I started writing the year Mr 6 turned 1) published in March of 2013 by Escape Publishing is Amazon Australia’s Kindle Daily Deal today. When I woke up this morning, it was sitting at no. 132 in the paid books on the Amazon charts… which made me No. 10 in Kindle ‘Movers & Shakers’ so I took this screenshot, because it’s pretty 🙂Picture 1

His Brand Of Beautiful is 99c at Amazon for today only… if you are interested in it, please click through to the book here. I was told it was also the daily deal at Kobo, but I can’t see it on special there yet. If I get an updated link, I’ll post it during the day.

So mine is a busy day. My goal for the day (other than to bake a worthy birthday cake) is to see if at some stage during today, His Brand Of Beautiful can find itself in a screen shot close to Chris Judd’s new autobiography. We’re snuggling quite close: HBOB is 132, Juddy is 139. He was my favourite player at the West Coast Eagles till he defected back to Melbourne… where upon he was still a great player, just not my favourite anymore.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a fun one!

POSTSCRIPT!! Dreams can come true! Look world, look what happened to me and Juddy on Friday!!

judd

 

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?

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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?

One year on, Happy Birthday HBOB

I’ve been a published author exactly one year today, March 1st. That’s when in my brain, I remember making 978085799030311.jpgthe distinction that I could move from being an ‘aspiring writer’ to a ‘published author’… even while remaining very much an emerging author with a lot to learn.

His Brand Of Beautiful hit the cyber-world 12 months ago, thanks to Escape Publishing.

With that release, several things happened:

  1. I discovered Amazon rankings (where to find them, what they meant, and how they messed with your head)
  2. I realised I was as guilty as the next author for checking my rankings, checking them against other author rankings and feeling either pleased, or disappointed, depending on a number.
  3. Even if Amazon rankings were dollar signs, I’d rather see a 1 than a million. (Maybe that’s something I’d actually have to put to the test. I could buy a lot of wine and cheese with a million bucks.)

It’s a hard thing to deal with, this beast inside me that makes me check and recheck my book links on Amazon, Google my name (though I’m not as bad at this now), look for mentions on Twitter or Facebook, and wonder why, WHY? aren’t more people thinking my book is brilliant. Why aren’t the reviews better? Why isn’t that ranking higher? Why is that book I couldn’t even finish sitting in the Top 100 on Amazon? Or iTunes? Or anywhere?

In its own way, the roller-coaster following publication is as bad as the roller-coaster pre-publication, when you are caught in the merry-go-round of queries and submissions, followed by those interminable waits for responses from agents or publishers.

But I’m still here. His Brand Of Beautiful has not made me rich, or famous, but it has brought me many wonderful and cherished friendships, and a lot of fun. I hope it has brought the people who’ve read it, a giggle, a heart-flutter, and some joy.

To see more about His Brand Of Beautiful, click here.

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/