Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello Dear Readers,

It’s funny, but when I was first considering all the challenges to my financial well-being this year, I never considered my goals being among them. Goals are good things to have, right? Striving to improve oneself, and all that.

But goals do cost you. For example, say you decide to take up running. You’ll need to buy a good pair of running shoes. Maybe a gym membership, or a treadmill, or–if you want to run outside, some outdoor running gear. As you get more serious about your running, you may find yourself spending more on groceries. You may even enroll in a running clinic to learn how to improve your stride. And, should you get competitive, there are those race registration fees….

That’s only one example.

For me, it’s my kickboxing goal that is getting expensive. The gym membership is currently free, thanks to the prize The Boy won for me at the last fight night, but then I have the mandatory boxing class ($50). Lately I’ve been too sore and worn out after class to run after two buses, so I’ve been relying on taxis ($13 each time). There’s the personal trainer ($250), healthy high-protein food at the grocery store, massage therapy and chiropractor bills, etc. I will eventually need to get a better pair of shin pads, too ($120). I don’t begrudge any of it, and I know some of the expenses (the personal trainer, for instance) are my own choice. When it comes time to take my green armband test and fight, I’ll be glad I spent the money.

My writing goals, when I get back to them, will cost as well. My membership fees to writing organizations are several hundred dollars, not to mention the cost of all those query letters, self-addressed stamped envelopes, paper, printing, etc. It seems nothing worth pursuing (except maybe love) is free.

Thankfully, I’m able to compensate for these extra expenses with freelance work, or my bottom line wouldn’t be as healthy as expected.

How about you, Dear Readers? Do you ever notice that your goals come at a price?

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Kim

    As someone who has bought 5 bikes in the last 3 years, the last of which cost more than some people’s cars are worth. Oh yeah — I hear you. Parents cringe at the $1000 a year fees (and up) to put a kid in hockey or swimming. I wish it was that small to do what I do. And then as you want to experience things beyond the local, there are travel expenses too. Certainly you don’t have to participate at the level where the money starts to get big but if you want to… that’s a different story.

    You should do the best you can to avoid the taxi though. I understand the fatigue and soreness and chasing down a bus with gear and we are all tired of waiting in the cold. I do suppose it costs less than my car though — especially with gas at $1.16 a L.

  2. Story Teller

    You’re right, Kim – I should thank my lucky stars I’m not in cycling. I just couldn’t afford that expense, period.

    I’d love to avoid the taxis, but my bus service is so crappy. Sometimes, time seems way more valuable than money, and to get home an hour earlier is priceless.

  3. Kim

    Yes, an hour is huge. Having children, I HAVE to have a car because I HAVE to be places at certain times to pick them up. And I’m the kind of person who will not have my life dictated by other’s schedules so I am controlling in that way too.

    Sports are expensive. Even running. If you run enough miles you need to change your shoes out every 6 months minimum or you risk injury and pain. $150 a pair for good shoes. Nothing comes cheap and I would argue on the other side too. If you cheap out when you start it will in the long run cost you more (hence why I’ve bought 5 bikes in 3 years — 2 were upgrades). But I can say that about virtually every piece of bike gear I own, I’ve bought nearly everything twice — the cheap version and the good version.

  4. Story Teller

    Yep, having my schedule dictated by whatever crazy person designed the #19 bus route is not fun.

    I completely believe in paying a little more upfront for quality. It does save you money in the long run. But I’d go further and say EVERYTHING is expensive, whether you’re into cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, photography, or painting. It all costs money, but what would life be without our extracurricular pursuits?

  5. Kim

    And if you find something you love, it is worth it. That’s how I look at it.

  6. Laura Best

    I used to be more aware of my writing costs when I was writing short stories and sending out a lot of submissions. Since my writing projects are larger these days, it’s not costing as much in postage. Nor does it cost a lot for ink or paper.

    I like that many places now contact you by email so an SASE isn’t always necessary, either.

    But you’re right, Holli. Everything comes with a cost associated with it. I have friends who spend hundreds of dollars on card-making supplies. I guess it boils down to how important it is to us. If it’s something we really enjoy and benefit from we’ll be willing to pay whatever costs are associated with it.

  7. shahin

    I can relate a little to that…I started eating healthy and working out for the past 3 years. The money I have spent? Trust me it’s an arm and a leg.
    When the first time I started, I bought a treadmill & an elliptical machine ($2500). I joined a boot camp, I paid $475 for every 10 week of boot camp for 1 year…So 5 sessions of 10 weeks x $475?…Yes. From the love of kickboxing that was part of the boot camp I went and bought a punching bag & some weights. Add to that some workout clothes, good shoes, Gym bag, hand wraps, gloves and (not to mention the bandanas) Then it was the “Healthy Grocery Shopping” from fruits to veggies, high protein foods, vitamins and minerals. It just costs up to 25% of my yearly salary Lol. But best of all is “the results’’ Really the results make up for every penny I have spent, I love kickboxing. I could never imagine going back to the weight and the shape I was in 4 years ago…

  8. Anonymous

    I have a pair of shin pads that I used twice. Can save you some $$.
    Hit me up the next time you see me at Kickboxing (although I am there few and far between these days….long story)


  9. Story Teller

    @ Kim – Agreed. Even if you can’t afford it. 🙂

    @ Laura – So true. And I’m hoping email will save me a lot of money with this next query go-round. Since I primarily pitch American agents, my first query letter blast was quite expensive.

    @ Shahin – thanks for commenting! I so adore you; you have so much fire and willpower. I admire how completely you dedicate yourself to each passion, whether it be your education or kickboxing. I’m not really surprised that you’ve spent so much, because you are willing to do everything it takes to succeed. When you have that first fight, I will totally be in your corner, cheering my heart out.

    @ Ali – I was wondering what happened to you. Haven’t seen you around lately…I would love to take you up on your kind offer. I’ll send you a message.


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