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


Dear readers,

We all know the cliches about plans being doomed to fail and all that. So why should I be any different? At the risk of offending some of my more eager friends, I have decided to delay the electronic release of my book Lost from August of this year to March of next.

Wait, put down the torches! I have a very good reason, and it could end up being great for my writing career. At the advice of my online instructor, I recently became the member of two preeminent writing associations: Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America. I just received my hefty membership package from the MWA yesterday, and there was one thing in particular that caught my eye.

The MWA is offering a contest to their members, in conjunction with Minotaur books. Any unpublished member can send in a mystery novel by this November, and the winner (who will be announced by next March) will win a publishing contract and a $10,000 advance. Minotaur is the mystery/thriller/suspense division of St. Martin’s Press, which is one of the biggest publishing companies in the world. So it’s a pretty big deal.

However, there’s a catch. The novel submitted has to be unpublished, and that includes self-publishing and e-publishing. Now, patience is not my virtue. I have my new book cover, and it’s in my nature to want to get things rolling and publish that sucker now. But, after some careful thought, I’ve decided that this is an opportunity worth waiting for. If I don’t win, I will still e-publish Lost for your enjoyment in March 2011 (I promise!) But if I do win, that small delay will certainly seem worth it. I will still publish the prologue and first chapter on my Facebook Fan Page next month, as that is allowed by the contest rules.

This book is easily one of the best things I’ve ever written. I spent years and years working on it, since it is the end result of a different novel that I wrote during college. I took the best parts of that book and they became Lost. I think it’s worth going for.

Wish me luck! Here’s another cliche I’m fond of:

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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


  1. Barb Ross

    Holli–great move joining SinC and MWA. I don’t know what the chapters are like in your area, but my Sisters have been amazing–blurbing my book, helping with speakers bureau engagements and other appearances. Excellent speakers and classes. I can’t say enough good things.

  2. Tasha Farrell

    Sounds like a good move to me, Holli. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you!

  3. Vera Sime

    Good thinking Holli. It takes a lot of discipline to make that kind of decision. I am constantly waiting for books from my favourite authors to become available then run to the bookstore (or e-bookstore more likely) to get that book hot off the presses. It’ll be worth the wait and good luck to you. If you don’t win your loyal followers will join with me while we beat the judges with pillows! :O)

  4. Rick Caslake

    All good things come to those who wait… and waiting sounds like the very best thing to do, Holli. You deserve this chance, My Friend — go for it! Hugs, Rick. (In the darkness, the sound of a foot tapping can be heard over the soft murmuring of: “Is it March yet? Is it March yet? Is it March yet?”

  5. Story Teller

    Ha ha! Thanks for the comments, everyone! @ Barb – it’s great to hear from someone who has experience with these groups. I haven’t started getting active within the membership yet, but it does seem like the MWA goes above and beyond to help its members, and I imagine SinC is the same.

    Tasha, Rick, and Vera – thanks for your support, goodwill and best wishes! They mean so much to me.

    And thanks to everyone for your patience!

  6. kungfusinger

    I will just have to wait in joyful anticipation for the prologue and first chapter. I hope you win.

  7. Elspeth Cross

    The best thing about friends is that they want what is best for you. And this sounds like a tremendous opportunity. I’ll wait until March to read “Lost” if you don’t win this thing… and even longer to see it in print if you do. Good luck!

  8. Story Teller

    Thanks, Elspeth and kungfusinger! I really appreciate the positive vibes and good wishes!

  9. Jocé

    Good luck in the contest. May the best mystery novel win (which is: LOST)

  10. Story Teller

    Thanks, Jocelyn! You’re a sweetheart! I will take my best crack at it, which means actually making the editing changes and entering!

  11. Kim

    I agree… the right move! Good luck.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.