I really hope you’re not! I hope you’re not in lockdown at all. But if you are and you are looking for some light reading to keep you away from yet another bored foray to the fridge (well that’s what I did in lockdown, I ate!), I have a special book for you.
For a very limited time, I have a special additional gift with each copy of THE VINEYARD IN THE HILLS – a lovely sliver of handmade soap from Moonhaven in my hometown in Western Australia (near Margaret River where this story begins).
I have scooped the last print copies of The Vineyard In The Hills from my publisher… once these are gone, that’s all folks.
For $24.95 including postage anywhere in Australia, I will send a signed copy to you.
After 6 years of cyber friendship, I met in person the writerly woman who was my first Facebook friend, and has always been an amazing supporter of my writing career, Jenn J McLeod; with her partner in all things writing and life, Jeannette – also known in official circles as the ‘J’ in Jenn J McLeod.
When I first ‘cyber met’ Jenn, it was through common links and goals in our writing, and a very similar sense of humour, plus I think a love of red wine clinched the deal…
We’ve been writing mates since, but our paths haven’t crossed in person in all this time, and today I got to meet the ‘nomadic novelist’ on her journey to WA. Jenn is here for several special events, including being writer in residence at Serenity Press’s upcoming Writing Retreat near Busselton in October, plus a signing author at West Coast Fiction Festival in Perth (where I’ll be too) on November 3. She’s also visiting various libraries across the South West, and whenever she’s resting, she’ll be writing in her mobile home, affectionately known as ‘Myrtle, the Turtle.’
So, to throw in a few twists to my day (because let’s face it, what is a typical Lily Malone day without twists??) it was my eldest boy’s 11th birthday today, and the day began with a visit to the dentist to repair a chipped front tooth!
Meanwhile, Jenn and Jeannette were traversing the town of Cowaramup, waiting for me to let them know I was back from said dentist visit before we could hook up. On the way back through town to deliver my newly-re-toothed boy to school, I spied the famous #WriteRoundOz vehicle, with the even more famous magnetic strips on the side… my first clue that the Double JJs were officially in town…
I decided to stalk them and see if I could track them down in Cowtown… (for those not in the know, Cowaramup is the size of… well, kind of a postage stamp. My task should not prove too difficult!)
My first stop was the post office, where I got my second official clue. Mail delivered to my address on behalf of Jenn J McLeod… Yes, she is bookish royalty, quite obviously, we all wait on her hand and foot. (Any more parcels to come, my-Lady?)
Next thing there are hoots and hollers across the highway, and lo and behold, I see these two ladies waving at me!
Well, much hilarity and a good few hours of coffee, toasted sandwiches, muffins (yes I baked!!) and conversation ensued… plus more photographs and a visit to Ellensbrook to see the sea.
Tomorrow, it happens to be Jenn J McLeod’s birthday! Yes, the day after my son’s, which feels doubly kismet & special. We have the day planned, and poor Jenn and Jeannette get the dubious honour of being invited to dinner with me, whereby I will set my mad baking skills to work for her! Bwahahahaa…
Lovely to see you, Jenn J & Jeannette. Welcome to Cowaramup and WA. I hope your visit is every bit of extra special awesome!
Ta-da! Without further ado, I give you Book 2 in the Chalk Hill series, and more specifically the heroine: Taylor Woods 🙂
Taylor is about to rock Abel Honeychurch’s world… I almost feel sorry for him because the youngest Honeychurch brother really doesn’t know what’s about to hit him…
Child psychologist Taylor Woods needs a man. Flashy restaurateur Abel Honeychurch to be specific. Abe can help her get justice for her brother, Will. Taylor knows Abe, too, was scammed by the same woman who broke her brother’s heart and stole everything in his pockets.
But bringing a lying, cheating scammer to justice isn’t easy when all Abe wants to do is forget the whole sorry saga. He’s returned to his home town of Chalk Hill to lick his wounds and repay his debts, renovating his nanna’s house and opening the Chalk ‘n’ Cheese cafe.
He’s miserable. And it would be easier to stay miserable if everyone else around him wasn’t so darn cheerful. It’s wildflower season in Chalk Hill with a cafe full of upbeat bushwalkers, and it’s all Abe can do to remember to put sugar, not salt, in his customers’ cappuccinos. He definitely has no time for the mysterious red–headed guest who admires his cheesecake and adores his flat white.
Taylor’s mission to help her brother seems doomed – how will she gain the trust of a man whose every instinct tells him never to trust a woman again?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
$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: