Submitted my synopsis for a Christmas anthology I’m working on with some friends and started writing it – I have about 2k so far thanks to some writing sprints with my critique partners… slowly getting used to the idea that I don’t have to sit down for 2 hours to get some writing done (and therefore put it off forever because I never have 2 hours spare), I can actually get something done in 20 mins which is better than nothing!

Went through the pages and pages and pages of notes from the Emily judges and made a heap of updates to WIP #2. Threw WIP #2 at Lindsey Kelks for her mentoring program which I really need to win because god knows I need a kick up the butt if I’m ever going to finish it. Finished my judging for the Spicy Bites and Sweet Treats contests… as usual, they were of varying standards… Booked tickets to Natasha Lester’s Book & Bubbles event next month. Only read three books but my fave was “Kind of Cursed” by Stephanie Fournet – the hero had me like HUUNNGHHH with his competence!! Weirdly, I’m finding it hard to pick up paperbacks lately, I seem to gravitate towards eBooks… my “actual” TBR pile is getting really ridiculous, even including a Marian Keyes and a Tara Moss that I just can’t seem to pick up 🙁

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Oh my word… did I skip a December update? I feel like we skipped straight to Jan… or maybe time’s just flying? I don’t know! Very inspired by all this festive activity and will surely get more done this month than I have recently… maybe even some writing? *cough* ahem…

Rejection is never great but I got the loveliest polite “no” in Dec from Alex Adsett as she doesn’t represent Category (doh!)… she did say she really liked my voice though, and suggested I send it directly to HM&B -yay! Did not final in the Emily contest but did get pages and pages and pages of notes (I’m not kidding, literally pages). For those playing at home, I got a 97, an 87, and a 70.5… hmmm… interestingly, the “eeeevil third judge” gave the most the feedback and concluded by saying, “Please don’t feel disheartened about the massive amount of notes I gave you — I felt invested enough in your story to provide as much feedback as possible”, so that was nice. Must get around to updating my WIP based on these notes… Had a Christmas catch-up with some of my favourite writery friends in the world up in the wonderful wilds of beautiful Picton – there was some nagging and goal-setting and finger-pointing and champagne, lots of champagne 😉

Drove up to Newcastle for another RWA Newcs chapter meeting – ooooh, they’re a very inspiring bunch and I always learn so much from them!
Beta-read one of my critique partener’s second WIP and OMG you guys it’s SO GOOD! And my mum thinks so too, so you know it’s true 😀
Received a bunch of entries for the Sweet Treats and Spicy Bites anthologies that I really should start reading/judging… Finished my 2019 Goodreads challenge with a total of 60 books – woohoo! Don’t think I could choose a favourite though, too hard!

Have read not nearly as many books last month as I’d have liked… but the most interesting was definitely Strange Love by Ann Aguirre about a chick who gets accidentally kidnapped by a cockroach kinda alien and they end up getting it on (tee hee! It’s much cuter than it sounds!)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read the latest Romance Writers’ of Australia Hearts Talk magazine, as I hear they have a wonderful new sub-editor!

 

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So as promised in my last update, I submitted WIP #2 to Alex Adsett, yeah yeah! Why the hell not? Drove down to Sutherland for the launch of Rachel Johns’ wonderful new book, Just One Wish and also caught up with some other lovely writery people there, including the gorgeous Tanya Nellestein. Started the Killer Conflict OWL with Lauren Clarke which is really good but I will need to finish later because ooooof, work has been crazy busy (well, “out of the office” busy anyway). Read lots of books and watched LOADS of Netflix because movies are research too! Book of the Month for me was the Parallel Duet (both books) by Elizabeth O’Roark. … Disappointment of the month was “A Knight Before Christmas”, Netflix’s rip-off Hallmark movie with Vanessa Hudgens which could have been awesome but was instead so super meh that I was shouting at the screen towards the end.

I also invited the RSPCA to bring a puppy to my office for us to play with – can highly recommend! Escaped the Catastrophic Fire Day unscathed despite widespread panic in my area (it was only 34C, a fairly average summer day, what is wrong with people?!). And I also did a tour through rural NSW for work which was eye-opening and heart-breaking and super-awesome research for any Ru-Ro’s in my future!

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Well last month I entered the Emily Contest at the very last minute (never a good idea) but we’ll see what happens – I really need them to release a ranking because last time I just got generic “love it” statements from the judges (even though I didn’t even place)… like how much did you love it, huhHUH?? Convinced myself to submit to Alex Adsett on the back of my Selling Synopsis contest win earlier in the year, so I will… shortly… Drove up to Newcastle for an RWA meeting with the incredibly lovely HM&B authors Michelle Douglas & Annie West (among others) where I was forced to verbalise my writer goals for next month! Oh god, MORE accountability! And learnt a bunch of stuff about copy-editing. So interesting, well worth the 3 hour round trip. And also got mightily confused about everyone’s names because they all have pen names (in some cases, several) and IT’S VERY VEXING TO NOT KNOW WHAT NAME TO CALL SOMEONE! Read about 8 books I think (but only because I was on holidays), all of which were right in my groove and made me very happy… if I had to pick a favourite, I’d say it was Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey.

Personal stuff, I went on a cruise of the South Pacific and it was pretty much as fabulous as I was told it would be, celebrated my second favourite time of year – HALLOWEEN – with dress-ups and a blood donor drive at work.

But most sadly of all, we said a final goodbye to my 15yo pupster, Harvey 🙁 He’s the gorgeous doggo in my profile pic, and he will be *missed*. RIP gorgeous Harvey.

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Here’s what I did:

Opened my WIP #2. Read the first 3 chapters. Realised it has no GMC. Closed my WIP #2.

I feel like this does not get the recognition it deserves.

Look, I guess I probably did other things too… I’m planning my cruise for October while trying to keep it a secret from the kids… daughter and hubby and a good friend all had birthdays and associated festivities… I went away with my mothers group and that was a LOT of information to deal with and I also went away with some school friends and that was EVEN MORE information so my brain is still a bit fried from second-hand stress…. I read a few books, most notably The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews and Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Cruisie both of whom are one-click authors for me because I love them both so much… I went go to the funeral of a guy from work who died in a skate-boarding accident (he was my age) and I gotta say it was the classiest funeral I’ve seen – they hit the perfect spot between sentimental and sweet and stoic, so much respect for his family… watched a lot of Netflix, mostly Grace & Frankie, and realised I definitely want to be them when I grow up.

Bring on October and a more productive less stressful month!

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RWA CONFERENCE MONTH!! Always the highlight on my writery calendar and this year was no exception. Learning about the craft, fangirling over all my favourite authors, dressing up for the cocktail party, drinking, chatting, networking, relaxing… even winning an award! Highlights for me were:

– so many people knew who I was! All that time spent on social media appears to have been well-spent, haha!
– Natasha Lester’s Friday workshop – she’s a GREAT presenter, very polished, well-spoken and most importantly, easy to understand
– the Fight Like A Girl session was amazeballs, so good I bought the book
– Nalini Singh’s keynote speech about writing series was great, learnt so much
– dashing about the cocktail party dressed as Harlequin publishing fairies – granting everyone’s publishing wishes (NYT best-seller was a popular one!)
– I pitched (very last minute) to Nicola Caws from Harlequin and it went… okay? I led with “You read my submission to last year’s Harlequin Romance Blitz and liked my voice but the setting was wrong so this story is like you know the same same but in a different more glamorous setting and did you see me up on the stage last night getting an award?”… at which point I think she may have glazed over which was thankful as I devolved into a blithering mess after that… BUT I think the opening saving me because she did indeed request the first 3 chapters… so, now I just need to work on that *nervous laughter*

I also met the amazing Jacqui Greig from Blush magazine – have you subscribed yet? It’s the most delicious monthly romance news and reviews presented in the most reader-friendly fashion I’ve ever seen – candy for your eyes, get on it!

 

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Quiet month… but that meant lots of reading! some of my faves were A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews, The Kissing Contract by Amy Andrews, and Lies by Kylie Scott. All three blew me away for different reasons – loved them all!

Was lucky enough to attend an author talk evening at my local library, showcasing some of our best homegrown thriller writers… who all happen to be (very talented) women. Especially enjoyed hearing about how they plot their stories – all those twisty turns! I read Bloodtree River by Sarah Barrie in preparation and wow… did not see that ending coming!

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