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


One thing I’ve realized about myself is that whenever I get into a dark place, it doesn’t take much to snap me out of it. I can have a complete meltdown where I’m convinced absolutely everything is WRONG WRONG WRONG, and then the next day I’ll go for a walk, the sun will be shining, a few little things will go right, and I’ll notice I’m elated and loving life again.

Most of the time it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. There’s a trend going around the blog-o-sphere that has people writing posts entitled “Dear Teen Me” to give their younger selves the benefit of their experience. Well, that’s what I would say to my teenage self. “You’ll be happy again. Maybe not tomorrow, or even the day after that, but someday soon. And eventually, you’ll be happy way more often than you’re sad. And this horrible, crippling self-hatred will go away.”
I probably wouldn’t believe me. After all, we’re talking about a teenager here, and teenagers usually already know everything. But it would be worth a try.
C’mon people, lets get happy! Without further ado, this week’s Happy List.
1) This video. Sometimes happiness is complicated, and other times it’s a simple matter of giving a red panda a pumpkin. I defy you to watch this and not crack a smile.
2) David’s Tea. Once again I’m trying to wean myself off the crack Diet Pepsi. But woman (at least this woman) cannot live on water alone. I can warm up to the idea of drinking more tea, and once I discovered David’s Tea had an online store that delivered to your door, I was sold. Most of my favorites are seasonal, but I highly recommend The Earl’s Garden if you like Earl Grey tea that smells like heaven.
3) Autumn. I’m a summer girl–heck, I’m in the process of moving to a completely new world where it will be summer all the time, but in truth, my favorite season is fall. Nothing compares to that crispness in the air, the feel of the still-warm sun on your face, the crackle of leaves under your feet, and the smell of bonfires. I don’t think there’s a better smell in the world. And I’m not ashamed to dive into a big pile of leaves, just like this husky. My one complaint with autumn? It’s too short. I am not a fan of winter.
4) Best way to die. Ever. I’ve long joked (to people who know me well enough not to completely question my mental stability) that when I go, I want to go by hippo. I want to die by trampling hippo, so the last thing I will ever say is, “OOOOh, look at the HEEPO! It’s so cuttteee…” But enough people have argued that this will actually be a most unpleasant, lingering, painful death, so I’ve changed my mind. This is the animal I would like to maul me. (Please ignore the annoying anchorman…wait for the clip.)
5) And this. I’m blessed to be surrounded by awesome people. And I never (well, almost never) take that for granted, because I worked very hard to get to this point. When you surround yourself with good people, every now and then one of them will do or say something that completely makes your day. Yesterday I had a good friend say that she “missed me like whoa”. I hope she won’t mind my sharing, but that is one of the cutest things anyone has ever said to me. With friends like that, how can I not be happy?
So hopefully that’s enough cheer to get you through this week’s case of the Mondays. What’s making you happy right now? Please join the conversation–I always love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Chris

    Aw… those pandas are so cute! But they’re also bears, and they’ll literally eat your face if they get angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry. 🙂

  2. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comment, Chris. I was picturing it as more of a smothering death, but I suppose they probably will take nibbles now and then…

  3. Chris

    I’m thinking you need more of a decapitate-with-one-chomp animal. Perhaps you’re back to the hippo after all. Maybe you could be holding a panda at the same time? 🙂

    Just so I’m not fixating on your death, I have to say that I love the gifts of autumn, too. And what autumn would be complete without trying new flavours of tea? Ah, David’s…

  4. Julius Csotonyi

    Painting. Painting makes me happy. Especially when I feel that I’ve been able to get the colors of the sky, clouds and sunlight flare to harmonize in a believable and very colorful way. That’s happiness. 🙂 Well, one flavor anyway. Another is Thai chili peppers, especially that rare particularly hot one in the cluster. That first few seconds as the capsaicin diffuses through my mouth but before the burning really sets in is utter gastronomic ecstasy.

  5. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for the comments, guys! I SO appreciate it; you have no idea.

    @ Chris — I think I’ll take my chances with the pandas.

    @ Julius – I have missed you so much! How are you? Welcome back. This blog has suffered from your absence, that’s for sure.

    I am thrilled that painting makes you happy, because you have a gift and your creations make a lot of other people happy. You bring science to life. As for the peppers, I’ll have to take your word for it. I can only manage a four out of ten on the hotness scale at the local Thai place. 🙂

    I hope you’re well, my friend.

  6. Lisa S.

    No more crack! Sounds like a small life change that will make a big difference, though it will be weird to see you without a DP in your hand. You can do it!
    The Earl Grey tea sounds good. Death by HEEPO!! or panda not so much. But then, you’re going to live forever, right? : )
    Have a fun, productive day.

  7. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I wouldn’t say no more–just less, but it’s a huge life change for me. I’m seriously addicted.

    Live forever? God, no! Send me the hippo!

    Hope you have a great day too. Thanks for commenting. <3

  8. Lisa

    Fall trail running/biking — a fragrant steaming bowl of stew with fresh baked bread — watching the birds at my feeder .. new ones come each season — finding a new author to read and realizing you now have oodles of books for your to-read list…

    That’s all from me today…I’m happy because today feels like Monday, but I know it’s Tuesday so I have only three days left in the week instead of four.(if that makes any sense at all! ;0))))

  9. Holli Moncrieff

    Hi Lisa,

    Welcome back! You always have good lists. I love this one. What birds did you attract this year? I love chickadees but rarely see them in the city.

    The book one is especially good. I felt like that when I discovered Joanne Fluke.

    Have a great week! Thanks for commenting.

  10. Lisa

    Holli…I regularly get chickadees at my feeder along with white-throat and house sparrows. This year we were pleased to see the return of an American Goldfinch and family. I also have juncos, and nuthatches (variety of different seeds attract different species).
    Oh and my recently discovered author is Richard Doetsch…
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for responding, Lisa! Chickadees–I’m so jealous! It sounds like you have such a wonderful variety of birds. All we get are sparrows over here. What’s your secret?

    And thanks for the recommendation. I hope you have an awesome week!

  12. Michelle D. Argyle

    That red panda makes me squeal! I WANT ONE!!!! Hah. I love this post because I agree that it doesn’t take much to bring me out of the uglies, as well. A sunny day can do just the trick, or even a good meal or a nice comment from someone. Kudos to you for staying happy!

  13. Holli Moncrieff

    Welcome back, Michelle!

    Isn’t he the cutest? Just love how excited animals get over the silliest things. My Sophie has a stuffed turkey leg that makes her squeal and whine and generally go crazy. It never fails to entertain her.

    I’m glad to hear you snap out of dark moods quickly, too. It’s never fun to stay in the dark.


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