by Amanda on February 1, 2014

THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.



Once, Only the Swallows Were FreeOnce, Only the Swallows Were Free by Gabrielle Gouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written, I found this memoir both compelling and moving. A real insight into the daily hardships of living under a communist regime. It seemed that refuge in Israel would be a relief but the harsh conditions of that new country made it almost worse that the life they had fled.

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Another 12in12 success story!

by Amanda on December 6, 2013


I am thrilled to have a signed copy of this beautiful memoir ‘Granny-bird’s Memories’ by Christine Rutherford – hot off the press.! Christine attended a workshop I ran locally in 2009 and then joined my 12 Chapters in 12 Month Programme.

We had a few locals in the programme and started to meet once a month for coffee. Christine formed a friendship with several other memoir writers and is the fourth member of this group to finish and publish her book, along with Francis, Rose & Margaret.

It is so incredibly rewarding to know that I have helped these hard-working women to achieve their dreams to tell their life stories and leave a legacy but also that my workshops have been the catalyst for new friendships that have endured to this day.

We had our Xmas lunch get-together yesterday, Christine’s books had arrived at 5.30pm the night before – so that really was the icing on the cake. Congratulations Christine!



Jennifer’s Chapter 2

by Amanda on October 25, 2013

Jennifer has completed the second chapter of her novel and dealt admirably with the copious feedback. When I hadn’t heard back for a few days, I worried she might have cut off an ear or similar but turned out she was on holiday – phew!

While getting detailed and specific feedback is the fastest way to improve your work, it can be tough in the early stages of writing when aspiring writers have the kind of crazy idea that they are either talented or not. There’s a perception that talent requires no feedback, it just is.

Writing the first draft is just that, drafting – like sketching in preparation for painting – real writing is the draft after draft after draft x10 or x100 until it is a polished manuscript.

Think of any writer you admire, I guarantee that get feedback from someone they trust and that they write in excess of a dozen drafts.
So here’s Jennifer’s take on Chapter 2 feedback:

I’m happy to report that Chapter 2 of my novel has now been written, and Amanda’s feedback has been an eye-opener, to say the least.

The first thing I can say after this second lot of feedback from Amanda is … WOW! This novel-writing thing is not as romantic as it sounds :) In fact, it’s plain hard work. I’m only up to Chapter 2, and having written approximately 10,000 words, with at least another 50,000 to go, it’s scary to think that this is only the first draft.

Then the enormous challenge of going back to revise and edit every single one of these words I’m writing will begin. I don’t even want to think about how long that whole process is going to take.

Aside from the sudden fear of all the work I now realise is ahead in order to complete this novel, I also have a renewed awareness of what it takes to be an author. I am utterly and completely in awe of published authors…especially those who have 2+ novels sitting on the shelf! And I thought doing a marathon was a big deal!

Although I find writing therapeutic, it hasn’t taken me long to realise that I will need to find ‘research’ appealing too. I’ve never been big on researching though. Even when I was writing essays for school or uni, I always seemed to find the quickest path to get the final product done and dusted. And somehow, passed with flying colours! I guess I got away with it back then. But when it comes to writing a novel, set in the early 1900′s, in a country I’ve never even set foot in, and based on the lives of people I’ve never actually met…now, that’s another story!




Jennifer’s Chapter One

by Amanda on July 28, 2013



Jennifer has her first chapter down and survived the feedback experience – not easy. It’s important to remember that good feedback is not a positive/negative process. It’s more about what’s working or not working – and most importantly – why?

Her story opens in Lebanon and has some lovely evocative settings that have really stayed with me; the smell of orange blossom and the beauty of the orange grove. These settings are the stage that is being set for the action of you characters and give the story flavour and resonance that stays with the reader. It’s a setting we want to be immersed in.

Here’s Jennifer’s perspective on her feedback:
“I was 1500 words into the chapter when I stumbled across my first dilemma. I had allowed a couple of loved ones to read my synopsis, thinking it would be nice to get some feedback from them. They thoroughly enjoyed it, but with one complaint – they were disappointed I was no longer writing a family memoir.

When asked her thoughts on this, Amanda replied:

Firstly, beware of asking for opinions/validation – it can easily set you off on a different path. Secondly, you will need to put hundreds of hours into this, it needs to inspire and excite you. Thirdly, a novel has the potential to be published and read by thousands, a family memoir needs to be self-published and has a readership of hmmm…5-10…..more  here:




July 11, 2013

Source: via tessa on Pinterest

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Life’s like a cupcake!

July 2, 2013

Meet Jennifer Reid Jennifer is a gutsy gal – a mother of two who has been come through the experience of breast cancer. On the other side of that, she made a commitment to live her life to the fullest – no excuses. She became an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and – [...]

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Why punctuation matters…

June 11, 2013

It’s one thing having a profound tattoo – live your life? But an incorrectly punctuated one is just plain awkward. Your (belongs to you) and you’re (you are) are the most commonly misused but not to be confused with the catch-all youse (more than one you) – an Aussie classic.

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Memoir Workshop

June 1, 2013

Just finished a six week memoir writing workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre. It is so much fun to hear everyone’s stories and get to know a whole new group of people. I really love how a disparate group of people are thrown together, often guarded and wary at first but, by its nature, memoir [...]

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Lily’s Picture

May 23, 2013

I’m currently running a six week memoir workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre. Last Saturday one of the participants had to bring her six year old daughter, Lily, along to the class. She was quiet as the proverbial mouse, drawing industriously for three hours and at the end of the class I was presented with [...]

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On Perfection…

May 21, 2013
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Skip the boring bits!

April 2, 2013

Image:Teenylauren It’s probably pretty fundamental that you don’t want boring parts in your novel. Most of us don’t set out to be boring in our writing or life. But it happens that you’re at a party and, relaxed by a cocktail or two, you decide to share the thrills and spills of tracing your family [...]

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