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Thank you. Yes, YOU.

So it’s here.

The big day, the day books one and two of my GhostWriters series are released to the world.

Of course I’d love for them to do well. I hope for that external validation, a nudge that confirms I made the right choice when I laid everything on the line to commit to this writing life.

But mostly? I’m so grateful to be here at all.

My adventures in this industry have had their peaks and valleys. From landing a coveted NYC agent to sadly having to part ways with her years later, from hitting the Amazon horror bestseller list alongside my idol, Stephen King, to losing a beloved editor and having my publisher shut its doors. What a rollercoaster.

But I can still remember a time when I wasn’t concerned about agents and editors and publishers. What I was concerned about was simply writing. And I wasn’t doing much, or any of it–at least not fiction. I was a freelance journalist, pushing myself to the limit in order to prove my worth. It was frenetic. It was intoxicating. However, no matter how exciting the headline, or how high the placement my article earned on the front page, it never erased the terrible guilt. I’d lost my way, and I had no idea how to find it again.

My parents gave me King’s On Writing one Christmas, knowing I was a fan. It was a lifeline. Something King wrote lit a spark in me that had been dormant for years, and I began writing fiction again. The result is Lost, a novel you can find in my Hidden Library.

I’d like to tell you it was that easy–that once I had that lifeline in my hands, I never lost my grip. But I did lose it, many times. There were months I was too “busy” or distracted or too consumed by one thing or another. Then Facebook came along, and for one brief, shining moment, the man himself was my Friend. I told him how much his words meant to me. When he responded kindly, I dove in and asked for advice. My writing jobs were draining any creativity I had, I complained. How on earth was I supposed to do my “real” writing when I was already turning out an insane amount of non-fiction articles every week?

This was his response:

Stephen King's adviceOf course, I didn’t appreciate this advice at the time. I was overworked and drained and honestly felt I couldn’t do more than I already was. But, just like those passages in On Writing, his words kept niggling at me until I finally did what he suggested. I wrote more. I gave up sleep. Sometimes I’m sure I gave up sanity. Obstacles were thrown at me like the boulder Indiana runs away from in Raiders, and even though I got squashed flat more than once, I eventually peeled myself off the ground and kept going.

I didn’t do it alone, though. There’s a reason why the acknowledgements in my books are lengthy–I have been so fortunate to have found incredible cheerleaders along the way, people who believed in me and cheered me on; listened to my fears and told me to keep going anyway. The teachers, the mentors, the reviewers. The writers on higher, loftier levels who reached out and pulled me up. All the writers who shared their wisdom and advice. The friends. If you are here now, reading this, you are definitely a friend. And I say this sincerely, from the bottom of my heart–I could not have done this without you.

You have given me so much, and I will never forget that. Every kind word, every review, every comment on this blog, every personal message, every word of encouragement and empathy when I faltered.

This one’s for you, as much as it has ever been for me.

Thank you.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

38 Comments

  1. I am so excited for you!! Release day, woot woot!! Sell all the books, kick all the butt and soak it all in! And then, of course, write more because I love to read them all. ❤️😉

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Nikki! Where would I be without you? Your encouragement, help, and belief in me has helped me believe in myself. Love you.

      Reply
  2. When King takes the time to respond and give advice, listen! Writing does have a lot of downsides. We just have to look for and find the good stuff. And keep writing.
    Congratulations on the release of both books!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thankfully, most of the time, there’s more good than bad. I feel damn lucky to be able to give this a shot. Thanks for everything, Alex.

      Reply
  3. So proud of you! Congrats on the launch. You rock, girl! You have such a great way with words. Even this post is a piece of excellent writing that speaks from and to the heart. Being friends with Stephen, that is pretty awesome. Learning from the masters to become one yourself… 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks so much, Liesbet. You’re such a kind, beautiful person.

      Reply
  4. Congratulations, release day is here! I’m halfway through “City of Ghosts” right now (and really enjoying it) and can’t wait to devour the new titles. Good luck to you and keep the awesome stories coming.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Dave. I’m really glad we were able to connect. Thanks so much for the awesome reviews! They’re a huge help, and I’m thrilled that you appreciate my work.

      Reply
  5. Congratulations!!! How exciting. Hope the books are very successful.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Denise! Me too.

      Reply
  6. It’s so great to see you succeeding! You’re a hard worker and you have talent to back it up! Here’s to more amazing releases from you!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Somer!

      Reply
  7. You’re thanking all of us, but I’m thanking you for this wonderful post and for how you continue to share, to inspire. Wishing you all the luck and success!

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thank you so much, Madeline. I’m humbled to think my journey inspires anyone. Just know I’m in your corner!

      Reply
  8. Congrats on the big day! <3

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, my friend! <3

      Reply
  9. Looking forward to reading and reviewing more of your work. Congratulations. You are a shining star! And, what a thrill to get a response from an author you admire. I have finally taken a “shine” to King’s work. Found another one of his best sellers at the church rummage sale!

    Reply
    • JH

      Talk about treasure, Mary! Any time you want to read and review something of mine, let me know. It’s yours. I really appreciate all the encouragement and support. You ROCK!

      Reply
  10. Congratulations!!!! And what an honor that Stephen replied back to you.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Chrys. Yes, I treasure that exchange and am so glad I was able to locate it in Facebook’s archive.

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Barbara!

      Reply
  11. So excited by this forward motion in your career. Raise the roof – woot woot! 🙌

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Reply
  12. Congratulations and good luck. You’ve got all sorts of people standing behind you, ready to help keep you upright. These are good books, we both know it, and soon enough everyone worth a lick will as well.

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks Ryan. You have been such a wonderful friend to me. I can’t thank you enough for everything.

      Reply
  13. Congrats on two new books. Having a support team is so important.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks! So true. I don’t know what I would have done without my friends from the IWSG!

      Reply
  14. Happy Release Day, dear J.H., for not one but two fantastic new releases, and congratulations to you! I wish you all the success in the world, and I think it’s tremendous that Stephen King responded to you personally. There’s not a doubt in my mind that you will knock it out of the park with these releases. It is an honour to be your friend and to play any supporting role that I can. Keep on rocking 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Anita! I really appreciate all your support and encouragement.

      Reply
  15. Sometimes the best things are the things we feel are next to I possible to achieve. You have achieved this and more and now a new book! Never give up and never give in especially to your own negatives thoughts. You have done more than many people and should feel proud.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Birgit. Beautifully said! I’ll try to remember this the next time I’m kicking myself around.

      Reply
  16. Lovely post. I’m happy for your well deserved success 😀

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Susan!

      Reply
  17. Congratulations on the book release – I hope it does really well! It’s so annoying when writing for work gets in the way of writing for ourselves but it’s a necessary evil!
    Debbie

    Reply
    • JH

      True, sometimes it is a necessary evil, but I found I wasn’t doing any of my careers justice by trying to juggle them. Not to mention I was running myself into the ground. I may regret giving fiction my full-time attention, but I know I’d regret not doing it even more.

      Reply
  18. A personal message from Stephen King? Dang, that’s beyond cool. Wishing you great success with your new books. They sound amazing.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Tamara! The ebook of City of Ghosts is free during the launch, in case you want to give it a try.

      Reply

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