29 October 2013

My Debut Novel Publishing Update

It's been a while since my last post about my book, so I just wanted to keep you all up to speed on what has been happening.

The short answer is "nothing". If you want to stick with the short story skip below to the paragraph headed "Next Steps". If you want to read a bit about what's been happening behind the scenes, please continue to the next paragraph :-)

So, here's something I was not permitted to reveal to you but may now put out there, as I didn't win. I entered the Vogel Award. The Vogel is a competition held annually by Allen & Unwin publishers and The Australian newspaper for an unpublished manuscript by an author aged under 35. I didn't actually ever believe that I would win, but I decided to throw my hat in the ring, as the manuscript was ready by the submission deadline. The only problem was that I couldn't do anything further about it until I got my rejection letter - which, in the end, wasn't a problem, as it gave me time to step away from the manuscript and then "return" (you'll get this if you read my last post about my book) with fresh eyes to do another edit.

When I got my rejection letter from Allen & Unwin, I submitted the manuscript to a small publisher who also did not give me a publishing contract. But that's ok. I got one of the nicest rejection emails I could have imagined from them. They really made me believe that as a small publisher there's only a certain amount of books they can publish each year and that they really did wish me all the best with future pitches. I choose to turn a blind eye to the possibility that this is just what they say to all the "unpublished".

I'm actually okay about all this. And I'm looking forward to ...

NEXT STEPS (this is where you skippers rejoin the blog post)

I think I will self publish. I have already (I think) chosen who to go through, but with everything happening with our house at the moment, I have decided to take my time. I'll put it on the backburner for now while we move and get settled. I'm thinking I might take on self-publishing in the new year. I have lots of ideas about covers and websites, but for now, I'll let them swirl around in my mind rather than settle and weigh down on my already burdened shoulders.

Stay tuned!

Today I'm linking up with Jess for #ibot :)

27 October 2013

Farewell to my Thankful Thursday linky

Francesca Writes Here
As many of you would know, I have been hosting a Thankful Thursday linky party each week for the past five months - well, I did miss a week when we were away on holidays last month, but apart from that, it has been up and running each week. I took this link-up over from Six by the Bay in May 2013.
I have loved hosting the linky, as it has made me stop and think of something to be thankful for each week, even at times when I haven't been feeling particularly positive. Lately, though, it has been feeling like a bit of a chore. My evenings lately, instead of being distributed in a balanced way between time with Hubby, housework and blogging, have been taken up with all manner of things associated with selling our house and finding somewhere new to live. And this won't change any time soon, if we go ahead with our plans to build.

I wrote a few weeks ago of my doubts about continuing with Thankful Thursday. At the end of that post, I expressed how I needed to keep going because it made me blog. Here's the thing, though. My blogging time is at a premium right now, and I don't want Francesca Writes Here to turn into just a collection of Thankful Thursday posts as it has in recent weeks, when I've only been able to manage writing one post per week. With the changes going on in our lives right now, I value this space as mine to express and record what is happening with us, in my own way.


Right now, I don't need a theme to inspire me to blog. I have a tonne of real-life inspiration going on - I just need time and energy to write about it.
I am thankful to Leigh for passing Thankful Thursday to me. It has definitely helped me to find the good in things and to be thankful for them. I am thankful to all of you who have linked up at one time or another and supported the linky party on my blog. I am also thankful to Rhianna at A Parenting Life for volunteering to take over Thankful Thursday hosting responsibilities.

A Parenting Life

I hope to link up with Rhianna's Thankful Thursday more often than not and I hope that you can support her in making this link-up her own.

25 October 2013

Our Forever House

Over the past while (years, now that I think about it), hubby and I have been thinking, dreaming, planning for our "forever house". We haven't always called it that, but now we've put a name to the concept.

I may be slightly prone to exaggeration here...

You might remember me alluding to decision-making quite some time ago: here and here. Well, that's what it was all about. A decision-making and decision-breaking cycle of stay where we are, subdivide, buy something bigger or build somewhere else, then back to the first idea and around again. First world problems, I know, but still a weight on our minds. It has been exciting at times - dreaming up plans, looking at house designs, picturing our family in a few years' time. It has also been quite stressful - mulling over the logistics of moving with three children, the pressure of a much larger mortgage and the endless array of decisions involved in building a house.

A couple of weeks ago, we made a decision and acted on it. We saw a house out of our price range, but beautiful and in a great location, and made the decision to sell our house. We knew that no matter what we did, we would have to sell our house first in order to "upsize" our home.

From there, things happened at light speed. A day and a half after our house was advertised on the internet, our agent showed five people through. The following evening, we'd had two offers. A week later, contracts were exchanged. There was no sign out the front, no saga of will we or won't we sell it - it happened just like that.

In the meantime, we've been looking for places to buy. The problem is, there's nothing around which is suitable and in our price range. So, we've decided to build. The only thing is that we need somewhere to live in the meantime. And so begins the search for a rental.

So, as you can see, it has been a busy, full-on couple of weeks. These are exciting times for us, but also quite stressful. I don't seem to be able to get excited just yet, as my anxiety over finding somewhere to live is overwhelming every other feeling at the moment. I think once we've signed a lease, I'll feel much better about things and I'll be able to focus on packing up a house we've lived in for seven years and had three kids in. But right now, I just need to find us somewhere to live...

24 October 2013

The Thankful Post About Nothing

Francesca Writes Here

To say things have been busy in casa di Francesca lately would be a gross understatement. I am thankful for plenty of stuff, but each item really needs its own blog post (or series of blog posts) to do them justice. Now is not the time. So today's Thankful Thursday "post from the host" is somewhat Seinfeldian. (Remember the show about nothing?)

Image source
That's not to say I'm thankful for nothing. I am thankful for many things but writing about them today would give the game away. Let me just keep the mystery alive until I have time to do a proper post devoted to life at the moment by saying that I am thankful for the first step of our plans being accomplished so quickly. I am thankful for the well wishes and support of friends and family. I am thankful that I haven't yet had a nervous breakdown!

What are you thankful for?

17 October 2013

Thankful for the Serenity

One of the great things about going to Gran and Soot's place in the school holidays was the space. We live on a fairly large block, but there's something special about  -----WIDE ----- open spaces outside of suburbia, in a country town, which we don't get even here.

One thing I love in bigger properties is finding small quiet spaces, little pockets of serenity. Somewhere to sit and just be. Or, if you're surrounded by small children, somewhere to take a photo of so as to imagine sitting and just being...

How's the serenity? ;-)

Francesca Writes Here

10 October 2013

What Am I Thankful For? This Photo Sums It Up

What am I thankful for today? This photo sums it up:

For two months of the year my daughters’ ages are evenly spread and my inner mathematician revels in the pattern of each child’s age increasing (or decreasing, depending on which end you start from) in increments of two years. Right now, I have a 6, 4 and 2 year old. Each daughter is unique and each stage is unique. Each tests me in different ways and each delights me in different ways.

Life might seem challenging at times - busy, difficult, filled with hurdles to overcome. But what's any of that when I have so much to be thankful for?

Francesca Writes Here

08 October 2013

20 Years Ago - An Unforgettable Adventure

20 years ago, I went on a trip that I will never forget. It was an adventure that made a deep impression on the 12-year-old Francesca. It was a holiday to the other side of the world, but in a way, it felt a bit like home.

20 anni fa ho fatto un viaggio che non dimenticherò mai. Era un'avventura che ha fatto una traccia profonda sulla Francesca chi aveva12 anni. Era una vacanze all'altra parte del mondo, ma in un certo senso, sembrava familiare.

To start with, we went to my mother's home town in Sicily. We got to know family we had only seen in photos. We laughed with them, celebrated an important saint's day (guess - yes, St Francis of Assisi) and a birthday.

Al comincio, siamo andati al paese in Sicilia dov'è nata mia madre. Abbiamo conosciuto i parenti chi abbiamo visto solo in foto. Abbiamo riso con loro, abbiamo celebrato insieme un onomastico (indovinate quale - sì, San Francesco d'Assisi) e un compleanno.

I walked on the streets my mother played on as a child / Ho camminato sulle strade dove mia madre ha giocato quand'era bambina.

I saw the landscape of her youth. / Ho visto il paesaggio della sua giovinezza.

I saw the country's rich history before my eyes at the same time that my school friends were seeing only photos in text books.

Ho visto la storia ricca del Paese davanti ai miei occhi al stesso tempo che le mie amiche a scuola vedevano solo le foto nei libri di testo.

20 years ago. / 20 anni fa.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT (yay, first time in ages!!)

07 October 2013

Francesca's Festa of Favourites - October 2013

Welcome another edition of 

For anyone who's new to the link-up, here's some background: "Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is entertaining.

I add some of the posts, from blogs I read regularly, so you might see the same bloggers cropping up over the months. I make no apology for that - I love being able to use this space to bookmark my favourite blog posts for the month.

But, more importantly, I love seeing what everyone else likes reading and it makes me smile till my cheeks hurt when other people add their favourites to this festa. So feel free to link up as many of your favourite posts as you like during the course of the month.

(Let me know in the comments if you have trouble with the link and I'll try to fix it.)

Pick of the September bunch (in my humble opinion)

As usual, I have chosen one post from the previous month's linked posts to showcase here and I'm continuing this month as I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland. To check out all the posts linked up in September, click here.

Francesca's September Festa Favourite is:
 Depression Lives in this Home by Vicki at Knocked Up and Abroad.

Vicki writes a deep, raw, honest post about her life in the newborn haze with a toddler. I applaud her for opening up to us and encourage you to check out her blog.

Now, let's see what riveting reading we can bring to Francesca's Festa of Favourites in October. Happy linking!

03 October 2013

MissyMoo3 Turns 2!

Apologies for the Thankful Thursday absence last week. We were away visiting family for the school holidays, so I decided to take a break from blogging as well as working.

While we were away, something pretty important happened: my baby turned 2!

We were staying with Gran and Soot on her birthday, so she had a birthday party at their house on the day. Her cousins came over too, so with six kids aged six and under (and seven adults), it was quite a party!

MissyMoo3 was very lucky and got lots of lovely presents. She also gave presents to her sisters and cousins. She loved handing presents out almost as much as ripping the paper on her own and we thought it was a nice thing to do, particularly as she doesn't see her cousins all that often.

They had a great time playing party games (thanks for organising them all, Soot!), eating party food and playing with the decorations. It was a really hot day too, so it felt like a summer holiday. Just perfect.

The birthday celebrations didn't end there. A couple of days after we got back , we popped by Gina's place and this was waiting for us:

Notice the vehicle in the picture? Well, you can't have a MissyMoo3 birthday without a reference to an ambulance! Don't know what I'm talking about? Then you should read her birth story. (No, I'm not traumatised enough to miss an opportunity to flog a blog post! But we have skipped town each birthday so far - last year we were in Canberra.)

So this Thankful Thursday, I'll take the opportunity to express how thankful I am for my baby girl (who isn't a baby any more) and for our family and friends who love us and who have given best wishes and gifts to our little one.

MissyMoo3, you seem like a little girl now, not a baby any more. You are a lovely thing, sweet but full of spunk at the same time. I love the koala cuddles you give me and your sweet little kisses on my cheek. I love what you say and the way you say it. I love how you love your big sisters and want to follow them everywhere. Age two is going to be fun and even more awesome than before!

Francesca Writes Here

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