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


When I first started this blog, I had a plan. I wanted to start writing again and I wanted to take my love of kickboxing to the next level by fighting in the ring. I did both, but it took me longer and I encountered more challenges along the way than I ever would have thought possible.

Along the way I learned some very important things about myself. For starters, it is nearly impossible for me to remain completely immersed (The Boy would say “obsessed”) about more than one thing at a time. As much as I’d like to believe that I can be immersed in the writing world AND the martial arts world simultaneously, it hasn’t worked in practice. I think that’s because I don’t do either halfheartedly. When I was training to fight, I was training for hours six days a week, and then there was the meal-planning, the stretching, the visualizing, making sure I got enough sleep, etc. It really was a full-time job.

The same goes for writing. Writing isn’t just the act itself, but all the things that must come along with it–the thinking, reading, goal-setting, and marketing. Just like martial arts, it has a community, and the more serious you get about writing, the more apt you are to reach out to like-minded souls. Both writing and kickboxing can be very isolating pursuits. As you walk into the ring alone, so you go into your writing room alone. If you’re at all a social animal, as I am, you need to form certain bonds and alliances with colleagues or you’ll go stark-raving mad.

Where I am going with this? Well, after much thought, I have decided this blog needs to be refocused if it is going to survive. While I would like to go back to kickboxing, as I miss it very much and I’ve definitely suffered from a lack of physical fitness, I doubt I will fight again. I can’t say never…I am very tempted to repeat the experience, especially since I’m not satisfied with how the first one went. But I am under no delusions at this point of my life that I will be a full-time professional kickboxer. My goal is very much to be a full-time novelist. So everything else is merely a distraction, and while it’s important for me to be of sound mind and body, I don’t need to put in the hours required to maintain fighting shape (which would definitely refocus my attention on all things muay thai again). Physical fitness is something I need to incorporate into my writing life, instead of the other way around.

The way I see it, time is running out to focus seriously on my writing. Sometime in the year 2015, which is not too far away, I am packing up and moving to a tropical destination (more on that later). This is not some pie-in-the-sky, maybe it will happen or maybe it won’t kind of dream–it is, as much as anything in life can be, a sure thing. And I plan to make my life on that island possible by writing. Stranger things have happened.

I hope you’ll bear with me and join me on the journey as I dedicate myself fully to my writing and take the necessary steps to leave a place where it is winter ten months of the year. And I hope you’ll share your own journeys with me. No one likes to write in a vacuum.

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Marshall Tillett

    You redirection is well warranted and it makes perfect sense because physiology says its its much more obtainable to maintain a high level of brain activity than it is to maintain a high level of physical activity; at least to be competitive in the kickboxing arena. Your writing prowess will far outlive anything you physically. Write on my sista! -Marshall

  2. Story Teller

    Hi Marshall,

    How nice to see a comment from you! I had no idea you read this blog…I love that we’re still in touch after all these years. 🙂

    Thanks for the support. I agree that the level of activity required to fight was not sustainable…at least, not if I wanted to do anything else. There’s a reason I was so burned out I didn’t go back for a year and a half!


  3. Jacqueline Howett

    Hi, Nice to read your blog after so long. I was just doing a clean up of blogs I never visit as apparently I am over the limit. Yours was too interesting to remove.

    Yes, it is’nt easy juggling so many things at once. I’m juggling three.
    Each needs its space. So the trick is, to give each plenty of space.

    Good luck with your writing! And I look forward to hearing you moved to some island in the sun, someday!

    Have a great Sunday!

  4. Story Teller

    Hi Jacqueline,

    Thanks for coming back and for not deleting me! I posted very sporadically last year due to my crazy job and it’s taking time to get people to come back. I’m glad you’re still here.

    Thanks for the kind words and well wishes. What are you juggling, if you don’t mind me asking? And how do you find space for each one?

    Take care,

  5. Kyla Roma

    Oh, Holli this is such a satisfying post to read. I feel like I can hear how much peace this decision has brought you. I’m very much the same way about my focus- I love putting all of my energy into something but I’m not great at splitting it, and I can’t imagine how demanding kickboxing training would be. I hope that using kickboxing as part of your life as a writer brings you lots of intensity, focus and the quiet you need to kick ass as a writer 🙂

  6. Story Teller

    Welcome to my blog, Kyla! Your visit and comment means the world to me, as your blog is one of my all-time favorites. I have especially loved the posts about your struggles to find balance and all the obstacles you’ve overcome. I can certainly relate to the struggle! 🙂

    Still haven’t made it back to the gym, but I hope to next week. I’ll let you know if it helps with the writing.

    Take care,

  7. lauraabest

    You’re right, Holli, no one likes to write in a vaccuum! Since my first book came out I’ve met so many other writers in the “real” world and in the “blogging” world. Before then I didn’t know a single writer. So wonderful to be able to share this part of my life with others who really “get” what I do.

    Your tropical destination sounds like the most wonderful place for any writer. 🙂

  8. Story Teller

    Welcome back, Laura! It’s great to see you here again.

    I think my first “real” experience with writers was when I went to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. I was blown away by the number of people who really “got” it. No one can understand a writer quite like another writer. We’re all different, but in a lot of ways, we’re also all the same.

    I’m glad to be in your blogging world.

  9. Michelle D. Argyle

    Wow, that’s a cool goal! I didn’t know you were planning to do that. Sorry I haven’t been around lately. When I switched over to Feedly, lots of stuff had to get reorganized and that messed things. Anyway, it’s so hard to pick and choose things. There’s so much I’ve given up in order to write and chase this dream of being a novelist and making a living at it. It’s worth it, but not easy.

  10. Story Teller

    Thanks, Michelle! I always treasure your comments and your input, so any time you spend here is all right by me!

    Perhaps I should have you write a guest post on what you had to do to chase your dream, if that isn’t too personal. I’m always interested in people’s journeys and what paths they take to get what they want, including what sacrifices were necessary. Obviously I’m not making enough sacrifices!

    Take care.


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