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


Happy Friday, Dear Readers,

This week I had the opportunity to interview two people who have been up close and personal with death. One was a man who suffered a severe heart attack–three of his arteries were at least partially blocked, and one was 90% blocked. To use proper medical terminology, his situation was NOT GOOD. He had only a 50-50 chance of surviving the ride to the hospital, and this is a man who ran every day, had a personal trainer, and didn’t smoke, drink, or eat junk food. In other words, he was doing everything right.

The second person I spoke to was an executive director for an organization that raises money for cancer research and treatment. Every day, she is in close contact with people fighting cancer. Even with all of today’s advances, a lot of people still lose that fight. It’s a job that can be very hard on the heart.

Interesting enough, though their circumstances are very different, both people I interviewed had come to the same conclusion: life is precious, and we shouldn’t waste a single moment of it. We never know how much time we have left.

How often have we heard that? Live each day to the fullest. Live each day like it’s your last. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Easy to say, not so easy to do. What if you spend most of your time in a job you despise (or just plain tolerate), but you can’t afford to quit? What if you don’t find household chores that fulfilling, but they still have to get done? If you don’t have the means to move to a sunny island and do whatever the heck you want with your days, how do you live each day to the fullest?

The heart attack survivor realized that, while his lifestyle was near-perfect, his stress level was not. So he left his job at an inner-city school and now works at a school that doesn’t make him tear out his hair with worry. He travels a lot, and he’s gone back to the running that he loves. He’s also added more stress-reducing exercises, like yoga and meditation, to his life.

The executive director spends every moment she can with her family and friends. She seizes opportunities to get outdoors and read a good book, and when her life gets really stressful, she listens to her favorite music to unwind.

I’ll be honest…I don’t want my life to always be the way it is now. I’d love to spend my time walking along the ocean, and then retreating to my covered porch to work on my latest novel. Sun, surf, sand, words, and loved ones to share it all with…that is my idea of the perfect life. But until then, I have to make the most of the good things I have going on right now. I just enjoyed a picnic lunch prepared by a dear friend, who showed me around her new place of work and told me how wonderful her new job is going. It’s wonderful to finally see her be so appreciated by the people she works for. It’s a beautiful day, sunny and warm and bright, even though wasps did force us to move the picnic inside. Before that, though, an adorable grey and white cat came by to say hello and share my chicken. I have a one-on-one training session with the world champion today, and these sessions are always a lot of fun. Olivia is such a positive person that I always feel better after I’ve seen her. When I get home, I’ll have a rare moment to myself, as The Boy is out with a friend tonight. Maybe I’ll write a little. Or read, while enjoying a good soak. Either way, it’ll be a pleasant evening.

Tomorrow, The Boy and I will be going to the zoo to see all the new baby animals. It’ll be a gorgeous day for it, and who knows how much summer we have left? Best to get out and enjoy it while we can. And on Sunday, a girlfriend and I are taking a drive to a picturesque town, where we’ll eat lunch at an old-school diner and walk along the river.

Maybe life isn’t perfect. It rarely is. But if we look hard enough, we can always find the moments that make us glad to be who we are and lucky to live the life that we have. Sometimes, we don’t even have to look that hard.

If you’d like to share how you make the most of your life–or something you’re looking forward to, please do. But in any case, have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading!
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2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. TS

    Ha! I too thought the same thing when I read “life is precious, and we shouldn’t waste a single moment of it”. If only I could squirrel away enough money to make that reality.

    In the meanwhile, we’ll be spending as much time at the cabin as possible 🙂

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks for commenting, Tif. I’ve often wanted to write a book about someone who gets told they have a limited amount of time left to live. So they start doing whatever they want–living the way they wished they could have lived before. It turns out the death sentence is a false diagnosis, but the person only finds out after they’ve: spent their RRSPs on world travel, given away most of their stuff, and been 100% honest with everyone. Is this person’s life better or worse for it?

    Good for you for buying the cabin of your dreams. I hope to see it next summer for sure. Please alert the otters to be available for a swim.

  3. Anonymous

    Living everyday the best way I can – just trying to be me. I’m so glad you liked the picnic and the picture. Hugs, Ellie

  4. Michelle Davidson Argyle

    This is interesting. Last night I watched Sweet November – about a woman who’s going to die of cancer so she spends her last year helping people and ends up falling in love (of course) with one of the men she’s helping. It was a great movie that made me stop and think about what I’m doing with my life and what I would do if I knew I only had a short time to live. It’s a scary, but amazing thought.

    I think what I try most of all to do is change my attitude to be positive. If we are positive and truly happy no matter what’s thrown our way, life is brighter. Everything is better, and we are grateful and love life to its fullest. It’s amazing what a smile can do.

    Here’s some for you… 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Story Teller

    @ Ellie – I’m glad you are trying to be you, because you’re an extraordinary person. Beautiful, inside and out. My life is richer for having you in it.

    @ Michelle – You *are* an extremely positive person. The first thing I noticed about you when I found your blog was your kindness. You are so willing to help others. All that good karma must pay off, I figure. Many smiles back to you.

    Thank you both for the wonderful comments!

  6. laura best

    Often times, I find that trying to live in the moment is very helpful, enjoying what is before us.

    I think perhaps many people don’t look at the beauty around them, but rather spend their time wishing for things to be different.

    I agree with you, there is always something to be glad about. We just have to look for it.

  7. Story Teller

    Thanks for your comment, Laura. I agree. Sometimes–especially when we’re having a bad day or particularly tough time–it’s hard to see the beauty in the everyday. That’s what our friends are for.


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