Greetings and salutations…

Welcome to our little corner of the world wide web!

canstockphoto12279188We are The Print Posse: four fab Aussie lasses on a quest for immortality – of the novel kind.

We met during an online writing course in 2014 and became friends through the marvels of online technology. Late last year Yanicke – yep that’s her real name – had the idea that we could create a place online where we could share our journeys as we emerge as writers!

This site will be for readers and writers alike. You’ll discover how real live writers juggle the demands of life and the call of creativity. We’ll also be writing about our experiences within the writing industry – the networks we’ve found valuable and the places emerging writers can find support.

Between the four of us – Fiona, Gabbie, Karen & Yanicke – you’ll find writers of every species… bloggers, Young Adult, New Adult, Romance, Children and more. You can read more about each of us as you explore the site.

So, kick back, get comfy and enjoy your time with The Print Posse… 

 

 

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Five Publishers Accepting NA Submissions

New Adult as a genre tip toed onto the literary scene about six years ago and has slowly gained momentum. Initially, NA was considered “older YA with sex” with publishers and agents generally steering clear. Little by little, authors have convinced the literary world that the NA category has a place and a lot to offer.

Initially predominantly romance, NA texts are expanding in genres. Basically any texts where the central protagonist is between the ages on 18 – 25, having left school and is finding their place in the adult world are considered New Adult. New Adult has appeal to older YA readers and to adult readers.

Despite the growth in the market, it can still be hard to find publishers who are accepting unsolicited NA manuscripts. To help all you budding NA authors out, here are five publishers accepting unsolicited NA manuscripts:

1. Entangled – Embrace

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From their website:

Embrace, Entangled’s new adult imprint, is seeking fresh, strong voices that capture the emotions and complexities of characters straddling the line between high school and the adult world of work and family. Our ideal protagonists are 18-24 years old, and still finding their way to adulthood, separating from their parents, heading off to college, and/or experiencing full-time employment for the first time, all the while searching for love. We are looking for books told from the point of view of the emerging adult, defining a critical period of decision making and growth.

Embrace is looking for engaging voice and bold, fresh stories in the following genres:
Contemporary
Suspense/Thrillers
Near-future science fiction with social undercurrents
Historical
Fantasy
Paranormal

 

2. Carina Press – A Harlequin Enterprises Ltd Imprint

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From their website:

Carina Press is now accepting submissions in the new adult genre. We are looking for submissions with a strong story and fully developed, very definable protagonists, 18 and above (or at an age eligible to enter college), in their early to mid-20s. While at least one protagonist should fall in this age range, it is possible the other protagonist may fall in their upper 20s.

We’re looking for manuscripts of 50,000 words and up and though we are particularly interested in the contemporary genre, we will also consider books in other sub genres as well (such as paranormal, post apocalyptic, dystopian, etc).

 

3. Bloomsbury Spark

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From their website:

Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers.

Launching in Autumn 2013 our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. If you’re an author, Bloomsbury Spark is the premiere place to publish your work

We are acquiring teen, young adult, and new adult fiction across all genres, including but not limited to romance, paranormal, contemporary, dystopian, science fiction, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, and more—from writers all over the world.

 

4. Reuts

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From their website:

REUTS welcomes all full-length novels written for the Young Adult and New Adult audiences. We are interested in diversifying our collection with genres across the spectrum, from authors in every corner of the globe. This includes any age, ethnicity, gender, location, sexual orientation, ability, and class.

We don’t limit ourselves within genres, but we require stories to be fictional and geared towards Young Adult and New Adult audiences. We’re looking for 50,000+ word novels in all YA/NA genres.

 

5.  Soul Mate Publishing

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From their website:

Soul Mate Publishing welcomes you to romance, where two become one. We offer high-quality romantic fiction for readers around the world. Our novels, written by only the finest authors, will be available both electronically and in paperback.

Whether you enjoy traditional romance or are searching for stories that push the limits, you’ll find what you’re looking for. We are NOT the same old thing!

If you are a budding author who needs a publisher to seriously look at your work, just follow the instructions under the Submissions link at the top of this page. We WILL look over your materials and provide a personal response.

Remember, blending of genres is allowed and encouraged. Varying levels of sensuality are welcome, however all stories should have an upbeat ending.

 

So what are you waiting for? Dig out that NA manuscript and send it off today. Who knows, maybe one of the publishers listed above will be the perfect home for your NA baby.

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Children’s Publishers

Hello All You Wannabe Children’s Writers,

Today I’m going to tell you all about publishers who focus on children’s books.  Now, are you sitting comfortably?  Can you see the pages?  Let’s begin…

First up – you need to know that I’m focussing on Australian publishers and I’m zoning in on those publishers that are accepting unsolicited manuscripts.  Does everybody know what that means?  In case you don’t – unsolicited manuscripts are those that arrive to the publisher unsolicited.  That means the publisher didn’t ask for them, they simply ‘arrived’.  Unsolicited manuscripts are different from solicited manuscripts – solicited m/s may have been introduced to the publisher by an agent or the publisher may have requested the manuscript based on you having previously published with them.  You’ve got to remember that publishers aren’t just sitting around waiting for your novel!  They’re working hard on putting together and promoting their current list, they have their ‘family’ of authors that have already been solicited (so to speak) and they have lots of other work they attend to.  Literary Agent and author Virginia Lloyd has written about the path of the solicited/ unsolicited manuscript on her blog which you can read here.

Anyhoo – for the purpose of this blog, let’s pretend you have written a sensational children’s book and you’re looking for a great Aussie publisher.  Who might you approach?

Well – the first stop would be to purchase the terrific e-zine subscription called Pass It On.  Pass It On is organised by the totes excellent children’s author extraordinaire Jackie Hosking. Each Monday, Pass It On lands in your email inbox and is jammed full with the latest info – specifically for authors of children’s and YA – on literary competitions, societies, groups, workshops, poetry, news, book launches and publisher information.  Pass It On will provide you with a way to build your writing network as well as offering all the links you need to polish your story and prepare it for submission to a publisher.

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After that – you might consider approaching some of the following…

Allen & Unwin’s The Friday Pitch – make sure you follow all their guidelines and formats.  You want them to take you seriously!  I notice that The Friday Pitch is open to non-fiction and adult as well so if you’ve got some of those manuscripts kicking around the bottom drawer….

EK Books is an imprint of Exisle Publishing.  Their motto is ‘great story, great characters, great message’ and their books are mainly aimed at children aged 4-8 years.  They also describe themselves as the new kids on the children’s publishing block – so you might consider getting in on the ground floor with them as they build their lists.

Like Allen & Unwin, Freemantle Press are looking for all kinds of manuscripts – not just children’s.  They are especially interested in work that has a strong Western Australian flavour or that has been written by a WA writer.

Harper Collins Publishing offers The Wednesday Post where they accept unsolicited manuscripts on a Wednesday.  At the moment they are not accepting children’s but they are considering Young Adult so… worth a try there.

New Frontier Publishing is looking for children’s books to educate, uplift and inspire.  I also notice that you can purchase their author submissions pack which costs $60 but includes a variety of their books (around 5 ) and a description of why each of those were chosen for publication.  A good learning curve and a few books to add to the shelves!

Pan MacMillan Australia has Manuscript Monday and while they aren’t accepting children’s picture books they are considering YA, crossovers and junior fiction.  They emphasise that you must be familiar with the work they publish (it’s always a good idea – so you find the right publisher for your story).  Do your homework before you submit!

Random House Australia has a couple of imprints that will publish children’s books.  They request a query email first (kidspitch@randomhouse.com.au) so work on your pitching skills and make that initial email something impressive!

text publishing is interested in fiction and non-fiction for junior and upper primary as well as YA.  These guys are a personal fave of mine – they publish some great stuff and I love that they’re a little bit old school – they want you to post a hard copy, in the mail.  I love that – whenever I have to send anything in by hard copy I always give it a squeeze and a kiss before I slip it in the post! *blush*

Okay – so there are many more but I think this gives you a good starting point.  If you would like to know more, you can purchase (for a measly $5) the AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK PUBLISHERS ACCEPTING UNSOLICITED MSS pdf from Jackie Hosking at Pass It On (you’ll find it on the side bar)

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Good luck and let us know how you get on submitting your story to a real, live publisher! *squeee*

 

 

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Five Romance Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Submissions

This month each of The Print Posse girls will take turns showcasing publishers from around the world in all sorts of genres.

Yanicke is first, and in keeping with our romance theme from last month, she’ll be sharing with you five romance publishers currently accepting submissions from unagented writers.

Because we all need a little romance in our lives…

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1. Harper Impulse

Why submit to Harper Impulse?

They have a truly digital first publishing mindset – they think about content and how women want to read it.

They are romance experts – they love reading, talking, blogging, tweeting, waffling on about all things romance.

They are global and want authors from everywhere and anywhere because they are going to reach readers everywhere and anywhere.

They are open to trying new things – for instance, they have a series of Follow Your Fantasy eBooks where you choose the fantasy you pursue!

What they’re looking for:

New writers who dare to be different – and the more the merrier!

Various genres, from fun & fast Adult and New Adult genre fiction to more mainstream novels; particularly contemporary and highly commercial stories with strong romantic elements.

Writers who want to push the boundaries in terms of storytelling – whether that be mashing genres, experimenting with length etc.

Full submission guidelines can be found ♥ HERE

 

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2. Harlequin – Escape Publishing

Why submit to Escape?

They’re a small, innovative publisher working within Harlequin Enterprises, a larger, long established company with a rich tradition as a leader in the industry. They are innovative and quick to respond to changes in the industry, plus they have the backing of the global organisation.

You can expect them to be responsive, professional, knowledgeable, supportive, and forward thinking. They’ll also be honest and tell you how they see things.

Escape Artists have formed a vibrant and engaged community supporting each other as independent authors. If you become an Escape author, you’ll be welcomed in that community.

What they’re looking for:

All submissions must include a central romance or romantic elements focused on lead characters and an uplifting ending.

Stories in the following sub-categories:

– adventure
– contemporary
– comedy
– erotic
– fantasy
– gay
– historical
– magic realism
– paranormal
– rural
– suspense
– sci-fi
– saga
– YA/NA

Full submission guidelines can be found ♥ HERE

 

loveswept and flirt

3. Random House – Loveswept/Flirt

Why submit to Loveswept/Flirt?

Their digital program is centered around your brand; focused on building you as an author introducing you to romance readers everywhere.

Their program is managed with the same attention given all of their other imprints within the Penguin-Random House Publishing Group. The process is the same throughout where digital authors will have a complete and unique publishing package. Every book will be assigned to an accomplished Random House editor and a dedicated marketer and publicist. Not only do their authors benefit from working with the finest cover designers to ensure irresistibly eye-catching books, but they are also offered the unique advantage of social media tools and training that will allow them to connect directly with their readers.

All of their titles are available for purchase at major e-retailers, and compatible with all reading devices.

What they’re looking for:

Loveswept and Flirt invites queries for submissions in the following subgenres:

– contemporary romance
– erotica
– historical romance
– paranormal romance
– women’s fiction
– new adult

Full submission guidelines can be found ♥ HERE

 

destiny romance

4. Penguin – Destiny Romance

Why submit to Destiny Romance?

If you have written a gorgeous, romantic story, then the team at Destiny Romance would love to see it. They are looking for love stories of all kinds told by wonderful, new voices. They’re looking for compelling plots, vivid settings and characters they care deeply about. Above all, the focus must be on the development of the romantic relationship and the story must provide an emotionally satisfying ending.

Destiny Romance is a digital-first imprint, which means they have more freedom to publish a richer variety of romances and can publish new books very quickly. They will work closely with authors, providing expert editorial guidance and a marketing and publicity campaign to ensure your book is well promoted to a wide readership.

They want love stories that sweep them away and keep them up late reading because they can’t put them down.

What they’re looking for:

Destiny Romance is passionately interested in all kinds of romantic fiction, from sweet and tender through to saucy and sensual.

They’re looking for all subgenres, including but not limited to:

– contemporary
– historical
– suspense
– paranormal
– fantasy
– sci-fi
– erotica

If you’ve come up with a new style of romance, they’re interested in that too.

Full submission guidelines can be found ♥ HERE

 

forever yours

5. Hachette – Forever Romance

Why submit to Forever Yours?

Forever Yours is the digital-first sister of the Forever romance imprint, which publishes ebook-only editions of a wide array of original works and classic favorites, ranging in length from novellas to epic sagas. Their editors accept both agented and unagented material for submission.

Forever Yours is all about discovery — they are opening their doors for the first time to unagented authors, and are eager to find talented new writers. With a digital production schedule, they can publish works more quickly, and experiment with stories and genres that haven’t yet broken out in the print marketplace.

Forever Yours offers a complete publishing package: editing by Forever editors, top-notch cover design from the Forever art team, a dedicated publicist, Netgalley review copies for bloggers/reviewers, social media tools and training, targeted marketing and advertising budget, and an experienced digital sales team with long-standing relationships in the e-marketplace.

What they’re looking for:

Forever Yours is currently accepting romance submissions from all subgenres, including but not limited to:

– contemporary romance
– New Adult (but not Young Adult)
– category romance stories
– romantic suspense
– western
– historical
– inspirational
– paranormal
– time-travel
– erotica

Full submission guidelines can be found ♥ HERE

 

If you know of any other romance publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, be sure to share their details in the comments below.

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Love is in the (Writing) Air

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I do.

February might be all but over but romance is here to stay – the romance writing industry that is. It is estimated the romance writing industry is worth well over one billion dollars each year. That’s just in the US. Mills and Boon claim on their website that they sell four books per second. Per second! That’s a lot of covers with men sporting luscious flowing locks and ripped abs.

Romance writers are often called the rock stars of the literary world. Listening to New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Kylie Scott, talk last year at the Readers and Writers Down Under Conference, it was easy to see why. Scott is just damn cool. Her practical advice for aspiring writers and her delivery is straight down the line.

The RWDU was my first conference. Understandably, I was nervous. Would I know what I was doing? Would it be obvious to everyone that this was my first time? Would I feel different afterwards?

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Did someone say, ‘Writers Conference’?

It was fantastic. I learnt so much and now jump at the opportunity to attend more conferences.

A writer’s conference is usually filled with panels, workshops, industry talks, signings, meet and greets and an event such as a cocktail party or masquerade ball. Many also have pitching sessions where you can book in some one on one time with agents and publishers. Romance writing conferences have all this and often some of the cover models. Ahem.

There are several reasons why I love conferences:

They are about building relationships and connections 
If you go to a conference, make sure you go to at least one social function. You can meet authors, fellow writers, agents and publishers. Just don’t go expecting a publishing contract. The social events are designed for you to meet people and to have a good time – not to pitch your manuscript. The agents and publishers are at the social events to enjoy themselves, not to work. Consider it more like a first date. It’s an opportunity to make first contact, to see if there’s any chemistry between you. You can later mention in your query letter that you enjoyed talking with them at the conference.

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Conference social events are a great way to meet industry professionals in a relaxed environment.

Learn industry information
Find out about publishing trends, tips on marketing, whether to traditionally or self publish, if you need an agent, what industry professionals look for and much more.

You can tailor your day to suit your interests
Some conferences let you pay for the sessions you wish to attend, others allow you to purchase a full day pass. Either way, grab a hold of the program as soon as you can and book in to the sessions you will get the most out of.

Pitching opportunities
Many conferences hold pitching events where you can book one-on-one time with an agent or publisher. The advantage of this is you receive instant feedback (no months of agonising waiting) and the best part – the chance to ask questions. I had this opportunity last year with my dream publisher and while I didn’t walk away with a contract, I did get clear insight as to how to make my manuscript work so that it would be published. Be aware these sessions are usually not included in the ticket price and will cost extra. They can also be nerve racking. Would I do it again? You bet I would. As soon as I’ve finished making those recommended changes.

Meeting like-minded writers
Conferences can be a great opportunity to meet other writers and have the chance to form writing or critique groups. Writing is definitely something you can do by yourself but it’s a lot more fun if there’s someone else to join in.

Meeting editors
Meeting an editor in person gives you the opportunity to clarify just what an editor does with your manuscript. There’s a whole lot more than picking up on spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Improving your skills
Conference workshops provide the opportunity for your to improve the technical aspects of your writing skills.

Book swag!
I love freebies. From the name tag lanyard to the bags full of bookmarks, conferences deliver on the swag. At RWDU I ended the day loaded up with books, bags, jewellery, lip balm, post cards, signed pictures and more. Swag heaven.

Feeling inspired to check out a local conference? Contact the Romance Writers Association in your state or country and they can let you know what is happening in your area. Otherwise, check out some of the links listed below.

Just remember the following conference essentials:

1. Enjoy yourself and relax – don’t force your manuscript on any one. Being pushy is the fastest way to ensure no second date.

2. Don’t be shy. Everyone is there to meet new people. A lot of people will not know anyone else and would really appreciate a smile and a, “Would you like to join me?” at lunch time.

3. Romance writers are generally friendly and welcoming people. At the conference you will find others at all different stages of the writing and publishing journey. Enjoy yourself, meet new friends, and be comforted in the fact that you are now part of the biggest grossing literary industry in the world.

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The world loves romance novels.

There are HEAPS of romance writing conferences in 2016. Here’s just a few:

Romance Conferences in 2016

Readers and Writers Down Under
March 4th – 5th, Gold Coast, Australia.

The Passionate Pen
April 11th – 12th, Las Vegas, USA

The Love Letter Convention
April 24th -25th, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, Germany.

Romancing the Capital
May 6th and 7th, Ottawa, Canada.

Romance Author and Reader Event
July 9th, Edinburgh, Scotland

Romance Writers of New Zealand
August 12th – 14th, Auckland, New Zealand

Romance Writers of Australia Annual Conference
August 19th -21st , Adelaide, South Australia.

Romance Writers Organisation of SA
September 24th -25th, Johannesburg, South Africa

Have you been to a romance writers conference? What was the best thing about the experience for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Romance and all that in YA

I can still remember when I finally got to read Judy Blume’s Forever.  It seemed to mark a key moment in my reading life as a young adult – my favourite author was writing about… you know… doing IT.  Young adults tend to read up – meaning that they like to read about characters slightly older than they are.  And when YA readers find an author they like, they’re really loyal and devour everything that author produces!  So when I was maybe about fourteen Judy Blume, my trusted beloved author-of-choice, initiated me into the complexity of young adult relationships, intimacy, contraception, teenage pregnancy and… sex.  And just as well she did because I certainly wasn’t going to be asking my folks!

Forever

Here’s a line from that old classic:

“After, we lay in each other’s arms and I thought, there are so many ways to love a person.  This is how it should be – forever.”

First published in 1975, Forever was able to capture the uncertainty, heartbreak and anxiety that comes with those first ‘serious relationships’.

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Forever will remain as a classic and it’s because Blume has done a few clever things as a writer:

  • Even though, as a teen I thought of the book Forever as “the s.e.x. book”, the story is about so much more.  Blume didn’t write this book just for the sake of covering that particular topic.
  • Forever, like all of Blume’s books, has real, loveable, flawed characters that you can become emotionally connected with.  This helps you as a reader to deeply consider the concepts/ themes/ ideas that she cleverly embeds within the plot.
  • Blume keeps it real.  That was one thing I abso-loved about Blume as a young adult reader – I knew she told the truth.  As I reflect back on it now, I realise I trusted Judy Blume!  The dialogue was never contrived.  The situations weren’t far-fetched.  Some scenes made me feel uncomfortable.  Some things challenged me.  Blume wasn’t out to entertain, she was sharing her character’s story.

So – Blume was a master in this YA sub-genre of love, romance and intimacy, but it’s important to recognise that plenty of YA authors are canvassing the same topics in new, exciting and unique ways.

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Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil is a gorgeous and touching first love story that I recently read.  I still smile every time I think about it.  Like Forever, this book isn’t just about falling in love… it’s about sooo much more… namely nerdy awkward group of kids recognising that their identity isn’t fixed, but evolving.  Like Forever, the characters are endearing and you can connect with them.  And whilst it’s not hard hitting gritty stuff, Life In Outer Space is real and truthful in it’s telling.

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The Flywheel by Erin Gough is another recent YA novel that delves into the trauma of first serious love with grace and beauty.  There’s a feisty protagonist called Delilah who happens to be a lesbian. (It’s about time the literature available to young people caught up with the real lives they’re living.)  Delilah is dealing with a few kinds of heartbreak when she finally finds someone ready to love her.  The Flywheel is like Forever in that it features characters and situations that YA readers will genuinely relate to. Gough hasn’t just chucked in a lesbian to spice things up.  Delilah has known pain and disappointment – she’s been let down and deceived by others – and we get a sense of how hard it is for her to just be herself.  That’s good, hardcore YA writing (in my humble, humble opinion!) and it means that the reader is invested in the character rather than the love plot.

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Keep your eyes peeled for more top quality romance for YA and let us know!

And when you’re next tapping at the keyboard and thinking about the love-line within your broader YA plot line, remember what Judy taught us in Forever:

there are so many ways to love a person

So:

Keep it real.  

Focus on characters.  

Have plot complexity.

 

 

 

 

 

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Romancing the Reader: How to Write Swoonworthy Love Scenes

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Whether writing about sweet first kisses or passionate embraces, here are five tips and tricks to make your love scenes sizzle…

1. Turn up the tension from the get-go

Just like any real-life love affair, it’s not all about the destination – half the fun is getting there. When developing a romantic relationship in your novel, remember to build tension over time, from the first encounter all the way through to the fireworks. That way, when hearts finally collide, the reader is just as invested in the romance as the characters.

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A good love scene should explode off the page…

Which brings me to point number 2…

2. Let the relationship progress naturally, whatever pace that may be

Every relationship is different. Every Antony has his own baggage, every Cleopatra her own insecurities, every Bonnie and Clyde, their own romantic pace. Some characters fall in love instantly, while others burn hotter over time. Some are inhibited by fear, others jump in feet first.

Don’t force a love scene. Let the story guide you.

Wedding dance lovers man and woman pop art retro style. Feelings emotions romance. Art music ringtones. Girl and marriage. Couple dancing

A good love scene should leave the reader wanting more…

If the characters aren’t feeling it, you can bet your reader won’t be either.

3. Reveal character – no sauce for the sake of being saucy

You might have an Ice Queen who’s cold and distant on the outside, but when you get her alone with her flame she melts like a marshmallow (Frozen 2, perhaps?). Alternatively, Mr Prim and Proper who always plays nice in the boardroom might break all the rules behind closed doors (yes, I mean you, Mr Grey).

Love scenes are an amazing opportunity to reveal character and show an alternative side to your Juliets and your Romeos. It’s also a good way to expose the underlying motivations of characters – motivations they otherwise work hard to conceal.

A good love scene should reveal more than just skin…

Spies have been utilising the age-old art of pillow talk for centuries to acquire classified information. You should use it too.

4. Don’t get caught up in play-by-play action

There’s nothing worse than a love scene that reads like a how-to manual – “She touched him here, he caressed her there, and then they kissed…” and so on and so on.

Show the reader what’s going on inside Rhett’s head. Describe what Scarlett is feeling. Examine the way Tristan and Isolde’s encounter changes everything between them.

Teleport your reader into the story by describing sounds, smells, tastes.

A good love scene should ...

A good love scene should explore the physical and the emotional…

Remember, a really good romantic interlude evokes the senses and explores emotions.

5. Read novels by authors who do it well

Everything you need to know about writing love scenes you can find on the pages of your favourite books. So dig up that romance novel you adored as a teen and that steamy suspense that kept you up all night, and study the art of composing love scenes.

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied...

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied…

Your bookshelves are a treasure trove of writerly wisdom.

Some of my favourites for sweet kisses are the works of Maggie Stiefvater and GJ Stroud (you read her extract last week, right? PURE love scene magic right there!). For steamier scenes, I definitely recommend Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I have to admit, I also have a soft spot for anything penned by Johanna Lindsey (the first romance novel I ever read was Silver Angel). Although, be sure to keep in mind, the kind of writing readers enjoy changes over time. Techniques that may have been popular back in the 80s and 90s, may no longer hold the same appeal.

Do you have a favourite author who composes loves scenes as potent as Cupid’s arrows? Be sure to share them with us below…

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Love is in the air…

From The Print Posse… with love❤

 Ah, February, the month of love…

In the spirit of all things romance, The Print Posse are dedicating their February posts to the language of love… or rather the language of love scenes😉

To get you in the mood, Gabbie has offered to share a snippet from her junior fiction novel that she wrote in 2005.

(Disclaimer from Gabbie:  This is Morris Grin – Lord of the Bling.  It’s still unpublished.  One day I may drag it from the bottom drawer and see what can be done with it.  For now, here’s the protagonist – Morris Grin – experiencing his first kiss!)

I walked slowly across the playground, imagining Riley and Emily pashing like a pair of suckerfish stuck together. I had to admit I was jealous. All this business with the ring had kind of ruined whatever chance I might have had with the girls in my class. I hardly imagined any of them would want to be seen with Gruesome Grin, Mr Bone Head himself. I took a moment to feel sorry for myself.  

I kicked at a rock and imagined how disappointed Dad and Stew would be when I told them that I hadn’t been able to get rid of the ring. What if Riley was right for once, what if Bela had left town and I’d missed the opportunity to give her the ring? I kicked at the rock again and it skittered in a curve which I followed, determined to kick it all the way home.

“Got something for me?”

And there she was. Right in the middle of the playground. The exact place we had stood weeks ago. She was wearing jeans and a white shirt and her red hair was hanging down around her shoulders. She was grinning and her eyes were sparkling at me.

A silence settled around us and I could sense that every blade of grass, every tree, every piece of dirt and every tiny twig were poised and waiting for what was to come next. I put down my bag and reached inside.

Holding the package out between us, I watched her face for any kind of reaction. She didn’t budge, didn’t lunge for the box, didn’t say anything. She just looked at me. Her green eyes were drilling into me. She was looking beyond me and I knew she was peeking into my soul. Now there would be no denying it, she would know my heart was hers.

And then it happened. She leaned toward me and a crazy thought flicked on in my mind – she even has freckles on her lips!  She kissed me.  A strange feeling shuddered through my body. I thought I might pass out. 

The box dropped from my hands and it seemed as though every tree and rock and scrap of dirt that had been so silent up until this moment were now forming an orchestra, celebrating with magical sounds this special event. I never wanted it to end. It was such a great feeling. I wanted her to kiss me forever and ever, right here on the playground.

Then it was over. She drew back and we both looked down at the little brown box waiting patiently at our feet.

 

Love is a good book…

 

Feeling romantically inspired? Why not try a blind date with a romance writing competition? Fiona discovered some upcoming writing comps that may help you get your manuscript in the mood for some publishing love:

Romance Writers of Australia

First Kiss 2016

An opportunity to showcase that romantic tension. Enter a 1500-word scene involving your protagonists’ first kiss, plus a half-page set-up.

Opens: 29 January 2016
Closes: Midnight Sydney time, 14 February 2016

http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/84/Contests

 

Central Ohio Fiction Writers (A chapter of Romance Writers America)

2016 Ignite the Flame Contest

COFW will begin accepting entries on June 1, 2016.  All entries must be received by June 30, 2016.

The Ignite the Flame Contest is designed to help you polish that critical first meet scene so that it crackles with romantic energy.

http://www.cofwevents.org/ignite-the-flame-contest/

 

The Utah Chapter of Romance Writers of America®

2016 Great Beginnings Contest

Enter the opening five (5) pages of romance novels of all sub-genres.

http://www.utahrwa.com/gbcontest.html

 

Pitch to Publication 2016 (#p2p16)

Authors will submit a query and 5 pages of their draft (completed) manuscript to one of fifteen, highly sought-after freelance editors. Each editor will select one (and sometimes two!) authors to work with for a month of intensive manuscript development. The editor will help prepare you and your work for our agent round in the middle of April!

http://pitch2pub.com/node/6

 

Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest

The Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest will begin accepting entries on January 1, 2016. All entries must be received by February 14, 2016

Submit the first 5000 words (3000 words for the Novella category) of an unpublished work of fiction.

http://www.neorwa.com/contest/

 

Love is only one click away…

 

Next week, Yanicke will be offering some tips on writing the perfect love scene. Until then, she’d like to share with you a poem she penned all the way back in 2003…

 

…my obsession

A secret place…
No one shares…
There…in your arms…

Sometimes you don’t let me in…
The door locked…
Patience…the only key…

But I know…
That secret place is for me alone…
Paradise…Longing…Desire…

You cannot know how you make me feel…
For if you did…surely you would welcome me…every moment…
Oh…the yearning I endure…

* yanicke, april 2003 *

The language of love…

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Magic

big magic

It’s Gabbie here and I have a confession. I never read Eat Pray Love. I had a friend who absolutely adored it and urged me to read it. I can still remember her well-thumbed, dog-eared, bookmarked paperback kicking around on her coffee table way back in 2006. My friend explained the premise and even read some passages out loud, but I didn’t feel moved to buy the book and read it for myself.

When the movie came out in 2010, I didn’t rush to see it at the movies. But I break my rule of ‘always read the book before you watch the film’ and watched it on DVD in 2011. Big disappointment. I thought Oh Boo Hoo You Elizabeth Gilbert with your beige marriage and your ridiculous coming of age travelogue which is only thinly veiling your mid-life crisis. Probably important to note that I was pregnant, completing my Masters, had a two year old and a brand new business. Wouldn’t we all like to eat gelato in Italy? I raged.

Fast forward to 2015 when I enrolled in a Virtual Writers Course with Charlotte Wood and Alison Manning. Can you imagine my shock when Wood recommended a TED talk on creativity by none other than Eat, Pray, Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert?

Well, I watched the talk.

And I fell in love.

I had misjudged this woman. I had misjudged a fellow author. I had mistaken an author’s story for their personality. I was humbled and humiliated. But the worst part is… she’s such a nice gal I reckon she’d forgive me.

Elizabeth Gilbert has in fact published several books. She’s not a one hit wonder. She’s a determined, creative, dogged and likeable lady who has been rejected by publishers (just like me), surprised by her own creativity (just like me), determined to succeed (just like me) and finds magic in storytelling (just like me).

So after developing this girl crush, I was looking forward to getting my hands on her book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear. And I wasn’t disappointed. Gilbert’s conversational style, self-deprecating manner and commitment to creativity made this book a delightful reading experience. Of course, I demanded that the rest of The Posse add it to their mandatory Summer Reading list.

Now the Big Magic needs to spread even further – I think all of you Devoted Readers should grab yourself a copy and read it for yourself. Even if you’re not a writer, Big Magic has something for everyone.

Need more convincing?

Fiona’s thoughts on Big Magic:

What I enjoyed the most about Gilbert’s work was her approach to rejection and the giving up on the writing or publication dream. She doesn’t gloss over the pain. She doesn’t promise roses and champagne and a major deal if you just keep trying.

Rejection is inevitable for writers. Even many published ones.

Her realistic attitude is what struck a chord with me. The concept of knowing you will be rejected but understanding that it has to happen and you have to let it happen if you are to have any chance of literary success. You can’t give up after the, ‘thanks, but no thanks’ emails send us plummeting into a coma of wine and chocolate.

“Somebody would send me a rejection, and I would knock it right back over the net, sending out another query that same afternoon. My policy was: You hit it to me, I’m going to hit it straight back out into the universe.”

Gilbert also asserts the importance of taking control of our self doubt, of not feeding the monster and allowing it to overwhelm the passion to write.

“Speak to your darkest and most negative interior voices the way a hostage negotiator speaks to a violent psychopath: calmly, but firmly. Most of all, never back down.”

I will embrace these ideas for my writing year ahead. Who knows? Maybe some big magic will come my way.

Yanicke’s thoughts on Big Magic:

Over the summer break (or winter, if you live in the northern hemisphere), I had the opportunity to catch up on my reading. After finishing Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (which I loved, by the way – thanks Lorelle for buying me a copy and not allowing me any more excuses), I asked the Print Posse gals what they thought I should read next. Gabbie shouted two words at me – BIG MAGIC! Well, she didn’t exactly shout, as we were chatting on Facebook, but she might as well have been, because after our conversation I felt I had no choice but to order a digital copy of Big Magic on Amazon.com, then and there, and start reading.

And I’m so glad I did.

Granted, for the first half of the book I was mostly thinking “Hmmm, this is nice read, but I don’t really think I need it. I’ve already past this stage in my writing life.” You see, Big Magic is organised into six sections: (i) Courage; (ii) Enchantment; (iii) Permission; (iv) Persistence; (v) Trust; and (vi) Divinity.

And when it comes to the first few topics, namely, overcoming fear and giving myself permission to embrace a creative life, I’ve sort of already faced that struggle back in 2009. With fear and excitement bubbling in my veins, I jumped ship and dived into an ocean of uncertainty, leaving my legal career behind and pursuing my dream of being a writer – a dream I’d long considered an impossibility until a close friend of mine simply said “If you wanna write, stop whining about all the things standing in your way and do it.” Not life changing words on the face of them, I know. But for some reason, whether it was the right time or I was in the right frame of mind, they made so much sense. And so I did.

But then (getting back to Big Magic), about half way through the book, things changed. I starting feeling “Now this is something I need to read.” I need to read that it’s okay to write stuff that is simply fun. Writing doesn’t have to save the world or be intellectual. Writing to entertain is just as worthwhile as writing to teach or writing to heal. It has its place. It is justified.

I also needed to read that I shouldn’t apologize for my work. So what if my first novel is a teen vampire romance? So what if it isn’t The Goldfinch or To Kill a Mockingbird? I shouldn’t feel self-conscious about that. I shouldn’t doubt my work’s worth or feel ashamed. I should be proud. This is me. This is what I love and what inspires me. This is who I am, at this time in my life.

These points totally resonate with me, as I struggle with both of these insecurities, these worries. So thank you Ms Gilbert, I totally hear you. And from this moment on, I fully intend to embrace my uniqueness and be the court lobster🙂

There were also countless cool anecdotes throughout Big Magic – several of which I absolutely adored. Like the story of Winifred, the 90-year-old expert on ancient Mesopotamia, and Elizabeth’s own tale of not letting lack of inspiration get her down, but instead allowing her curiosity to guide her on a journey of discovery through botanical history that began in her own garden.

So I have to say, no matter where you are on your journey of pursuing a creative life, Big Magic has something for you.

I’ll finish off with my favourite quote from the book – it relates to Elizabeth’s inspirational attitude to receiving rejections. Instead of taking them to heart and giving up, she viewed her journey to publication in terms of an entire lifetime, and upon receiving one of those dreaded no’s would mutter to herself:

“You think you can scare me off? I’ve got another eighty years to wear you down! There are people who haven’t even been born yet who are gonna reject me someday—that’s how long I plan to stick around.”

I love it!😀

Gabbie’s Thoughts on Big Magic:

Gilbert explains through paradoxical chapters that creativity is a riddle: a divine endowment that we are never meant to fully understand. Big Magic helped me to appreciate the contradictory nature of creativity.

I quote for you her conclusion:

In Conclusion

Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified, and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise – you can make anything.

So please calm down and get back to work, okay?

The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert is touring Australia in February!  She can weave her magic all over you on:

18th February, Theatre Royal in Hobart

25th February, Griffith University Conservatorium Theatre in Brisbane

4th March, Seymour Centre in Sydney

Pop over to Elizabeth Gilbert’s website to find out more… you can also grab this cool PDF downloadable.  LOVE IT!!

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Writing Resolve for 2016

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What lies ahead?

This month’s theme is about resolutions. It’s January and that means it’s time to look at the year ahead through rose tinted glasses and lay out all we wish to achieve.

Except I don’t. Not this year. My resolutions haven’t changed much from last year which highlights my failure to achieve them. Instead of setting out another list for me feel crummy about in January 2017, I’m bringing my goals back to one fundamental of my writing: this year I am going to improve my process.

A diagnosis of the current state of my writing process will let me see where it is thriving and where it is staggering around in dark corners failing to contribute to the possibility of success.

Generally speaking, an effective process can be divided into five parts:

1. Pre-Writing
2. Drafting
3. Revising
4. Editing
5. Querying

It seems a succinct list. How bad could my process be? Surely whatever way I do things is the right way… Yes?

1. Pre-writing

This includes ideas, research, character information and writing exercises.

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Some of my reference material.

Ideas – Check. Well, I start off with one basic idea and during the drafting stage more ideas come. Usually.
Research – Check. I am on my way to obtaining my certificate III in Japanese Demonology. I wish! (Seriously though, how great would that be?) I wonder if there is a course… *googles Yokai courses*
Characters – Check(ish). I start off with one clear MC and gradually discover new characters while drafting. I’ll profile them and explore their music interests, fashion sense, likes and dislikes, physical appearance, hobbies and interests. Pinterest is great for this, though I do like to print out the pins and stick them in a scrap book for easy reference.
Exercises – Nope. Why would I want to do writing exercises about my book if I am a reckless pantser with no interest in plotting? Where’s the excitement? The uncertainty? The mystery?

I admit I have done a few character exercises during the drafting process of my second ms. The exercises did enhance my understanding of the characters, their personalities and their possible reactions to situations. In fact, it was a really useful experience. As I’m currently re-writing my first ms, doing some exercises would help my develop the GMC of my characters.

Self evaluation:
In the pre-writing stage I spend time with my ideas before jumping into drafting. I find value in the elements of pre-writing so I need to dedicate more time to them before I start.

2. Drafting

This includes a look at routines, writing habits, goals.

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My gorgeous new writing space. How could I not be inspired?

Routines – Nope. A writing routine sounds lovely. So does having a house elf but so far both elude me. The only consistency to my routine is the cups I drink from. I write any where and any place I have time. That sounds like I write a lot but it varies week to week, month to month. I juggle a fair bit as most writers do, I don’t drink coffee or work well late at night or early in the morning. My routine needs to change. Hopefully my beautiful new writing space will help foster a strong routine.
Habits – Check(ish). I have music I listen to with set play-lists for each manuscript and I try to minimise distractions as much as possible.
Goals – Check. I have word count goals for the overall word count, for each chapter and for each writing session. I’ve determined I can do an average 650 words in a half hour sprint. I use that as a guideline for each writing session. I also like to finish a scene or a chapter before I walk away for the day.

Self Evaluation
Not too bad. Routines could use some work though. I will use my goals to establish set writing times each week.

3. Revising

This includes looking at consistency with time-lines, plot and structure issues, plausibility and beta readers.

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Do you know where your story is going?

Time-lines – Check. I keep a calendar/time line in my journal to ensure consistency. Often I will revisit the dates to test for plausibility.
Plot and structure issues – Check. This one is harder to do by myself. I try and work through each step of the story to determine order. Occasionally pieces are shuffled around.
Plausibility – Check. Again, a tough one to do by myself. I need to take a good hard look at the action, characters etc and ask, ‘Is this believable? Are there any glaring omissions or things that don’t quite add up? Am I assuming the reader knows something without giving them enough clues?
Beta readers – Check. When I’ve done the above three revision points to the best of my ability I’ll send it off to the beta readers who then do a much better job than me at identifying issues with time-lines, plot and structure, and plausibility.

Self Evaluation
Pretty good. It is difficult to check my own work for these issues so the beta readers definitely help. I do enjoy having someone else point out problems with plausibility, plot etc. I relish the opportunity to improve my work.

4. Editing

This involves reading your work in a different format, cutting it out, cleaning it up.

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A new perspective can give, well, a little perspective.

Change the view – Check. I like to print out a hard copy and go through that with my green highlighter and sparkle pens. It makes it easier to view mistakes. After about a gazillion reads this way I’ll convert it to a mobi file and upload it to the kindle. Then I cringe with embarrassment at all the errors I missed in the printed edits.
Cutting it out – Hmmm, not so much. Cutting large chunks of text – especially description – tightens prose. I need help with this.
Clean it up – Check. As my writing skills improve so does my ability to clean up sentences. Each word must count. I spend lots of time cleaning up ‘was’,‘that’and other ‘to be’ verbs. I also seek to destroy passive voice (by zombies!).

Self Evaluation
I need to be ruthless with cutting it out. I read somewhere agents and publishers look for lots of dialogue and are put off by chunks of description. My cleaning up of sentences is progressing but, gosh, it would be nice to get it right the first time.

5. Climb Aboard the Query Coaster

This can be the hardest part of the writing process. Having to create an elevator pitch, extended pitch, query letter and synopsis then start querying fills many with dread.

Write an elevator pitch – Check. A succinct summary of of the book just in case I ever take a lift with an agent or publisher. Note to self – use more elevators.
Extended pitch – Check. After completing the Pitching to Publishers course I’ve learned the trick to creating a pitch that sets the tone, conflict and obstacle for the story.
Query letter – Check. This is the one part of the query coaster I enjoyed. In it I’m allowed to admit all the dorky reasons why I love writing and what inspires me.
Synopsis – Check, though this one was by far the most painful. Having to reduce your thousands of beloved words to 300-500 feels like taking a gourmet meal and turning it into a powered format. Blurgh.
Start querying – Check(ish). I diligently check submission guidelines and format the manuscript as requested but I haven’t done any traditional querying. I am scared to. Weird, right? I do enter a lot of pitching competitions and have had good responses from there. I’m going to hold off querying this year until I know my first ms is as shiny and polish and READY as it needs to be.

Self Evaluation
While painful to create, I have the pitch, query and synopsis for my first ms. I do however need to face up to querying and throw my work out there once it is finished. Creativity takes courage.

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Find what works for the writer as an individual.

So bring on 2016. I’m not going to dream about things that may or may not happen. I am going to work on my process. I am going to make the writing process work for me. Anything else that happens on top of that will be a wonderful bonus.

 

 

Categories: Goal, Writer's Life, Writing | Leave a comment

Happy New Everything!

Oh. Em. Gee.  I abso love love LURV New Year Resolutions.

I’m also a big fan of the Vision Board, BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and focus words (last year’s were WRITER and AUTHENTIC).

 

As soon as the last fire cracker dissolves into the midnight sky, I start resolving and it’s not a fast process.  I pretty much spend most of January reflecting on the year that was, what worked, what didn’t, reviewing the resolutions I made and thinking about things I’d like to blossom in the year ahead.  Finally, I sit down with some good music and a cuppa.  I give thanks for everything gained the previous year.  Then I get busy creating pages of goals, dreams and hopes for each facet of my life: writing, family, friendships, health, finance and work.

Workbook

The front of my 2015 Book of Resolutions. I never did get around to colouring it in.

Then I create a super cool vision board as a visual summary that hangs beside my bed.

VisionBoard

My 2015 Vision Board

Now before you get all judgey on me and start making assumptions, let me tell you this.  Last year, I resolved to start writing as a journalist and earn money from my writing.  I even created a new folder on my computer and called it MBFC which stood for My Brilliant Freelance Career.

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I love that I have a folder called Lost Tooth!  But also – look at that MBFC folder.  Pretty awesome!

On my Vision Board I stuck the fine print of contributors names and a few magazine covers with dollar signs all around.

Contributor

I resolved to name writing as my job whenever people asked me what I did.  Wishful thinking?  I had nine articles published last year and earned over three grand for my efforts.

Keeping things real – it’s fair to say that I can’t give up my day job (yet).  And a few things on my Vision Board remain… shall we say… visionary.  For example: I didn’t have a book published and reviewed by Jennifer Byrnes,

Byrnes

I’m ready when you are, Jen. 

I didn’t complete three manuscripts (but I did complete one)

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I always make a mock-up cover of my work-in-progress.  Right now Downhill is in the hands of two publishers… fingers crossed.

and I don’t have rock hard abdominals (in fact the only part of me that is rock hard is my leg when it gets a cramp).

Rock_Abs

This is not me.

That aside, I just think that it can’t hurt to put your dreams, hopes and ambitions ‘out there’ for the Universe to receive and act upon.  I also find that it helps me make decisions about how I use my time, opportunities I choose to follow and how I relate to others.

Charmian Clift – who was an Australian novelist and journalist during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (and I’m writing an article about her for a magazine – SNAP!) described the New Year turning as a ‘recurring seasonal moral audit’ with the ‘sort of palpable aura of splendid intention’ (‘Resolutions’ from Trouble in Lotus Land).  I love the description of both the moral audit and the splendid intention as it captures precisely how I feel.  For me, the New Year isn’t just about goals but about shaping my life and thinking about the person I am and the person I am becoming.

So without further ado, I give you my Writing Resolutions for 2016.

  1. Meet The Print Posse in person (can you believe our friendship has only been virtual up to this point?) and squeeze ’em so tight they yelp (hopefully at the Byron Bay Writers’ Fest)
  2. Continue writing for magazines and seek out other magazines I can contribute to
  3. Contribute something to Kill Your Darlings.  Incidentally – KYD has an awesome New Year’s offer at the mo.  If you subscribe before Feb 15, you can also have a 2000 word manuscript assessment.  So for all those folks out there saying “I’ve written something…” get onto this deal and have the clever folk at KYD provide you with the feedback you are longing for.
  4. Breathe life into my website and blogs that are laying dormant (but still worth a peek – gjstroud.com)
  5. Establish a new blog on my website providing ‘teacher advice and info’ for parents of Primary School aged children
  6. Finish my new WIP Mummy’s Just Losing Her Mind
Success

I’m already thinking about the mock-up cover, even though the story isn’t finished!

There’s more… there’s bound to be more… I mean it’s only the 12th of January – I’m still at the reflective stage.  But for now this is a good start.  Now – don’t be shy, get into that Comments Box and share your aspirations for 2016.

You know you want to.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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