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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: DECEMBER 2022

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Hello, lovely!

It’s that time of the month when I share what it’s like to be a stay-at-home writer. This is the final wrap-up for 2022.

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A woman typing on a laptop with a coffee and lots of plants beside her.


Competition news

I’m a finalist in The Emerald Award - a writing contest run by the Romance Writers of Australia.

I entered my unpublished manuscript DELIGHTFUL MESS and am thrilled to be in the running for this award. I’m not going to lie, the judges' comments were so lovely and encouraging that I cried reading them. Shhh … don’t tell anyone. Ta.

What happens next? I’ll now be moving into the next round (there are 3 in total) and I look forward to receiving further feedback. Fingers crossed.

Querying agents

I've spent this year editing and polishing my manuscript DELIGHTFUL MESS to a point where I'm happy with it. Well, as much as one can be. Honestly, I could tweak it forever, but I've got to let it go and work on something new.

Next year, I'll be focusing on pitching it to literary agents. We're lucky in Australia that publishers are open to submissions without agents. However, I'd prefer industry guidance before I go down that road.

What does querying involve? Each agent/publisher has their submission process listed on their website. Some are open to submissions all year round, others have specific dates, and there are those that are by invitation only that seem harder to get into than the Illuminati.

Most agents/publishers want a -

Query letter

A cover letter introducing yourself, your manuscript and writing achievements.


A summary of your story with spoilers.

Sample pages

A specified amount of pages from your manuscript.

There is no industry standard. Some want a 1-page synopsis that's double spaced and the next wants a two-page synopsis that's 1.5-spaced. Some ask for 10 pages of your manuscript and another requests ten thousand words. Preparing each submission is like a full-time job.

The Sexy Bucket List

I've started writing novel #2. It's exciting to return to the drafting stage and also daunting because I know all the work that lies ahead.

Want to know what THE SEXY BUCKET LIST is about? Here's a sneak peek for you.


Grammar and style checker

Do you know what I suck at? Punctuation and grammar. I'm a repeat offender when it comes to commas. Sometimes, I drop 'em like it's hot and other times I abandon them altogether.

I bit the bullet and purchased ProWritingAid, which provides nifty suggestions as you write. Most of the time, it's helpful, but occasionally, it gets it wrong. That's okay, we're all human—um, except it's not.

I also have a free version of Grammarly, and if the cost for the premium option was cheaper, I would've gone with that.


Who loves a Christmas rom-com? Meee! I couldn't stop smiling when I inhaled A Holly Jolly Christmas by Katie Montinaro.

This is my first festive novel and I'm happy I popped my cherry with this one. It's a short 'n sweet story centred around a sweltering Aussie Xmas.

This year, Holly is hosting Christmas and it'll be perfect. It has to be. She can't let her family think for a second she's incapable of throwing a jolly lunch.

Despite good intentions, Holly's left everything to the last minute and it's slim pickings on trees and turkeys.

Luckily her mate Shawn is happy to drive around Melbourne to lend a hand. Holly's not getting her hopes up with the young Keanu lookalike; he friend-zoned her. But the longer they hang out, the more her feelings grow.

If Holly can pull off a festive feast and win over her cute colleague, it'll be a Christmas miracle.


What is more stressful than Christmas? Moving house two days before and then packing for a month-long holiday two days after. Good times.

By the time you read this, I will be in Tasmania stuffing my face with cheese. Our little fam-bam is leaving the mainland to go on an epic camping adventure.

Now, when I say camping, I mean camping, camping. We sleep in tents and do bush wees. Become one with nature and all that jazz. Nothing beats sitting by a fire. Actually, I lie. Nothing is better than sitting by a fire, devouring s'mores. Only when the kids go to sleep though. Mama don't share.

If I have an internet connection, I'm sure I'll show braggy pics and vids on my Insta stories. Are we friends (@hollybrunnbauer)?


I've started writing novel #2 - THE SEXY BUCKET LIST. Enjoy a sneak peek.


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