Hello my favorite booknerds! I made a few silent vows (or resolutions, if you will) this year to 1. Post more meaningful blogs, things that go beyond my writing and show you the real me (gulp) and 2. To be kinder to myself, so I can be kinder to others. Often I look at myself and instead of feeling love or self-confidence, I feel disgust. But that’s another blog post. Today I want to talk to you all about a little thing called Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome, for those of you who are blessed with enough self-confidence (or just sheer ego) to be unfamiliar with this term means, according to Wikipedia: “Is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.” Basically, despite your good grades, your glowing work recommendation, publishing two books, or your perfect hair day, this dark, anxious cloud of negativity follows you around undermining all of that. Telling you that you haven’t actually accomplished a damn thing, you have nothing to be proud of, this was all just good luck, you’re a fake and soon everyone will know and hate you for it. So, yeah … not a great feeling.
I wouldn’t say I get this all the time, but it happens enough to where I recognize it for what it is. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can stop it. Usually, it just means that I end up waiting for the moment to pass in sullen silence, or by complaining to my closet friends, which now include you guys. Objectively speaking, I have a lot to be proud of. I have a master’s degree, got a job right out of college, I was (ok, AM) an expert in the field of gamers and game marketing, having worked in the industry and specialized in marketing on consoles for brands (mostly video game publishers) for several years, and I own my own house. Few people my age have done, or get to do these things, and that’s crazy in a good way! But the Imposter Syndrome takes all of that and just sneers. Telling me, falsely, that it’s not that big a deal, or that the only way I got to this point in my life was based on sheer luck and circumstance.
And see, that’s the other thing, I can write down that these accomplishments are things to be proud of, that I’m not just faking things and crossing my fingers in hopes no one notices, but I don’t feel that way. That’s the worst part, I can be rational about all of this, but my emotions still tank and I feel awful, even while telling others about Imposter Syndrome.
While talking about this with others does help, I’ve also decided that I should do things that are less passive. Namely, to not just wait for this feeling to evaporate on its own, but to actively fight against it in hopes of keeping it from coming back. Speaking from experience, it’s far too easy to just sit back and wait for these negative feelings to go away, because they often don’t. They may lessen, but the thing that was making you feel like shit is still there, it’s still this toxic little nugget deep down waiting to administer its poison once again. So, let’s make a pledge together, shall we? Let’s pledge to kill this monster known as Imposter Syndrome once and for all because we have all done incredible things worthy of praise and we shouldn’t let anything take that away from us!
There are a few different types of Imposter Syndrome so it’s best to figure out what kind you are first, as that may change how you go about addressing the problem. The way this psychological phenomenon presents itself may vary based on a person’s background, personality, or even their life circumstances. The different types are:
For people like me with this kind of Imposter Syndrome, the best advice I can find (as in, it sounds like things I can do) are to learn to take my mistakes in stride and view it as part of the learning process instead of a sign that I’m a failure. Additionally, I should try and force myself to act before “I’m ready” because believing there is a perfect time for anything is just erroneous. Things will never be 100% flawless and accepting that means I can move forward with my work. Additionally, I need to realize there is no shame in asking for help. Also, sharing what I know with others not only helps them, but will help me heal from my fraudulent feelings.
There are a lot of resources out there you can find by just Googling Imposter Syndrome. I’ll link a few here but if you aren’t finding something in my blog that works perfectly for you, that’s fine! There are tons of other resources out there. I mainly want you to know that you aren’t alone. You earned this. You deserve this. You got this.
And, if you’re like me, and need a little help along the way, remember there are resources for you, and sympathetic ears (like mine) to bend when need be. Now, on to the helpful links as promised!
Happy New Year, my friends! 2017 was an interesting year, both on a global scale and a personal scale. I don’t want to spend this post going over all the painful things affecting the world, all we can do is find positive ways to move forward and help our fellow humans as much as we can, so that’s what I’m doing. But on a personal level, looking back on the year … it astounds me (in a good way of course).
Before 2017 started, I had a contract for my “Monster of Selkirk” series with my publisher, DevilDog Press. But this was the year my first AND second book was published! Something I never thought would happen, happened and, in the process, I have met some incredible people, and even made a few fans along the way. Crazy, right?
The funny thing is, if I could do it all over, there are things I’d change. Things that would, supposedly, make building a community easier. Like having a consistent blog for a year before the first book came out (oops?) so people would know who the heck I am, and why I bother with the whole “C.E.” thing rather than using Chelscey (I mean, the reason should be obvious, would you know how to spell my name if someone just said it to you? Probably not).
Launching one book is accomplishment enough, but I launched 2. TWO! And let me tell you, keeping the same level of excitement for the first book amongst the community for the second book has been challenging. But it’s a new year, so hopefully we can figure this out together.
I sunk a decent chunk of my own money into advertising last year for both books, and I don’t think that’s something a lot of people realize about indie and small press authors. It’s easy to look at the big names and all the support their work gets, and assume that most, if not all books are like that. Or, if you publish enough, eventually people will find it and then you’ll be making all the money. Which is simply false. If I didn’t pour my time, energy, and yes, my own finances into this endeavor, it’d never go anywhere. And even with doing that, I’m still competing alongside those big name authors and hoping to be noticed. It’s tough, and this year has taught me not to let that deter me, because if I focused on how daunting of a task that is, I’d lose sight of my writing.
What this has taught me is to be kind to indie authors. To read more of their work. To give them a chance, and be understanding of their struggle. I have been surprised by many indie books this year with how good they are. So just because a book isn’t published by one of the Big 5 publishing houses, doesn’t mean the book is trash, and you may very well just discover your favorite new author or series by branching out!
Speaking of books … I had some serious reading goals last year. I opened my website up for indie book reviews (because I believe in karma) and was humbled (and overwhelmed) by the response I got. I received so many requests for book reviews that I’m still trying to catch up! I can average about 3 books a month so I think I’ve got a good handle moving forward this year, but given I got so swamped with book review quests that I couldn’t read many of the traditional books I’ve been wanting to read, this year I vow to be more selective in which books I agree to review. I always finish a book, whether the book is bad or not, and with how many books are out in the wild, I need to learn to say “no” and prioritize a bit better.
I ended the year with as big of a bang as I started, with my first ever book signing! I won’t lie, I was so, SO nervous going into that event. Flashbacks of being picked last for the kickball team flashed in my mind telling me that no one would show up, that all the books I brought to sign would remain blank and follow me back from California to New Orleans. In the midst of all this stress and planning, I received heartbreaking news. My editor, Rob Miller, who had been struggling in his battle against cancer, lost the fight. He passed away just a few days prior to my signing, soon followed by my family dog of 19 years, Lola.
While I worked with Rob for 2.5 of my books, I never had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. He lived in Oregon and I lived in New Orleans and our paths never crossed at the events my publisher put on. This never bothered me. With modern technology, why would it? We worked well together over the phone and via Facebook and email, so the need to go and sit with him while pouring over my manuscript never came up. I regret that now. Just as I was truly getting to know him and his family, his life was cut tragically short, and so close to Christmas, too. It was a weird thing to try and process while doing my event and having to be upbeat and personable. I must have managed it though, as no one seemed to know what was going on, and the new readers I met at the event all seemed to be happy and excited about their signed copies.
I guess the point of me mentioning it is just to point out that none of us really know what other people are dealing with or battling. So be kind. Always.
The rest of my year was spent with family both back in California and New Orleans where I got to see Walk the Moon and Imagine Dragons perform. Those of you who have followed me for a bit know that I am a HUGE music lover, so seeing them both in concert was a big night, and helped with the lingering sadness Rob and Lola’s passing has for me.
As I’m not one to end on a sad note, you guys want to know what I have in store for 2018? Well, plenty I tell you! Plenty.
Book 3 in “The Monster of Selkirk” series will be coming out, and I should be getting a date locked down for Book 4. I will also be wrapping up writing the first draft of the general fiction book I'm working on, and after some revisions, will be handing it over to beta readers! Additionally, my short horror story “The Cautionary Tale of Bertrand Allary” will be published in February, and I’ll be sharing more specifics on that as the date draws near. But my overall goal for the year is to keep honing my craft and doing more events to meet more readers, and who knows, hopefully people will find me fun and interesting along the way.
I hope you all had a good year, and if not, that you can look back on 2017 and formulate a plan of attack for 2018. It’ll be as great as you allow it to be, so strive forward with kindness and positivity!
(Which sounds very fortune-cookie of me, but I have 0 regrets. Let’s do this, 2018!)
Hello my dear friends. It’s been awhile since I posted a blog, and I do apologize. I just wrapped a couple weeks of blog tours, then hosted Thanksgiving (and didn’t burn the house down! #winning), and now I am preparing for the holidays, another blog tour this time hosted and run by fellow authors, and, drum roll please, doing a book signing event just before Christmas!
I posted about this in my newsletter, so if you subscribe to that (hint: you totally should) you already have the details. But if you missed it, you can find the information on the official Facebook invitation. Please RSVP if you are going to attend, it helps me judge snacks and bookmarks for giving out, but even if you can’t go as it’s too far away or the timing just doesn’t work, list yourself as “interested” in the event. This is a public event (which makes me a tad nervous for various reasons) so if you mark yourself as “interested” then others will see it and who knows? Maybe they’d be interested and want to check out the event. It is being held in a super cute store run by a friend of mine, so there will be plenty to check out if you do decide to join me.
I realize this isn’t much of a blog post, but honestly, I’m pretty exhausted and scatter brained, as I’m sure many people are this time of year. I have had no time to come down from the stress of prepping a Thanksgiving meal and hosting it all for the first time. Like I said, it turned out pretty well according to the lovely people who joined us this year. Right after that, me and the husband had to start planning for Christmas as we are not staying in New Orleans (which should be obvious given the location of the book signing), which means I’ve had little time to just sit down and write.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it is, or it is to me. You see, when I have a project that is eh, let’s say 80% done being written, not being able to finish it makes me really grumpy. Which means I get snippy (mainly at my husband, sorry hon), and I don’t like that. So, my goal is to get more work done in my WIP manuscript so, come the holidays and the book signing, my inner muse isn’t jabbing me with a rusty fence post for neglecting it.
So that’s why this is barely a blog post, more of a rambling update. But hey, you want to hear more from me? I’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram, so go follow me there! I hope to see you all at the book signing event, and please don’t hesitate to ask me questions about it in the meantime!
Hello, good friends! I apologize for my blogging absence as of late, I do have a good reason though. I was out of the country in the Dominican Republic for a little bit, then I got sick, and then book two in “The Monster of Selkirk” series launched, so I am 2-for-2 on illnesses during book launches. But as it’s been a week and my energy has returned/is returning, and a few of the early book reviews for “The Heart of the Forest” have come in, I wanted to share an element from my life that was weaved throughout the latest book.
I’ve mentioned before on my blog tours and what not, that I enjoy using fantasy, particularly young adult fantasy, to give young people a safe place where they don’t feel so alone, and that is most prevalent in “The Heart of the Forest”. I am going to avoid spoilers, but there is a moment in the second book where Tallis is dealing with something very traumatic and heart wrenching, and Tomas tries to comfort her, he wants her to feel better, and to feel better NOW. On the surface, this is natural, we’ve all been there in one form or another. We’ve dealt with terrible things, or know someone who was going through something devastating and we wanted to do whatever we could to make them feel better. But Tallis gets mad at Tomas for this, and basically tells him that what she needs most is to be allowed to feel her feelings, she needs to grieve for as long as she needs to, and she doesn’t want Tomas to “try and make her feel better” just because her sadness makes him uncomfortable.
Take a moment to think about that, if you will. Our intentions for wanting our friends and family to feel better when they are depressed or upset comes from a good place: we don’t like seeing people we care for suffer. But part of that desire to make them feel better, is because their sadness does indeed make us uncomfortable. We can’t understand how they process their feelings, even if we have been in similar situations. We’ll never really know how they feel. So when they are depressed, we want them to, well, not be depressed because we’re generally good people and their sadness makes us uncomfortable to be around.
Conversely, when people are grieving or going through something traumatic, they often feel like they are not allowed to process those emotions for very long. As if there is a time limit on how long someone can mourn. But people, especially young people, need to know that it is absolutely okay to not be okay. That you can feel your feelings for as long as it takes you to process them and the terrible situation you find yourself in. It’s okay to take as much time as you need. In other words: you do you.
I was so excited when a reviewer found this section of the book and latched on to it, because it was done very purposefully. Not just because I think it’s an important part of mental health and something more people should be okay with, but because I have been in this situation, as I’m sure many people have.
I was going through a tough time, I felt like my life was crumbling, everything I worked so hard for slipping through my fingers. I was let go from my job and had nothing to fall back on, I was struggling with trying to figure out what to do with my life next, I was floundering with ideas of self-worth… I was a mess and I was depressed; I could barely eat, let alone sleep, and I had a tendency to wallow everywhere I went.
My husband, bless his heart, wanted me to feel better. And he tried, he really did, to alleviate my burdens and remind me that I was, and am, loved. But that didn’t change the situation I was in so my depression remained and he got upset. He didn’t understand why I was still this way, why I couldn’t just get over it. I felt like I had to be done being terrified of the situation I found myself in, but putting on a brave face and denying my persistent panic attacks wasn’t the answer, either. I eventually went to see a therapist to talk about these things, and he told me how uncomfortable our sadness makes others who do not share it, even if they love us and just want us to be okay. Its why we tend to bring food over to people who have just lost a loved one, it’s a universal way of trying to make someone feel better when they are going through something profound and terrible that we can’t comprehend. There’s a reason we call it comfort food, after all.
When my therapist talked to me about this, it felt like a weight was lifted. It made sense why my husband, who loves me, would make me feel bad about feeling bad, even if he didn’t intend to. After that, I gave myself permission to feel my feelings for as long as I needed to, even if that meant telling people to just give me space so I could do just that. Eventually, my head resurfaced, and I had a deeper understanding of myself and my own mental process, and I wouldn’t have achieved that if I hadn’t allowed myself to feel bad, and to accept that it’s okay to not be okay.
I thought that was important enough to include in my fantasy world, that little piece of knowledge and acceptance I stumbled across with my therapist while trying to achieve better personal mental health. I want people to feel comfortable talking about this, but I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people. So, I figured that if I put it in my books, that maybe it would help someone else, that it would let them know that it’s fine, you can be sad for as long as it takes, you do you.
If you’ve read the books, I’d love to know what other parts you found that really spoke to you the way it did to the blogger, Roxie. She caught something I did very deliberately that I am so glad she wrote about in her review, but if there are other parts, please share them with me so we can have a nice little chat about it! And remember, it’s okay to not be okay, you do you.
Hello friends! Since you seemed to enjoy my last post focused on my character profiles, I decided to do another similar posting. Instead of focusing on my leading cast of characters (though I'll probably do another such post, but focused more on the supporting cast, as they are just as diverse and important to the story), this post will be focused more on some of the images I used to help build and shape the land of Selkirk. These images can be found on my Pinterest account in the boards dedicated to Selkirk and the costumes, but not all those clothes belong in Selkirk, or the first two books, so I wanted to share a few of the more prominent images of the scenery and outfits you'd most likely run into in the first book!
First, I want to introduce you to some of the elves. Now these aren't your Tolkien elves, they wear tattered rags for clothes, seem impervious to the weather, and some even look like walking trees if they get old enough! They have glowing yellow eyes, and most have filed their teeth into fangs. While none of the images are 100% spot on, images like these really helped me shaped the elves currently plaguing Tallis and her friends:
It's no secret that I based most of Selkirk off of a medieval version of Scotland with a smattering of Ireland and England in there for good measure. The names of the towns and cities, the food, the language, and the attire are all inspired from those places (but mainly Scotland). So of course, as I was envisioning the forests, the towns, and the other places Tallis found herself traversing, images like these were instrumental in capturing the feel and the mood of the landscape, as well as the feelings Tallis and her friends had while going through the areas:
If you've read the book, you may have noticed that every once in awhile, I put on my Tolkien and George R. Martin hat, and get really descriptive about clothes and armor. I know not everyone is a fan of that, and is often seen as just a trope of fantasy novels, and if it is, sorry? But I honestly like getting detailed about that stuff every now and again, I think it helps complete the sense of you being there, of being able to really visualize the different characters and their personalities based on the clothes they wear, or the armor they choose to put on. I won't do it for every single outfit change, usually just once or twice to complete the image of the world, and then after, it's on you, dear reader, to make sure the characters aren't running around naked, unless you're into that kind of thing, then go for it! Regardless, I spend a lot of time looking for clothes that fit the world and characters, and the ones below fit that well for the first book, though if you have visited my Pinterest boards, you'll know the costumes vary wildly from book one to two, and beyond. These are just a few that inspire the looks I talk about in "The Duality of Nature":
You may want to click on the images in order to get a clearer view of the detail in each one, but I hope this little teaser was interesting, and if you've read the book, the details from some of the locations or clothes now make more sense to you. I'll post more of these as we get closer to book two's release date and beyond so you can see even more of Selkirk, and the things and people Tallis and her friends encounter along the way. Let me know what you think of the images, or if there are certain characters you'd love to see the character profile for. I'd love to hear from you all!