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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: FEBRUARY 2023

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Hello, lovely!

After a month off, I'm back in action and have lots to share about being a stay-at-home writer.

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A neat & tidy desk with a laptop and plants that must be fake because they look quite healthy.


Competition news

The Emily

League of Romance Writers

Last year, I entered my unpublished manuscript DELIGHTFUL MESS into a U.S. writing contest, and the results are in - I won 2nd place.

But wait, there's more. One of the judges, (an editor at a New York publishing house) requested to read more of my manuscript. Act cool, Holly. A-C-T C-O-O-L.

Sadly, I couldn't make it to the awards ceremony in Houston, Texas, but I wore my finest PJs as I Zoomed in at 5 am on a Sunday.

It took a week to work up the courage to email the editor, and now we play the waiting game ... Fingers crossed.

2nd Place Winner - The Emily 2023

The Sexy Bucket List

My second novel

This month, I've added 8 chapters (25,000 words) to my first draft and am sitting at a total of 35,000 words. I'm almost at the halfway mark.

With my kids back at school/kinder, and moving into a new house, in a new town, the day before school started (don't recommend), this month has been about setting up a writing routine.

I'm happy to report, I've gotten myself out of bed every weekday at 4:30 am to write before the rugrats wake up. Then at least if the day goes pear-shaped (which, let's be honest, it usually does), I've made progress with my writing.

If getting up at the crack of dawn sounds like torture to you, don't do it. I'm a morning person and literally bounce out of bed. I've also got a major crush on my protagonist and enjoy hanging out with her. She's way cooler than I'll ever be.

P.S. - I've been using the writing sprints method to "write forward", and it's working. Be on the lookout for an upcoming blog post where I'll share how I'm approaching a first draft the second time around.


Jodi Gibson

Jodi Gibson is an Australian author and mentor who has a knack for bringing writers together.

Twice per week, Jodi hosts a free one-hour catch-up & write session on Insta or Facey.

If you're a recluse like me, it's a comfortable way to mingle with other writers and spur each other on. It's also great for those who need to schedule writing time in order to make it happen.

Will I see you at the next Write Squad session?


Rarely do I stray far from rom-coms, but I made an exception this month because my talented writing buddy, Stephanie Hazeltine, wrote quite a page-turner.

WHILE THE BABY SLEEPS is a whodunnit story that's told from the perspective of four women thrust together at a mothers' group. Boy-oh-boy, it brought back early motherhood memories/nightmares.

The characters are highly relatable and Steph's zippy-contemporary writing style is a joy to read. Can't wait for the sequel to find out what the mamas of Lakesfield are up to.

If you're a Sally Hepworth or Liane Moriarty fan, add this to your TBR pile pronto!

While The Baby Sleeps - Stephanie Hazeltine


Four mothers. One body. Many secrets.

Marnie, Peyton, Fleur and Amalia are first-time mums, thrust together at the local mothers' group.

The four women live completely different lives.

Marnie is riddled with anxiety, Peyton is still a teenager, Fleur is living in a volatile environment and Amalia is haunted by her tragic past.

While motherhood is the thing that brings these women together, it's the murder of someone they know that bonds them forever.

Everyone has a motive to kill, but who is actually capable of murder?


We took the plunge and moved to the sticks. Regional life is different—good different.

There's no hustle & bustle, and everything is within walking distance. The streets are lined with ginormous trees and kids who roam around unsupervised like it's the 90s.

The town is so tiny there's an alarm that blasts through it to gather volunteers. Thankfully for firefighting duties instead of the zombie apocalypse we thought was happening.

We're so remote, Uber Eats won't come here and fast food drive-thrus don't exist. My waistline is grateful.

Next on the agenda is building our home on the land we purchased last year, which is even further away from civilisation. It's a good thing I don't like people much.

My husband and I have survived parenthood and Ikea flatpacks, but is our marriage strong enough to make it through building a house from scratch? Stay tuned ...


I'm working on novel #2 - THE SEXY BUCKET LIST. Enjoy a sneak peek.


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