Indie book a month - The Lighthouse

25 November 2012 / 4 comments
The Lighthouse Alison Moore book review

Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse was recently longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. This debut novel was published by Salt Publishing, gaining this independent press some well deserved attention. There is much to applaud about this book – but instead I’m going to focus on what I have learnt from reading this book as a writer …

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Literary thin ice and inspiration comes from rejection

19 November 2012 / 5 comments
Over a week ago, I found out that my Searching for Von Honningsbergs manuscript had not made it to the Vogel Award shortlist, but had again been commended by the judges and Allen & Unwin have commissioned a reader's assessment. It is just like what happened to me in 2007, five years ago. I've done two extensive rewrites since the last reader's assessment and I felt as though the manuscript was almost as good as I could make it.

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Pearls of wisdom

7 November 2012 / 2 comments

Writers don't need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block. At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing - a sunset or an old shoe - in absolute and simple amazement.
Raymond Carver

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28 October 2012 / 3 comments

Narrativs is a social publishing enterprise that aims to enrich the experience of storytelling by transforming the way we interact with the narrative. Narrativs provides a digital creative space for writers, readers, editors and literary enthusiasts to collaborate, create and present inspiring and motivating pieces of literature.

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What happens next … advice for first-time authors from a Publisher

16 October 2012 / 3 comments

For a long time, it’s just been you and your book. You have been the master of your story. You have dreamt of someone wanting to publish this baby of yours. However, it can be a difficult time letting go of your book and letting other people care for it as well. Here is what Michael Hanrahan, Publisher at Rough Draft, has to say about what to expect in the production, editing and promotion phase of your first book …

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PANDORA Australia's Web Archive

10 October 2012 / 4 comments
As I mentioned in a previous post, the National Library of Australia recently contacted me to see if I would be happy for this blog to be archived on PANDORA Australia's Web Archive. This blog is now publicly available on the PANDORA archive. It feels a little like when I had a lot of hair cut off recently and the hairdresser asked if he could keep my hair. It feels nice to have been asked - but weird that my hair will have a life of its own after I've parted with it (apparently the hairdresser wants to experiment on dying it - I had a lot chopped off, and my hair is ridiculously thick ...)

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Indie book a month - Serve the People

8 October 2012 / 2 comments
Serve the people Yan Lianke

I've always had a bizarre interest in Communism.  As an exchange student in Latvia in the mid-1990s I collected Soviet memorabilia; a fluffy ear hat, army coat and military badges - much to the horror of my Latvian host parents. I have succumbed to red tourism, seeking out Soviet statue graveyards in Lithuania and infamous embalmed Communist leaders lying in state. So I was captivated already when I read in a review that Yan Lianke's novel Serve the People had been banned in China because it 'Slanders Mao Zedong, the army, and is overflowing with sex ... Do not distribute, pass around, comment on, excerpt from it or report on it.'

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Writing podcasts

28 September 2012 / 3 comments
As I mentioned in a recent post, I have discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. I currently subscribe to BBC Radio 4 Bookclub and Books and Authors, Radio National's Books +, The Guardian's Books podcasts, The Naked Book and The Writing University (from the University of Iowa).  It's becoming my own audio learning centre where I get to listen to the world's best authors and industry professionals talking about writing and publishing (and I can listen while I'm walking the dog, or weeding the garden). Here is a list of the most inspiring literary podcasts I have discovered ... and I will be adding to it over time ...

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Writers' notes

24 September 2012 / 4 comments

Recently the National Library of Australia contacted me to see if I would be happy for this blog to be archived on the PANDORA Web Archive. National and State libraries have rich collections of letters, writer’s notebooks, diaries and manuscript drafts. Exhibitions are sometimes toured so that the public gets to see these papers, such as the Patrick White collection from the National Library of Australia.  These collections are important for researchers and the public to gain a better insight into their literary heroes. Check out the list of Peter Carey’s papers here for an example … 

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Giving up

4 September 2012 / 4 comments
I recently pledged to read one indie book a month. I loved the first book I discovered (I hate Martin Amis et. al. by Peter Barry), but unfortunately I haven't been able to connect with the second one. I don't care for the main character or the journey that they are on. I couldn't care a bit. So, after numerous attempts, I am giving up around page 60.

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Indie book a month – I hate Martin Amis et al.

20 August 2012 / 3 comments
I hate Martin Amis et al. Peter Barry

Peter Barry’s debut novel I hate Martin Amis et al. can be summed up as ‘when rejection turns a writer into a sniper’. Milan has written four books and all of them have been rejected. Usually he receives the standard, impersonal rejection slip, but then he receives a personal comment, ‘Scarcely original. Feel I’ve read this before’, and this tips him over the edge.

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Recently in print - Irma Gold

13 August 2012 / 2 comments

Irma Gold is an award-winning writer and editor. Her debut collection of short fiction Two Steps Forward won a Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature. She is currently completing her debut novel for which she received an artsACT grant and a LongLines Award from the Eleanor Dark Foundation. Irma has edited a wide range of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books, and is the commissioning editor of a number of anthologies, including The Invisible Thread, a century of literature by Canberra writers which will be released in October by Halstead Press.

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A writer's digital toolkit

6 August 2012 / 3 comments
In the past, a writer's toolkit may have consisted of a pen and paper, or a typewriter, a dictionary and a thesaurus and other reference books. These days there are so many digital aids that a writer can tap into, and often, the answer to a writer's query may just be one click away.

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Recently in print - Genevieve Graham

2 August 2012 / 3 comments

Genevieve Graham’s first book Under the Same Sky was finally picked up by Penguin US. But they didn’t want just that book – they wanted her to write another novel as well! Find out more about how an unknown writer landed a double book deal with one of the world’s leading publishers.

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30 July 2012 / 5 comments
So I am now subjecting this blog to the same fate as my novels - rejection and failure. Today I found out that I had not been selected as one of the five Emerging Bloggers for the Melbourne Writers Festival. For my submission, I had to write up to 500 words on the theme 'Enquire Within'. Although I was slightly doubtful about my 500 words, I did have confidence in this blog being perfect for the gig. I hope that what I write about and the answers that I seek from other writers, publishers and agents respond to many of the questions other emerging writers have.

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An indie book a month

21 July 2012 / Leave a Comment
I've got a confession to make and you may not like it. You're likely to suspect that I'm a great big phony. But I'm going to tell you anyway, as I want to do something about it...

I've been banging on about all these great indie publishers lately. I've even made lists of my favourites and published them on this blog. I've made assessments of them based on their websites, book covers, blurbs and reviews of their books. I've submitted my manuscript to a couple of them. Some of these independent publishers have even been kind enough to contribute to this blog.

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Indie Publisher – MidnightSun Publishing

20 July 2012 / 4 comments

According to their website,  ‘MidnightSun Publishing has grown out of a disenchantment with the established publishing houses in Australia. We know there are plenty of fabulous manuscripts about unusual topics floating around, but publishing new and unknown writers poses a big risk. MidnightSun is prepared to take that risk.’ 

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Recently in print - Katie O'Rourke

19 July 2012 / 3 comments

Today is publication day of Katie O’Rourke’s first novel Monsoon Season. Happy publication day, Katie! A few weeks ago, I approached Katie with a series of questions about how she became a published author. Here is what she had to say…

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Manuscript nibbles - The Publisher

11 July 2012 / 2 comments

Rebecca Starford is the associate publisher at Affirm Press, a Melbourne-based publishing company committed to publishing books that have a positive impact on the community. Affirm Press publishes new and under-published authors and distinguish themselves through their editorial commitment. Rebecca Starford was deputy editor at Australian Book Review and is the co-founder and editor of Kill Your Darlings.

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Manuscript nibbles - The Agent

10 July 2012 / Leave a Comment

Virginia Lloyd is an Australian literary agent, editor, freelance writer, and the author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement, a memoir. She has recently agented the highly successful debut novel of Fiona Higgins, The Mothers’ Group, published by Allen & Unwin. Virginia has edited all of Lily Brett’s novels, including her new novel Lola Bensky that is being published by Penguin Books Australia later this year.

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A writer's circle

11 June 2012 / 3 comments
A wonderful thing has happened to me since becoming serious about my writing earlier this year - when I started this blog, joined Twitter and posted part of my novel on Authonomy. No - I haven't found a publisher who would like to publish my book. But I have found something extremely valuable - a community of writers who I have connected with.

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Others cannot understand ...

8 June 2012 / 1 comment
When you tell people you've been working on a book for five years or eight years or even ten, people cannot begin to understand (a) why you're engaged in the process and (b) what the process has cost you - no one understands the courage it takes to set your work against the self doubt.

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Purple Party People, Emerging Writers Festival and a filled to the brim day

26 May 2012 / Leave a Comment
I am slowly losing grip of the life I used to have before I became determined a few months ago to try my best to become a proper writer. I began trying to write every day for the Hardie Grant Ampersand Project. Then I started this blog when I tried to give freelance writing and magazine pitches a go (a grand failure). Slowly this blog morphed into being about trying to get my novel published and opportunities out there for writers. And I realised that I want this blog to be for all emerging writers like me - who are suffering from the pain of rejection, but suffer equally from unequivocal hope.

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Number of manuscript rejections

19 May 2012 / 2 comments
Last week I received two manuscript rejections. But my salvation was coming across James Hughes’s list of famous literary rejections (via William Yatscoff’s guest post on my blog). It was the perfect antidote to the feeling that nobody is ever going to like my book enough to publish it. Here is my shortlist of famous literary rejections that I will return to, any time I need to lift my spirits again:

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Publisher - Bookkus Publishing

14 May 2012 / 1 comment

Bookkus Publishing is a unique independent publisher launching this year and they are currently seeking manuscripts. Based in Canada, they are initially focusing on eBooks and will then be moving into paperbacks. What makes Bookkus different is that a community of readers select the books that Bookkus will publish.

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Publisher - Alfie Dog Limited

11 May 2012 / Leave a Comment

Alfie Dog Limited is an exciting new publishing company which will publish a range of short stories and books in a number of genres. On 16 May they will be launching short stories to download and read at your leisure, including a story by Neil Randall – who I have featured here on this blog. Managing Director Rosemary J. Kind shared more about Alfie Dog…

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Dear Editor


Please find my manuscript enclosed. It may not be to your taste, but that's okay, not everything is to my taste either. Just please respond to me one way or another.

I know that you haven't heard of me, as I don't have a public profile, or any published work to speak of. What I have though, is a manuscript that I have been working on for almost ten years. I have spent $250 on a manuscript assessment, and a fine sum in submitting it to awards. However, these have not been the only costs this book has incurred.

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Manuscript submission opportunities

7 May 2012 / 1 comment
I am adding to and working through this list of who to possibly send my manuscript to (fiction publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts)...

Australian publishers

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Preditors and Editors

6 May 2012 / Leave a Comment
Have just discovered the website Preditors and Editors. Aside from giving warnings about dodgy publishers - it's a good listing of publishers around the world
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Submission advice for writers from a Publisher

4 May 2012 / 3 comments

Michael Hanrahan Publisher at Rough Draft has been kind enough to offer some submission advice for us writers trying to get our manuscripts published. I confess that I have sent first drafts to publishers, ignored some aspects of submission guidelines and submitted to not quite right publishers. Next time I'm going to follow Michael's advice...

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When can I call myself a writer?

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Every day I try to spend a couple of hours dedicated to my writing. Some days it might be working on one of my books, other days it might be writing a freelance piece, or reading and commenting on other author's books on Authonomy, or, often these days, it is spending time on my blog or twitter. I am writing all the time. But when can I call myself a writer?

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Indie publisher – The Stoneslide Corrective

30 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

The Stoneslide Corrective is based in the states of California and Connecticut, in the United States. They welcome unsolicited submissions and read them blind, so that the work is judged, not the author’s reputation or publishing history.

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Publisher Joel Naoum on Momentum Mondays

27 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

Following on from my recent post about manuscript submission days, I contacted Joel Naoum publisher of Momentum, Australia’s first major digital imprint – of Pan Macmillan. Momentum is open for submissions, but only on Mondays between 12am and 11.59pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). I wanted to find out more…

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Indie publisher – The Rag and Bone Man Press

25 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

The Rag and Bone Man Press, publishers of stories short and long, fiction and non, founded in 2011 in the lamplight of youth.

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April's approaches to writing

24 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
This month I asked 5 of my favourite out of print writers how they approach their writing. We all approach our writing differently, but most of us write on our own - so I thought it would be interesting to get a glimpse of how other writers write.

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Approaches to writing - Dave Ocelot

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Dave Ocelot
The Baggage Carousel
Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with a free-spirited Australian girl seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn't respond to his emails, the only direction he's heading is down...

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Approaches to writing - Kate Braithwaite

23 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
Kate Braithwaite
The Licenser
When Titus Oates stuns Restoration London with fictitious tales of a Popish Plot, only Nat Thompson, The Licenser, has the courage to find the truth.

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Indie publisher – Rough Draft

19 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

Rough Draft is a small Melbourne publisher, started in 2011 by Michael Hanrahan, with the aim of publishing high-quality fiction and non-fiction by Australian and international authors. I asked Michael some questions about Rough Draft and the advantages of publishing with a small press…

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Manuscript submission days

17 April 2012 / 2 comments
publishers accepting manuscripts

I asked a friend of mine, who works as an editor for an Australian publisher, why major publishers are deciding to have manuscript submission days where they accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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Indie publishers

9 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
While many publishing houses' doors are shut, with door bitches demanding entry only via a literary agent, there are a number of independent publishers that have a friendly 'submissions are welcome' sign on their door.

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Approaches to writing - Paul Beattie

7 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

Paul Beattie
Filthy Luca
A boy, a Nazi and a dead body in the dining room.

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Approaches to writing - Michael Dale

2 April 2012 / Leave a Comment

Michael Dale
Rude Awakening
This breakthrough novel takes an unflinching look at London's cubicle-driven society. Junior accountant Lucas Swink blows up a window and leaps out the office block, in an attempt to awaken the masses.

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Approaches to writing - April

1 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to find out how other out of print writers write. I’m not talking about plot, character development, setting etc – although all of that is interesting too. I want to know how other writers manage their manuscript? How do they take it from draft stage, to something that is polished and will hopefully shine for the reader?

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29 March 2012 / Leave a Comment
I have also posted my young adult book Marriage is silver on Authonomy. It can be viewed at

Will be good to get some feedback on this one. The problem with writing is that it's so hard to gauge just how good (or terrible) it is. Some days I think it would be so much easier to strive to be a swimmer, or a tennis player or something like that. The results of their training are far more measurable than this writing business...

I am staying up so late again this week...
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Putting myself out there

26 March 2012 / 1 comment
Well this whole writing thing is about having people read your work, right? I've had a manuscript assessment done like 6 years ago, an Allen & Unwin reader and some Vogel Award judges read my work and commented 5 years ago, but I haven't had much feedback lately, except from my husband.

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Synopsis struggles

24 March 2012 / Leave a Comment
I don't like writing birthday cards. What's there to say really? Happy birthday! Blah, blah, blah. I also don't like writing on leaving cards, baby cards or wedding cards. It's all been said before. How original can you be really? I like to think that I could be a writer, but I never know what to write on a god damn card.

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Momentum Monday

22 March 2012 / Leave a Comment
Some weird coincidences. On my recent holiday, I managed to read most of the articles in the current copy of Ampersand Magazine (this is actually a real luxury for me, given that I am usually pulled away from the weekend newspapers to play matchbox cars or Mother Gothel). Anyway, I read an article by John Birmingham about him agreeing to write some e-books for Momentum Books, a division of Pan Macmillan Australia. He talks about the new world of publishing and the positive opportunities that digital publishing present for both writers and readers. I made a note of Momentum Books on my iphone to research later.

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Rules for writing

20 March 2012 / Leave a Comment
So, I have returned from our holiday. It was so lovely to be away with the family. It's our first holiday in two years ... that's what happens I guess when we have a second baby, sell our house and buy another one that we can't really afford, as well as both work part time so that we can both be home with the kids...

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I am still an out of print writer

17 March 2012 / Leave a Comment
So yesterday I received a very succinct rejection for my young adult fiction ms from the Ampersand Project ...

We received an overwhelming amount of very strong manuscripts for this project. From here we are compiling a shortlist, but unfortunately aren’t able to pursue your submission further.

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Follow me on twitter

27 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
Follow me on twitter: @outaprintwriter
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Herbs vs writing

24 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
I'm looking at my basil and parsley that have wilted in the sun. Their leaves are so limp they are touching the unswept pavers. I really should go out there and water them and put some life back into them. Again I am torn between domesticity, keeping up the house, and writing. I've spent all morning making sure that I did enough, so that by the time it came to 1pm and my daughter was at kinder and my son was asleep I would get a solid two hours to write. So I hate those god damn herbs with their limp leaves crying out to me to save them. I don't want another thing to have to look after, another job to do, I want to write!

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I hate writing a synopsis

20 February 2012 / 1 comment
I hate writing a synopsis. It is almost impossible to capture in one page what happens in a novel. What do I put in and what do I leave out? It is so hard to know. How much should I bang on about the difficult mother/daughter relationship my protagonist has? Is it important to the story? What about the fact that she is a dedicated Lolita-fashion wearer. Does that mean anything to anyone, without reading my novel? I don't think so. That I have left out. Surely there must be some surprises left for the reader.

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In print online

17 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
So my story about co-parenting has just been published online:

It's a weird feeling having my words out there for people to read. Sometimes I lose sight of what writing is, it means that someone will read it. Maybe more than just someone, maybe quite a few. I mean, that's probably what the whole point of it is, really. And now, with social media technology, you can actually see people's comments. Where in the past, writers could probably hide in their study somewhere and not hear much feedback at all, now it's as simple as someone clicking enter to post a comment. So I'm just hoping that my piece doesn't seem smug or something, because I really don't want it to be.

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Thanks, but no thanks

16 February 2012 / Leave a Comment

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103 page views

15 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
So I have just reached 103 page views.

I am new to this blogging thing, this is only my 7th post, so it's kind of weird to me to think that 103 random people have been reading it. In a way, I've enjoyed updating this blog as a way of recording the process that I am going through right at the moment, trying to get published. I've had this sudden burst of creative energy, and while it's hot, I'm trying to run with it.

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A lovely rejection letter

13 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
I had been hanging all my hopes on a certain Melbourne independent publisher, that they would publish my 70,000 word novel Searching for Von Honningsbergs. But today I got the the dreaded rejection letter (email). However, it was a lovely rejection letter, it filled my heart with joy and kept alive my hope. It said:

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Young adult fiction deadline

12 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
So I need to set aside my non-fiction writing this week and focus on finalising my submission for Hardie Grant's The Ampersand Project 

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