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


It’s difficult to remain grateful for the good things in your life when something bad happens.

However, gratitude is one of the most awesome emotions on earth. When you get busy being grateful, there isn’t much room for negativity.

I went through a pretty dark time recently. Still reeling over a dear friend’s suicide, I returned home from a vacation to the worst winter in almost 70 years. It was brutal, and as a self-employed writer, I didn’t have to leave the house, so I didn’t.

I’m an extrovert–I need the company of other people to stay sane and happy. I also live in a city where people habitually overbook and over commit themselves. When you’re sitting alone at home during a dreary winter with only your computer and your cats for company, it can be easy to think your friends don’t care about you. That they’ve abandoned you. When really they’re just preoccupied with other things.

My productivity was in the toilet. I’d abandoned my work in progress. I procrastinated by surfing the web, searching for some sense of connection that eluded me. I had a migraine almost everyday, while the winter raged on, freezing water mains and and burying us in snow.

And then…

I heard about this contest. It couldn’t have come at a better time, because the prize was an opportunity to spend two months in Tobago, having a grand adventure and reporting back to the folks at home. This beautiful island would be appealing at any time of year, but in the middle of the winter from hell it was irresistible.

Still, I was tempted to pass it by. A video application? Too much work. How would I muster up the energy when I could barely leave the house?

A voice inside me said that I should give it a try. I emailed a friend to see if he could help me, fully expecting that he would say no and I’d be off the hook. To my surprise, he said yes. And he was super excited about it.

Again and again, the people I asked for help were incredibly generous in their support. Because I’d heard about the contest at the 11th hour, the video shoot had to come together quickly. My friends dropped what was going on in their own lives to help me. I was humbled and completely overwhelmed with gratitude at their generosity.

The amazing location, the wicked production value, and the kickboxing action shots could never have happened without my friends.

So, as much as I’d love to win the contest, it was the process of entering that gave me what I really needed…a reminder to be grateful for everything that is wonderful in my life. My friends are definitely at the top of that list.

What are you grateful for today?

If you’re interested in seeing the final result of our epic video shoot, click here.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. If you’d like to see the list of participants, please click here.

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  1. Loni Townsend

    Sorry to hear about your loss. And the winter probably didn’t help. Great video! It was well done. (And good use of the snow trapping you in.) I hope you win!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Loni. Sometimes things just seem to come along when we need them the most.

  2. Rhonda Parrish

    Today I’m grateful that we’re supposed to have actual, like, sunshine and warmth. Our winter was nothing compared to yours this year, but damn I’m excited to have it be over with LOL

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Yes, it was nasty all over. Winnipeg got hit the worst, but some would argue that we’re better equipped to handle it because our winters are always the worst in the country. But this one kicked our butts!

      Enjoy the sunshine!

  3. Stephanie Faris

    Fingers crossed that you win…but so great that you were able to bring your friends together. I haven’t left the house since Sunday…it is the nature of being a self-employed writer, I guess! Too many assignments…but I try to make myself get out in society every couple of days!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      It’s definitely challenging, especially when the weather is miserable. Right now I’m buried in work, but I’m making myself meet friends on Thursday and Saturday anyways. It’s so important for our mental and emotional health.

  4. Chrys Fey

    Gratitude is hard to keep during hard times. When we’re going through something painful, it’s easier to think of all the bad than the good that still surrounds us, but oh is it important. Sometimes we just have to sit back and realize we still have things to be thankful for, even if we are in the middle of a trial.

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

    Today, I am grateful for this challenge and the chance to get to know many other bloggers. 🙂

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks for your kind words, Chrys. It’s definitely easier said than done sometimes. I certainly don’t have gratitude “nailed”.

      I agree about the challenge. It’s great see some new faces and discover some new blogs. There’s some amazing stuff out there!

  5. Sherry Ellis

    I’m grateful for all my family and friends, and I’m grateful for my health.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Welcome, Sherry! Thanks for commenting and for following my blog.

      Those are huge things to be grateful for. You know what they say: “you ain’t got nothing if you don’t have your health”. So true!

  6. Steven

    Gratitude and positive thought is a powerful tool. I know all about not having to leave the house for days on end, but my family is good at making sure I get out regularly 🙂

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Welcome back, Steven. I’m really loving your blog.

      You’re lucky your family can drag you out. My bf tries his best, but once he gets home from work he’s usually pretty happy to stay home too. This winter really has been horrible.

  7. Karen Jones Gowen

    What a beautiful post! Really enjoyed reading about how entering the contest, even though you didn’t win, turned things around for you.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Karen! You never know…I may have a chance! The contest finalists won’t be chosen until April 14th or so.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Glad you enjoyed it, Donna. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  8. D Biswas

    I give thanks every day for being alive, for being healthy, for being among friends and family. We don’t understand what miracles they are unless we lose them
    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z


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