top of page
  • Writer's pictureS. Jennifer Paulson

'No guts, no glory' for this debut domestic thriller author

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

I'm a former journalist who's wanted to be a novelist since I could scribble. Now, I'm getting ready to publish my first book. Almost.

Welcome to my blog! I'm S. Jennifer Paulson.

When not on the job or working on my Master's (yes, I cannot sit still — the hubby can confirm), I've pecked away at this novel, Boomerang, for years. On the weekends, you can typically find me at a kava bar, headphones on and face and fingers glued to my laptop, furiously typing away. I'll spend a good 18 to 20 hours writing every single weekend I'm free.

When I write, I forget about everything. And escape.

Just like I do when I'm reading a great book. Like Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, both of which I devoured. I just wrapped up Jennifer Weiner's The Breakaway — she's another author I adore, especially when I need a little pick-me-up love story. I also love me some Colleen Hoover (yes, I am a self-proclaimed #CoHort, having read all of her books within a year after a friend recommended I read Verity), and I'm a fan of the fabulous Kiersten Modglin, whose latest book, Hemlock, is next in my TBR (to be read) stack. I absolutely love Kiersten's writing (and am a proud member of the KModSquad), especially since it's in my favorite genre of psychological suspense. I rip through her books in a few days. That's how much I love them.

I am smitten with these authors (and so many more) because of what they've given me. A momentary lapse in reality. A chance to forget about life's problems and get sucked into someone else's — even though they're completely made up.

And these incredible novelists have inspired me. I want to do the same for others.

Writing isn't a chore for me. It's a passion. It's who I am.

And I'm almost there. I wrapped up my rough draft at the start of 2023. I've had a content edit, and am working on the rewrite — and I'm loving every moment. My plan? To release my debut domestic thriller in March 2024.

Where I'm at.

Some things recently shifted in my life. And I'm taking the opportunity to recalibrate. And finally, publish what I've been running my yap about for years.

I'm not looking to be a millionaire best-seller and famous. That's not my end game. As my content editor gingerly and kindly warned me, I'm a raindrop in the ocean. And I know that.

But I'm giving it a shot anyway.

Because I just want to do what I love. Tell stories. Whether five or 500 people read them. And regardless of where Boomerang goes, I know one thing. I will continue to write. Because as long as I'm breathing, I'll be telling stories.

Even if it's only my mom who reads them.

One life. And hopefully, few regrets.

So, again, welcome to my blog. I'll be posting whatever's going on in my head, especially when it comes to books and how I'm navigating this whole new world. I'll start posting on what I've read, what's on my bookshelf, my Audible queue and more. (I'll share some of my early gem "books" in upcoming posts. And, oh boy, did five-year-old me have a deviant mind.) And even some random stuff. Just so you can get to know me a little better.

I'll admit. I'm nervous. To publish your own writing feels incredibly vulnerable. I Googled a phrase I'd recently heard (okay, from my content editor, who is one heck of a writer herself) about putting a book out into the world. This is what a Generative AI Google search told me: "It's like pulling your pants down in public: you're exposing yourself to the world, and you don't know how people are going to react."

Well said.

But here's the thing. My dad has told me several times over the years when I'm faced with something I want to do, even though I'm scared, it comes down to this: "No guts, no glory."

Then, I saw this dump truck driving down a local street a few months ago. And something stirred in me.

inspirational message truck no guts no glory
I was at a stoplight when I took this.

I need to suck it up and just do it. Because I don't want to be on my deathbed, saying, "I should have..."

I already have one life regret that continues to eat at me — my decision to commute to college and not live on campus for the whole college experience.

I made that choice based on fear. And it's my biggest life regret to this day.

I commuted because I was scared. I was scared I'd be bullied in college, just like I was senior year of high school. My

18-year-old mind visualized it all happening again. Just away from the comfort of home, all on my own. Despite my dreams of perhaps attending college in Florida or Arizona, I let my fears win. They dictated my educational choice. I opted not to enroll in two universities in Illinois that I'd been accepted to. I stayed in my comfort zone, which was at home, making pizzas at a local pub, going to a community college for the first two years, then transferring to a four-year school, the University of Illinois at Chicago, which was a fantastic school -- but I ultimately chose it because I could commute. Except for the brief nine months I lived downtown, over in Printer's Row, which served as the printing hub in the Midwest in the late 1800s, ironically.

I earned my Bachelor's in the end. But I lost out on so much.

And it was all because I was afraid.

I know this. I don't want any more regrets. So, I'm going to publish this domestic thriller in the coming months. Once it's as darn-near perfect as I can get it.

Because I'm always going to regret letting my trepidations dictate my decisions.

I'm publishing this beast. Whether it sells five copies or 500.

After all, no guts, no glory.

Recent Posts

See All


to my blog

Hi, readers! I’m S. Jennifer Paulson, a former journalist who has been pecking away at my debut novel for years. You know, in between work, helping my husband with his business, grad school and being a wife and mom. So, I’ll be sharing about the writing journey, as well as musings on everyday life — and the things going on around us — from the world of books to beyond. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on my journey to publishing my first book. It’s gonna be an interesting ride.

bottom of page