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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: July 2023

Hello, lovely!

Whoa, it's been a big month in writing land. I've got tons to share.

Ready to go behind the scenes?

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Monthly Wrap-Up: July | Holly - Stay-at-home writer


Competition News


Queensland Writers Centre

My manuscript, The Sexy Bucket List, has been longlisted for the Queensland Writers Centre Publishable program.

When they called to share the good news, I asked, 'Are you sure?' an annoying amount of times.

But they were telling the truth. Phew!

One of the great things about this comp is that longlistees receive exclusive access to development workshops and one-on-one manuscript feedback. We're given time to apply these learnings before resubmitting our manuscript for further critique.

I'm thrilled to add this achievement to my Awards page.

Publishable Longlist - Queensland Writers Centre - Holly Brunnbauer

Heart of Goldie

My third novel

I've spent the entire month planning out my next novel, Heart of Goldie.

Did I compile it all into a pretty Canva document? Yes. Yes, I did.

This is what it contains:


  • Protagonist profile

  • Love interest profile

  • Antagonist profile

  • Supporting cast mini-profile


  • Plot grid

  • Sub-plot summary

  • Scene list

  • Scene summaries

Publishing basics

  • Elevator pitch

  • Blurb

  • Synopsis

I'm working on a Novel Planning blog series to share all the deets soon. Hang tight.

Novel Planning Document by Holly Brunnbauer


The Plottery | Fiction Writing Coach

Novel Planning Academy (NPA) is an online self-paced course designed to help writers plan and plot their fiction novels.

Lessons are delivered via short videos and Char (the writing coach) keeps it real. There's no stiff, robot-voice, reading from notes, going on. No, no, no. She speaks to the camera in a conversational manner. Her cheeky cat, Lavender, also makes a guest appearance.

This course provides a workbook and templates to fill out as you're moving through each step. I customised mine and built upon them to go a little further.

One of the many things I love about this course is that Char uses a fictional story she created, to show you how to apply the learnings. The example is GOLD!

NPA isn't genre specific. So, if you're a romance writer like me, you'll need to also draw upon other resources to nail reader expectations. I'll share some of those in my upcoming novel planning blog series. I got you.

Because NPA comes with lifetime access, this is the second time I've completed the course. I used it to help plan my last novel and for my new one and I'll probably follow it again for my next story. I do love me a step-by-step planning process.

Novel Planning Academy | The Plottery


Girl Detectives Just Wanna Have Fun - Philippa Kaye

Girl Detectives Just Wanna Have Fun ~ PHILIPPA KAYE

Heard the phrase 'cosy mystery'? It's a subgenre of crime fiction for people like me who can't stomach violence. They usually feature an amateur sleuth and delightful sidekicks. Phillipa Kaye's debut novel fits the bill and it's even better than I anticipated.

I was immediately drawn to the bright cover. I'm calling it—best cover of 2023. When I flipped it over and saw it was set in 1984, I was sold.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Holly, you usually read rom-coms. Why are you going over to the dark side? Hear me out. This story meshes crime & romance, and boy oh boy, there are plenty of saucy scenes. Hunky Herb hits the spot—multiple times!

But the real hero is the protagonist, Birdie Mealing. Endearing, curious and gutsy. She runs rings around law enforcement and poor Detective Lawson.

The best part? This novel kicks off a series and I for one am thrilled about it.

On Writing: A memoir of the craft - Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft ~ STEPHEN KING

Oops, I did it again. I read another non-fiction book this year. Who-Even-Am-I? As they say, 'Read widely, yadda-yadda-yadda ...'

I'm embarrassed to admit, this is my first Stephen King novel. The man is a friggen' genius. Not because he's written a gazillion bestsellers (doesn't hurt), but because he told some pretty snooze-inducing stories in the first half of this book, and yet, I couldn't put it down. Mr King could make an Ikea instruction manual entertaining. I guess that's why they pay him the big bucks.

The second half of this novel contains practical advice about writing. Stephen shares how he does it, and well, let's just say, he's clearly a writing machine. Talented, dedicated and consistent. Basically, everything I want to be when I grow up.

Fave bit?

The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.

Drop the mic, Stephen.


Stay-at-home writer, Holly Brunnbauer, out and about in July at the Tram museum, the Indie Bookworm event, watching Barbie and going on a Mumcation.

The month started and finished in Ballarat.

We took the cherubs to the Ballarat Tram Museum. If your kids love transport, I highly recommend it. We made an afternoon of it and rode the vintage trams to Ballarat Botanical Gardens and explored Lake Wendouree.

I revisited Ballarat at the end of the month for my Mumcation. 'What's that?' you might ask. My annual mini-break with no partner, kids, pug or responsibilities. Three nights of Netflix and Menulog and four days of massages, the Barbie movie and adult-paced walking. Heaven!

What else happened in July? I attended the Indie Bookworm Event and was gobsmacked by the fan-level attendance. It was giving Hanson circa 1997 at Southland. Yep, I was there. Anyways, it was lovely to meet up with writing buddies and support my author friends (gooo Stephanie Hazeltine). The bookish community are a beautiful bunch.

That's all from me. Until next month, Auf Wiedersehen.


Want to know more about my work in progress? Enjoy a sneak peek.


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