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


IWSG: Uncharted territory

I can’t believe it’s already IWSG day, when I haven’t managed to return all the comments from the previous one yet. I’m so sorry. I know I keep saying this, but please bear with me. I promise to be better in the New Year. Now, how, I don’t know, but I’ll figure something out. Perhaps I can pre-write a bunch of posts during the Christmas break. Alex Cavanaugh, how the heck do you do it?

With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and a lot of teaching, marking, and course development, this has been another crazy month. I have some exciting news, though. Farpoint Films’ Cruise Ship Killers, the true crime docudrama I was the on-air writer expert for, has been sold! The European rights were sold to A+E UK, which will broadcast the show all over the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. A North American deal is sure to follow.

I’m so thrilled that this means I can finally show the trailer to you:

Cruise Ship Killers Trailer

Isn’t it awesome? I’m so proud to have been a part of this show.

With the sale came this new development. Talk about uncharted territory–my very first IMDb listing!

IMDb listing

The other bright spot in an extremely tiring month came at the very end. For the seventh year in a row, I “won” NaNaWriMo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the challenge, it means I wrote fifty thousand words during the month. Some of those words were really hard to come by, but at least I’ve made real progress on Mask of Ghosts, the fifth book in the GhostWriters series. How did everyone else do? Congratulations to all winners and participants.

Today’s optional IWSG question is an interesting one. How would you describe your future writer self and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream?

The sad, or at least bittersweet, thing is that I was living the dream not so long ago. But worries about money and nightmares about having to return to an office led me to take on teaching work–too much teaching work. Once again, my “side gig” has taken over. Don’t get me wrong–I love teaching, but next year I’ll need to figure out a way to cut back. I have publishers and an agent with expectations, probably that I’ll write a heck of a lot more than I accomplished this year.

As much as I love teaching, sometimes I long for the days when I could just focus on the writing. When, on a blustery day, I could write in bed with my kitties snuggled around me. Hopefully I achieve a better balance next year.

How have things been with you? Participated in NaNo? How you’d do? Was it helpful?

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Jim Edwards

    The future is looking very bright for you J.H! It sounds like you have so many great options, all the hard work is paying off at last!
    Great news about Mask of Ghosts, so looking forward to that one!

    • Sonia Dogra

      So nice to read such wonderful things about you. I am sure you will be able to get back to that uninterrupted writing spree. Congratulations and best wishes!

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    That’s awesome the show sold and you are listed on IMDB! Well done.

    • Alex J. Cavanaugh

      And how do I do it? I’m nowhere near as productive writing-wise as you are!

  3. Ellen Jacobson

    Your own IMDB listing – how cool! Congrats on winning NaNo. I failed this year. Got off to a strong start, then fizzled out and never recovered. 🙁

  4. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Excellent, JH! Well done!

    I won NaNo, too, even though it wasn’t pretty. 🙂

    Finding the balance that works best for us is so tricky. We just have to do the best we can. 🙂

  5. L. Diane Wolfe

    How wonderful! We’ll have to watch the series once it gets to the US.

    I would love some balance in my life.

  6. Lisa

    You always have so much on your plate. Don’t beat yourself up too much, you’re doing a great job and I’m sure your students would agree with me! Good luck with goals next year, and congratulations on NaNo!!!

  7. Patsy

    Getting the balance between writing and other stuff right can take quite a lot of time and trial and error – I’m sure you’ll get there soon.

  8. Patricia Josephine

    CONGRATS! That is so cool to have your own IMDB listing.

  9. Nicki Elson

    Congratulations on the show getting sold, your IMDb listing AND winning Nano! Quite a month for you, all while keeping up with the teaching duties. Cheers to better balance next year.

    P.S. I’ll watch for the show to hit North America. My husband will be all over it!

  10. Lee Lowery

    Congrats on the IMBd listing! And on your many accomplishments this year. So exciting! Snuggling with Hemi while working on my revision is my writing dream, so I’m there. But I’d like to be considerably more productive. Navigating this “first novel” business is like traveling without a map. In outer space.

  11. Juneta Key

    Congratulations J. H.! The trailer is awesome. IMBd listing, outstanding. Sounds like you are living the dream, and I hope you find your balance ASAP.

  12. Mrs. Samantha J Bryant

    Congratulations! I look forward to watching the show! I also won NaNoWriMo this year, moving much closer to the finish of my gothic romance 🙂 I *love* writing things I’ve never written before.

  13. Debbie Johansson

    Congratulations on all your achievements this month! I hope you find a better balance next year. I enjoyed the trailer and hope that I will be able to watch the show here in Australia. Have a great Christmas and best wishes for the new year!

  14. Random Musings

    I can’t wait to watch your show! I did my fourth #nanowrimo this year. I spend so much time writing for clients, it’s always nice to have that little push to make me write something for myself

  15. Rebecca Douglass

    Congratulations on your achievements. Pretty or ugly, hitting the 50K mark is worth celebrating. I join the ranks of those who made it, in part by squeezing out some very ugly writing indeed 🙂

  16. Liesbet

    Hello actress friend. 🙂 You rock and I don’t have any other words for it. Congrats on all your achievements this year. You have been incredibly busy and I totally understand how your writing (kind of) fell by the wayside. But, look at all that materialized in your writing and publishing life in 2019! The TV show, the German translation, the Halloween gig, the audio rights, part of an anthology, a new release, and that’s only what I remember off the top of my head.

    Is there any way you can teach less – or not at all – in 2020? With the audio deal and other successes, maybe you are more financially stable now…

  17. A.P. Fuchs

    Glad these great things are happening to you. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year but did Inktober and fulfilled the mission of 31 ink drawings in 31 days at a rate of 1 a day. An option regarding your blog is indeed to write posts in advance and either upload them the day they need to air or schedule them to do so. This way you can ensure a regular blog schedule but work on it in bursts whenever it fits in with your current schedule.

  18. Damyanti

    IMDB listing! That’s amazing… Congrats!

  19. Mark Murata

    I was hoping you’d be wearing your trench coat with the collar up. Then add a wide-brimmed hat.

  20. C. Lee McKenzie

    Congratulations on all fronts. Being behind only means you’re a busy writer!

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Lee. But I am horrified on how far behind I got on everyone’s blogs. I’m lucky everyone didn’t give up on me.


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.