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It’s time for a change around these parts

I work with WordPress themes all the time, and the themes and designs available these days are just mind-blowingly beautiful and modern. When I looked at my website this week (like, really looked at it) I thought, “This is so 2011! What’s up with that?” So, here’s a heads-up that things are going to change around here, because this place is long overdue for a redesign and upgrade

PS: I’m also having a baby next week (!!!), so this process may or may not be due to the strange and uncontrollable phenomenon called “Nesting Syndrome“, and may or may not take several weeks to complete thanks to the new bundle of joy/spit/poo that’s coming my way with the certainty of a freight train.

UPDATE 19 FEB: I did it! I updated the look & feel and started updating older posts with large header images to suite the theme, but I’ll probably only go back ±15 posts okay? Okay.

Welcome to my “new” home 😉

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What do you call a group of crows?

So, what do you call a group of crows? (Hint: it’s not a flock)

Answer: A murder.

Very handy Wikipedia list of animal group names for writers who want to get it right.

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Too broke to publish your book? Learn how to do it for $5 or less

I have been writing stories for a long time. Years, in fact. I’ve done it mostly to satisfy my inner voice, but recently I realized that I might actually be good at it and that maybe, just maybe I should take this writing thing seriously. Then I discovered self-publishing (a.k.a. indie-publishing), the phenomenon that makes it possible for any aspiring author to publish their books themselves without a Big Bad Publishing House playing god over their precious manuscript. Suddenly it felt like the world could be my oyster.

So I took a deep breath and cranked up my search engine. I mean, if you need to know something about anything, like how to self-publish your (still unfinished) book—especially for free—the internet will show you the way. Right?

That was more than a year ago. I definitely found out things, like the fact that you’ll waste a lot of time you could have spent writing, and that you’ll have too many false starts to show for it.

When it comes to actually self-publishing a book, well, I’ve been there. Still is, in fact. The amount of information out there—good and bad—is simply overwhelming, and I still don’t feel like I’m equipped to do it after all this time. But then, I’ve been doing it the hard way.

No more!

Cover for Holly Lisle's Publishing While Broke workshop Author Holly Lisle has been around long before self-publishing existed, and she has used her success and skills to teach others how to do what she does. Now she has done it again by creating the perfect solution for writers who want to self-publish on a non-existent budget.

The Publishing While Broke workshop is the only manual you’ll ever need. No more pages of confusing search results or trying to learn how to work that free software that promises you the world. To add to all this awesomeness, because November is NaNoWriMo, she has discounted it with 20% until the end of the month! And before you ask, yes I have already bought it, since I know her courses are of immeasurable value, and I’ve spent at least 10 times the price of the workshop on time wasted.

In case you didn’t know, I did Holly’s 6 months super-intensive How To Think Sideways Writers’ Boot Camp, and that course changed my life (and my writing) forever. Since then I’ve also bought some of her clinics, books, and every free course she has ever created, and this woman really knows what she’s about. She is inspirational in every way that matters.

If you want to publish your book on a shoestring budget, get this workshop before the end of the month.

The information alone is worth more than US$200, and that doesn’t even consider the time you’ll save. But being Holly, she’d rather make it affordable than ask what it’s really worth. So, for only US$8.80 (that is only R98! For real!) there is no way you’ll ever get this kind of information at such a low price, all in one place. Even if you decide to “do it yourself” with your trusty sidekick whose name rhymes with oogle, it will still cost you more. Trust me, I know.

Convinced by now? You can buy it here.

If you’re interested in or curious about any of her other products (whether fiction or non-fiction), you can go to her online shop here.

(Necessary disclaimer: Because I have done her workshops and believe in her products, I am a Holly Lisle affiliate. That means that if you click on any of the course links and decide to buy something, I will receive a commission.)

Movember header image

Movember Typestaches

Typestaches by Tor Koluglu

A Field Guide to Typestaches by Tor Koloğlu

In celebration of the ever-popular Movember, enjoy these cute Typestaches by Tor Koloğlu, courtesy of

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My beautiful girl (scrapbook page)

Wow, two scrapbook pages in a row! We’re in for some weird weather 😉
Scrapbook page of Linnae Apr2014

This page was inspired by Cathy Zielske after reading her book Clean And Simple Scrapbooking for the hundredth time. Cathy is a graphic designer and it shows; her clean and simple style is striking and inspiring. Add to that her verbose journalling full of heart and humour, and it’s no wonder that I’m a fan girl.. groupie… thing (but without the ridiculous screaming. Usually). This layout came to be after I decided to try and “channel my inner Cathy” so to speak, by using a grid layout and conversation-style journalling from the heart, and otherwise just keeping it simple.

Close-up of beautiful scrapbook page Apr2014Boy oh boy, did I surprise myself! I managed to do the page in a day while still keeping true to my own style, and I love how it turned out!

Cathy also reminded me why we do what we do: that it’s about leaving something of value behind. If it’s pretty, it’s a bonus, but it’s our stories, our memories, that should take precedence. I will be channelling my inner Cathy more regularly from now on — thanks to her, my little girl now knows a little bit more about herself at 8 months, and how much I adore her.

So, thank you Cathy Zielske, for being a rock star and writing a book* that has helped me see past the blank page and paralysing fear of failure, to the obvious heart of the matter: design isn’t hard, it’s actually easy, but it’s the message that matters, so we should make it count.


* She actually wrote another book as well, and I own and love — and devour on a regular basis — both her books.


Cardstock (Bazzill) • Pattern Paper (K&Company) • Clear alphabet letters (Heidi Swapp) • Brads (Keiser Kraft) • Alcohol Inks (Ranger) • Glossy Accents (Ranger)

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Hallo Beautiful! Scrapbook page

Digital scrapbook page titled Daddy's Girl

Say hello to my beautiful little girl Linnae! She’s 6 months old in these photos, and she’s the most precious, lovely, sweetest little baby on the planet, hands down. No, don’t argue, I know what I’m talking about: I’m the mother.

Speaking of beautiful, isn’t this digital kit pretty? I discovered a very nice online digital scrapbook shop, Pixels and Company, where I bought this kit called “Happy Days” and I love it! I’m a long time Shabby Princess fan and has a lot of her stuff, but the other day when I needed my digital scrapbook supplies, I couldn’t find the external hard drive I store it on so I had to look for alternatives. Well, I love this, although I’m still a Shabby Princess gal – her stuff is just top notch. Even her free stuff are better than a lot of the kits you have to pay good money for.


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National #WritingDate Day action

I participated in Natalie Marie Collins’ “National Writing Date Day” on Saturday (6 Sep), although participate may be a bit of a stretch; I mostly lurked because I joined the Facebook Group only on the day since we were away on holiday until the last minute, and then I joined the G+ Hangout very late due to scheduling conflicts and erroneous time conversion.

Anyway, after wasting the first hour watching the recorded Hangout video, I actually did some writing, and felt quite productive :D. I didn’t get around to editing, but putting words down is half the battle won.

National Writing Date Day Natalie Marie CollinsTime to write has become a challenge lately with a one year old and another bun in the oven (since I’m sooooo tired…….) and the idea of a Writing Date is perfect: it’s the simple concept of having a set time that you write, where you remove yourself from distractions — and preferably your house — and crank it out for an hour or two in a coffee shop (or on the beach or where ever you feel inspired). (Here’s Natalie’s explanation of what a Writing Date is.)

The secret is that you must treat it like a date. It should be part of your weekly or monthly planning, and the people around you must know the times and honour it by leaving you alone. It also helps if you have people who hold you accountable. Natalie considers doing a Writing Date once a month because of overwhelming interest, and I think that’s a great idea. She’ll use the existing Facebook Group as a base, which would hopefully become Accountability Central. Well, let’s see how it goes.

#reallyhopeful #butscepticallthesame

Cute and easy digital brag book

A few months ago we travelled to the other side of the country to visit my parents, because my sister came all the way from Australia with her little boy to visit and we just had to meet Connor for the first time. To commemorate that special occasion, I decided to make a Brag Book for my parents, since these are their only two grandchildren.

Click on any image to browse as a gallery. Supplies at end of post.

I wanted to put it together quickly, so I:

  1. reused the page templates for the boy and girl sections by simply swapping out the papers and elements,
  2. didn’t add any journalling or descriptions, and
  3. made the album jumbo size (4×6″ / 10×15 cm) which is a standard photo size and thus simple to print anywhere.

I used two Shabby Princess digital kits: HopScotch for the boy pages, and The Penelope Collection for the girlie side. I really love Shabby Princess kits! They are beautiful and their attention to detail always leaves me giddy — I love working with digital supplies that look “real”.