Blog Hoppin’ with Lily Malone, golf and giveaways…

One of the joys of being a writer is meeting other writers – partly because it introduces me to new books and partly because many of them are just lovely.

LilyM_lowresToday I would like to introduce you to one of the lovely ones, who also happens to write great, fun romances.  Her name is Lily Malone, she has a new book out, called Fairway to Heaven and to celebrate, she is having a blog hop, with piles of giveaways.  There’s more about the giveaways (and the book) at the bottom of this post, but for now, here’s a picture of the main prize, just to keep you going:

PrizesSee, you like her already, don’t you?  (To be clear, the prizes are on the right.  That’s Lily on the left.  Just in case…)

But before we get to the giveaways, I have to live up to my part of the blog hop.  I have to write a post about golf.

You see, as the title would suggest, the book has a fair bit (see what I did there?) of golf in it.  So there’s a bit of a golfy theme to this here hop.

The problem is that, while I can just about tell one end of a golf club from the other, that’s about as close an acquaintance as I have with the game.  I am very willing to believe that it makes a wonderful backdrop for romance (surely those bunkers must be good for SOMETHING other than testing the swearing ability of hapless golfers?) but beyond that, sadly, I have nothing.

fairway to heavenHowever, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that, in the grand tradition of high-school history students, I would tell you about something tangentially related to the subject at hand and hope you will be so blinded by my prose that you won’t notice. Especially since my tangentially related subject is alcohol. Continue reading

Character is in the eye of the beholder…

Hello, my lovelies!

I must apologise for the radio silence. I have been editing the BOOK THAT REFUSES TO KNOW WHEN IT’S BEATEN and my anal brain will not let me play on the blog until it is done.

But I have beaten my brain into submission for a moment, to share some thoughts about the book that I have coming out tomorrow (my time – 16th of September, all going to plan…)

DESTINY_Playingbytherules_cvr smallIt’s called Playing by the Rules and I think I have mentioned it before. 😉  Once or twice.  Not going to bore you with the details (you can follow the links if you want more info), because there’s something particular I wanted to talk about.

See, with this book, I have spread the word that it is available on Netgalley, for reviewers, with the result that I have some reviews on Goodreads already.


First, because not everyone gave it five stars.  What’s that about? 😉

Not really, folks.  Seriously, though, I am fascinated by how differently different people see characters.  Of course, not everyone is going to like every book.  And I can easily accept that some elements of the story don’t suit some readers.  But I’m intrigued by the reaction to characters, particularly, in this book, the heroine, Kate.

Now, Jo, the heroine of my first book, Rules are for Breaking, I can understand people not liking.  She’s prickly and difficult and set in her ways (although also very likeable, at least according to me).  But I thought Kate was a bit of a love.  In fact, the first time I wrote her, she was so nice she was boring.  Part of the editing process I went through with this book was toughening her up a bit.  And some people agree with me, that she’s nice – but others think not.  It seems she is a little like Mort, the cute lemur from the movie Madagascar.  For some people, he (and Kate) are like this:

A little sad, a touch vulnerable, but mostly adorable.

But for others, Mort (and poor Kate) come off like this:

A little annoying.

So I have a challenge for you, should you choose to accept it.

Playing by the Rules will be available very soon from all the usual outlets, for a very reasonable price (on the Australian Amazon pre-order page, it’s only $3.67).

If you would like to, buy the book, read it, and let me know what you thought of Kate and Josh and their story.  I would love to hear what you think!

(If you’d like to also leave a review on Amazon or iTunes or wherever you bought it, or on Goodreads, if you’re on there, that would be lovely too.  But I realise finding the time to read at all is a big ask for many of us, so please don’t think it’s expected.)

Thank you for considering the challenge and I hope all is well with you and your sometimes-adorable, sometimes-annoying friends (real or imaginary)!


PS – note on outlets.  It’s hard for me to check international sites.  It SHOULD be available from the 16th of September in your timezone.  If it isn’t, can you please let me know and I’ll get on to the publisher to sort that out.  Thank you!

Just flying through to say…

RAFB cover with ARRA Finalist graphicThat I just discovered that Rules are for Breaking is available in print (almost certainly for a limited time) from the Penguin website.  That was a nice discovery, as they aren’t available in the Australia Post shops any more.  Also, I kind of love that I have more than one title up on the website now, even if the second one hasn’t landed yet.  Small joys! 😉

Technology fail and an important subject

So, last time I posted I said I was off to look at furniture.  And I did.  I even found some and got it home and everything, but have a managed to take photos to share with you?  I have not.

Or, rather, I have, but then the batteries ran out on the camera and I don’t have any more, so I can’t put them onto the computer.

Oh, okay, it isn’t just that.  I mean, I could go to the shop and get some more, except that would require walking, because my car blew up the other day and what with all the furniture moving and whatnot around here lately, I am BROKEN and tired and coordinating my fingers to type is about as much as I can manage at the moment.


In the absence of pictures of furniture (which I’m SURE will be as fascinating to you as they are to me), I want to share a post I came across recently which got me thinking.

It’s about the depiction of rape and rape victims in romance stories and it’s here.

This is a subject dear to me.  I have not (yet) depicted rape victims in any stories I have written, but my girly thriller (one of my current works in progress) does include a victim of domestic abuse.  I did an enormous amount of research on the subject before even starting to write that story and it has been a constant concern to try to get the character ‘right’.  I feel a responsibility to real people in the situation to present her in a way that they will recognise.  That’s partly because I don’t want to trivialise the subject to non-victims and partly because I think one of the purposes of stories is to tell us that we are not alone and that we can overcome the demons that beset us.

G.K. Chesterton apparently once said, about children and scary stories, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

I think the same is true of modern stories of the dragons that exist in grown-up lives.

I’m not saying that every story needs to deal with the darkness in the world.  But if they do, I think they need to do it well and realistically.

What do you think?  Do you like stories that deal with dark subjects?  Are they appropriate in romances?  I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.

The unexpected joys of being a writer – other writers!

One of the great joys of becoming a fiction writer has been meeting other writers.  I am a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Sisters in Crime and through them, I have met many wonderful women who make the sometimes lonely business of writing a joy.


Knowing other writers brings with it an unexpected anxiety.  These days I often buy books written by people who I know and while I celebrate their releases with genuine excitement and buy their work with anticipation, in the back of my mind, there is a lurking menace.

It’s the fear – never spoken – that I won’t like their book. 

The fear is not so much that I will think the writing bad.  My writing friends work very hard on their craft.  But previously, I have always chosen books based on subject or style (or whim, it must be said).  When you choose a book because you like the person who wrote it, you are likely to go to fictional places that are new and unexpected and possibly well out of your comfort zone and… who knows if it will be fun?

Recently I had one of those experiences.  The book is set in a post-apocalyptic Queensland, there are zombies involved (well, virus-infested ex-people out for your blood) and erotic romance involving not one hot guy but two (and one girl).  All of these things are uncommon on my bookshelf.  And I dearly love the writer. So I was all of a jitter.

Fortunately, I LOVED IT.

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How technical issues doth make twits of us all but bling makes it better…

To all my dear readers who DON’T reside Down Under, I must apologise.

When I said my new e-baby would be available on the 15th of October, in the bright and sparkly year of 2012,  it appears I got a little ahead of myself.

It IS available, though various outlets in Australia, but it will be a leetle while longer before it can be had in t’other places.  Apparently we need to allow the little baby bytes of book to finish blinking and getting accustomed to the light before we send them on such long journeys.  (Oh all right, that’s not the real reason, but the real reason is technical and publish-y and not very interesting.)

Me, feeling a little sheepish…

Which is all a bit sad (and embarrassing for Miss going-off half-cocked over here), so I thought I needed to come up with something to make the wait worthwhile.


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Hold the Phone: I’m available on pre-order!

As some of you probably know by now, my first novel is coming out (as an e-book) on Monday.

Yes, this Monday! The 15th of October!  I’m having difficulty believing it’s real.

But today I casually searched Amazon and found that I am up, scheduled for release on the 15th and actually available for pre-order.

That makes it real – but not any easier to believe, if that makes sense! 😉

Of course, I then went and checked all the other outlets where Destiny Romance books are available.  Continue reading

Little known facts about well known bloggers…

Well, I guess I’m not that well-known, but still, I reckon this is something you didn’t know about me:

I am a Romance Writer of the Apocalypse.

A little while ago, some of my writer friends banded together to form the Romance Writers of the Apocalypse.  It seemed appropriate, due to their propensity to write about the end of the world and what happens after.

Then, sweet things that they are, they invited me to join.

And because they’re lovely and I like their books, I gladly accepted even though I’m not very apocalyptic.  But then it came to be my turn to write a post for the RWoftheA blog and I started to wonder about ulterior motives and…
Well, you can read about it here.  See what you think.  I’ll be under the bed.

Genre and Expectations

This isn’t the post I intended to do today.  It was going to be about movies and what they can teach novelists about their art, but that will have to wait, because the universe is prodding me to talk about something else.  (I’ll have to crave your indulgence if it gets a bit long as I’m working this out as I go.)

First, Chuck Wendig started a conversation over at his blog about genre and whether we need it or whether it gets in the way of people telling the stories they want to tell.  Chuck being Chuck, it was expressed a bit more explosively than that, but that was part of what it was about.

I basically agree with this.  I think genre and naming it is a useful tool for marketing books but it doesn’t really have anything to do with whether a story is good or not or, and – this is the important part – whether there is an audience of readers who would like it.  But publishing is a business and most businesses like ‘sure things’, or as close to sure as can be arranged. So, in the print-only past, many genre-bending stories, which readers would have loved, struggled to find publishing homes.

The digital revolution has already, and is continuing to, change that. Publishers are more willing to take risks, people have the option of self-publishing and books can stay on the virtual shelf forever and take time to build a readership.  All of which means that we are now getting more books that don’t fit neatly into genre slots and some of them are doing very well thank you.  People like me, who don’t care what a book is classified as, as long as I love the story, are very happy about this.

BUT… not all readers are the same.  Had I responded to Chuck’s post (update: I have, now), I would have said, ‘but what about the romance readers’?  Romance readers LOVE their genre and its mores and perhaps more than any other group of genre fans, can be very protective of them.  Many romance readers do not want their genre bent or messed with, as its traditions are the very reasons they read it (and its multifarious sub-genres).

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Talking Romance with Anne Gracie

This wasn’t what I intended to post this Wednesday (it’s still Wednesday somewhere, surely?) but I just watched it myself and thought the advice for romance writers at the beginning was so good that I had to share.  (The rest of it is interesting, too!)

This interview was filmed recently as part of a series being done by Destiny Romance (my soon-to-be publisher!).

The person being interviewed is the wonderful Anne Gracie.  Anne is a fellow member of the Romance Writers of Australia, a lovely person and the author of delightful Regency romances.  Her novels are the book equivalent for me of a box of Haigh’s truffles: a treat that I love to anticipate and which never lets me down.  She is also a teacher of and a speaker about writing and is always worth listening to.

She is being interviewed here by the very lovely Elise Ackers, who is one of my fellow authors with Destiny.  Her first release with Destiny is a romantic suspense which you can find here.  I had the pleasure of meeting her recently and I’m looking forward to reading her book (came back from conference with a HUGE TBR pile).

Sorry I missed posting yesterday – I was finishing edits and deadlines come first!  I hope to do better next week!  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video.