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


The End

Good morning, dear readers,

Well, we did it. The book is finished. The first novel I’ve written in five years. I’ve broken the curse of the Repeated Rewrite Request Agent, and am ready for the next stage of my writing career.

I’m feeling a little lost today, which is normal for me after finishing a book. What to do now? There are rewrites of course, but I’d like to keep those creative juices flowing. I don’t want to get into another slump where I don’t write anything new for months or even years. I wish I could define whatever it is that pulls me out of those slumps so I could pass it on to you. But it’s never been the same thing twice.

I will say this. Writing a book takes a lot of sacrifice. Not just for the writer, but also for friends and family who may not have willingly signed up for the deal. It isn’t easy to be in love with a writer. We are insecure and needy and incredibly hard on ourselves at times. And when we’re working on something, we’re obsessed. As always, Stephen King said it best in his book On Writing:

“Whenever I see a novel dedicated to a wife (or a husband), I smile and think, There’s someone who knows. Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

On that note, I’d like to thank The Boy for being incredibly patient and supportive. When he encouraged me to write again, he had no idea what he was getting into! Kickboxing takes up a lot of my time during the week, so often the weekends are all we have. And he’s forfeited a lot of those for the sake of this book. I’m not creative if I’m under emotional stress, so if he’d repeatedly made me feel guilty about writing, this book never would have gotten finished. So you see why his support is so important.

I’d also like to thank all of you. I started this blog as a way of holding myself accountable and making sure I wrote something every day, even if it was just a post. I soon discovered that writing a blog with no readers is not fun at all. In fact, it’s downright demoralizing. Everyone who took the time to follow me on this journey, to comment, or just to lurk–thank you. You kept me going. You helped me feel like a real writer again. I think it’s an incredible honor to be able to write for you every day, and to have you actually care about what I have to say. Believe me, as someone who started her blog with The Boy as her only follower, I never take that for granted.

I leave for the retreat at the crack of dawn on Monday morning. (Actually, I don’t think dawn will have cracked yet, my flight leaves so early.) I’m a little nervous, as it’s an eco lodge with a lot of rules–some of them common sense and some just plain odd, but mostly I’m glad to have a finished book to take with me. I’ve decided to explore some short stories and other novel ideas while I’m there, instead of just rewriting. When else am I ever going to have a week to work on my writing uninterrupted? Best not to squander it. I hope that I click with the other writers and come away having learned something and with a few new friends. If nothing else, I’ll have gotten some guidance from a successful author and enjoyed some precious alone time.

Thanks again for coming with me on this journey. We’re not there yet, but we’ve taken a lot of steps along the road to an extraordinary life.

Next stop: training for the dreaded red prajoud test.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Kim

    Congratulations Holli! Well earned hard work. I has been a pleasure following you and seeing what you have to say and I will miss your daily blog posts while you are at the retreat working on your revisions.

    PS. I love your new photo’s. Tell us how those came about?

  2. kungfusinger

    Congrats! My Man and I are both VERY proud of you! I hope you take some time with the Boy and a nice bottle of wine to celebrate. I am looking forward to reading this newly finished novel.

  3. Lisa

    This is the sound of two hands clapping!!!! Yay!

  4. Story Teller

    Thanks, Kim! You have supported this blog since the very beginning, and I really appreciate it.

    The plan is to continue to post from the retreat, giving a day-by-day report of how it’s going, what it’s like, etc. There is wifi there!

    As for the photos, they are the work of the very talented Jordan Jenkinson. (Most of the photos of fighters from my club are by him as well.) He needed a model to pose in a sunflower field, so I volunteered. It was a lot of fun, and I’m very happy with the results.

  5. Story Teller

    Thanks, kungfusinger and Lisa! Your support makes all the difference.

  6. Julius Csotonyi

    Big congrats to you Holli! That’s a huge accomplishment, even if you enjoy the work of doing it. It certainly does feel nice to be able to say “It’s finished,” doesn’t it? Especially now that you can go to the retreat with the finished book. And kudos to your guy for the support he gave you — that’s awesome and it shows real commitment. Enjoy the long weekend, good luck at the retreat, and keep expressing your creativity!

  7. Story Teller

    Thanks so much, Julius! And welcome back. I’ve really missed you. The best of luck on your thesis. I know that you will kick butt!

  8. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Congratulations! I always find the finishing of a novel rather bittersweet, and like you, I usually feel a little lost.

    My husband is my best friend, and there’s no way I could do any of this without him.

  9. Andrea

    Heartfelt kudos from all of us here at Tetro. An enormous accomplishment!

  10. Story Teller

    Thanks, Madeline! It’s nice to know someone else understands this feeling. And there’s nothing better than being in love with your best friend. I’ve had writer friends whose significant others refuse to read their stuff, and I can’t imagine how hurtful that must be.

    @ Andrea – thank you so much! You’ve been fantastic support along the way. Doesn’t the blog look great? 😉

  11. Laura Best

    Congratulations, Holli! This is a great accomplishment as any writer knows. Have a wonderful time on your retreat. 🙂

  12. Story Teller

    Thanks so much, Laura! I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. 🙂 Now I just have to decide what to write about next.

  13. Jocé

    Congratulations Holli.
    That is so wonderful, and there never was any doubt as to your being a “real writer.” I’m so glad you are going to do a post or two from your retreat – be great to hear how it is going because I’ll sure be thinking about you out there. Enjoy. And relax. I so enjoy following your blog. And yes, your new photos are gorgeous. I can see you in the sunflower field on the back dust-jacket of your novel. Perfect.
    Cheers, J

  14. Story Teller

    Joce, you are such a lovely person. Your comments never fail to give me a lift. Thank you. I did suffer a crisis of faith where I didn’t really feel like a writer anymore – dud agent, constant rewrites, no actual writing. Glad that part of my life is over!

    Jordan (the photographer) is very talented. I’m so happy with how the photos turned out. Glad you like them. We’ll have to get together very soon after I get back so I can get those daisies! 🙂


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