Zine Review: How to Write a Mills & Boon-esque Bodice Ripper Novel

How to Write a Bodice-Ripper

I have written a review of this before, but I figured I’d give it a proper go. I won’t be re-reviewing everything, though.

How to Write a Mills & Boon-esque Bodice Ripper Novel
Leopoldina Van Wowser Ainswright

I’m a bit sad to say that I wasn’t able to track down a website or an email address for “Leopoldina Van Wowser Ainswright”. This zine is too funny not to share.

I have to start with the cover of this one, because that’s where the fun begins. The mixture of fonts and flourish-y bits on the light pink, textured paper sets up the tongue-in-cheek expectations that this zine delivers oh so well.

While the title on the cover is certainly a wander through font-land, readers shouldn’t be worried that this carries into the zine itself. It doesn’t.

How to Write… completely rips apart all the worst stereotypes not only of romance novels but of romance authors and their writing spaces. Everything is written with the ‘how-to’ tone I’ve come to know in the large number of self-help articles I’ve read, which makes the actual ‘advice’ even funnier.

My favourite part? Part 8: Ravishment. This includes advice for what words to use for ‘Man Bits’ and ‘Lady Bits’.

Definitely a keeper.

Giveaway Winner!


I am running so late with the review for today. Gulp. Things have been very crazy in the past 36 hours. Anyway, I figured I could quickly post the giveaway winner results.


Winner, winner, QuixoticMatt! The cool thing is that I already have your mailing address from your Dear Anonymous submission, so you don’t have to do a thing.

There will be more giveaways here, so don’t forget to check in every once in a while. ;)


Starting DA3

Starting on Dear Anonymous 3

I’ve been trying to think about how to start this all morning. I suppose the only answer to that is to muddle through and hope for the best.

With recent events in Sydney and now today in Pakistan, I am feeling powerless. And useless. I don’t want to call myself ‘a sensitive soul’ because that sounds like a label only someone else can give you. All that’s left to say is that my heart is aching, my tears are falling, and I’m not sure what to do about it.

What you don’t see here is the paragraph I’d typed, shaming myself for things that I have no control over (like having social anxiety) and for not doing more. But I refuse to do that. Berating myself serves no purpose, and it certainly doesn’t honour those who have died because of violence. My feelings of helplessness? Powerlessness? That means they win – the people who love nothing more than to make people feel afraid and powerless. I’m too competitive to let anyone win and take away my strength.

To the victims of violence: I remember you. I mourn you. I find the strength to keep standing because of you. I do what I can to bring something positive to the world.

Rest in peace.

Happy Mail + Thoughts on Dear Anonymous

Woo! There wasn’t going to be a Happy Mail post this week, but this little lovely snuck in at the last minute. (Meaning I went to the post box on a Monday.)


The thing is that I’m not really sure where it came from… Not in a literal sense; the return address is on the envelope. I imagine it’s a trade for something… Or not. I do have a little notebook where I keep track of these things, but it just goes to show that you should always put in a little note with the trade/sale/etc details when sending your zines anywhere.

That’s all for the Happy Mail side of things. I’ve been a bit quiet on the zine front while I’ve been working on other things. Mainly? Christmas cards.



I’ve been selling cards to supplement my zine addiction income, which hasn’t gone too badly to plan. But it did mean spending a lot of time making cards. Those starburst ones? Each slice is an individually cut and pasted piece of paper. Yep, they took a while.

But this isn’t about Dear Anonymous at all.

Sorry. I got a little sidetracked. Dear Anonymous 3!

DA3 now has nine letters with another one coming, so I will be getting a start on that later today. They probably won’t be sent out until early January so they don’t get lost in the Christmas rush.

DA1 was completely handwritten and drawn by yours truly. My art skills are a bit lacking in the drawing department, so I went for more typing and stamping for letters in DA2. As I look at DA3, I’m thinking there will be a complete transition into typing for the words and more cut/paste type of backgrounds for the letter.

Where the other thoughts come in are in regards to DA from here on out. I want to keep doing it, of course. However, I am thinking I’ll do a short print run (mostly for contributors) of DA3 alone. After that, though? I want to make a bigger zine that incorporates all the letters from 1, 2, and 3.

What do you think? Should I keep them separate and thus recognisable? Or should I do as I like because that’s the way of zine culture?

Decisions, decisions…

Call for Submissions: Dear Anonymous 3


Dear Anonymous 3 is on its way and I’m looking for letters!

These letters can be confessionals, but they can also be whatever you like them to be. Write to your life, write to your cat, write to your past or your future… Dear Anonymous is about writing the letters of the things you can’t say for whatever reason.

Basically, you’re right in the 1 – 500 words range, but shorter is better. BUT, this zine is about expression, and I don’t want to force anyone to clamp down on their passion just for me. I’m flexible.

Send letters to theauthor at inkyblots.com If I don’t respond to you within a few days, comment here.

All contributors will receive a copy.


Do you have a call for submissions for your zine? Let me know!

Zine Review: Plague


Edward J Grug III
tedprior at yahoo.com

Plague is one of the few full-comic zines I own, and I love it. (Not just for the tragic cat story, either.) I love the thicker card cover and the crisp printing on quality paper. The little things show that extra work and dedication to creating an excellent comic on a tactile level as well as visual.

The amount of detail perfectly suits the story being told, adding to the scene without being distracting. The story is excellent, and I can’t help but make a connection to thinking about a horror Tom and Jerry. The fact that not a single word is said in the comic only helps the impact of the visual story told.

Even more exciting? You can find part two on Grug’s site (listed above).

This will definitely be a permanent part of my zine collection.

Zine Review (& Giveaway!): The Nutella Cookbook

Nutella Zine

The Nutella Cookbook
Anna Williams
US Half-Fold
saucerville at gmail.com

This is the first zine I ever owned, so I decided it was only right that I start up with The Nutella cookbook. Even if only one of three links on the back still works, and the zine appears not to be available right now…

Yummy! I love Nutella, so I’m not surprised this is the first zine I bought. The cover – made of slightly glossy paper makes the Nutella spread background look even more delicious.

The first thing I noticed when I flipped through this zine is that there is a lot of white space – including entire blank pages. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not used to it in zines, and I would have liked even more to read in this zine.

It’s composed mostly of recipes, but it also has ‘My First Nutella’ stories and an introduction to the Unofficial Nutella Test Kitchen (a uni dorm kitchen). The extras rounded out the recipes and made for a more ‘complete’ experience.

I haven’t tried all of the recipes, but I have tried a delicious few. I’ve also tweaked and played until I made my Nutella-inspired creation: peanutellas.

All up, The Nutella Cookbook will remain a part of my collection.


Now for the giveaway! Yep, I want to celebrate my first review in years. I am giving away one zine pack with all of my zines.


Don’t Call Me Cupcake, Occupy Melbourne, Dear Anonymous I, Dear Anonymous II

All you have to do to go in the running to win the lot is to leave a comment and say hello (or whatever else you’d like to say). If you haven’t left a comment before, don’t worry if yours doesn’t show up. I have to approve everyone’s first comment.

Have at it, have fun, and all that good stuff. I’ll announce the winner next Thursday.

Open internationally.

Look What I’ve Found! Sticky Institute Short Documentary

“Kevin McDowell’s My Tribe documentary, about Sticky Institute in Melbourne, for ABC Pool.”

I have a habit of ‘wandering’ YouTube when I have some time, trying to see what treasures and what weirdness I can find. I think this short documentary about Sticky is quite good.

And a bonus!

“Located under Flinders St Station, Sticky Institute is a one-stop shop for zines of all kinds. Adriana heads along to this creative space to find out all about zine making and what kind of publications are on offer.”