Imposter Syndrome

insecurity-1306280_960_720So I have this thing called low self-esteem. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, all my life really, and I know I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities because of it.

My shy, introverted self doesn’t exactly help with matters, neither do my random bouts with anxiety and depression, but I also know extroverts aren’t immune to its negative grip.

Mine usually manifests itself in the form of a tiny voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough, that nothing I do is ever good enough.

And unfortunately, being a writer can sometimes compound that voice until it drowns out reason. Maybe that’s just one of the downsides of being a creative person since it requires a critical voice, because sometimes that voice turns against you. Instead of being critical of sentence structure or word choice, it grows into a full blown attack on everything you do.

At least that’s what happens to me.

When I started writing a few years ago, it took me over six months before I let my guard down enough to consider myself a writer, and some days I still don’t. It doesn’t make much sense because as soon as I started tapping into that creative vein and putting the words to “paper,” I was a writer. But after years and years of self-doubt, I never thought something I created would be liked. Despite warm comments from readers, I couldn’t let myself believe any of it.

A similar thing happened after Taming the Wyld was accepted for publication. I was left with a surreal feeling after the initial thrill wore off. I had a hard time believing I was good enough for publication, because some days I’m just not strong enough to ward off imposter syndrome. Some days, I feel like a complete fraud.

I love how TTW turned out, but there was still this part of me that couldn’t accept that it was real, not even after I started edits, or chose the cover, or saw the final galley. My brain just couldn’t fully register it was happening.

But it was. And I have an Amazon link to prove it. It doesn’t get any more real than that.

Some strangers at DSP who know a lot more about the business of writing than I were willing to take a chance with my stories. They have invested money into me and my books, and that’s something that took me a while to realize. That little nugget of truth gave me a different perspective about myself, and it came with a boost of confidence.

On top of that, the release of my first full length novel is only two weeks away. I struggled to finish the last 25k words of Past the Breakers. I questioned if it was good enough, but getting the contract offer validated everything that I’m trying to do here, and it helped to turn down the volume of that nagging voice inside my head. I know I’m not the best writer, I might not even be a great one, but I’m better than mediocre. And some days that’s enough.

Maybe I’ve gotten lucky, three consecutive times, or maybe I’m not as bad as my brain likes to tell me I am. (My friends agree with the latter, but my brain also likes to remind me they’re biased.) Either way, I feel good about things right now for the first time in a long time.

Even so, that voice is like an albatross around my neck, talons digging in as it whispers, “How long can it last?”

Past the Breakers | Now available for preorder

 

My first novel is now available for preorder ahead of it’s May 15th release. I’m so happy I’m finally able to share this story after nearly two years in the making. Be sure to reserve your copy today!


Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


PasttheBreakers_FINALCasey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

 

Past the Breakers | Coming May 15th

So I’ve been a little MIA from life lately thanks to Mass Effect: Andromeda. That game took over my life for awhile, but now that I’ve beaten it into submission, I’m ready to get back into the thick of things. And what better way to do that then by revealing the cover for my first novel!

PasttheBreakers_FINAL

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, their love transcending the barriers threatening to keep them apart, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

It should be up for preorder soon, but I’m still in mild disbelief that it’s going to be in print. There will be actual physical copies of something I wrote, something I poured my soul into to hold in my hands, and I’m hoping that I’ll finally feel like a “proper” writer because of it.

I’m not sure what a proper writer is supposed to feel like, maybe nothing at all, but it’s strange that I have such a hangup about it. It’s probably because my crippling self-doubt likes to play tricks on me, but suck it inner self! In one month’s time, I’ll have physical proof that I’m a writer, and nothing can take that away from me. Not even myself.

Failure February

My blog and overall social media presence fell by the wayside during my four month depression hibernation, but I feel ready to get back on the horse. I have the blog tour of My Paradise Is You coming up, and I’m finally getting into the swing of things with my next novel, so why not lay out some goals for myself to accomplish this month while I’m getting into the groove.

postitHonestly, I’ve never been a goal setter. I tend to do most things by the seat of my pants, and while that works 9 times out of 10, sometimes it’s nice to try something different.

I’m a little hesitant though, because part of the reason I never set goals is because I’m way too hard on myself when I don’t reach them all. Failure is something I probably take too seriously, but we’ll see how this goes. I am trying to be kinder to myself this year.

Goals:

  • Write at least 12 chapters and/or 30k words on my current novel
  • Write the blog posts for my blog tour
  • Write at least two more posts here, one being a sweet Valentine’s Day treat!
  • Spend a little more time on Facebook and Twitter, and less on the time suck that is Tumblr
  • Start a newsletter

All of these are very doable. Obviously the first two are my priorities, and if I can complete those, I’ll be happy.

I will not beat myself up if I don’t meet these goals.

I probably should’ve posted this at the beginning of the month. I’m already 4 days behind here, but I plan to finish chapter 2 of 12 today, so I’m happy with that start.

And off I go. Wish me luck!

My Paradise Is You – Now available for preorder

myparadiseisyouorig_final_01My DPS World of Love novella is now available for preorder ahead of it’s March 1st release! I’m super proud of this story,  and isn’t the cover just gorgeous? Bree Archer does amazing work. Be sure to reserve your copy today:

Dreamspinner Press

When two very different men are stranded on a deserted island, will opposites attract, or will they end up killing each other—if the elements don’t get them first?

Marc Reed is an expert scuba diver and leads underwater tours of the infamous shipwrecks scattered around Bermuda. When a robbery forces him and his boss’s son—a man he despises on principle—to take shelter on an uncharted island, he might have to reassess his opinion of the spoiled snob.

Ian Blythe-Darcy II lives a life most would envy. He’s a trust-fund kid being groomed to take over his father’s empire of hotels and resorts. But it’s not a life that matches what’s in his heart. He’s in the closet and engaged to a socialite he doesn’t love, but he’s about to get a crash course in being true to himself—and maybe learn money can’t buy happiness after all.

October, I miss you….

After several lousy months, October brought with it bluer skies and a nice sense of optimism for me. Unfortunately, that didn’t survive the transition into November. I wasn’t able to write the last story I had for Halloween, and it all seemed to have tumbled down hill after that.

NaNo Update:

I started out strong after changing my story on November 1st. The last minute idea about two dudes on a cruise ship gave me a nice boost of inspiration. I had also intended it to be more of a cozy mystery with a twist of romance, which is something different. I thought changing genres might help get me out of my current funk. But no such luck.

Somewhere between word 1 and 10k, I lost my confidence for the plot and the overall story. This happens quite a bit to me, especially in the last few months. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I started writing to varying degrees, and I had hoped time would make those feelings of failure and inadequacy lessen, but it hasn’t. The good news is I had somewhat anticipated it, the bad news is the election happened.

I’m not going to say much about it here, but as a member of the LGBT+ community and as someone with mixed ancestry, I’m afraid of what the next four years will bring. I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as other do. I’m a fair skinned, white passing, Native American, somewhat closeted pansexual, genderqueer/genderfuid person. But I’m much more worried about the safety of others, and especially those who don’t fit into the white, Christian, straight, cisgendered privileged group.

I’m so tired already, but He Who Shall Not Be Named hasn’t even taken office yet. All we can do is hang on for the ride and do our best to stick together and stick up for each other and our rights, whether that is through grassroots activism, donating to helpful charities, or challenging bigots and racists on their hatred.

Needless to say, the last week has completely knocked me out of NaNo mode. I’ve written 300 words the last week, and it was on a totally different story. I’m not sure if I will revisit the cruise ship idea. Maybe I’ll try to jump into something else instead in hopes of salvaging the rest of the month. I don’t know yet.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday, my cat died. He was getting old, 14 1/2, and I knew he didn’t have much time left, but that’s just one more thing to deal with in this god forsaken year from hell.

 

love-winsBut I have to end this on a positive note.

Dreamspinner Press’s Love Wins anthology is now available for preorder! I’m very excited about it, and am so happy I was able to do something to help the LGBT+ community in these uncertain times. Abstract Heart is such a cute little story that I’m very proud of, so if you need a burst of something positive to look forward to, along with the 16 other wonderful short stories included in the anthology, preorder your copy here today!

Don’t you just love the cover!

 

Love Wins Anthology

It’s been a tough week for me, and I know I’m not alone in this. Fortunately, I received a little nugget of light today that lifted my spirits. I know the LGBT+ community is facing a tough four years, but now that I’ve had time to mourn and process what happened on Tuesday, I’ve gotten to the point where I just want to turn up the gay.

love-winsAnd what better way to start than by announcing the release date for Dreamspinner Press’s Love Wins Anthology! The collection of short stories with positive and uplifting endings will be released December 12th, and all proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in Central Florida.

I’m so happy that I could do something positive and meaningful to show my support for the victims of the Pulse shooting and offer a helping hand to those in desperate need of it. I fear the uphill battle that lies ahead of all of us in the coming years, but I also believe that ultimately Love Wins.

My contribution, Abstract Heart, turned out better than I could’ve hoped. It’s a sweet story about two awkward, art loving introverts who refuse to let their lack of social skills ruin their chance at love. It’s amazing how hard I fell for Kris and Nick in such a short time, but I with the same for you.

In addition to their romance, there are 16 other stories by wonderful authors who donated their time and effort into putting this anthology together, and I can’t wait to read them all!

Preorder your copy today from Dreamspinner Press.