Monthly Archives: April 2014

Changing Your Self-Esteem Filters

by Kassandra Lamb

I’m over at Pirkko Rytkonen’s blog today, talking about why it’s hard to change how we feel about ourselves.

A filter should be easy to change, right? I can change the one in my furnace in five minutes. Any self-respecting auto mechanic can change an oil filter in a car in less than twenty. An air filter’s even easier.

rusty bolt

Try getting this bad boy out! (photo by Noel Feans, CC-BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

So why is it so hard to change our self-esteem filters?

Mainly it’s because they’ve been established for so long. It’s like those rusty screws or bolts in something that you can’t get loose for love nor money.

Our self-esteem filters are established when… READ MORE HERE

 

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Break Out the Bubbly!!

(photo by ori2uru, CC 2.0 license, Wikimedia Commons)

(photo by ori2uru, CC 2.0, Wikimedia)

 

It’s time to break out the virtual bubbly again here
at misterio press because we have a BIG announce-
ment.

Drumroll, please… We are thrilled that a new
author, Vinnie Hansen, has joined our group!

Vinnie has some impressive credentials, including
a master’s degree in creative writing and a bunch
of literary awards. She’s led a checkered an
adventurous life, and we are tickled pink that she’s
landed with us here at misterio, bringing her
intrepid heroine, Carol Sabala, along with her.

We are also please to announce the re-release of
Murder, Honey (the first Carol Sabala book) under the misterio press imprint. Over the next year or so, the plan is to bring the whole series in under the misterio umbrella.

So grab a glass of virtual champagne and pull up a chair. Here’s Vinnie to give us a snapshot of her journey through the ups and downs of life and writing.

Take it away, Vinnie…

Vinnie_authorTN

When I was a baby, the government built Highway 14 right through my parents’ shack. The family relocated to a house on the edge of tiny Philip, South Dakota, where I grew up with my nine brothers and sisters.

Vinnie Age 1 by dad's sign

Age 1, by one of my father’s signs. He painted signs for a living.

 

Vinnie Age 5 - Behind the house

Age 5 — already taking care of other creatures’ babies.

downtown Philip, SD

                                    Downtown Philip, SD

Starting at age ten, I was “farmed out” to my older siblings to take care of their babies.

This is how I came to be in Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park and Guerneville, California in 1967, 1969 and 1970. When I returned home wearing bellbottoms and a puffy shirt, my dad remarked that letting me go to California was “like turning a horse loose in an alkaline pasture.”

The day after I graduated from high school, I left South Dakota in a Woody, but the car threw a rod outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. I sold it and bought a bus ticket to L.A., arriving in the middle of the night. I hid from the pimps in the bathroom. My sister-in-law rescued me.

Even though I had been a valedictorian, no one had mentioned college. I had no plans beyond a summer exchange program in Switzerland. I owe my brother Wayne for turning me on to community college. My first night class was Creative Writing. I was hooked!

I eventually earned a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in English, the latter with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Flannery O’Connor was once asked if she thought universities stifled writers. She responded, “My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.”

I left college thinking I was hot stuff and set off to write The Great American Novel.

Up to that point, I had worked jobs from delivering newspapers to nude modeling. When I finally had to get serious about earning a living, I returned to school for a teaching credential.

Vinnie posing on the Watsonville High School signOn a Friday, I landed a job at Watsonville High School. I moved the 80 miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz during the weekend and started my new job on Monday—teaching four different courses in four different classrooms.

During my 27-year career, I was lucky enough to teach Creative Writing and to serve as advisor for the campus literary magazine. I continued to pursue my writing dream. My stories appeared in several literary and mystery magazines and my short story collection was a semi-finalist for the Iowa School of Letters Award.

In 1999, I started my Carol Sabala mystery series with Murder, Honey. The book was in first-person and set in Santa Cruz, but I didn’t want people to think the protagonist was me. (Silly me!)

Yet, the adage “write what you know” had been drilled into me. At the time, I was married to Mr. Wrong, a sous chef at an upscale Santa Cruz restaurant. So I made my heroine a baker/amateur sleuth at a swanky dining establishment.

When I got divorced, so did Carol Sabala. She moved on to new men and new venues. I liked that my main character was growing and changing over the years. Like me, as her knees gave out, she changed hobbies from volleyball to mountain biking. The ukulele band with which I play keyboard snuck its way into my latest mystery, Art, Wine & Bullets. I’m currently a yogini, but haven’t included yoga yet in a mystery.

Vinnie doing a yoga pose on the Santa Cruz dockMy series now contains seven books, one of which won a Best Book of Fiction of 2005 award (that was a great day!) and another was a 2013 Claymore Award Finalist.

In my work-in-progress, I come full circle, sending Carol Sabala to South Dakota.

I am thrilled to continue my literary journey with misterio press!

Kass here again. Please check out the new edition of Vinnie’s Murder, Honey, with updated text and its great new cover!  (Psst! I’ll also be celebrating the re-release of my first novel later this month.)

Murder, Honey book cover

 

When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. There is no shortage of suspects at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead, from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives. Even Carol had plotted his demise! 

Available on AMAZON for just $3.95  (It will be out in paperback very soon!) 

And pleased join me in welcoming Vinnie to misterio press!

 

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Introvert vs. Extrovert — Do We Really Understand the Difference?

And do opposites attract, or are we birds of a feather?

flock of birds at sunset

On the subject of introversion vs. extroversion the answer to that question is some of both.

Introvert/extrovert – We assume we know the meaning of these words. Extroverts are outgoing and talkative. Introverts are quiet and shy. Right?

Well, yes and no.

Extroversion–introversion is one of the continuum in the Big Five Trait theory. This is a well-researched theory regarding how our personalities tend to be organized. There are five major continuum of traits in this theory, with quite a few other traits within each of these categories.

In addition to Extroversion–introversion, these continuum are:
Agreeableness (how ruthless vs. softhearted you are)
Conscientiousness (how reliable you are)
Neuroticism (how emotionally stable you are)
Openness to New Experiences (how adventurous you are)

Now with regard to most of these trait continuum, the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together” applies. We tend to be attracted to people similar to ourselves. But there are two exceptions.

One is the neuroticism/emotional stability continuum. Those folks like me who are more intense (more high maintenance, some–like my husband–might say) are usually attracted to people who are easy-going. But this is another whole post. So let’s get back to extroversion-introversion, which is the other continuum where opposites attract.

drawing of a gril talking to a silent boy

(‘Talk’ by Mr. Seafall, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia)

On the surface, I present as an extreme extrovert. I’m very talkative. I start conversations with strangers on a regular basis. (I draw the line at inanimate objects, though I do talk to animals, and the occasional plant. 😉 )

Roughly two-thirds of my friends, including my husband, are introverts. The other third are very close to the cusp between the two versions of this trait (sometimes called ambiversion, as in ambidextrous when it comes to these traits).

Most of my friends are introverts because their personalities complement my own. Introverts make a good audience for the extrovert. As one of my friends put it: “I like it that you talk so much. That way I don’t have to think of much to say.”

Other than relieving one of the obligation to make conversation, I can only speculate about our appeal from the introverts’ point of view. My guess is they find us extroverts entertaining.

But why are so many of my friends near the cusp–neither strongly extroverted nor blatantly introverted? Ah, this brings us back to the true meaning of extroversion–introversion. It is a lot more complicated than we tend to think.

You see, I am actually very close to being an ambivert myself. Despite my obvious extroverted traits, I score on the introverted side on one very important but little understood aspect of this continuum–how one experiences social stimulation.

diagram of the extroversion--introversion continuum

(by RCraig09 CC-BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Extroverts draw energy from interacting with others; introverts are drained by such interactions and need to be away from people for awhile to recuperate. Regarding this crucial trait, I am an introvert. I crave large quantities of alone time. My mother was the same way. She referred to herself as an introvert who operated as an extrovert.

Now this doesn’t mean introverts dislike being around other people. They have social and emotional needs just like extroverts. But after awhile, they need to be alone.

And while we’re on the subject, let me point out another misconception about introverts. They aren’t all shy, nor do they necessarily have difficulty making friends. They are somewhat quieter, less quick to speak up, but they may very well be quite talkative amongst friends (my husband certainly is!)

And I know several introverts who are better at making friends than I am, even though I may appear more “friendly” on the surface. I’m quick to start a conversation with just about anyone, but I’m actually slow to make a friend.

Fortunately my cofounder of misterio press, Shannon Esposito, is one of those introverts who makes friends easily. We met at a writers’ conference. I initiated the conversation but she was the one who opened the door to friendship and invited me in with a flourish.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Big Five Trait continuum are somewhat independent of each other. Shannon is quite adventurous. As bold as I am at trying new things, she is always right there with me. Indeed she’s often leading the way. This is not a trait we usually associate with reserved introverts. And it shouldn’t be, because it’s on a completely different continuum–Openness to New Experiences. An introvert can be adventurous; an extrovert can love predictable routine (I know a couple of them).

I guess the moral of all this is to not be too quick to label someone as introverted or extroverted, and don’t be too surprised if most of your friends are from the other side of the continuum. Unless you’re a true ambivert, in which case you will probably “flock together” with other ambiverts.

How about you? Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert? Are you drained or energized by being around others?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Letting Go (Part 2)

by Kassandra Lamb (see Part 1, Pulling Up Roots here)

The Maryland house today

So my little summer cottage/writer’s retreat is sold. A nice young man now owns it, and I don’t. I’m having very mixed emotions about that.

I put a lot of effort into fixing that little house up, making it cute and cozy. And I wrote a lot of good words in my writer’s cave there. Also, letting the house go means one less link with my home state of Maryland. But I’m very, very relieved to be rid of the maintenance headaches that had gotten worse as the house aged.

This has gotten me thinking about why it is hard sometimes to let go… of people, but also of the places we have called home.

Herd of wild horses

 

We humans are innately social beings.
We are herd animals. Like horses and
wolves, we instinctively know that we
need to band together in order to
survive.

 

The need for connection to others is so important that the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow made belongingness and love the third tier in his well-known hierarchy of needs. We need what he referred to as the three A’s of belongingness–affiliation, acceptance and affection. These needs take a backseat only to basic physical and safety needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

image by Anthony Beck (CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I’m realizing as I’m writing this that the need for connection to others is the reason people read fiction. We so strongly want to feel connected that we don’t even mind if the people we’re connecting with are figments of an author’s imagination! And many readers, myself included, particularly like series, so we can stay connected to the same characters book after book.

Woman reading in a library or bookstore

photo by Onderwijsgk, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

But why do we connect with a place?

Most humans also feel a need/desire to have a “home.” This is not just a female thing. I know plenty of men who have a strong sense of home. We are not so different from the fox, burrowing into his den at night, snug and safe (Maslow’s second tier).

Now I have to let go of my little “den” up north. I will focus on my home here in Florida and on my friends and family scattered around the country. I have plenty of connections to replace the ones I’m losing. But still it isn’t easy, this letting go.

How about you? How strongly do you feel the need for connection? Are you a homebody who becomes attached to places as well as people?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)