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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: October 2023

Hey, boo-tiful!

It might be Halloween, but with NaNoWriMo just around the corner, that's no excuse to be a lazy bone.

I'm creepin' it real and spilling all the blood about Preptober.

Read on if you dare ... (cue spooky music).

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The Wrap-Up: October | Holly - Stay-at-home writer




Next month is National Novel Writing Month (aka - NaNoWriMo). Writers from around the world will challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

This year, for the first time ever, I'm one of those fools.

Am I terrified? Absolutely.

Will I participate anyway and berate myself if I fail? Of course. I'm a Virgo. Setting impossibly high standards is what we do.

That's why failure isn't an option.

I will write a minimum of 50k words by the end of the month to jumpstart the first draft of my third rom-com, Heart of Goldie.

How can I be certain?

Because I've set myself up for success with these tools:

Novel Plan

Months ago, when I was waiting for beta feedback for another novel, I took the opportunity to plan my next story and get to know the characters. That prep work resulted in a 38-page manifesto that is printed, bound and ready to go. I know exactly where my story is heading. When I sit down to write the first draft, I won't waste precious time thinking or making decisions. All I need to do is follow the plan.

What's in my novel plan? Check out my process in these blog posts:

NaNo Support Crew

I'm not doing this alone. That's no fun. I'll be doing this alongside a support crew.

Author/Podcaster/Mentor extraordinaire, Jodi Gibson, is hosting #WriteSquadNaNo23.

Weekly check-ins are scheduled. Thanks, Jods. I find accountability groups super motivating.

Essential Oil Roll On

Some people write best with dulcet tones playing in the background. Not me. The zingy scent of Australian natives gets my creative juices flowing. Dabbing a little oil on my skin before each writing session, tells my brain it's go time.


I will NOT be writing every day. Weekdays only. Why? Because I'm not a masochist.

For me, writing every day leads to burnout. No thanks.

My brain needs breaks. A new season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills just dropped. And this long-time fan needs to keep tabs on the Kyle and Mauricio sitch.

So, if NaNo math serves me correctly, there are 22 weekdays in November. That means I'll need to write 2,272-ish words per day to reach the 50k.

Will I sink or float? Stalk my Insta stories for daily updates.


Daphne Clair de Jong First Kiss Contest - Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ)

Daphne Clair de Jong First Kiss Contest

Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ)

Calling all romance writers!

Do you have a first kiss scene that'll melt hearts?

Put your smoochie skills to the test & enter the Daphne Clair de Jong First Kiss Contest.

  • 1500 word first kiss scene + 250 word set up

  • Open to RWNZ members only

  • For published & unpublished writers

  • Opens 1st Nov & closes 30th Nov

  • Receive scoresheets & feedback from 5 judges

  • NZ $12 per entry

Contest info here. (Log in to enter).

Daphne Clair de Jong First Kiss - Contest Manager

This year, I've stepped into the Contest Manager role. It's one way to give back to the writing community.

Want to be a good writer citizen? If you're not entering, consider judging.

Think about it, you get to read the BEST part of a romance story—the first kiss! Oooh.

Judge info and sign-up link here. (Log in to view).

You must be a current RWNZ member to enter and judge. Become a member today.


When Things Happen Together - Jordan Clayden-Lewis

When Things Happen Together ~ JORDAN CLAYDEN-LEWIS

WHEN THINGS HAPPEN TOGETHER is a story about two backpackers who fall deeply in love and set off on an Australian road trip. They're always together and yet grow further apart. Can Thomas help Bruce heal from his past so they can have the future he desperately wants?

Have you ever wanted to take off and explore the Northern Territory? Save on petrol and read this novel instead. The experience is so immersive, you'll feel like you're there. The Australian landscape comes alive through vivid descriptions that delight all the senses.

Do you like romances with a side of spice? There's plenty of action to keep you satisfied. What I really enjoyed was there wasn't smut for smut's sake. The intimate moments provided an insight into how emotionally connected Thomas and Bruce were.

There's an author's note at the beginning of the novel to let readers know this story explores mental illness. The topic is written in an authentic way and approached with such care, that I felt like I was in safe hands the whole time.

If you read this and are left wondering what the lads are up to, I have good news for you. There's a nature-inspired short story sequel. Grab a copy of The Way We Are to hear Bruce's side of the story.


Stay-at-home writer, Holly Brunnbauer, out and about in October

This little introvert left the house multiple times and has photographic evidence to prove it.

I attended two author talks, and frankly, can't get enough.

Meeting Clare Fletcher, Queen of rural rom-com, was an absolute treat. So lovely. Sooo tall. Clare chatted about her new novel, LOVE MATCH. It's the sequel to FIVE BUSH WEDDINGS. I have a Q&A with Clare on my bloggy. Check out The story behind the novel.

At the end of the month, I was dazzled by comedian and author, Benjamin Stevenson. He wowed the audience with his new murder mystery, EVERYONE ON THIS TRAIN IS A SUSPECT. It's the sequel to the smash hit, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE.

Last but not least, I had lunchies with writing pals, Sarah (@thecommunitywriter) & Em (@emma.mugglestone). This was our first IRL encounter with Sarah (she's a Brisbanian), but we've been chatting on the 'gram for so long, the convo, carbs, and cocktails flowed. Writing friends are the best kind of people.


Cheer me on as I tackle my first NaNoWriMo challenge. Follow @hollybrunnbauer for daily updates.


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