A Country Vet Christmas – new book

Here’s a project I’m excited to tell you about. With four other authors, I’m involved in a collaborative effort to produce a Christmas-themed, vet-themed, all-new-story book that will be available everywhere in October!

It’s called A Country Vet Christmas, and it’s the brainchild of the very awesome, Penelope Janu. Pen pitched the idea to our publisher, Harper Collins, of combining five rural romance bestselling authors into one bumper of a book, because we’re all friends, and we’ve all written books that feature a vet character and animal-loving themes.

My story in the anthology is a return to my much-loved fictional country town, Chalk Hill. Izzy (from The Vet’s Country Holiday) is heading off on maternity leave, and the heroine in my novella is Izzy’s locum.

It’s called: A Country Music Christmas.
Here’s the blurb:

Country music star, Jolene June Carter, has been singing since she could talk. By night Jolene is half of the hugely successful ‘Ozzy Dolly Show,’ a Dolly Parton-inspired tribute act in Queensland’s Southern Downs. By day she works in a vet practice in Warwick.

When a vicious rumour links her with an affair with the Mayor, Jolene has never been more relieved that she has veterinary skills as a career back-up plan. She escapes to the opposite side of Australia to be the locum at the vet clinic in small-town Chalk Hill.

Staying incognito until the scandal fades, Jo’s plan works perfectly until she meets Rueben Manning, the son of the local postmistress—a huge country music fan who threatens to foil her brilliant disguise.

Fighting his own demons, Rueben only ever intended to be in town long enough to help his family deal with the pre-Christmas parcel rush. Finding a country music star undercover in Chalk Hill is enough to make him want to stick around. It may also be inspiration enough to make him reach for the mandolin he hasn’t touched since his best friend’s accident.

Jolene has spent most of her life trying to outrun the reputation of the woman in Dolly Parton’s iconic song. But if she keeps running this Christmas, will she lose her chance for love?

Pre-orders are open now:






This book will also be out in print at all your favourite bookstores and department stores from October 4.


Happy release day, Vet’s Country Holiday

Yesterday came and went in a blur of social media congratulations and best wishes, and I missed cementing the milestone of a new book on my blog. So, one day later than would have been ideal… welcome to the world THE VET’S COUNTRY HOLIDAY. It’s my newest rural romance and it’s set in my fictional town of Chalk Hill in West Australia’s great southern region.

Vet’s Holiday isn’t part of the original ‘Chalk Hill Series’ which means you don’t need to have read the first three books to read this one. The story is about city vet Izzy (Isabella) and forensic accountant Elliot. Izzy is a friend of a previous character, Taylor Woods. Elliot is the son of the people who built the waterski park in Chalk Hill.

Elliot’s a numbers man. Izzy much prefers dogs to decimal points.

I absolutely loved Izzy and Elliot together.

All The Books I Can Read

These two on the page have become two of my absolute favourite characters, and I have simply loved the stunning cover from the moment I first laid eyes on it.

I’m really proud to have delivered two books within six months for my readers (THE WATERHOLE in November 2021 and now Vet’s Holiday) and it warms my soul to see them performing well in rankings on release day.

Yesterday was a day I’ll never forget. This is partly because the launch of my new book (great happiness) coincided with the televised funeral for one of my absolute idols, Shane Warne (great sadness) and I felt completely split up the middle. I couldn’t watch Warney’s service, so I went for a beautiful walk on a lovely late afternoon and took this picture. The picture kind of sums up how still and sombre I felt inside, and my wishes for peace for this incredible man and his family.

It’s funny how the moment you release a new book to the world, everybody asks you: ‘what’s next?’ I don’t know what’s next for me at the moment. I’m not writing, but I’m thinking about writing, and sometimes that’s just as good.

So for those of you with THE VET’S COUNTRY HOLIDAY already on your shelf, on your way in the mail, on your buy list, or if you’ve pre-ordered on an electronic device, thank you yet again from the bottom of my heart for buying my book.

xx Lily


Chapter 1 of The Waterhole

May 2018. Cowaramup

‘My money’s on a kangaroo.’

Constable Brigit Winger got the words out almost before Marley’s wheels stopped turning. Definitely before he’d buzzed the car window fully down.

‘Kangaroo, hey?’ Marley said, ducking his head to meet her eye. ‘You sure you didn’t sneak a peek already? How much we betting?’ 

Winger shifted her butt on the bonnet of the blue and white squad car, heel of one boot jabbing at the toe of the other. She’d never been much of one for waiting.

‘Ten bucks. A pint?’ she said.

He scanned ahead for a space to pull his Hilux off the road. There were vehicles parked half on/half off the curb all about him. Nissans and Toyotas, sides scratched from the four-wheel-drive surf tracks that snaked through the bush to the coast everywhere along the south west capes.

Brigit tapped her wrist. ‘One-time bet, Detective. Won’t last forever. Tick bloody tock.’

‘Pressure’s on. Let me park then we’ll see.’

Marley urged the Hilux beneath the drooping branches of the nearest streetscape peppermint tree and dragged his jacket out from the back seat. He locked the car and jogged back to Winger.

‘You’re not on one of those protein shake diets are you?’ she said, checking him top to toe.

‘I’ve been running a bit.’

‘A bit!’

They shook hands. Brigit’s skin was like ice and she immediately stuffed her hands in the pockets of her coat. He did too. It was only half an hour south from Busselton to here, but you’d think he’d slipped a few latitude lines on the drive. The sun was doing its best to disappear over the Indian Ocean and this time of year, the moment the sun vanished so did the heat. It was cold enough that homes had started using their wood fires at night and the scent of smoke warred with rain-dampened grass and eucalyptus. 

‘X marks the spot.’ Brigit nodded at a point over her left shoulder. 

A distinctive set of muddy tyre tracks marched down the bitumen road of Limestone Loop, starting before and continuing after the spot where Marley had parked his car. They entered from a gravel driveway four doors back up the street and exited with a hard left into a scrubby section of ratty creekline which marked the end of the built-up civilisation as clearly as any fence.

Marley hitched his pants higher and tried to get his bearings. The limestone outcrop of the national park to the east loomed over the subdivision, craggy and wrinkled.

‘My old man went to school here in the sixties, can you believe it?’ he said. ‘There were less than a hundred kids then. This area here was all bush. All the way up there to the national park. Now they’re pushing four hundred kids in the primary school so they tell me.’

‘Nice houses,’ Brigit said. ‘Must be money around here somewhere.’

They were all new or new-looking, and he’d seen only one vacant block on the way in. Even that had a sold sticker across the lot sign.

She nodded at the house across the street: white weatherboard-look with a shining skillion roof. ‘I could see you in something like that. Pottering around in the dope plants hidden behind the tomatoes—purely for your own personal use, not to sell. You’d be in there, plucking out all the males.’ She made a pinch motion with her fingers and laughed, flicked the imaginary leaf away, snuck her hand back in her pocket.

‘Bit flash for me,’ he said, paying attention because Mel said he never paid attention and he was working on his listening skills. 

A mosaic tile had been stuck into the timber post and rail fence with the number forty outlined boldly. Mel liked skillion roof designs and she liked mosaics. This was her sort of place. It had a breeze-way filled with plants with those straight spiky leaves. 

He’d have preferred something more rustic. The house number on a wooden board stuck into the fence, maybe. And maybe if it wasn’t all so damn white.

Brigit kicked herself off the squad car and grinned at him. ‘Shall we go check out this bloke’s huge boner before some dog sinks its teeth into it?’

Marley winced. ‘Nice one, Winger.’

‘You’re welcome.’ 

They followed the excavator tracks toward number forty-seven. That was the bloke who’d called in about finding the bone.

Forty-seven’s neighbour had limestone block retaining walls and thick horizontal weatherboards painted a deep sea blue. The entire garden was made up of established natives. 

He’d lost count of the number of native seedlings he and Mel potted out, watered and fertilised, exhumed again and shoved into bigger pots. By the time they got the damn spindly things into the ground Mel was a month short of nicking off to Brisbane with Matty from marketing, and now Marley had his own For Sale sign out the front.

They turned into forty-seven’s driveway. Voices drifted from the rear.

‘Hear that?’ Brigit said, cocking her head, ‘or do you need to crank your hearing aid up?’

‘Nah, I heard it,’ he said. ‘Had my annual hearing test last week.’

She glanced sideways at him, suddenly unsure. Marley turned his face to hide a half-smile.

At thirty-six, Marley was very much the senior party to Brigit in age and in rank. She didn’t ever miss a chance to rub salt in the age wound either, but the thing with Winger was she’d got used to ribbing the blokes as a way to hold her own. Most of the female coppers were in the same boat. 

A winter creek cut a lonely ditch to the north. Behind the creek a shelterbelt treeline ran along a ruined wire fence—wire coiled low or gone, posts still standing—and behind that a vacant field on a northerly slope, a copse of some sort of plantation gum at the top. 

A ginger-haired man in his early thirties wearing jeans and a hoodie skip-jogged toward them. 

‘Thanks for coming, officers,’ the man greeted them, scanning his eyes up and down Brigit’s blue uniform, checking out her uniformed arse, or if she carried a gun. Either. Both. 

Marley stuck out his hand. ‘I’m Detective Marley West, Busselton Police. This is Constable Brigit Winger from the Margaret River station.’

‘Brian Fox. Is it just you two?’

‘Just us.’


‘I’m sure we’ll be manpower enough,’ Brigit said, deadpan. 

Fox swallowed, then gestured toward the back of his house. ‘Well it’s this way …’

Marley hitched up his pants. Maybe it was time to buy a new belt. He’d been running heavy dunes and flats on the beach all summer and he was as lean now as he’d been since his father’s funeral. Mel said once that when she reached for him in the night, all she felt was bone. 

‘So what happened?’ Brigit asked as they walked.

‘I told the officer on the phone,’ Brian said.

‘You can tell us again. No problem.’

‘Well, me and the missus and a few of our mates were having a few drinks. The fire ban is lifted, you know? It’s the first time I’ve had a fire this year.’

Marley glanced up at the group clustered in a rough triangle between a blazing firepit, a khaki-green Colorbond garden shed, and the fence.

‘Good day for a fire,’ Brigit agreed, blowing on her fingers and rubbing her hands together.

They’d been spotted by the group who’d all been talking animatedly. Now the words died.

‘And we got talking. I mean, we’ve said it on and off for years now. This bloke here, that’s Dave,’—he motioned toward a tall man with a shaggy shock of brown hair—‘Dave runs his own plumbing business. It’s his mini-excavator there.’ 

Marley scoped the orange machine on the other side of the fence. It was parked with the lowered bucket on the upslope by a pyramid of dumped earth and clay. Empty driver’s seat.

‘Well, all of us, we were having a few drinks as you do, and then we got talking about the waterhole that used to be here before they filled it in when they built the subdivision.’

‘How old is this subdivision?’ Brigit asked.

‘The first of it started, maybe twenty, twenty-five years ago?’

‘What was it before, do you know? Farmland? Bush?’

‘A bit of both I think.’

Marley digested that. Farmland meant the bones could be a steer or a sheep. Bush shortened the odds on Brigit’s kangaroo.

‘What about this part? The houses look newer?’ 

‘Yeah. Fifteen, twenty years maybe? They released it in stages you know? The first stage was across that way, east of the national park, and it all spread from there. The Bedgys were first on the Loop.’ He indicated another of the men who wore a Hawthorn Football Club jacket over jeans and had his hand wrapped around a can in a Hawks’ stubby holder. ‘How long you been here, Bedgy?’

‘1997 we moved in,’ the man said. ‘Had the whole place to ourselves for years ’til this lot came and stuffed up my serenity.’

Brian resumed his story. ‘So the guys who worked on the subdivision, you know, the contractors who cleared the bush and did all the fencing and the services and shaped the roads and carted all the rocks up to that flat spot where they filled in the oval. You would have passed it driving in? There’s a set of footy goals there now.’

‘Yep,’ Marley nodded. He’d seen the goals. There’d been a kid standing up on the crossbar and another kid trying to knock him off by kicking a footy at him. Visit to emergency just waiting to happen.

‘Well, those blokes said there used to be a spring-fed waterhole at the back of our block. It had water in it all year round and it was deep enough a bloke could swim. Deep enough you couldn’t touch the bottom. They said in the summer when it was stinking hot, the work crew could come down and jump in after work and they thought it was a great spot. We’ve talked about it heaps haven’t we guys?’ Brian’s eyes dodged to the neighbours at the fence and on the chairs and they nodded and agreed with the sort of cut-off country ‘yep’ that sounded like frogs starting up a song.

‘We were talking about the waterhole again today.’

It didn’t take much to get the picture. You get a group of blokes who have access to a mini-excavator on any given Sunday and add enough beer, and even if they’d been talking about that waterhole for years and done nothing … it only took one day. 

Brigit caught his eye from where she stood near Brian. Boys with toys.

‘…and I said to Dave that if we dug down maybe we could find the water source and then if we did, we could get a couple of tanks and pump it in and we’d have free water all year round for the gardens, you know? So Dave said he’d take a bit of a dig around and see if we could pick up that spring again.’ 

Dave took up the story, teeth flashing around a wide grin. A faint sheen of zinc cream covered his nose and cheeks. ‘I dug up a whole lot of fill first, then hit clay, poked around a bit more and then the girls and the kids came back from a bushwalk and I stopped so I didn’t run over any of the little tackers—’

‘And then next thing the kids were making sandcastles in it,’ someone said.

‘And then one of them started on about finding a dinosaur bone,’ someone else said.

‘And Russ here, he’s a doctor, he said I better call the police because he would bet his left nut that dinosaur bone was a human femur …’ Brian finished, a little out of breath. 

‘So where’s the bone now?’ Marley asked. He didn’t doubt the GP, but it wasn’t always easy to know bones from bones. 

‘Down there. We left it where it was. We took it off the kids and we didn’t touch it after Russ said about the femur.’

The blokes led him and Brigit toward the fence, one of those hip-high post and rail jobs and this one had no wire at all which probably meant the family didn’t own a dog or have young kids or anything they had to keep in or out. 

All the blokes and Brigit climbed over—a few of the women ducked beneath the top post and went through—and then Marley landed on the other side with a jolt and scrambled through grass and reeds long enough to wet his boots and the bottom of his pants until he got to a point in the creek where he could work back up the slope toward the mini-excavator. He had enough time to admire the skills of Dave the driver; it wasn’t the easiest spot to get in to. 

The hole was three or so metres deep, a single blunt face that started with yellow-red topsoil then got grey-white with grit before hitting reddish-brown clay as the scoop butchered the earth. The hole shallowed on the downhill side where the soil and rock had been dumped out. That damp earth smell reminded him of the day he and Mel—

‘There. See? We left it on the excavator,’ Brian said, forcing Marley’s focus back to the bone.

On first inspection he agreed with the GP’s assessment.

The bone stood out enough against the mud clinging to the black trackpad, but if he’d had a bright white bit of paper to compare it with, it would dirty up quick. It was like looking at the last dregs in the bottom of a tea cup. Everything was brown, but the tea-leaves would always be browner.

Must have been buried for a while. 

‘What do you think?’ Brigit asked him quietly, blonde ponytail bobbing. 

‘I think we need to get an anthropologist down here.’ He heard a mechanical buzzing and frowned, and then the sound was hidden by someone starting a lawnmower in another street. ‘I wonder if there were any Aboriginal burial sites down here? Hope not. That complicates things.’

‘Because it could be a sacred site?’ 

‘Yeah. We don’t know yet if it’s an entire skeleton or just a single bone. It could have washed here before the creek was filled if it’s just a bone, or been dragged here by an animal, then got buried in the subdivision earthworks. There’s a chance if they had to truck in a heap of sand for earthworks it could have been transported here. Hard to say.’ 

‘If it got filled in with the subdivision works it’s been there for years,’ Brigit said. ‘The developer’s records should be easy enough to track down. That will give us some sort of date.’

Marley backed away from the excavator, spending a bit more time examining the freshly dug rock and sand. There was a lot of clay in those scoops and they’d had enough autumn rainfall to make it clump.

Water already pooled in the bottom of the pit.

He couldn’t see any other bones without shifting the sand. There was some rope caught on the excavator bucket—about half a metre of dirt-stained length—but as he ducked back toward the machine to take a closer look, the noise he’d heard earlier whacked up from nowhere, drowning out the lawnmower’s whine.

‘Ahh, bugger …’ 

Brigit swore at the same time.

He lifted his face to the sky. The others craned their necks too, shifting their weight to tiptoes and flat again, trying to see through the shelterbelt trees on the north side of the creek.

Darting out from the top of the trees like one of those predatory wasps, a news helicopter cleared the canopy, blades slicing the sky.

Liked it so far? Want to read more?
The Waterhole is out very soon. You can pre-order it now on just about any e-reader and it will drop there on November 21:

from Amazon:
at Booktopia:

Or you can buy a copy personally signed by me and posted to your door/mailbox.
Email me for more details


Mandurah Writers and Readers Festival

Loads of fun at the opening panel of the Mandurah Readers and Writers Festival last night.

Moderated by Sasha Wasley, I was part of a romance panel with Carrie Cox and Rebecca Raisin.

We had a lot of laughs with an audience who were engaged with our fun topic from the get-go, and we all got the giggles watching the Auslan signers attempting to sign ‘Hunky Country Type’ and ‘Honeygirl’ and ‘Babygirl’ along with one of the questions which was to do with how we go about writing our sex scenes!


New home for THE WATERHOLE

From today, you can buy signed paperback copies of THE WATERHOLE at the awesome Stories From Oz, Oz Bookstore!

The whole ethos of this site, run by award-winning Australian author, Greg Barron, is: ‘Great Australian books, direct from the publisher.’

So if you would rather pay the author your hard-earned dollars than whop it all over to Amazon, this collaboration with Oz Bookstore offers readers a hugely competitive buy price that gets the book signed and delivered to your door.

No fuss! Here is the link you need:


Who is buried in the Cowaramup Creek?

‘Quintessentially Australian, Lily Malone takes us into the heart of a family ravaged by secrets.’ Fiona Lowe, author of Home Fires

It’s been a long drought, but I’ve been busy behind the scenes and the next six months will let my readers see that I haven’t just been slacking about in my ugg-boots these last few years!

I have a new book ready to go. It’s called THE WATERHOLE and I am super proud of it, and I hope you love it, and I hope it sells its socks off so I can prove to publishers across the country that this story deserves a place in bookstores everywhere!

You can skip the rest of this post if you’d like to just find out how to buy it right here!

THE WATERHOLE is something different from me. It’s a dirty, gritty, cold-case mystery set in my home town of Cowaramup in West Australia.

Years ago, the subdivision where I live now was farmland and bushland. I used to ride a horse around the green paddocks of the land that is now known as the subdivision of Parkwater.

Since buying a block and building here, we’ve heard stories of a waterhole that used to be on the old land. It was said to be beautiful clear water, deep enough to swim in. Well, as you can imagine, once a residential subdivision was destined for this area, that waterhole was viewed as a potential law suit waiting to happen, and it was filled.

The premise for THE WATERHOLE, bases itself on that classic question: ‘what if?’ What if one day we dug down to find that waterhole and the excavator dug up human bones?

Voila! This story was born. I had decades-old bones dug out of a creek, and now I had to work out how they got there.

THE WATERHOLE does make for gritty reading at times. Some harrowing scenes occur in real-time on the page, so be prepared you might need to duck under the covers.

I think readers who enjoy Jane Harper’s style of split timeline stories, such as THE DRY and FORCE OF NATURE, where past decisions impact the future, will find similarities with THE WATERHOLE.

It’s a twisty tale, leaping in and out of three timelines as we follow the story of the Ross family who originally owned the Cowaramup farmland that was sold to create the subdivision. Like all of us, the Ross family has its secrets. I hope readers enjoy finding out about the family’s loves, losses and lies.

Local readers, or people who have had the very good luck to visit Cowaramup might notice I’ve taken some liberties with the town. There really isn’t a ‘Limestone rocky ridge’ that would look over the subdivision of Parkwater, nor is there a national park bordering the town. Please forgive me these liberties in lieu of the story. I’m calling it author’s rights.

If you’ve got this far, I’d love for you to hit the buy button and pre-order the book.

Personally signed by Lily Malone. Please email Lily with the number of books you’d like and your mailing address, and we’ll send you a pro-forma invoice including postage to your door:

from all your regular e-tailers:

Why pre-order? It makes me feel the love. It helps me work out how many print books to order. It might just convince a wonderful publisher that they should contract this title!


My Search For An Elusive Queen

At the beginning of my second Chalk Hill novel, The Cafe By The Bridge, I wrote this dedication:

Searching for, or ‘hunting’ for (as we call it) West Australian Native Orchids is one of my great joys in life. It’s something that I have to thank my Dad for, as it is one of my earliest memories (and one of my only early memories) of him: walking in our native bush and looking for orchids.

Fast forward on some forty years, and on a return to this south west area in 2013, I was able to rekindle my love with the native bush, and its beautiful flora, particularly its orchids.

Some of the most intriguing are incredibly small. Flying duck orchids and warty hammers, and ‘king in his carriage’. And they are very hard to photograph for a non-photographer like me. I must look hilarious—lying on my tummy across a sandy track, trying to get my phone to focus on a delicate flower.

One orchid I always knew about, but had never found, was the Queen of Sheba orchid. She is like the ‘holy grail’ of orchid land here in the West. Indeed, I actually thought the orchid was extinct, until my friend Belinda (in the acknowledgements for Cafe), told me she’d found the orchid in the great southern region of WA, and that indeed while the Queen was extinct in our far south west corner, she could still be found in a few select parts of the state.

Well! Excitement much? Long live the Queen! And of course then I had to write the Queen of Sheba into Chalk Hill country, and into The Cafe By The Bridge.

This year, I had the great (ahem) honour, of turning 50. (That, by the way, is a whole other blog topic for another day. Suffice to say – anybody out there who isn’t a fan of the whole ‘turning 50’ thing… I hear you!)

My birthday present to myself, and my family’s present to me, was that we would spend a weekend at Albany in August and we’d go ‘hunting’ for the Queen of Sheba and we wouldn’t rest until we found her!

The first stop we made was near a signboard on the road to Mount Martin National Park. We leapt out of the car and I went wandering up a sandy track, and then down a cut-out off the track (like a drainage escape). And lo, about fifteen metres along this cut out, I saw this:

Not quite out yet!

Although I knew the Queen of Sheba was called a ‘sun orchid’ I didn’t actually realise that she opens and closes with the sun. It’s not much use looking for her on a cloudy day. And this gorgeous little girl wasn’t yet open at 10am. What I didn’t know was whether it would take this orchid a week to open properly? Or an hour or two? I wasn’t even certain it was a Queen, but it was the closest thing I’d seen to a Queen… definitely promising! But we left her to look elsewhere.

After about two more hours searching several different locations and climbing in the beautiful Mount Martin National Park, where we saw some absolutely beautiful scenery and some stunning plants…

…but nothing close to resembling a Queen of Sheba. And so we decided to go back to our first sighting ‘just in case’ she was now out.

My son leapt out of the car and ran up the track, wanting to be first to see ‘her’. Ten seconds or so later, he called out: ‘it’s open. It’s open!’ And we all hurried to that first spot. There she was:

The Queen of Sheba in all her glory! And we’d found her on our very first day! And technically, on our very first stop! (Even if we didn’t quite know it).

We found more during the weekend. My eldest son found one all on his own. Even my hubby (he is a useless spotter), he found one. It was magic.

It made turning 50 turn out okay in the end. And it meant I can now claim to have seen the holy grail of orchids, and live out my own motto in my own book’s dedication: never give up!

xx Lily


New directions for 2022

It’s been a quiet two years on the writing front since the release of my third Chalk Hill book, Last Bridge Before Home in December 2020, but while I haven’t had a new book out in 2021, I’ve been busy and there is good stuff happening.

I’ve just finished the second series of edits on my 2022 release with Harlequin MIRA (Harper Collins). This is a revisit to Chalk Hill in a whole new stand-alone story called The Vet’s Country Holiday.

The heroine is Isabella Passmore, a Perth city vet. Izzy makes a very brief cameo at the beginning of The Cafe By The Bridge. She’s Taylor’s friend and in The Vet’s Country Holiday, Izzy comes to stay at Taylor’s house to look after Taylor’s dog Bruno while Taylor and Abe are travelling. 

This is a snippet of what my editor, Rachael Donovan, said when she read the submission draft: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and think readers – old and new to Chalk Hill – are going to love it! I never thought I’d find myself chuckling over a chicken, but such is the power of your storytelling! Poor little thing.’

It’s always great to get that sort of feedback, and that was before all the spit and polishing that goes into the editing process. 🙂  Not long to go now and I’ll have a new cover to show you.

My second big piece of news is: I’ve joined independent publishing group, Pilyara Press.

Established in 2018 by former lawyer, Jennifer Scoullar (herself a best-selling author with Penguin Random House), Pilyara Press is described as ‘a trail-blazing group of professional writers who have left behind the Goliath world of publishing to form a small independent press. We offer a diverse and distinctive range of books, created on our own terms. We’re a bunch of professionals, and each of us brings a very specific talent to the group.’ 

I joined Pilyara Press for two main reasons. First: I appreciate the quality of authors already involved (they include Jenn J McLeod, Monique Mulligan, Kate Belle (I’m an absolute fan-girl of Kate), Kath Ledson and Jen Scoullar herself.) Second: I believe Pilyara will be a good fit for some books I want to publish moving forward.

While I’ve been very lucky to have The Chalk Hill Series and other paperbacks and e-books published by Harper Collins, which has opened enormous opportunities for me in Australia, I’ve had trouble getting other genres and styles accepted by the big publishers here.

There is debate about the ‘Lily Malone brand’… established in rural romance and romance settings, and whether my readers are ready for different genre writing from me. While I want to continue writing rural romance, I am keen to branch into other areas.

My new book, and the first that I’ll publish with Pilyara in 2022 is called The Waterhole. It’s a contemporary story of complicated family dynamics with a crime/mystery element that kicks off when excavations along a small-town creekline discover decades-old human bones.

While the timeline is a little fluent in order to fit around the release of The Vet’s Country Holiday, I am hopeful The Waterhole will be ready for release in January 2022. If I really pull my finger out, I might even have it available in December in time for Christmas.

Two books in the next six months! Now that’s exciting!

xx Lily


Looking for Lockdown Reading?

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. UPDATED 1 September 2021. Sorry – these are all gonski!

But if you still want to read The Vineyard In The Hills – it is available in e-book from all your regular retailers. Amazon for Kindle. Kobo. Apple store etc.


Mother’s Day Present 2020

I got the Lego bug during Covid-19 when my family, like everyone to varying degrees around the world, was in lockdown. It started from my publisher’s challenge to its authors to have a go at #RecreateABookCover

Well, just to make things next-level, for Mother’s Day this year hubby and the boys made me a frame for my Lego cover creations, and now it’s finished (belatedly, but that’s okay) and I can hang it in my writing room for inspiration!