I know, I know, the months are kinda melting into one another… but I still think we should take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for whatever we managed to get done last month! What did you get up to? Are you using this time to check off your To Do List, or mainly concentrating on surviving these crazy times with some sanity still intact? I’ve been doing a little of both… Firstly, I finished my Christmas anthology story, thanks to my critique group’s ever so gentle persuasion in the form of daily 20 minute writing sprints (thank you thank you, a million times thank you!)… also had a couple of networking/drinking video sessions with those very same darlings… got given 5 RWA Ruby nominated books to judge so have started reading those… caught up on several months’ worth of RWA Hearts Talk magazines (turns out it’s pretty interesting these days, who knew?!)… read soooooo many other books, but the highlight of the month was Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey, OMG I could not have loved this one harder, pulled an all-nighter just to finish it in one night, could not put it down, cried at the end (maybe I was just overtired and emotional by that point, but let’s assume not). I also pulled out WIP #2 and finally wrote a few more words in it – wow! Will be interesting to see how long this one takes me to finish – at this point anything less than 10 years is flying 😉 Hope you’re staying safe and well, keep reading! xx.
I am now up to about 3k in my anthology story… Did I tell you about the Christmas anthology I’m contributing to with some friends? We decided we’d self-publish a collection of stories later this year. I’m super confident that they are all wonderful storytellers so this is VERY exciting! However, I’m starting to feel the pressure now, as my first draft is due early next month!
Had a wee pang of disappointment when I realised I did not win a mentorship with Lindsey Kelk 🙁 Hoping I’m one of the applicants she said was so good they don’t need her help 😉 She did actually write back to me personally and said “I truly did enjoy reading your submission and I really hope you’ll continue on and get it published.” … so that’s nice!
Read soooooo many books (6 books and 6 novellas) – now more than ever, we need to escape, no? They were mostly bloody brilliant, but a special call out to the 6 x Dashing Widows novellas from Anna Campbell… and a “special” call out also for the truly awful Mills & Boon Cherish I read (which I will not name) – look, I don’t mind a beta Hero but this one literally cried when someone messed up his home furnishings, so I was all no, just no…
I was hoping to visit Tasmania later in the year, but I guess that won’t happen now… but, am happy to be safe and well, hope that holds for everyone reading this.
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 🙁
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!
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!
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.
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!