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February 2023 Update

Greetings from Cloudy Melbourne,


At least, it was cloudy when I began this letter, but with Melbourne it could be sunny before I finish. In either case, hello!


This year, I'll be writing a newsletter on the even months of the year instead of book reviews.

I will still be writing book reviews, but it will be with Australasian Christian Writers. In fact, I've already got two book review blogs live with them!


If you'd be interested in an Australian Women's Fiction story with a character who so entrenched herself in my heart I never wanted the book to end, check out Down by the Water by Jo-Anne Berthelsen.


Or if you're interested in a Christian resource about depression, try D. M. Samms' Storm Breakers: Silencing the Storm of Depression.

What have I been up to with writing?

I submitted my first full length novel to an agent whom I met through an online writer's conference. Normally, agents request a sample of your writing, so you can imagine my surprise (and a large dose of terror!) at being asked to submit the whole book.


Then I had a lovely mentor session with author Toni Shiloh through the same writer's conference, and she helped me wrestle some control over my nerves.


On that note, I would highly recommend ACFW-Virgina online conference to writers. Besides the agent and mentorship appointment opportunities, the classes were great. Plus, it was cheap. That is hard to find, and it was online. As much as I'd love to attend in person (all my American family would love that too), it's not really possible for me right now.


It can up to 3 months to hear back from an agent, and it hasn't quite reached 2 months yet. For the most part, I am managing not to obsess over it, except when my phone gives that peculiar ding it reserves for an incoming Gmail email Then my heart starts racing, and my fingers shake a little as I swipe the screen to see who it was from. :)

Wrapping up

That's all my writer related news, but on a personal note, my life has entered a huge new phase. All my children are in school.


It's weird not having one child at home. The Australian school year goes from Jan-Dec, so we've only just begun this phase. For my youngest there have been a few tears, but he's doing really well. He even handled the 'going to bed early' part like a trooper. He's always been a night owl, and one of the last to go to bed. I was pleasantly surprised how well he took going to bed early. I think it helped he was excited about school. Now that he's 'done' school he's a little less excited about going every day, but he's adjusting to the new routine. Although, he's just started tearing up every time I leave him which is not doing Mummy's heart any good!


My oldest loved his first week of secondary school (Year 7). It was all just getting to know you and the facilities, nice and easy. The second week began the real work, and he came home complaining of a sore hand from all the class writing. But he's doing well especially since he knew no one there when he started. I'm very proud of my brave, growing-up-a-little-too-fast! boy.


All in all, we seem to be finding our feet. Until next time...


With love,

Dienece Darling

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