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


Dear readers,

I have some exciting news! I just found out that my application for Susie Moloney’s writing retreat was successful! So, come September, I’ll be heading to the Catskills…to the very same place Dirty Dancing was filmed. Perhaps the ghost of Patrick Swayze will show up to inspire me.

This will be the very first time in my entire life when I will have an entire week to focus on my writing. No email, no phone calls, no laundry, no crying cats, no social obligations, no housework…just me, a cabin, a laptop, a few like-minded souls, and my novel.

If all goes as it should, I will be working on the second draft of Dragonfly Summer while I’m at the retreat, and I can’t think of a better time to get some input from a famous novelist (Ms. Moloney herself). The first draft will be finished, which means the basic characters, plot, and setting will be in place, so I’m not bound to get discouraged or off-track with the story.

While I’m sure my time at the Catskills won’t be quite as exciting as that had by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, a peaceful week of writing sounds heavenly to me. I’m sure I’ll be saying that I had the time of my life, too.

Ever been on a retreat of any kind? Please tell me about your experience!

And if you’d like to see the first chapter of the novel I’m working on, click here.

One of the best quotes about writing EVER, overheard at a party on Saturday. My playwright friend Rick talked about the ideal how-to book for writers that he plans to produce one day.

“You’d open it, and the front page would say ‘put down the damn book and write!’ The rest of the book would be blank.”

I had to laugh. It’s so true! So much of the tools writers use just end up taking our time away from the most important aspect of being a writer…that is, actually writing.

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


  1. Elspeth Cross

    Awesome news! Congratulations! You will have a blast, I’m sure. Is “Dragonfly Summer” the manuscript you are furiously working on now? A week to work on the second draft sounds like heaven. (As does September in the Catskills.) I’ve never been on a retreat so I’m trusting you will give me the scoop and let me know if it is a worthwhile endeavour.

    I’ll check out your first chapter soon!

  2. Story Teller

    Hi Elspeth,

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, Dragonfly Summer is my work in progress. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to update my blog while I’m on the retreat, but I’ve been told internet access will be extremely limited, so that may not be possible. In any case, I’ll certainly write a detailed account when I’m back home!


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