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


I should warn you about something, dear readers.

Nothing worth having comes easy.

When you put yourself out there and chase your dreams, there are going to be bumps along the way. There will be false friends, rejection, and disappointment.

In the immortal words of the great Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

As many times as Rocky stepped into the ring alone, he was never really alone. He had Adrian. And Mickey. And all the others who loved and cared about him. Whenever Rocky got knocked down, it was the people who loved him who pushed him to greatness.

Support is essential to success. You need to build a network of people who will be there for you when times get rough. Who will listen to gnash your teeth and wail, and then remind you that you have to keep going.

And don’t forget to be supportive of others too. Support is a pay-it-forward kind of thing. When you’re strong, lift someone else up, as you hope to be lifted when you fall.

I found out yesterday that I wasn’t picked as a finalist for the 60 Days in Paradise contest. To say I was disappointed would be the understatement of the year. I put everything I had into my application–I really tried my best, and thought I’d done a good job.

Support came from both expected and unexpected places. Thankfully, I can always count on my boyfriend and my closest friends to be there when I need them.

And then, out of the blue, came this blog post. It reminded me that I’m not here to win contests. I’m here to give back–to be a good person, a good friend. (And, in case you’re wondering why my praise was less than effusive, Tyner asked me to tell him if his manuscript sucked.) 🙂

The moral of this tale is, when you get knocked down, you have to get right back up. You never know who will need you to help them stand.

(If you like the paranormal, check out Tyner’s book The Watch. It’s awesome. No one can write about cops as well as Tyner, because he actually is a police officer.)

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


  1. Bish Denham

    That’s what it’s all about. Nice.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Bish. I really appreciate your support on this blog, btw.

  2. Donelle Lacy

    I’m sorry you didn’t get picked as a finalist. You really did do a good job!

    This is a good post, and very encouraging. It helps to think of it like this when things aren’t going the way you’d like. It’s great when you get back a little of that support you give out. ^_^

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Donelle. One of my greatest struggles is to stay positive and keep working through setbacks. It’s not easy, and I really don’t think I could do it without my friends. Thanks for being one on them.

  3. Chrys Fey

    All true! When I first started out, it was hard to find support. Actually, the only support I got was from my writing mom. My other family members didn’t even support my dream of being a writer. Slowly I learned not to let it bother me. When I found the support of other bloggers and writers, though everything changed and I became more positive, which helped me greatly with my self-esteem.

    I’m sorry you didn’t win the Paradise contest. But I have a feeling something else will come to you. 🙂

    • Holli Moncrieff

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Chrys. I can’t imagine your family not supporting you. Being a writer is an honourable profession–maybe they were just afraid? But I’m glad that you were able to find a support system online. From the look of your blog, you have a ton of people on your team who are rooting for you and who want you to succeed. And I’m one of them. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words about the contest. It’s disappointing, but I have to move on. At least I gave it a shot.

  4. Susan Scott

    Holli, this is a wonderful post thank you. A great reminder to be the support and to receive support. Sometimes people don’t know that the other ‘needs’ support because we’re afraid to show our vulnerabilities. But good friends do .. and we’ll always be thankful for them.
    I too am sorry about your disappointment – may another door open for you …
    Garden of Eden Blog

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks so much, Susan. What a kind thing to say. I am definitely not going to let this get me down any longer. One day of wallowing was enough for me! It’s a reminder to pursue what I really do want in life.

  5. Casey E. Palmer


    I like that you were reminded of something valuable with your 60 Days loss, much as I was. You’re right – there’s more to this world than going to beaches and earning money; we can get so much MORE out of other activities that fill our days, and sometimes we need a harsh reminder to get us back on track.

    Thanks again for being part of my “grieving process”, and I’m sure that the future has something amazing lined up for you and I both!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Casey. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through the day without you! You are awesome, and one of the best parts about this whole experience has been getting to be your friend. 🙂

      This is a fantastic opportunity to figure out what we really want in life, what matters most, and to go for it 100%, much as Nadine has gone for travel blogging.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Rhonda Parrish

    Confession: I’ve never watched any of the Rocky movies. None of ’em.

    On a more important note, I’m truly sorry you weren’t chosen as a finalist. I think your entry was fantastic and you would have been great for the “job”. I hope there’s a silver lining that you can find somewhere, and I’m glad you’re surrounded by awesome people to help keep you from becoming too discouraged.


    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hey Rhonda,

      I’ll forgive you. 🙂 The great thing is, you don’t have to watch Rocky movies to benefit from their awesome quotable quotes. Watching Rocky III when I was a kid inspired me to get into the fighting arts, and I’m so glad I did.

      Thanks for the support. I think I would have been great too, but I wasn’t experienced enough to beat out the professional travel bloggers and I had too much support to be the filler. It’s obvious that the contest organizers have a clear winner or two in mind, and I didn’t fit into the plan. It’s disappointing, but I’m cool with that.

      The silver lining is that making that video was tons of fun, it busted me out of my winter funk and reminded me how awesome my friends are, and I made a great new friend through the contest. So I’d say that’s a win. And now, instead of being distracted for the next few months–from now until September–I can concentrate of my actual goals. Being a novelist and moving to an island.

      Hugs back!

    • Rhonda Parrish

      Funny, those are currently two of my goals too. Though the island I’m looking at isn’t as tropical as yours 😉

  7. Tui Snider

    Sorry you didn’t win that contest. I figured you were a shoo-in!

    You’ve made me want to see Rocky again. I resisted seeing it for years, but then I learned that Stallone wrote the screenplay and fought hard to get the starring role. I had no idea! The more I learned about it, the more intrigued I was. I’m now a big Stallone fan.

    Once again, sorry you didn’t win, but I’m sure you’ve got plenty of other fun adventures heading your way. 😀

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Tui. Sometimes the thinking behind the judges’ decisions in a contest like this is hard to figure out, and other times it’s obvious. Thanks to the analysis of a friend, I’m comfortable with their decision. I can’t compete with pro travel bloggers who have 100,000+ followers–that’s not my area of expertise, nor do I want it to be.

      The Rocky movies have their flaws, but they have a lot going for them too. I was impressed when I learned Stallone was the writer as well. Even people who think Rocky is cheesy have to admit that he’s inspired a lot of people.

      I’m not going to let this stop me, adventure-wise. I’m just getting started! Thanks for your support.

  8. Frank Powers

    I get offended at myself when I get knocked down. I stand back up out of spite. I’m sure there is a psychologist out there that will tell me this isn’t healthy, but it works for me. I have to stand, people rely on me.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Sounds good to me, Frank…as long as you know you do have a support system, should you ever need one. It’s great to be the strong one, but to be expected to always be the strong one is a bit unfair to you. Hugs.


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