The Secret Lives of Writers

Writing inspiration and advice: secrets of creativity revealed

How do writers juggle writing, creativity and life?

Most writers don't have the luxury of just being able to write uninterrupted. Most writers are the ultimate time managers, because (more often than not) they juggle their writing and creativity with their everyday lives: work, family, friends, pets, fitness and, sometimes, health issues. Some are lucky to write for a living, but many work 9-5 jobs and and make it a habit to write creatively after hours, when they can fit it in around their other commitments.

Writing inspiration and advice: creativity secrets revealed

In The Secret Lives of Writers, 14 writers reveal their secrets on how they juggle writing, creativity and the demands of life. Irrespective of where they live, they face the same challenges: time management, motivation and fuelling their creativity.

Full of writing inspiration and advice, if you're a writer, or an aspiring writer, and this doesn't get you putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), nothing will!


Panos Dionysopoulos (Australia), Laura Roberts (US), Ronnie Roberts (US), M.J. Ernest (US), Jillian Schedneck (Australia), Libby Parker (Australia), Karen Banes (UK), Aniko Carmean (US), Tracy Tennant (US), Cassie Newell (US), Kristen Torgerson (US), Dorothy Distefano (US), Melinda Kovac (Australia), Kevin Casey (Australia).


Vietnam: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

How to start a new life abroad... in Vietnam

After living her entire life in Australia, Diane Lee had never lived or worked abroad... and wanted to. Taking a payout from her job in 2016, she decided to volunteer for three months at a social enterprise in Hanoi—a restaurant she visited for lunch while on tour in the capital in 2010. Three months turned into four years. This book is a memoir of her time in Vietnam, and tells the story, through essays and blog posts, of what it's like to be an older, single woman living in Asia—and all that that entails.

One expat woman's true tales of life abroad

For Diane, living abroad—in Vietnam—seemed like a good idea at the time. Starting a new life abroad involved more than just finding work and an apartment—and this book is a candid, brave and raw expose of life as an expat in a developing south east Asian country. From immigration woes to dating, to dealing with crippling anxiety to making friends to starting a company to moving back to Australia and repatriating her cat when coronavirus hit—this book has it all, and is sure to be a valuable guide for anyone looking to work in other countries, or considering it.

Part memoir, part saga, part travel journal

Landing in Hanoi in late autumn 2016, Diane was both exhilarated and nervous to be embarking on the new chapter of her life:

"My reasons for being here in Hanoi have been well documented, but for those of you who want the Reader's Digest version, it goes something like this: I visited Vietnam in 2010, and as part of the tour I was on, we ate lunch at KOTO Restaurant. I was so impressed with them that I vowed to come back one day and volunteer. That day is now. I also wanted to take my life in a different direction because I was stagnating and bored and undervalued and unappreciated in my job, and "running away" to Vietnam to volunteer seemed like the answer to the question I was asking myself the age old questions at the time: Surely there's more to life than this?"


From a few short weeks of living in Vietnam, I’ve come to understand that it’s difficult, if not impossible to carry out a vision to change the world if you aren’t at peace with yourself and your own situation. Recognising this is key: to be the change you want to see in the world, you must start with you. I don’t mean that in a self-absorbed way, but in the “put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others” kind of way. How can you even attempt to fix the world and all its complexities if you haven’t at least tried to fix yourself? Acknowledging that maybe you aren’t as well-adjusted or all-knowing as you thought you were, and that you have flaws and vulnerabilities and that there is a darkness in amongst the light doesn't make you weak. It makes you human. We are not perfect creatures, none of us are, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for perfection in the small deeds and actions that make up our days. Kindness. Empathy. Respect. Courage.


Understanding. Patience. Easier said than done. But endeavouring is honourable. To get up each day and say: Today I will try and make the world a better place by my actions, that's where the true power of one lies.



Included are short guides to travelling in Vietnam and visiting Hanoi:

  • How to get around Hanoi like a local
  • A guide to coffee and vegetarian food in Hanoi
  • The best photography spots in Hanoi
  • Where to eat in Hanoi if you are travelling solo.

Get your copy now. You won't be disappointed!

How the Italian Broke My Heart

It's the stuff of fairy tales

We all want to live happily ever after with our darling.

But what if it doesn't happen?

What happens if you end up with a prince who breaks your heart instead of whisking you off to his castle to make you his princess, forever?

A heartbreak prince

More than 10 years ago, I reluctantly ended my relationship with a man I adored. He was the love of my life. I wanted to marry him, have children with him, grow old with him. I loved him more than I loved any man, before or since.

But our relationship was not to be. Spoiler alert: he broke my heart. There was no happy ever after for me.

A heartbroken princess

In this e-book of five short chapters, I retell our relationship as a modern day fairy tale, from when we first met, to the moment my heart shattered into a million pieces.

It's a sad fable that says a lot about love, without being an angsty heartbreak romance. There are lessons to be learned for those who still believe in fairy tales – and their own happily ever after ending.

The truth about heartbreak

If you've ever had your heart broken and wondered what happened to your HEA ending – and why it all went so horribly wrong, this book is for you.


The night of Their First Real Date, the prince picked the princess up in his chariot (actually it was a Holden station wagon but it felt like a chariot) and took her to a delightful Italian restaurant in North Adelaide. They talked the entire night and were the last ones to leave. The hours felt like minutes, time went so fast. It was exactly as the princess pictured it: they were so comfortable in each other’s company that it was as if they had known each other forever. And he paid for it all: meal, drinks, everything.

Afterward, in a dark corner of the Old Lion Hotel, they had their first kiss. The princess swooned. That kiss was all she thought it would be; warm, sensuous, passionate, all-consuming. That kiss wrapped around her and she wanted to drown in it, it was so beautiful. And they went back to her castle and kissed some more.

The Covert Narcissist’s Playbook

The Story of How I Was Groomed for Narcissistic Abuse in Vietnam

A covert narcissist exposed: this is what emotional abuse and coercive control looks like

No one goes into a relationship expecting to be a victim of emotional abuse and coercive control. Diane Lee certainly didn’t.

Ten months after meeting her handsome Vietnamese partner in Hanoi, she was in a very dark place. She had learned—to her horror—that he was a covert narcissist and he had been manipulating and emotionally abusing her since the start of their relationship. She knew there was something wrong, but she ignored the red flags, thinking the issues were hers. She understood much later that this self-doubt is exactly how people with covert narcissistic personality disorder groom their victims.

The traits of a covert narcissist

This is mini-memoir is written from two perspectives: before Diane discovered her seemingly kind and reliable partner was a covert narcissist, and after. An honest and courageous account of a dangerous and confusing nightmare, this memoir is a first hand account of how covert narcissists think, their traits and the damaging effects of narcissism, manipulation and coercive control on your spirit.

Recovery from covert narcissistic abuse

If you’re in a relationship and you believe your partner is a covert narcissist and you’re suffering passive aggressive coercive control and emotional abuse, this memoir will prove that you can heal and move on with your life.

You too can be narcissist free.

Please note: this books contains a graphic sex scene, told in context to explain what a narcissistic person is like and how covert narcissists think.