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


Welcome back Dear Readers,

For most of the past week, there was no running water in my house. It was astonishing how uncomfortable this was–both psychologically and physically. Even though I had access to fresh drinking water–which many people around the world do not–it was interesting how unnerving it was when the emergency water tank was empty and we couldn’t fill up our pails. Not to mention how frustrating it was when, day after day, we had to carry buckets of water to our house in order to fulfill the most mundane tasks.

I never realized how much I depend on modern conveniences. I will never be foolish enough to say that this experience has given me an insight into what some people around the world go through on a regular basis–because having clean water available at the nearest grocery store is not the same. But it has really opened my eyes to just how important water is and how much we depend on it, even for things that wouldn’t be immediately apparent, like making a salad–have to wash those pesticides off first!

1) So, without further ado, number one on my happy list this week is having my water back. To be able to soak in a tub after a tough workout and to have clean clothes again is enough to make me feel really grateful right now.

2) Elvis lives. This was something I meant to have up on the list at Christmas time, but c’est la vie. You may have already heard of David Thibault. This 16-year-old boy from Quebec became an Internet sensation by sounding like a reincarnation of the King (and looking quite a bit like him, too). Yes, there are a ton of Elvis impersonators, but this is something else. Over nine million people have watched the clip of David singing Blue Christmas on a French radio station…which led to Ellen discovering him. You’ll want to see what she had in store for this incredibly talented young man. He’s been on the Today show, too.

3) Litographs. If you’re ever stumped for a gift for an avid reader or writer, Litographs is the place to go. This incredible company takes the text of books and uses the words to create an incredible, story-appropriate design on T-shirts and posters. Moby Dick is probably the cutest, but I couldn’t resist getting The Boy Les Miserables for Christmas.

4) A Good Read. Revisiting a beloved character decades later is always dangerous. Can you stay true to the original version while giving readers something completely new? Can you do your original story justice? Stephen King may have taken a risk by writing about Danny Torrance, the tormented little boy from his mega best-seller The Shining, but it was a calculated one. And King hits it out of the park. Dr. Sleep is a great book. It’s not always easy to read, but it’s well worth the pain to catch up with Danny again. Bravo!

5) Raccoon Dogs. If you’re like me and think raccoons are the cutest thing ever, you may be in the market for a new pooch. Ever hear of the raccoon dog? Neither had I, but this wild dog can be found in east Asia. While they’re not actually meant to be pets, it would still be pretty awesome to see something this cute in the wild. (On a sad note, a lot of the fur on items sold from Asia comes from these beautiful endangered animals–even items listed as “faux fur”, so to be on the safe side, avoid all fur or buy vintage.)

That’s it for this week’s happy list! Have a great week, and be sure to let me know what’s making you happy! Seen something that should be on the list? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

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


  1. Lisa S.

    The musical genre-blending of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” Folksy-Americana meets electronic music.
    Glad you got your water back on, girl!

  2. Mystic_Mom

    Happy List – what a grand way to start the week. We are on a cistern here at the farm so being frugal with water is a way of life (catching water in the sink or tub while you wait for hot water to arrive, etc) and then in the cold snap it was frozen. Then just the hot. What a blessing when the tap got turned and water burbled out! 🙂

    Happy List items for me:

    1. sunshine and longer days is top of the list.

    2.Reading a book by a favorite author or three (Clive Cussler, Jo Ann Fore, Holley Gerth).

    3. Enjoying a fun movie (Lone Ranger). Don’t take it seriously. Just enjoy the campy fun of it.

    4. Cats. In the sunshine, playing with toys, bird watching.

    5. Starting a new job. After well over 200 applications this one found me by God’s grace.

    6. The relief of an eviction notice – knowing the WHEN instead of waiting for it. Makes planning easier.

    7. A restaurant that will make a meal right, even if it wasn’t their fault the bourbon sauce tasted like the smell of socks to me. (Thanks Montana’s Brandon).

    8. Ag Days – getting to do the tradeshow, seeing old friends and seeing speakers like Photographer and Storm Chaser Greg Johnson.

    9. Old photos – Dad has been scanning some. What fun to see us when we were young, and to explore the memories that come with them. Who knew how much we knew and didn’t know we could remember.

    10. My chickadee with the bent tail feathers. So glad he/she is making it through the winter.

  3. Michelle D. Argyle

    No running water? Oh, man, that’s as bad as no power. Every time the power goes out here I forget how much I rely on it every day. Now I’m going to be thinking about water too! I better not show my daughter those raccoon dogs or she’ll beg for one for the next 3 months, lol.

  4. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your own happy lists! They’re always awesome–I really enjoy reading them.

    @ Lisa – Me too! It was such bad timing. And you have always introduced me to new music. Whenever I hear Depeche Mode, I think of you.

    @ MM – You are a living gratitude journal, girl! Your lists are always so poetic. I’m dying to know what the new job is! And an eviction notice–how can that possibly be a relief? Congrats on winning the photo contest, too!

    @ Michelle – If she gets one, I’m totally coming to visit. Seriously, how cute are they?


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