Naughty Ninjas, News, Procrastination

Words, Words, Words = New Book Done!


It’s been quiet here and there is a bloody good reason for that! I’ve been incredibly busy since February when my two boys went back to school. I’ve been head down, bum up, writing to finish my new rural romance, Water Under The Bridge.

This is the book I started in NaNoWriMo last year (National November Writing Month). In November I got to my personal target of 30,000 words on the book. The vast majority of those (particularly the latter half) were drivel… and have since been dumped. Then it was end of school, Christmas, New Year, school holidays, camping, back to school, and I didn’t do much writing in January.

But the day school started in February, my new work/life balance of working two days in my administration job, and writing Wed-Thurs-Fri, kicked in… and I am so happy to tell you I’ve been very disciplined!

I finished my book on Friday last week. I typed these words with such gusto!


That means I wrote about 53,000 new words (probably more because some of the earlier drivel had to get cut to smithereens), and edited the entire lot, in about 5 weeks. That’s good going. That’s about 10,000 words a week, with edits along the way.

Here’s how I did it (if my tips help any procrastinators out there):

  • After I dropped the kids to school on Wed/Thurs & Friday, I set the oven timer for my 1.5 hour sprints, and sat down and wrote. I would have done this at least 3 times in the day, so 4.5 hours of writing, usually with a bit of an edit after school.
  • So that I didn’t go too hard and hurt myself (writers/office workers, all types who spend hours at the keyboard will know that neck/back issues can be a problem) when my oven timer ‘timed’ I’d get up and move and do something else. That might be make a coffee and take a walk around the garden; hang out some washing, empty the dishwasher, go for a quick 45minute walk etc. I’d stretch against the door on my way into my writing room and stretch coming out, using an elastic rope of my hubby’s. My great mate and pilates’ instructor neighbour explained that it was important to stretch/release the chest muscles to counteract how tight typing can make my back and shoulders… and so far it’s worked perfectly.
  • I made myself accountable for my time – using the adage of “make an appointment with your writing self”… and it worked too.
  • I didn’t give in to temptation to do other things, like lunch with mates, coffee, longer walks. See – disciplined!
  • I surrounded myself with positive people who were cheering me on! Thanks Louise Allan and the Lollygaggers, my mates, and all the usual suspects!

So now that the book is with beta readers, I have time for other things – like blog posts! I have a few to do. One for the Naughty Ninjas, one for Maureen Eppen’s Shelf Awareness series. I’ve been for a walk this morning down the beach – just beautiful – and tomorrow is my Mum’s birthday so we’re going out for lunch. I’ve been catching up on my reading and I have to share with you how much I’ve just loved a book called SHELTER by the amazing Rhyll Biest. Here’s my review.

When your book is out with beta readers, the waiting is such a killer, so keeping busy is the plan. Then it will be a case of acting on what they come back to me with, then submit, submit, submit.

Then I get to write a new book! And you know what the really cool thing is? I’ve discovered Water Under The Bridge, featuring Jake and Ella, is the first in what will be my Chalk Hill series… and it’s Abe’s story next 🙂

Now that’s really exciting!

News, Procrastination

And So It Begins…

Today as they say, is a brand new day. It’s Wednesday. It’s bloody hot! I am not at work, and I’m not on holiday. This is day 1 of my 2017 life of working less and writing more.

Given there are a few people who’ve threatened to arrive at my house at the end of a day wanting to check the word count on my manuscript (you know who you are), I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure the world that I’ve been busy 🙂

5.05am: Awake & plotting Chapter 14 of Water Under The Bridge in bed

6am: Actually sit down and edit through chapters 12 and 13 to find out where I’d got to.

6.35am: Have enough of that, above

6.45am: Go back to bed

7.30am: Until 2 children knock on my door because they’ve been given the job of taking down the Christmas tree today… and they can’t unwind the lights, the tree is too tall unless they stand on a chair. Is it okay if they stand on the chairs?

7.31am: Get up and unwind the lights before the kids set fire to the house and/or break a bone/break my chairs

7.35am: Cup of tea and check Facebook & catch-up with what’s happening in the cricket

8.35am: Make a Facebook promotion that says this: (because it’s true! I’m on Sale!)

Kickstart your reading year!

Each of my Escape Publishing books is $2.99 in a big New Year Sale  🙂

at Amazon AU, Kobo, Google, iBooks, and Booktopia


9.25am: Help grizzling children pack up the last of the Christmas tree

9.35am: Go shopping for groceries.

10.35am: Unpack groceries while checking what’s happening in the cricket.

11.35am: Test-run the new milkshake maker. Prepare strawberry milkshakes for the kids. Verdict: they are more like thick-shakes and the kids don’t need lunch now, thanks very much, Mum.

11.45am: Make muesli bars. (Sidebar: I used to make these all the time but I don’t think I’ve made them in this new house. That’s at least 2.5 years since last time. Verdict: they work!)

12.30pm: Lunch, while watching cricket

1pm: Clean the house. Properly clean the house, including baths & showers & dusting & mopping. (A downside to my new working less hours life: it’s goodbye to the luxury of my treasured once-a-month lady who came and cleaned for me)

2.30pm: To the beach! (after all that cleaning I was bursting to get into the water…)

3.30pm: Home. Make the kids a snack (because we forgot all about lunch, remember?)

4pm: Cup of tea. Facebook. Write a blog post about my day!

4.22pm: Edit said post.

4.33pm: Battle for 10 minutes with trying to set tabs in WordPress, and giving up

4.44pm: Hit publish on said Blog Post!

4.45pm: When does the Big Bash start? Oh… look, it starts right now. Turn on the cricket!

4.46pm: Gosh I need a beer

4.47pm: (from the couch) “Can somebody please cook dinner? I’m exhausted!”

So that about sums it up to date. It’s been a great day – I’ve had so much energy (well, till now)! I hope my lovely job-sharing trainee has had a wonderful day too…

xx Lily

(feeling relaxed, beachy, rocking this whole school holidays Mum caper, lovin’ life!)

The words for Water Under The Bridge can wait at least another day 🙂

Procrastination, Uncategorized

Raining a River of Words

It’s wet wet wet at my place today. This is the view outside my writing room window.

20160619_100326I do love this weather. There’s no wind (I hate wind) and the rain is steady and gentle and very very persistent! Great for the garden.

I’m working on my Butterfly House book, trying to incorporate my Escape Publishing editor’s feedback. I have too many point of views (story of my life!) As usual, that objective editorial eye helps bring out the best in my writing and I know this new version, and the further stories I plan for Butterfly House, will be better for it.

In a break I’ve also been gardening, throwing fertiliser around. My hubby is convinced the best fertiliser for natives is blood and bone. (He read it in a book somewhere). I’ve been very careful with fertiliser on our natives because even though I followed the instructions, I know I overdid it last year. Nothing here has been fertilised since September… so if everything curls up and carks it… you know who will be in the firing line for these blood & bone suggestions!

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope you’re enjoying the day.

News, Procrastination

Camping! I’ve got the bug

1Something that I love about where I live is that we can pack up our car and drive 30 minutes and feel like we’re in another world. That’s what happened to family Malone last weekend when we went camping with friends at Augusta.

If you don’t know it, Augusta is the very south west tip of Western Australia and it calls itself, ‘the place where two oceans meet’. If you’re not geographically inclined, I’ll help you. Those two oceans are the Southern and Indian (and they’re bloody cold, just quietly). Some people also might call Augusta ‘God’s waiting room’ for rather less geographical reasons and I guess it’s fair to say quite a few retirees do end up in Augusta to enjoy their latter years.

Not only do two oceans meet here, but the Blackwood River also meets the ocean at the rivermouth and the river gives visitors yet another option for water pursuits.

In true family Malone style, there was a drama right at the beginning of our holiday. Our lovely friends Carrie & Russell and their kids had packed a tent for us to borrow, because they would be using their exceedingly ‘glamperous’ pop-up caravan. Lo and behold, a miscommunication between Carrie and Russ (Russ thought Carrie had already popped the latch) resulted in a pop-up malfunction and a broken cable… hence, Carrie and Russ needed the tent that had been intended for us! (The nerve!)

2After an SOS call at about 6pm Friday night, and thanks to a couple of friends who offered us the use of their tent, we managed to find an alternative on Saturday morning. (Thanks Beth!)

Some firsts for the weekend. Paddle-boarding (some call it ‘supping’). Carrie is a paddle-board whiz. I’ve never been on one in my life, neither has my hubby, but we gave it a go and neither of us fell in. Win.

Carrie also took me for a sail in their gorgeous little sail boat (the red boat in the photo).3

The kids had a ball in the boat; in the river; finding a green sea slug (ewww); jumping off the jetty in both river and ocean; eating icecream; chasing seagulls; waking up at about 5am to the stunning dawn chorus of birds; and catching fish. (Whiting are biting in front of the Colourpatch store everyone!)

Awesome weekend and one of the best things about it – it gave me an idea for a new book. I have a story with a sailing heroine on the horizon, Carrie, so be warned: I may need another research trip!

xx Thank you Carrie for the pics!

Procrastination, Uncategorized

Procrastination: I’ve hit new heights (or lows)

I won’t be the first writer to wail about procrastination, nor will I be the last… but my procrastination just hit new heights.

I had every good intention of writing for an hour or so this afternoon, as Son Number 1 is at AusKick with his father, and Son Number 2 was quite happily watching a movie after playing with a friend for most of the afternoon.

I fooled myself with the obligatory: before I sit down with the laptop I’ll just check Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon, oh, and my email. Twitter for me currently involves checking 4 sites that I take care of; and Amazon means (of course) US and AUS. Then I decided to update Goodreads with the new book I started this morning, ‘Mark of the Dragon Queen’ by Katie W. Stewart.

Lily is a founding member of Hearts n Wined, a group for West Australian authors, and readers who love West Aussie settings in their books.
Lily is a founding member of Hearts n Wined, a group for West Australian authors, and readers who love West Aussie settings in their books.

Then I discovered a bright glittery new logo on Facebook made by our own Jennie Jones to do with Hearts N Wined – the West Australian author and reader group that I’m part of. Jennie has made a gorgeous logo for HnW that I could upload to my page… so I did… and you can see it if you visit the ‘About Lily’ section of this site. Oh stuff that – you can see it if you look right here!!

Then, I learned that another group I’m part of, the very cool and wonderful, are planning a mad nudie-streak at the upcoming Romance Writers of Australia Conference… so I had to have a bit of fun tweeting about that.

Then I thought about dinner for a while, but decided it was too early to cook dinner yet, and I really *should* get out the laptop. So out came the laptop. I opened it.  Turned it on. And then thought: I will sweep out the carport.

Because, I mean – that job hasn’t been done in 18 months since we’ve been living in our rental house, and so NOW is the perfect time to sweep it out? Yes?

See. It’s sad isn’t it.

Then, once said sweeping was finished, I had to blog about it.

Which means today’s wordcount… is ZERO! But the carport is very clean. And I do intend to do some writing tonight!


And now it’s time to cook dinner.

News, Procrastination, Uncategorized

The Horse Is Dead… No More Flogging

For weeks now I have been trying to get excited about what would be my third manuscript. It’s actually the first MS I ever wrote, and for almost three years now, it’s been stuck in a folder called Story 1: Fringe Benefits.

I began it as a reunion romance and it spanned the two regions that I’ve called home in the last 40 years. It started in the vineyards at Margaret River and it ends in the vineyards of South Australia. It was to be a love story between, Seth, CEO and big kahuna boss of a bunch of vineyards and wineries across West Australia; and Quin, originally Seth’s employee. After Quin makes a monumental stuff-up… she gets fired for negligence and with her career in tatters, heads interstate. Seven years later, Seth’s company acquires the winery in South Australia to which Quin sells her grapes, and the two are thrown back together.

So there you have the first plotline I ever came up with, (except when I rewrote Bambi when I was 8).

The book has a jealous co-worker, a meddling mother, boss/employee, and an ‘engagement of convenience’… In fact, just about every trope you can think of minus ‘Secret Baby’…

I did get to typing ‘The End’ on this book and submitting it, and it was rejected quick smart, by both agents and publishers. I left it behind and went on a steep ‘craft’ learning curve on the way to writing His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride. Not only have I enjoyed success with both of those, I loved (LOVED) writing them. They didn’t come easy — no book comes easy. But I was always interested and motivated to work, work, work on both of those stories and make them as good as I could.

Sometimes I think ‘Fringe Benefits’ suffered from being the first book. I was writing something that I ‘thought’ would get published. The voice was all wrong and I knew nothing about craft and it shows.

I have wasted about two months, possibly three, trying to save the 55,000 odd words that I had for Fringe Benefits. I changed scenes. I deleted scenes. I rewrote scenes. I changed point of view and tense. It was third person point of view, past tense. My latest rewrite shifted to first person & present tense. I even changed the dud title, without settling on a new one in my mind. Not even the title came naturally.

But really, truly, I think the reason I’ve been procrastinating my butt off; changing it, deleting it, messing with it… it’s because the story stinks.

I read a brilliant post by Alison Stuart this week about what happens when a writer finds “the black moment”. Alison talked about trying to make her book (a square peg) fit the proverbial round hole. She talks about what happened when she realised her book was at the point of Mount Doom (it helps to read her post if you’re a Lord Of The Rings fan – but it’s not hard to get the gist).

I read Alison’s post and I thought: “This is me.” I had the ring on my finger, I had pulled it off and was holding it out over the lava pit of Mount Doom… but I couldn’t give it up. No matter how much my inner Sam pleaded with me: “Let it go…”

Last night, I let Fringe Benefits go. I’m not flogging a dead horse a minute longer.

I have a great little idea that I wrote for the RWA ‘Sapphires’ Little Gem competition this year. I had fun writing the story (3000 words), and I’ve been thinking about how to work with that story. It was called Fairway To Heaven and the ‘Sapphires’ related to a brand of golf clubs. Cobra Sapphires. I even like the working title!

So that’s where I’m turning my attention and if I’m not quite blogging so much in the next few months, hopefully it’s because I’m head down/bum up in a new story. Wish me luck!

In the words of Alison Stuart, I’m going back to Hobbiton to start my quest anew!

Marketing and promotion, News, Procrastination

Avon Summer Reads – Lily Pad hop!

Lily Malone – author of two books that came together SO much easier than my not-playing-ball WIP!

If you’re reading this, I’m still alive, and you’ve fallen into the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

This one started with Avon Romance, and the sport-loving (and wonderful) Iris Blobel invited me to be part of it.

A little bit about my WIP (Work In Progress)

My current WIP is very much a babe in the woods. It doesn’t even have its name yet, because the original name I’ve now decided I don’t like. It was called Fringe Benefits (it’s been that for 2 years). Now I’m leaning to Taking Me Slow or Taking It Slow… It is a reunion romance (contemporary romance) set between the two places of Australia that have been ‘home’ for me: Margaret River, and the Adelaide Hills. Once again, it has a loose wine industry background tying my characters’ lives together. My hero is Seth (he’s based on Timothy Oliphant’s character of Seth Bullock in Deadwood) and my heroine is Quin (don’t ask me why/how she got her name, I just like it).

This book is being DANG difficult to write, and isn’t playing ball. It started out in third person, and currently I’m rewriting a new draft in first person. It is just giving me all sorts of trouble and if it doesn’t pull its act together, I will NEVER write it! (Please, may my threat work, you bloody book, you!). *mutters & glares darkly at keyboard*…

The blog hop questions:

1) When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?

Salty. Kettle sea salt chips are my vice (along with champagne). But that said, I don’t snack when I write. It’s impossible to type and snack and I can’t stand a greasy keyboard. (See this post here for more about greasy keyboards and food in my writing!)

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies?

Absolute seat of the pants, and they’re not jammies. I’m a nightie kind of girl and my nighties have patterns of icecream cones; champagne glasses clinking; and multicoloured hearts.

3) When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?

I cook like I write. One of the reasons I make muffins that my husband says “are like hockey pucks” is that I refuse to follow a recipe. I like cooking but I don’t like getting so pedantic about following a recipe that if I don’t have an ingredient I won’t try the recipe. I think like ‘good writing,’ ‘good cooking’ comes with experience. Years ago I’d be more inclined to follow a recipe to the letter. Now I’m more confident in my kitchen and I can wing it. Luckily I have more success than failure (except with muffins).

4) What is next for you after this book?

Gad. This book is such a pup. Right now I don’t know what’s next. ‘Next’ is years away… but I think it may not be romance, and it may not be wine (like my two current releases His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride). And it may not have a HEA. We shall have to see!

5) Last Question…on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?

It won’t be erotica, but it will be steamy. It involves a lot of fantasy sex. So I’d say 8-9.

What is the recipe you’ll be cooking this summer!?

Last year great friends of mine introduced me to a new potato salad, and I made this heaps in summer 2012-13. I love it because it uses heaps of parsley. So it’s a potato salad with steamed potatoes, 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, sour-cream/mayo/natural yoghurt (I use whatever dressing base I have); olive oil, a wisp of balsamic vinegar, maybe some shallots if I have them, and lots (like a really big bunch) of parsley from the garden.

I’d serve this with steaks that hubby would do on the barbecue; or freshly caught fish.


I have invited Jennie Jones, Juanita Kees, Alissa Callen, Cate Ellink and Elizabeth Ellen Carter to join in the hop, and once they get their recipes up, you’ll be able to click on their names to see what they’ve got cooking!

Thanks Iris Blobel for the invitation!


Coming Out Of The Crazy Zone

There was a brilliant article in the July Hearts Talk (the magazine produced by Romance Writers Australia). It was written by Annie Gracie and amongst a lot of other sensible information, she said:

“Stop searching for reviews or comments on your books. It can drive you crazy. That book is finished and in the public arena. It’s gone. Collect a couple of good quotes for your website and get on with the next book.”

2013 has been such a ‘crazy’ year for me. I’ve had my debut book published; I self-published my own novella; I’ve moved interstate and I’ve started a new job. In amongst this I joined and explored social media – blogging, Facebook and Twitter. Now hubby and the family and I are house-hunting, looking for a block of land on which we can build Dream Home No. 3.

After The Goodbye Ride was published, I thought it should be easy to get back to a long-left draft of what was the first manuscript I ever wrote, and I’ve been so frustrated in the last eight weeks that I have got absolutely nowhere with that title. Actually, I’ve gone less than nowhere, I’ve gone backwards. My delete key has been in overdrive.

I’ve spent time doing everything possible except writing my book. I’ve watched The Voice; Wimbledon; Rugby; AFL; NRL and now I’m into The Ashes (cricket for any international visitors not in the know)… I’ve written guest posts, guest blogs, paid-freelance blogs, and a short story specially for the lovely Juanita Kees… I’ve enjoyed all these things, but in the end for eight weeks, I’ve done everything but spend quality time with my own characters in my new story.

But I think there is light at the end of my tunnel. The ‘voices’ of my characters are coming back. I’ve had a new idea about the heroine and her vulnerability, and how my hero is going to fall in love with her all over again. Quin and Seth haven’t been talking to me, but they’re chatting now. Usually after midnight (curse them).

Here is Annie Gracie’s other resonating sentence:

“Your head is where your stories come from. Stories need a peaceful, quiet place in which to grow.”

I’m going to give Seth and Quin a scenic glade of my brain. There will be a picnic blanket. Wine (of course), crackers and cheese and some yummy Kabana sausage. It will be sunny and the ground will be dry under the blanket, and soft.

That’s my happy place. Once I find it, I’m sure the words will come.


Lost: writing willpower. I blame Warnie

I have the first draft of the first book I started in late 2010, just after we moved into our new house (yes the house we’ve now just sold – I get itchy feet easy). That draft needs a lot of work, but I thought that I’d find it easy to move into new versions of that book after I’d finished His Brand Of Beautiful.

Oh I wish it had all proved that simple.

I have really struggled to get invested again in this first book, called Fringe Benefits and I don’t know what the problem is. Everything I’ve read talks about starting your next book while the first one is in whatever stage it’s in, e.g. finished, on the query train, on a shelf (or computer folder), or in that hoped-for state called publication

I’m lucky that His Brand Of Beautiful has now been accepted by a publisher, but since I finished the book I’ve found myself in this dreadful limbo. I’m procrastinating my butt off when I feel like I should be working. Either writing the new story, or promoting HBOB (or myself, somehow).

I’m checking Facebook a zillion times a day. Every time I think I’ll just sit down to write… I make a coffee instead (Nespresso makes good coffee way too easy). I’m reading blogs. I watched just about every ball bowled in the South African/Australian cricket test series. I’m watching movies, including one piece of idiocy last night called “Kill List” that if you ever see in a store, do yourself a favor and pass it by. I didn’t get to the end but hubby did out of sheer bloody-mindedness because he was the one who picked it out. See – case in point – I’m even procrastinating and digressing within my own darn blog. Movie reviewer!? Please!

When the stories broke about Warnie returning to test cricket… I read every word, every comment. I’m stalking Warnie on Twitter. It would be SO great if he came out of retirement… for the rest of my life I will think he left the game too early.

Wise heads who I’ve met recently had this to say:

“The one thing I always say to ‘newbie’ authors and some ‘oldies’ that just don’t get it is the best promo you can do for your book is release the next one. Backlist is gold. The more books you have the more money you’ll earn.”

She is so very right and I’m trying. I want to keep writing…

There’s been a lot going on, (cue the excuses) we sold our house, we’re moving interstate etc. My youngest son is now 3. When I first started writing he used to have two-hour naps during the day, which he’s since thrown and so I’ve lost what used to be my most productive writing time. I don’t feel like waiting until the kids are in bed to write. I feel freshest during the day.

Still, I think there’s light at the end of my procrastination tunnel. In the end, I found that light by getting out the laptop, pulling up the old story, and making myself read it and write, even though I didn’t really feel in the mood. Wednesday night. Thursday (day and night) and this morning, I’ve been at it. And gradually the muse is returning along with the words.

I think part of my reason for procrastination, if I’m honest, is a return of that mother guilt I struggled (and struggle) so much with. I know now how much of my time His Brand Of Beautiful consumed for 18 months.

I know what that meant for my family, and I’ve been reluctant to ‘go there’ again, because that means a return to the feeling that I’m not giving enough or doing enough with the kids (and school holidays are coming up…)

Writing is such a selfish thing to choose to do. I think a psychologist would say I need to give myself permission to be selfish again… (but Freud, I ain’t. I’m not even Freud’s toe-nail.)

In the meantime, when I was procrastinating, I found these great quotes on the Goodreads site about procrastination and I thought I’d share.

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Mark Twain.

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” Bill Watterson. (I like this one – I identify with it!)

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Pablo Picasso. (Now that’s a little intense!)