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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: JUNE 2023

Hello, lovely!

It's been a big & exciting month.

Ready to go behind the scenes?

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


Competition News

The Chapter Short Story Contest

Romance Writers of New Zealand

I'm a finalist in a short story writing contest.

To be honest, I'm surprised.

I don't mean that in a self-deprecating way. It's more that, I've always believed I'm not good at writing short stories.

Strangely, I find it easier to write 80,000 words than 1800.

Who knew I could show restraint with my words? Not me.

This year, I'm pushing myself to do new things. Writing more short stories is on my to-try list. Watch this space ...

Anyway, I'm excited to add this little win to my Awards page.

The Chapter Short Story Contest - Romance Writers of New Zealand - Finalists 2023 - Holly Brunnbauer

The Sexy Bucket List

My second novel

The second draft is done and dusted and I'm happy with how the story is coming together.

Is there still more work to do?

Absolutely. But that's future Holly's problem. Poor lady.

What happens next?

I'll send it to my trusty beta readers to get their take on it.

They'll have it for a month and I'll have a break ... bahaha ... we all know that's a lie. I don't know how to rest.

Instead, I'll spend the month plotting my next rom-com (read about the title and premise here).


Libby M Ikirs | Romance Book Coach

Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) have a bunch of affordable self-paced courses available through their Academy. As soon as I saw Libby's name appear, I had to sign up. I've heard great things!

It was quite serendipitous that she happened to offer a course that walks writers through the early stages of planning a novel, right when I was dreaming up my next rom-com.

Course topics include:

  • genre

  • tropes

  • themes

  • thematic statement

  • premise

  • title

  • protagonist

The material is presented in a clear step-by-step guide, with a mix of video learning and workbook application.

This course has helped me get crystal clear on what my story is about and who's telling it.

Next month, I'll dive into Libby's two follow-up courses to go deeper into the planning stages. What can I say? I'm a sucker for learning and accountability.

If you're not a member of the RWA (um, what's wrong with you?), check out Libby M Ikirs and her book coach offerings here.


Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert


First and foremost, this is a story about a woman falling in love with herself.

If you're a die-hard romance fan, it's important to know that because this novel doesn't follow traditional conventions.

When I was 100 pages in and there was no clear front-runner for who the love interest/s were, I was a little worried.

Fortunately, it did deliver (phew), just a little later than romance novels usually do. Nothing wrong with that. Just need to let go of reader expectations and enjoy the ride.

Also, don't let the cutesy cover fool you, this story goes deep (and I love that). It dives headfirst into self-love and acceptance, and includes lots of emotionally mature people, having honest conversations. The protagonist, Cleo, unpacks a lot of conditioning and grief, so have the tissues on standby.



Cleo has a few things going on. Two beautiful kids and a less beautiful ex-husband, a share house arrangement with her long-term bestie Jude (complete with a third child, also beautiful) and an underperforming florist business. Actually, the shop could be beautiful too, it's just that Cleo hasn't got time to think about it.

Her new week-on week-off custody schedule is about to change all that. She can put her own needs first for once-take a dance class, fix up the shop, even think about dating. Not that she's looking for anything serious, but she's open to exploring what she wants.

Which, it turns out, is a lot. Maybe too much?

But how can you work out what you really, really want unless you try a bit of everything?


Stay-at-home writer, Holly Brunnbauer, out and about in June at the library, kids party and meeting author, Kylie Orr

The month started with a trip to the emergency department because Mr 5 swallowed a marble pebble thingy. Thankfully, he was fine. Me, not so much. Three hours in a waiting room with two boys who can't sit still was excruciating.

I did two things this month that pushed me out of my comfort zone and my front door. I ventured out to writing-related events.

Collins Booksellers Ballarat on Lydiard hosted an evening with domestic suspense author, Kylie Orr. The bookshop is majestic (I'll be back) and Kylie was a hoot. Yes, she writes about dark topics, but her quick wit had me in stitches. She was also deliciously honest about all things writing and publishing. I implore you to sign up for her newsletter, "If I'm honest ..." It's riveting.

My second attempt to get out of the house wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I went to a writer's group meeting and let's just say it was ... um ... awkward. They weren't my people, and that's okay.

Anyway, it's the school holidays (again) and I'm taking full advantage of the free kids' activities at the library.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. I wish I had a prize for you, but I don't. Soz.

See you next month.


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


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