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


Dear readers,

Welcome back! To everyone in Canada and the US, I hoped you enjoyed your nations’ birthdays and celebrated in some wonderful weather. It was very hot and sunny here…in a word, heaven. Going back to my day job will not be easy.

It’s unfortunate that I have to return to this blog with a bit of a downer. Yep, I missed my deadline. The first draft of Dragonfly Summer is not finished. I still have an estimated 140 pages left to write. But it was a tough deadline, and I don’t feel too badly about missing it. As long as I put in a consistent effort, writing every morning, I’ll feel good about my progress. To that end, I’ll start posting my page count, wake up times, etc. each day again. It helps keep me honest.

I could whine and moan about how difficult it is to chain oneself to a computer during this city’s all-too-brief summer, but I’m not exactly enjoying fun-in-the-sun at six a.m. Most often, I’m sleeping. So it’s time to get back to work! On the bright side, thanks to that demanding online class, I’m ahead of the game with my query letter, synopsis, and agent lists, so it’s kind of like I switched deadlines around. That counts, right?

One exciting development…I met with a designer last week about my new book cover. All will be revealed in the coming months, but let’s just say I’m very excited about this project! And, in a weird twist of fate, the designer who was assigned to my account belongs to the same kickboxing club! How strange is that? The world works in mysterious ways.

What goals are you working towards? Have any you’d care to share, in writing? Let’s keep each other accountable!

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


  1. Laura Best

    I really like your title, “Dragonfly Summer.”

    I am currently working on another Y/A novel and hoping to have it finished by summer’s end. I’m also working toward sending more work out instead of allowing it to gather dust.

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks, Laura! Dragonflies play a fairly significant role in the story.

    Congrats for being brave enough to post your goals! Do you find it more difficult to be disciplined to write regularly in the summer?

  3. Julius Csotonyi

    I see your experience as commendation-worthy rather than a failure. Hey, you got to within 140 pages of the end! That’s near! The key thing is that you set a goal for yourself and are striving to achieve it. Things like that make life rewarding. We learn from each wide swing or missed kick, and it’s how we deal with the shortfall that counts. I do like Alfred Pennyworth’s (Batman’s butler’s) line: “Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.” And the key thing is to never lose sight of your love for the writing, no matter whether you met your goal or not. Setting challenging goals for ourselves is great for growth, but we must avoid self-flagellation. No guilt. Just motivation. Attitude is nearly everything. Aside from your choice of photo for this blog (“Loser” paints an innacurately disapproving a picture in my opinion!), it sounds to me like your attitude is right on the mark. I’m just saying, keep up the great work!

    As for me, my deadline is also a little crazy. I aim to finish writing the last big chapter of my PhD thesis by Thursday afternoon. I will probably miss my mark too, even though I’ve been at it for quite a few months. But I’ll do the best I can with the time I have left before my deadline. On that note, I’ll give in to one more character quote for today. It’s from one of my favourite authors, Frank Herbert. In the novel, “Dune”, Paul Atreides speaks this little mantra to calm his mind in the face of overwhelming fear: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” I find it inspiring, in the same way that my old Soil Ecology professor, smiling, admonished us before exams with the simple words: “Presence of mind.” It worked for me; it helped me to squelch panic, and to concentrate on doing the best I can with the time that is given me. I get the feeling that this is your aim too with your writing. I applaud your attitude.

  4. Story Teller

    Hi Julius,

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I *am* trying not to be too hard on myself about it (the ‘Loser’ pic was tongue-in-cheek), but it never feels good to miss a deadline.

    Your quotes are very inspiring. Thanks for sharing them! And your goal is quite interesting…what’s your thesis topic, if you don’t mind sharing? Best of luck to you in all your endeavors!


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