A sneak peek at my hometown of #Cowaramup during the recent DejaMoo – Udderly Legendairy Country Fair. It’s the only place you can wear a cow onesie or a milk carton and feel totally at home!
Pic by Nicky Lefebvre
Pic by Anne Bowerman
As usual when there is a Fair going on in the local hall, I take out a stand to support the Cowaramup Retailers Association and sell my books and have a chat about books to anyone interested in reading. I always have an awesome time and meet some great people, and this year I had a new book to launch!
My Butterfly House books are set in Cowaramup and I describe them as: ‘Like Bridget Jones meets the Cowaramup cows…’ They’re mad-cap fun, great for a giggle, a wonderful souvenir of our town and gorgeous hand-crafted gift for you or the reader in your life.
Who Killed The Movie Star follows the tale of Cally Minter and her best friend Sienna Devereux who we met in Book 1 where they’re trialling their new tourism venture in Cowaramup: Murder Mystery at Butterfly House.
It’s Sunday morning on a long weekend in the quirky little town of Cowaramup and Cally Minter and her best friend Sienna Devereux are about to host a new murder mystery game, Who Killed The Movie Star?
But before an arrow can be shot from its bow, the girls are in a pickle. The Sheriff of Nottingham has gone rogue; they’ve lost a Maid Marian, and someone keeps reporting them to the local police for shooting their guests.
In all the confusion, Lovely First Class Senior Constable Daniel Reardon becomes a regular visitor to Butterfly House, and if Cally plays her cards right… whoever murdered the movie star might not be the only one in handcuffs by sunset.
Water 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.
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!
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.
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 😉
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
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.
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.
On Thursday March 22 at 6.30pm at Busselton Dymocks, I will have the tremendous pleasure of being part of a book chat with some wonderful pals, Louise Allan (author of The Sisters’ Song) and Monique Mulligan, (writer, author of children’s books such as Fergus The Farting Dragon, and My Silly Mum; and co-director of small Perth publisher, Serenity Press).
Louise’s book debuted in January and has had incredible feedback and reviews. I’ve read her story and it’s wonderful. I’m a little bit biased because I saw an early version of this story almost two years ago, and I’ve been riding with Louise every step of its journey to finding an Agent (Lyn Tranter of Australian Literary Management) and publication (with Allen & Unwin). The book is going gangbusters, and has already been sent for a new print run.
Monique (who’ll be asking the questions), Louise, and I are all part of an accountability writing group that began in early 2017, plus we’re great mates, so I have no doubt the In Conversation will be great fun, and hopefully informative for those who come along. I have specifically requested there be no curly questions from Monique! Given she rarely listens to me, I will most likely find myself in a state of permanent blush when it comes to answering the romance questions. (e.g., Where do you find your ideas? Is it from real life experience? Does your husband help you plot the sex scenes? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done… etc etc.)
If you live in the South West and you’re interested in coming along, please visit the Dymocks Busselton Facebook page to register your interest, or phone 9754 4410 or email email@example.com
$10 entry includes a glass of champagne, door prize, author chat and book signing.
Louise, Monique and I hope to see you there!
In the meantime, Water Under The Bridge is available everywhere books are sold across Australia. Look for Ella on the front cover in that mist of purple sky…
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: