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

Hi everyone,
Hope you’re having an awesome week. I’m currently slogging through what I hope will be my last series of edits on Dragonfly Summer.
Jo, my protagonist, is forced (and I mean kicking-and-screaming forced) to go back to her hometown and investigate her childhood friend’s disappearance. Returning to the scene of the crime means Jo has to relive her past, and that means…yep, you guessed it–going back to the ’80s. But it isn’t all bad. Here, in my humble opinion, are ten things that were awesome about the ’80s.
1) The Music. Lots of great music was released in the ’80s, but when I talk about the sounds of the decade, I mean the bright, happy pop tunes. The power ballads. The faux-heavy metal hairbands. Wham. Depeche Mode. Glass Tiger. Bon Jovi, the early years. Duran Duran. Corey Hart. Prince. A-ha. Rick Astley. Poison. Madonna, the early years. I don’t think we realized just how much our school dances kicked ass. The synthesizer and the one-hit wonder would never reach such heights again.
2) Teen Movies. Thanks to John Hughes, the ’80s spawned a number of timeless teen movies that will be adored by generations to come. The Breakfast Club versus Bring It On? No contest. Seen Pretty in Pink lately? Molly Ringwald still looks good. Not an easy feat for the ’80s. (Okay, ignore the prom dress.)
3) The Toys. The original Strawberry Shortcake, Carebears, Charmkins, Rainbow Brite, Popples, Wrinkles…the list goes on and on. I’m not sure if the boys had as much fun, but I do remember Castle Grayskull being pretty damn impressive.
4) Keyboards. What’s happened to the keyboard, that miraculous instrument that can sound like all others…but shouldn’t.
5) So-Cheesy-They’re-Awesome Music Videos. This was the decade of the music video. A-ha’s Take On Me. Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible. Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Madonna’s Like A Prayer. The list goes on and on….This spoof with Hugh Grant is so on target, it made me laugh until I cried.
6) Jelly Shoes. Flexible, colorful shoes that look like candy? Sign me up. This is one trend I was happy to see return.
7) Berlin Wall Coming Down. There aren’t many moments in life when you’re keenly aware that history is taking place right before your eyes. And even fewer still when it’s taking place in a good way. This was one of them.
8) Epic Soundtracks. Star Wars. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Chariots of Fire. Need I say more?
9) Over-Accessorizing. When you see someone with an arm full of leather or rubber bracelets, you can thank the ’80s for that. Madonna in particular. She made over-the-top trend look cool.
10) The Original 90210. Once they lost Brenda, it was never the same. And don’t even talk to me about the new one.
and Ten Things That Should Stay in the ’80s…
1) Perms. Whoever thought that soaking our heads in toxic chemicals that smelled, burned our eyes, and fried our hair was a good idea must have been insane. If you had any hair left after the process, you got to look like this a few months later. Not good.
2) Banana Clips. The worst crimes against hair were perpetrated in the ’80s. There are so many to choose from, but this tacky mockery of Roman gladiator helmets is right up there.
3) Harem Pants. You know what’s flattering? Not harem pants.
4) Annoying Sitcoms. We are currently living in the era of the kick-ass drama. I approve. But in the ’80s, terrible sitcoms with their over-the-top canned laughter ruled. Full House, Family Matters, Charles in Charge, Small Wonder, Webster, My Two Dads, Mork and Mindy. Ugh. Even a lot of the “good” ones don’t hold up today. (To be fair, there are still awful sitcoms being made, but I no longer have to watch them. As an adult, I can just say no.)
5) Men Wearing Spandex. If it’s not the ballet, it should be banned.
6) Crop Tops. I see fashion designers are trying to trick us into thinking this is a good idea again. It isn’t.
7) Acid Wash. Our parents had a point when they asked us why we wanted our expensive jeans to look like they’d lost a fight with Clorox.
8) The Cold War. Constantly thinking the world was going to end in a nuclear war sucked big time.
9) Misuse of the words “ignorant”, “gay”, and probably a million others I can’t think of right now.
10) The Workout Wear. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to wear these stellar outfits to the gym?
What did you love or hate about the ’80s? What ’80s trend would you like to see return?
Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Javier

    Growing up in a different country (Argentina), the ’80s have two key moments: the return to democracy in 1983 and then winning the World Cup in Mexico 1986 with Diego Maradona in top form. I also discovered classic rock in the ’80s. Other than that, I enjoyed the 90’s much more!

  2. Holli Moncrieff

    Oh yes, the pop culture would have been completely different. The ’90s were awesome too, but they weren’t as over-the-top fun. It was a moment in time when you can see a picture from that era and instantly know when it was taken. It was certainly a year for huge happenings in politics all over the world.

    Thanks for the fresh perspective!

  3. Mystic_Mom

    I loved the 80’s – great music, ground breaking TV shows (Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues), great sitcoms like M*A*S*H and movies too – the ones we still watch, and love.

    Big hair, the epic bangs, were such a pain. Spiral perms. I loved my Smurfs though, and my Atari…and the Mac computers (we had the world by the nose with those!).

    And a sense of music in the world – songs that were ours and told of the things for our generation that was coming out of the 70’s childhood into something more. It paved the way for the 90’s.

    What do I love most? The music! The lyrics and artists broke barriers, opened minds and sometimes exploded them if our parents really listened to the lyrics.

  4. Holli Moncrieff

    Yes, the music was unforgettable. Nothing makes me dance like ’80s music.

    My epic bangs never worked. They always fell flat around my face. One thing I’ve never understood is how Jami Gertz and Julia Roberts managed to look good in spiral perms. It boggles the mind.

    Thanks for commenting! I never really got into Smurfs, but I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake and friends (mostly her friends.) And My Little Pony!

    It was a fun decade to be a kid.

  5. Lisa

    I had permed hair, wore banana clips and harem pants and acid wash jeans…and owned quite a few colour co-odinated aerobic outfits…Don’t miss any of them….

    BUT….I still love the music and have quite a few 80’s songs on my iPod…(my favourite video to this day is AHA – Take On Me..)

  6. Paul Suderman

    Hypercolor clothing should definitely have an honorable mention on the “bad idea” column. Clothing that drew attention to your sweaty armpits with splashes of contrasting color? Who thought that was a good idea?

  7. Holli Moncrieff

    @ Lisa: That is a great video. It’s timeless. And they’ve aged well…Google some pics to see.

    I did the perms, banana clips and acid wash, but even back then I hated harem pants! Remember the eyeliner that was five colours at once?

    @ Paul: OMG, I forgot all about hypercolor! What a truly awful idea. And remember the loud, baggy Chip and Pepper pantsuits? Ugh.

  8. TAH

    Okay, best thing about the 80s, the Ninja Turtles movies, the Ninja Turtles cartoon, laserdiscs, the Animaniacs…and the FRIGGIN GUMMI BEARS!
    Okay, so those are behind Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and their music!=)

    Heyyy! Crop tops are awesome (as long as there is a tank top underneath). They trick people into thinking I have a figure!!;-D THOSE can come back, but I agree, no one should ever have to endure terrible shows like “Full House” ever again! I hated that show!

    • TAH

      No idea why the format is so wonky. It must have been all the smilies!

  9. Holli Moncrieff

    I knew there would be some cries of dissent. 😉

  10. Lisa S.

    Levi’s Jeans, friendship bracelets, scratch-n-sniff sticker collections, and beaded safety pins snapped over our running shoe laces. Also started ‘rolling’ the hems of our pants in the 80s, too. Good times.

  11. Holli Moncrieff

    Ugh, I hated Levi’s…they never fit well. But I’m down with everything else. I miss my sticker collection! And the friendship bracelets…never did figure out how to make them, but I always loved receiving them! I think those are making a comeback.

  12. Elle Rush

    Even MC Hammer couldn’t pull off harem pants – LOL! This was a fun list and a nice stroll down memory lane.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Elle. I had a lot of fun writing it! And I agree about MC…what was he thinking? And, seeing how ridiculous he looked, why did anyone release those pants on the masses?


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