Hello my favorite booknerds! If there is one thing I learned from the previous year (ok, I learned lots of things, but this is a fun thing), it’s that character boards are SO MUCH FUN. I’ve done a few of these in the past for the first book in “The Monster of Selkirk” and everyone really seems to dig them, so I wanted to show off another one. The first few times I did them, the boards showcased the fashion of Selkirk, the landscape, and some of the things that inspired the four main characters.
This board is going to be a bit different, but still filled with pictures (because who doesn’t like looking at pretty things?) so never fear. But instead of showing off the heroes of my books, I want to show you my villains. The ones that inhabit the first two books in my series that generally make Tallis’s life a living hell (outside of the elves since I already showed you those).
BE FOREWARNED: as these images show some of the nasty people in my world, I feel like I should give you a spoiler warning. It’s mild, if spoilers are there, just, you know, read with caution? Or be sure you’ve read “The Monster of Selkirk Book II: The Heart of the Forest” first. Anything that may be a spoiler will be in the image captions, so don’t click those if you’re nervous, but feel free to enjoy the images!
Ok, so first, let me introduce you to Jon, Henrik, and Raghnall. These dudes make their appearance in the first book, but they continue to cause trouble in the second book as well. Click the pictures to see the captions of who inspired what!
This has always been a theme of mine, that monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and not all are the obvious ones you expect. This definitely holds true for the “gentlemen” above, but it also holds true for some of the roving Sipsi clans that Tallis encounters. Some will aide her, sure, but others… well, others have their own nefarious motives.
And last, but not least, is the big baddie herself. Like I said, not all monsters are literal, but some are because this is a fantasy series, after all. What fun would it be if I didn’t throw in something that reeks of a paranormal being out to watch the world burn?
And that’s it for my first character board of the year! I’ll be doing a lot more once the third book in the series comes out, but, until then, what did you guys think of my villains? Did you picture any of them looking differently? Let me know!
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!)