Tag Archives: self-esteem

“Impostor Syndrome” and What To Do About It

by Kassandra Lamb

Today I’m guest posting over on Jami Gold’s site on the subject of Impostor Syndrome in writers. But there are nuggets of truth in the post for everyone on the topic of believing in the quality of one’s work, filtering feedback, and letting the good stuff in to bolster our self-esteem.

Why Writers Feel Like Impostors Sometimes (and What to Do About It)

“Impostor Syndrome”—it’s the bane of a writer’s existence. Am I really a writer? Am I really any good at this writing thing?

Even after we’ve produced several books and they’re selling, we may still encounter those moments of fear—Am I a fraud? Have I just fooled everyone?

Why is writing (or any creative endeavor) so prone to impostor syndrome?

1.  “Good” is subjective. No matter how great our talent, some people will love our work, and some will hate it. (Just look at the bad reviews on many of the classics.)

2.  We are too close to our work to judge it accurately.

3.  We feel things more intensely than others might. That’s what fuels our creativity, and also our self-doubt.

4.  Our stories, poems, etc. are our children. Criticism of them is a knife in the heart.

5.  Any insecurities we have about our worth as a person will feed into insecurities about our work. Criticism will seem harsher than it was intended to be; praise will be seen as people just being kind.

created via imgflip.com

What to Do About It: 

First, are you a writer?

If you write, you are a writer! Claim that title. You have a right to it. (Or to sculptor, painter, or even teacher, architect…whatever the case may be.)

Whether or not you are a good writer is something else. Being good at something almost always involves three things: natural talent, training, and practice.

Talent is the subjective, innate component. (I’ll come back to that.) But the training and the practice you can make happen. Take craft classes. Find a good critique group, editor, beta readers, etc. who can help you hone your skills.

And then write. A lot.

How do you know if you’ve got the talent?

When you are first starting out, have lots of people read your writing and give you feedback.

Then pay close attention to that feedback. This does NOT mean that you BELIEVE all the feedback you get, but pay close attention to it.

First, who is giving it? Do they have their own agenda (such as making themselves seem important), or are they sincerely trying to help?

Do they know what they are talking about? Do they normally read your genre? Are they writers themselves or editors? (They don’t have to be, and just because they are doesn’t mean everything they say is correct.)

I intentionally have at least one beta reader who is not primarily a mystery reader (currently my daughter-in-law, romance writer G.G. Andrew). This gives me…READ MORE

Come Here, Go Away! (Thoughts on Intimacy & Fear)

by Kassandra Lamb

I’m in the throes of final editing of the next Marcia Banks and Buddy book, and a subplot running through the whole series is Marcia’s struggle to trust her heart to love again after a disastrous marriage.

That struggle got me thinking about the two biggest obstacles to romantic partners initially getting together—intimacy phobia and commitment phobia (there are lots of other challenges re: staying together). People often assume these two fears are the same thing, but there are subtle and important differences. Today I’ll talk about the first one, which I think of as the come-here, go-away syndrome.

Human beings naturally crave connection with others. It’s part of our makeup. Survival of the species depends on pooling our efforts to benefit the group and to raise our young.

monkey and cat hugging

Everybody craves closeness, but too close can be scary. (photo by SalimVirji, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

So we crave connection, but those of us who have been hurt before by someone close to us (Show of hands? *everyone raises their hands*) also tend to carry some scar tissue around our hearts.

If we rate the thickness of that scar tissue on a scale from 1 to 10, a few people, with 9 to 10-level scar tissue, will manage to squash the urge to connect completely and they will avoid relationships.

For many of the rest of us, the scar tissue falls in the 1 to 4 range—mild to moderate thickness that we can work our way past when someone comes along who seems trustworthy and truly interested in us (friend or lover).

But those in the 5-8 range are most likely to engage in come-here, go-away behavior. They crave connection and allow a relationship to get started—maybe even actively pursue a potential partner or friend—but then the fears set in and the dance begins. They just can’t handle letting someone get too close.

There are several ways the fear of intimacy will be manifested.

  1.  The walls go up.
  2.  The person sabotages the relationship.
  3.  The person starts trying to control his/her partner.
  4.  The person starts denigrating his/her partner.

The walls – Somehow you get the gut sense that your partner is holding back. There is a part of them they keep hidden. You may be picking up on little hesitations in personal conversations, as if they are weighing how much to say. Or they may change the subject when things start getting too intimate.

(Note: by intimacy, I don’t mean sex; I mean emotional closeness, which results from disclosing your thoughts and feelings to your partner.)

Also they may pull away after a surge of intimacy. You bare your souls to each other on a date and you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy about that, but then your partner cancels the next two dates.

The worst thing you can do is to try to beat down the walls by sheer force (trust me, I’ve tried). Insisting that your partner let you in will likely get the opposite response.

The best approach is patience and being as open and trustworthy as you can be. People with walls tend to assume that others also have them. If they sense that you don’t (or you at least have doors in your wall), then they may feel more comfortable reciprocating and letting you in farther.

Also, if they are telling you they need things to slow down, hear that. Acknowledge that it’s scary to let someone in and that you’re afraid too.

My husband and I had a whirlwind courtship that felt pretty much out of our control. Somewhere around the second month we started this little routine. We would look at each other and then one of us would start it.

  • “Who the heck is driving this runaway stagecoach anyway?”
  • “I thought you were.”
  • “No, I thought you were.”
  • “Aw crap, guess we’d better hold hands and hang on tight then.”

I don’t remember anymore who thought of that little exchange first, but it got us through those early, scary times.

But there are no guarantees when it comes to walls. The person’s wall may be so thick, even they don’t know how to dismantle it.

Sabotage – This can take many forms. It may be picking fights, becoming unreliable, or even being unfaithful.

The important thing here is to recognize the underlying fear. If the couple keeps fighting over the sabotaging behavior itself instead of addressing why one or both of you feel the need to sabotage, the relationship probably will come to an end.

The best way to address this is directly but gently. “I’ve noticed you’ve been doing ______ a lot lately. Is that because you’re uncomfortable with how close we’ve become?”

Keep in mind the old adage about leading a horse to water. The other person may or may not admit to you or themselves that the sabotage is coming from a fear of intimacy.

Again, trying to force the issue is likely to backfire. Let it go for now and see what seeds you may have planted. Then address it again the next time they sabotage. (This is assuming you can tolerate the sabotaging behavior.)

Controlling – Trying to control you may be another form of sabotage, but there’s another layer here too. If your partner can control you, then they feel more secure that you won’t leave them.

cartoon of couple arguing

“Why are you arguing?” the mother-in-law says. “You are newlyweds.”
“We don’t need to argue if she would just agree with me,” the husband says. (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Also, some people are controlling by nature. This too comes from fear, but more from a fear of being out of control and helpless. Try to step back and ask yourself if your partner is trying to control YOU or the environment in general.

If it’s the latter, you’re not likely to get them to change readily, so then you need to ask yourself how willing you are to deal with their controlling behavior.

If it’s truly you they are trying to control, then again gentle confrontation is in order, but this time couple it with reassurances. “First, let me assure you that I’m not going anywhere. I care about you. But I feel lately like you keep trying to control me and I don’t like that. Is that just because you’re afraid I might leave?”

Denigration – This one is perhaps the hardest to deal with. Your partner starts putting you down, criticizing what you wear, how you talk, etc. This is often another form of control.

It can come from two possible motives. One is “if I tear you down, you won’t feel confident enough to leave me.” This is a sign of an abuser and you probably need to get away from this behavior and this person sooner instead of later.

The other can be a byproduct of their own poor self-esteem. I actually had a boyfriend tell me one time, “I know I’m a little pile of [crap] so I figure if you love me, then you must be a little pile of [crap] too.”

I kicked his pile of crap out the door.

But if you don’t want to do that, you can try confronting the behavior. Point out what they are doing and how it makes you feel, then go a step farther and ask them how they would feel if you said those things to them. If you can get some empathy going, you might just get them to change this behavior.

It can also help to point out that if they are doing this to tear you down so you won’t leave them, the behavior is about to backfire. It is driving you away.

Never, ever stay with someone who continues to put you down. You will not please them (because they don’t want to be pleased) and your self-esteem will be harmed, and it could be the first step to more serious abuse.

I’m sure there are other, more creative ways that people sometimes deal with their fear of intimacy, but these are the ones I saw most often during my 20 years as a therapist.

What about you? How thick is the scar tissue around your heart? Have you seen other ways that people exhibit intimacy phobia?

And here is the wonderful cover for my new book! I think my cover designer, Melinda VanLone outdid herself on this one.

book cover

The Call Of The Woof, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #3

Army veteran Jake Black has a new lease on life, thanks to service dog Felix and his trainer, Marcia Banks. Despite a traumatic brain injury, Jake’s able to ride his beloved motorcycle again, with Felix in the sidecar. But his freedom to hit the open road is threatened once more when he and his wife are accused of robbery.

Called in to dog-sit, Marcia can’t sit idly by. She and her mentor dog, Buddy, set out to clear the Blacks’ name, fighting misconceptions about bikers and the nature of TBI along the way. When murder is added to the mix, Marcia redoubles her efforts, despite anonymous threats and her sheriff boyfriend’s strenuous objections, both to her putting herself at risk… and to dragging him along on her wild ride.

I hope to have the book available for Preorder by July 10th. Release day is July 20th.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries set in Central Florida.

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

February, the Runt of Months

by Kassandra Lamb

Contemplating this month of February that we’ve just entered got me thinking about being the shortest or smallest in a group—a team, a classroom, a family, etc.

We humans are fairly obsessed with size, as if that’s some indicator of power and, in turn, worth. Small equals powerless equals unworthy.

football player receiving the ball

Photo by Torsten Bolten CC-BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons

Big equals better. Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger you-know-whats…

Look at football players. Definitely bigger is better, right? Hey, it’s Super Bowl time so we’ve gotta have some football references.

(But wait, who’s that wiry little guy ducking and dodging around the big bruisers? You know, that receiver who makes a bunch of touchdowns because he’s a bit smaller and leaner, and a lot faster, than the others.)

Being the shortest/smallest one can bring on teasing, and whether it’s good-natured or mean, that teasing can leave one feeling less than and can undermine self-esteem for years to come.

Poor February is the shortest month—the runt of the year. Do you ever wonder if February feels self-conscious about it’s lack of length—inferior even. Do the other months pick on February? Do they point and make fun?

Here’s some advice I found on the Internet* for short kids who are teased by their classmates. Just for fun, let’s see if we can apply these ideas to February.

1. Ignore those bigger ones who put you down for being smaller.

Ha, I turn my back on you, January. You are so yesterday!

2. Confront those who tease you.

Hey, March, cool it with the short jokes. You’re no better than me. I may be cold and snowy, but you’re rainy and dreary, and about that wind…

3. If it gets to be too much, tell an authority figure, someone with the power to stop the teasing.

Hey, April. You may be 30 days long and the true beginning of spring. But if you don’t stop picking on me, I’m gonna tell July and August. They’re each 31 days long and they will burn you!

4. Embrace your size. (It may be that you just haven’t had your growth spurt yet.)

There’s nothing wrong with being short. (Oh, and just you wait until the next leap year!)

hearts on a bare tree

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

5. Play to your strengths.

Yes, I’m short, but I’m sweet, and a lot of fun. I’ve got the Super Bowl, Presidents’ Day (Yay, long weekend!), Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras going for me.

6. Stand tall and be confident!

That’s it February, head high, back straight!

You may be short, but for those of us who hate winter, you sure seem like the longest month of the year.

(*Loosely paraphrased from WikiHow: How to Handle Being the Smallest Person in Class.)

What are your thoughts on being the shortest, or the youngest, or in some other way, the runt of the litter? Do you have other suggestions for overcoming the message that you are less than if you’re the “runt?”

And speaking of teasing, my protagonist’s daughter is now in middle school and coping with being the youngest kid in her class, among other things. Check out this subplot in my upcoming Kate Huntington Mystery (#9), ANXIETY ATTACK.

Cover reveal today. Ta-da!

book cover

ANXIETY ATTACK, A Kate Huntington Mystery, #9

When an operative working undercover for Kate Huntington’s husband is shot, the alleged shooter turns out to be one of Kate’s psychotherapy clients, a man suffering from severe social anxiety. P.I. Skip Canfield had doubts from the beginning about this case, a complicated one of top secret projects and industrial espionage. Now one of his best operatives, and a friend, is in the hospital fighting for his life.

Tensions build when Skip learns that Kate—who’s convinced her client is innocent and too emotionally fragile to survive in prison—has been checking out leads on her own. Then a suspicious suicide brings the case to a head. Is the shooter tying up loose ends? Almost too late, Skip realizes he may be one of those loose ends, and someone seems to have no qualms about destroying his agency or getting to him through his family.

Release Date:  2/18/17  ~  Will be available for Preorder on 2/14/17! 

Just $1.99 during preorder.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Competition ~ Healthy or Unhealthy?

by Kassandra Lamb

A writer acquaintance recently posted that she’d received 6 one or two-star reviews on the same day, and the wording of them sounded very similar to each other. She suspected some other writer had opened several bogus Amazon accounts for the sole purpose of trolling her and probably other writers as well. (Amazon apparently agreed because they investigated and took the reviews down.)

Yes, I’m a psychologist but there are some things I just don’t get about human beings. I may understand intellectually, but I really can’t relate. Why waste energy putting others down? How does that help you?

It takes a very insecure person to indulge in this kind of unhealthy competition, otherwise known as bullying.

bike race

(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Now don’t get me wrong, competition can be healthy. Some people find that competing inspires them to improve their performance more so than they would on their own. That’s great, as long as they don’t take it so seriously that they are devastated if they don’t come in first.

Nobody’s perfect, and no matter how good you are, somebody out there is probably better, or can do better on a particular day.

Also it’s healthy as long as you can be a good sport about losing. Comparing oneself to others in a negative way is not good for one’s self-esteem, to say the least.

                  Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Teddy Roosevelt

And if one’s reaction to losing is to try to tear the winner down, again that’s called bullying. If you’re not that great at what you do, no amount of tearing down the competition (instead of beating them honestly) is going to change the outcome all that much for you. That energy is far better spent on improving your own abilities.

There are some people, like me, who naturally are not particularly competitive. Personally, I can’t get all that excited about writing contests. I’ve entered a few, if the entry fees were low. But often I forget to even go back and check if I’ve won anything.

There are only two things that matter to me regarding my writing quality (or the quality of anything I do):

1. Is it good enough to fulfill its purpose? (With regard to writing, is it giving my readers a satisfying reading experience?)

2. Am I getting better and better at it? (i.e., I’m competing with myself.)

And in the case of some endeavors, competition is pretty much unnecessary. Writing is one of them, in my opinion.

bookstore

Bookstore in Istanbul (photo, public domain, Wikimedia)

Books are not like refrigerators or toasters. People don’t buy just one every few years. Readers buy books all the time. They are a consumable item, somewhere between food and clothing in the frequency of purchase (and to some readers, considered just as much a necessity).

Me, I’d much rather support and encourage other writers, while going for my “personal best” in my own writing.

How about you? Are you more the competitive type or are you more like me?

Creativity and the Baby Boom Woman

by Kassandra Lamb

I recently became more active in an online writers group for women of a “certain age.” I’m noticing some interesting psychological trends there.

If you read the bios of the members, your mouth will hang open in awe. These are very accomplished women! I’m honored to be a part of their group.

And yet as our lives have often changed due to divorce, death of a spouse, and just plain aging, there’s a tendency to slide back into the insecurities we thought we had left behind.

Creativity, by definition, requires thinking outside the box – being innovative, taking risks and trying new things. But our generation of women was taught to conform, to listen to authority, to make nice-nice. Conformity and creativity make strange bedfellows. Indeed, they don’t get along very well at all.

(Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers, "Leave It to Beaver" -- public domain) On Air: Thursdays, 9-9:30 PM, EDT. "Beaver" Trio Barbara Billingsley, who stars as Mrs. Cleaver, poses with television sons Tony Dow (Wally) left, and Jerry Mathers (Beaver) on the set of ABC-TV's "Leave It to Beaver" Thursdays, 9-9:30 PM, EDT.

(Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers, “Leave It to Beaver” — public domain)

Our role models were Donna Reed and June Cleaver — who woke in the morning without a hair out of place, vacuumed her house in pearls and pumps and always knew just the right thing to say or do to make her boys feel better (unless of course discipline was involved, and then her husband Ward took over).

These lessons of childhood, many of us are finding, haven’t die; they just went underground.

So when we are faced with tragedy, a crossroads, or just feel ourselves burning out, while our innate feminine resilience usually kicks in, so do those old messages. We get up and brush ourselves off, but we’re much more vulnerable in those moments to the old recordings in our heads.

Be self-effacing.
“Nobody likes a stuck-up woman,” echoes in our brains. Except the definition of “stuck-up” as it relates to females – taught to us in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s – is not true arrogance. It’s being confident that what we produce is good, and that we are good people, with sound judgement.

In other words, good self-esteem equals being uppity.

Please others.
Other people’s approval of what we do is more important than our own. We will stay in jobs that “eat our souls” because others think we should. We will not follow our dreams because others think they are silly or unreachable.

We will allow editors or agents or publishers to dictate how our stories will be changed, even though we know in our hearts that the story was fine to begin with, maybe even great!

Another role model -- Lucille Ball, who was constantly doing dumb things either to please or impress her husband, so he would let her pursue her dream of performing in his club. (public domain)

Another role model — Lucille Ball, who was constantly doing dumb things either to please or impress her husband, so he would let her pursue her dream of performing in his club. (public domain)

Others’ needs are more important than our own.
I was about eleven when the first bra was burned, and I’ve considered myself a liberated female ever since. So when a student interviewed me for an assignment in her Gender Studies class and asked me if I had ever sacrificed my career for my husband or family, I immediately said no. Then I stopped and thought about that.

I found my first true vocational passion (and my second career) a bit late, after I was married with a small child and a large mortgage. When I was looking at educational options to get the credentials I needed to become a psychotherapist, I discovered that to get a PhD in psychology I would have to go to school full-time and might have to move elsewhere in the country to get into a program. “Well, that won’t work,” I thought. I couldn’t uproot my family, ask my husband to give up his good-paying job, etc. So I settled for a masters degree I could get locally and part-time, while still working full-time to help pay the mortgage.

I can’t say that I’ve regretted that choice. I had a good career, even though I didn’t make as much money as I would have with the classier credentials. But one thing blew my mind as I recalled all this when that student was interviewing me.

I had never seriously discussed the “move to another state so I can get my PhD” option with my husband. I never gave him the opportunity to sacrifice for me (and for the ultimate greater well-being of the whole family if I ended up making more money). I just assumed it was my job to make the sacrifice.

Not only was June rarely without her pearls but Ward was rarely without his tie. Not even all that realistic for the times, much less today. (public domain)

Not only was June rarely without her pearls, but Ward was rarely without his tie. Not even all that realistic for the times, much less today. (public domain)

The day of that student’s interview was the first time I realized how subtle the lessons of our youth still are for women of my generation. We can think we’re being all liberated and modern, while our knees are jerking away, following the old patterns without our conscious awareness or approval.

When I first joined this writers group for middle-aged and beyond women, I wasn’t all that active. I was already a member of an online writers group that is awesome in its level of support and encouragement.

But now I’m realizing that these women of a “certain age” can offer a different and more specific support – the recognition of these old patterns and the kick-in-the-butt/cheering section needed to break out of them.

Something women writers of my generation may very well need, again and again, in order to remain creative, and sane.

Your thoughts? Are you a woman (or man) of a certain age, still fighting those old messages?

And now I’m totally not going to act my age as I give you all a sneak peak of the cover for my next Marcia Banks and Buddy mystery. Squueeee!! (In case you hadn’t figured it out, I love this cover!)

ArsenicAndYoungLacy FINAL

COMING SOON!!

And this is the last week to get 75% off of Vinnie Hansen’s book, Black Beans & Venom, during the Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale.

This is a fabulous story. Hop on over and get yourself a copy.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

This Ain’t Your Grandmother’s Old Age Home!

by Kassandra Lamb

My husband and I are starting to look into retirement communities. Now wait, before those of you under 50 freak out and click away to some other post… we’re not talking your grandmother’s old age home here.

birthday cake

You get to a certain point where some of the candles represent a decade, not just a year. (cake for an 87-yr-old, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Seniors today have lots of options. And that’s a darn good thing, because people are living longer and living healthier for longer.

“Old age is not for sissies,” is one of my brother’s favorite lines. This is true, but aging isn’t all bad.

Retirement brings the freedom to do the things for which there just wasn’t time and energy when one had to make a living (for me, that was writing fiction!) And there are a variety of places we can live while doing those things.

The concept that old age means either living with one’s children (still an option) or deteriorating rapidly in a dehumanizing nursing home is – for lack of a better term – old-fashioned.

We’ve got 55+ communities and retirement communities and assisted living and multi-level care and…

A 55+ community is basically a housing development that is limited to those over age 55. Children under 18 aren’t allowed. These typically have community centers that offer activities ranging from cards to rumba lessons to monthly parties or shows. They have clubs and pools and fitness centers and shuffleboard and tennis courts, etc. – all right there.

My 68-year-old brother recently moved into a 55+ community. He had lived in the country, about 45 minutes from our home in a medium-sized city. He loved his house and his neighbors, but it got to be too quiet out there in the boonies. He was lonely and bored.

He is loving his new home, and all the activities available, including lots of clubs and an on-campus golf course and restaurant.

For us, the issue that will eventually prompt us to move is taking care of a house. Maintenance, cleaning, yard work gets harder as you age. For me, it’s not so much that I can’t do it, but rather that it takes so much out of me. I’m exhausted afterwards, which makes it hard to enjoy the glow of satisfaction of getting the task done.

me and bro in front of house

My brother and I love projects!  Just a little over a year ago, we painted our house. It took several months. We were glad we did it, but we knew it was our last hurrah!  Big projects now get hired out.

Hubs and I are back and forth between a 55+ community or a retirement community. The latter have apartments and cottages you rent (you own your house in a 55+), with more services such as housekeeping, and all maintenance, grounds upkeep, etc. is taken care of, plus there are many of the same amenities as 55+ communities. Retirement communities often, but not always, offer assisted living and hospice services as the residents’ needs change.

Assisted living is a step above the old-fashioned nursing home. Here the residents often can have some of their own belongings with them and retain a certain amount of autonomy. But professional nurses are available to administer medications and such.

I should pause and comment that these services are not free. Those who have a decent retirement plan–whether it be a pension, private IRAs or other savings, Social Security or some combination of these–have options. (For the working poor, retirement is not nearly so lovely.)

Another thing that has brought these options to mind recently has been my sister misterio author, Vinnie Hansen’s re-release of her book Squeezed and Juiced (previously titled Tang® Is Not Juice — see below). A subplot of this story is the protagonist’s mother’s search for the right retirement community. And the protagonist, Carol Sabala, is struggling with the fact that her mother is old.

It kind of tickles me when younger people freak out over aging. Often I got that reaction from students when I was teaching human development classes. I’d try to point out the positives that come with age – wisdom, more self-confidence, no longer caring all that much about what others think, more time and freedom to do what you really want. But I could tell by the expressions on their faces that all they wanted to do was stick their fingers in their ears and sing, “lalalalala.”

old woman

public domain, Wikimedia Commons

So what’s the take-away message here – old age is not necessarily a bad thing! As a good friend of mine likes to say, “It sure beats the alternative.”

Old age may mean wrinkles and moving slower, but most old people are actually pretty happy. It’s the young who fear aging.

And if you’ve got a decent retirement income (something to give serious thought to if you’re pre-retirement age. Those who stick their heads in the sand on the subject are called…wait for it…still working in their 70’s), there are lots of housing and lifestyle options.

Old age doesn’t have to mean boring, lonely or decrepit. It can be lots of fun actually!

How about you? Where are you in the “adjustment to the reality of aging” process? And where do you think you’ll want to live out your senior years?

Squeezed and Juiced, A Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen

book cover

Her first real P.I. case, an ailing mother, and a stalled relationship. As Carol Sabala attempts to juggle the components of her life, they all threaten to crash.

Training to be a private eye, Carol wrangles a job to investigate a woman’s will. The more Carol probes the retirement home where the woman died, the more she grasps how easily one could kill an elderly person in such a facility. It is, after all, an expected last address.

With Carol’s mother intent on moving to the same retirement home, the stakes are high. Will Carol prevent this facility from being her mother’s final address? Can she keep all the pieces of her life in the air as she enters a world of drug addicts and murder?

For those of you who enjoy the grittier female protagonists like Kinsey Milhone or Aimée Leduc, discover how Carol Sabala reacts when squeezed.

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Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

4 Ways to Change Your Self-Esteem Filters (encore)

by Kassandra Lamb

(This post first appeared in spring 2014 on Pirkko Rytkonen’s blog. I’m re-running it while I’m on vacation, because I think this is an extremely important topic!)

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.

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.

rusty bolt

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

Our self-esteem filters are established when we’re kids. How we feel about ourselves is a product of how our worth has been reflected back to us by the environment. Our parents, other family members, teachers and peers even, influence how we perceive ourselves at a young age. Then it’s hard later to change that “first impression” of ourselves.

There are two components to self-esteem: self-worth and self-confidence. So we actually have two sets of filters. One is related to how we feel about ourselves as a person–are we worthy of love? The other is about how well we think we can do things.

We can have a parent who showers us with expressions of love but doesn’t let us try things for ourselves. That child will have good self-worth but may not be all that confident that they can handle what life dishes out. Another child may be taught how to do things and be praised for doing them well, but his or her parents don’t realize that the child needs to feel loved as well (that s/he needs to hear the words; kids don’t automatically assume their parents love them). This child may have confidence in his/her abilities but may feel less than worthy as a human being.

As adults, these beliefs about our worth and abilities become filters for new information. Any new input that counters what we already believe about ourselves will bounce off these filters. They won’t let that information in.

This is a good thing if you have high self-esteem. If you are mistreated by others, you will quickly realize you deserve better and do something about the mistreatment. When people tell you they love you, you’ll believe them, and when you do something well, you will let the pleasure of that accomplishment sink in. And if you fail at something, you will assume that you need to try harder and/or get more instruction, and you will likely try again.

But if your self-esteem is low, these filters are a major problem. They won’t let in the information you need in order to feel better about yourself. And the negative information they do let in just reinforces the poor opinion of yourself.

So when people tell you they like you, you figure they just don’t know you all that well, or they’re just being kind. If others mistreat you, that may feel like what you deserve.

If you do something well, you may dismiss it as luck or a fluke, or give someone else more of the credit than they deserve for that accomplishment. If you fail at something, you figure that’s par for the course and your self-confidence plummets even further.

What Can We Do To Change Our Filters?

I wish I had an easy answer for this. Most of the time it takes quite a few sessions with a professional counselor in order to get these filters turned around. But there are a few things we can do on our own–before, during and after that period of counseling.

1) Make a conscious effort to let the good stuff in. Accept the compliments rather than deflecting them. (See my post of a couple weeks ago for hints on how to do this.)

Let the love in! (photo by Takashi Hososhima, Tokyo, Japan CC-BY-SA, Wikimedian, Commons)

Let the love in!  (photo by Takashi Hososhima, Tokyo, Japan CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Take a long look at the people who say they like or love you. Are they idiots? Probably not. They’re probably reasonably intelligent and discerning folks who genuinely see value in you.

And when you do something well, make a conscious effort to give yourself credit where credit is due. This is harder to do than it sounds, which brings us to…

2) Watch your self-talk! We all talk to ourselves in our heads all the time. Make an effort to notice what you are saying to yourself. If the self-talk is negative, intentionally turn that around. It can help to keep a self-talk journal initially, and write down what you notice you are saying to yourself. Then write down the countering positive message and repeat that to yourself several times. Sounds hokey, but it helps.

3) Look at where the original filters came from. Do you know as an adult that your parents love you (most parents do love their kids)? Visualize that insecure little child that you once were in your mind’s eye. Tell that child that Mom and Dad really do love him/her; they’re just not very good at showing it. Or perhaps they had their own issues that made them less than stellar parents. That doesn’t mean that child is unlovable! (Imagery is particularly powerful for shifting the emotional charge on something.)

4) Examine your perfectionism. I did two whole posts on this subject not so long ago, so I’ll just say a few things about it here. Perfectionism comes from two sources: too harsh standards for performance when we were kids so we believe we have to do something perfectly in order for it to count as good, and/or an attempt to overcome poor self-worth by being perfect at what we do. If I do everything just so, then people will find me worthy of love.

I’ll make two counter points to those beliefs. One, nobody is perfect and nothing we humans do is ever done perfectly, so perfect as a goal is a set up for failure.

Two, our worthiness of love is not and should not be predicated on how well we perform certain tasks, and it certainly shouldn’t be required that we be perfect at everything in order to be okay as people. Nobody is perfect, or even good, at every single thing they attempt.

Give yourself permission to not be good at certain things that aren’t that important to you. Save your higher standards (but still don’t expect perfect) for those things you really care about.

Please share your thoughts and/or questions about these self-esteem filters below. (I won’t be online every day while traveling, so it may be a day or two before I respond.)

My writing isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better with every book. Book 8 is now available for preorder, and on sale during the preorder period for just $1.99 (goes up to $3.99 after its release on October 27th). Click below to order and it will pop up on your ereader then!

SuicidalSuspicions FINALSUICIDAL SUSPICIONS, A Kate Huntington Mystery, Book 8

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her favorite clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family blames Kate and they’re threatening to sue for malpractice. She can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her decades-old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

PREORDER NOW on  Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia   NOOK   KOBO   APPLE

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series and has started a new cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries (coming soon).

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Happiness Is an Inside Job (encore)

by Kassandra Lamb

(Note: I first posted this at the beginning of 2014. I’m re-posting it while I’m on vacation, with an update.)

The beginning of a new year is a time to look at where we’ve been over the last twelve months, and where we’re going during the next twelve. Was it a good year? Were we happy? If not, what will we do differently in the coming year?

Because happiness is the bottom line!

pciture of a happy man

(photo by Geo Pradeep–self-portrait of a happy man)

During my career as a psychotherapist I saw far too many people who were waiting to live, waiting to be happy, until they had achieved a certain goal. “Once I make X amount of money/become vice president of my company/raise brilliant, well-adjusted kids, etc. then I can be happy.” But life is not just about the final destination when we’ve achieved our goals; it’s also about the journey.

Those years of helping others figure out why they were unhappy and what they needed to do about it taught me that happiness is an inside job. Don’t get me wrong. Achieving our goals, obtaining a certain level of success–in whatever way we define it–is important too. But that alone will not make one happy.

The happiness or unhappiness caused by external things is fleeting. Ongoing happiness comes from within and is strongly influenced by two things. One is self-esteem–whether or not we feel worthy of being happy. I plan to address this topic next week.

Today I want to focus on the other factor–taking responsibility for our own happiness and making a point of doing what we want to be doing on a daily basis. This is the one that was out of kilter in my life a couple years ago.

I used to be really good about stopping every few hours and asking myself what I really wanted to be doing at that point in time. Note: I am not advocating shirking one’s responsibilities. What I ‘had’ to do was always factored in there, but I would try to balance it with periods of time each day when I was doing what I really wanted to be doing, i.e., what made me happy in that moment.

Another way of putting all this is that while we need to plan for and work toward our future goals, we also need to live in the present. But in 2013, I got caught up in living for the future. I kept thinking that if I could just work really hard today, I’d get enough of the pesky ‘haftas’ out of the way that I could have fun tomorrow. Sadly, the next day would have it’s own list of pesky ‘haftas’ and I’d find myself working long and hard again that day, and the next day and the next.

As 2013 was winding down and I finally got a major goal accomplished, it dawned on me that I’d spent an entire year of my life waiting to be happy. I know better!

Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution that I’d do a better job of time management, so I would have adequate time to write and edit–the parts of my job as an author that I really enjoy. I was fairly successful at doing that. I finished a novel and a short story, got both polished and published, and wrote the first draft of a novella. However, I worked 12 to15-hour days, 6 to 7 days a week to do it. I was so focused on the goals I’d set for myself in my writing career that I stopped focusing on being happy.

So this year (2014) I’m going to back off a bit on those goals. They’re still important and I’ll get them done. But I’m not going to be able to hustle for a few days or weeks or even months and get them all done and then I can relax and be happy. There will always be a new list of ‘haftas’ related to those goals, so I need to take some time to be happy, to stop and smell the roses more often along the way.

2014’s resolution: focus on one goal at a time, spend a reasonable amount of time each week working toward that goal, and every day spend some time doing exactly what I want to do that will make me happy that day.

picute of a rose

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES!!

There’s a reason why sayings like “today is the first day of the rest of your life” and “stop and smell the roses” have become clichés.There’s truth in them.

Update:  I did much better in 2014, and 2015 has been a great year so far!!

How about you? What are you going to do “the rest of your life” to make yourself happy? What’s your favorite way to “stop and smell the roses” along the way?

(Note: because I’m traveling I won’t be online every day, so it may be a day or two before I respond to your comments.)

Also, I have my new book available for preorder. With two quick clicks now, it’s ordered and it will pop up on your ereader when it’s released on October 27th.

It’s on sale for a reduced price during the preorder period. Just $1.99 (goes up to $3.99 after the release).

SuicidalSuspicions FINALSUICIDAL SUSPICIONS, A Kate Huntington Mystery, Book 8

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her favorite clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family blames Kate and they’re threatening to sue for malpractice. She can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her decades-old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

PREORDER NOW on Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia   NOOK   KOBO   APPLE

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series and has started a new cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries (coming soon).

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Are You a Compliment Deflector? (encore)

by Kassandra Lamb

(Note: this was originally posted in Spring, 2014 and was very well-received; I’m re-posting while I’m on vacation. The encore posts of the next two weeks are also related to this topic.)

When someone gives you a compliment, do you immediately feel like you should say something self-deprecating? Or at least shuffle your feet and say, “Aw, shucks. It was nothing.”

shuffing feet in sand

Some of you may be wondering what I’m talking about. But those of us raised before 1980 (and maybe some after that period) were taught to deflect compliments. This was taught more by example than by blatant words. The message we absorbed was that if you didn’t respond with something self-deprecating, then you were arrogant.

Now there’s nothing wrong with being humble. Nobody likes a truly arrogant person. As my mother used to say, “We all put our pants on one leg at a time.”

The dictionary defines the word humility as “a modest opinion of one’s importance, rank, etc.” Hmm. So I looked up modest – “having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.”

Okay, I’ll buy the last part. But is it necessary to only have a “moderate estimate of one’s merits” in order to be humble? How about “an honest estimate of one’s merits?”

I like the definition given by John Bradshaw, a speaker at a workshop I attended many years ago. The workshop was about toxic shame (or UNhealthy humility). Bradshaw defined healthy humility as “being aware that you are an imperfect human being, just like everybody else.” He went on to tell this story:

I was presenting one time to an auditorium of over a thousand people. The workshop was going very well, and I was feeling quite full of myself as I left the stage for the mid-morning coffee break. Then I looked down, and realized I’d been prancing around that stage for the last two hours, in front of all those people, with my fly open! Talk about a healthy reminder of my imperfections.

Getting back to the subject of compliments, being humble in a healthy way does not mean that we can’t acknowledge what we are good at. We all have strengths and weaknesses. If we are able to feel good about our strengths, then we will be able to acknowledge our short-comings more readily.

So by all means, be humble in a healthy way, but don’t deflect compliments. Doing so does harm in two ways:

#1: It’s insulting to the person giving you the compliment. S/he just told you how good you look and now you’re saying that’s not true because you’ve gained some weight recently or your dress is an old one or your hair just wouldn’t behave this morning.

You’re essentially saying that they are either lying or they’re an idiot for not realizing that you don’t really deserve that compliment.

WWI soldier talking to two women

That’s a lovely frock, ma’am.”
“Oh, you are just too kind, sir. This old thing is so last season’s style.”

#2: You are not letting the compliment sink in so that it can feed your self-esteem. Good self-esteem is essential to leading a happy life! (See next week’s post for more on this.) And even those of us with a good foundation of self-esteem need validation now and again that we really are okay, and that we do certain things well.

Good self-esteem also gives us the nerve to venture into new territory, to try new things. At those times, we especially need others’ heart-felt compliments to sink in, so we know that our efforts are working, that we are making progress and learning that new skill.

I know this all too well as someone who ventured into the world of writing fiction in my later years. The compliments of those who read my first book were what kept me going. All of them said it was good, but what convinced me the most that I should keep on writing was the note of pleasant surprise in many of their voices. They hadn’t expected it to be good, but it really was. That’s how I knew the compliments were sincere. 🙂

One other thing about accepting compliments. It’s hard to do at first. You will get a weird feeling inside when you just say “thank you” and nothing more. There may even be an awkward pause in the conversation, as the other person waits for the usual deflection.

Here’s something I figured out when I was trying to break myself of the compliment-deflection habit. Go ahead and say something else – something that agrees with them without sounding arrogant. This fills that awkward space inside of you, and in the conversation.

Here are a couple examples:

Complimenter: “Hey, I really like your outfit.”

Complimentee: “Oh thank you. It’s one of my favorites.”

Or “Thank you. I get a lot of compliments on it.”

You will probably catch yourself slipping back into the self-deprecation at times. I certainly did, and still do occasionally. But keep practicing. Responding this way to compliments will make both you and the complimenter feel a lot better!

I’ll be delving more into self-esteem (and how you can improve yours) over the next two weeks’ posts, so stay tuned!

How about you? Did you learn to be a compliment deflector as a kid? (Note: because I’m traveling, I won’t be online every day, so it may be a day or so before I reply to your comments.)

I have a new book available for preorder. All compliments regarding the cover should be directed at Melinda VanLone of Book Cover Corner. I personally think she did an awesome job on this one!

Two quick clicks below, and it will pop up on your ereader when it’s released on October 27th.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s on sale for a reduced price during the preorder period. Just $1.99 (goes up to $3.99 after the release).

SuicidalSuspicions FINALSUICIDAL SUSPICIONS, A Kate Huntington Mystery, Book 8

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her favorite clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family blames Kate and they’re threatening to sue for malpractice. She can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her decades-old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

PREORDER NOW on  Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia   NOOK   KOBO   APPLE

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. 🙂 )

5 Ways to Combat Procrastination

by Kassandra Lamb

Last week I talked about the motivations behind procrastination (Getting a Round Tuit). Today, I want to address how one can overcome it.

RoundTuit pub domain

I have lots of these! (by Heron 2 –public domain)

I tend to swing too far the other way. I’m a precrastinator. I am so adverse to the stress of a looming deadline that I have to have everything done way in advance. Sometimes I end up stressing myself out even more this way. If I don’t have it done at least a week in advance, I start to panic.

But there is a middle ground. Getting a task done a little bit before it’s actually due not only relieves some of the stress of the deadline, but it allows room for last minute glitches (as I’ve learned the hard way).

So whether you’re an intermittent  or chronic procrastinator, here are some things to do to become a recovering procrastinator:

#1: Keep a calendar–either on paper or on your computer . But I already do that, you might be thinking.

Yeah, but we’re going to add some things to that calendar. Not only do you put the task’s deadline on it, but also the date you should be starting the project, the date it should be at least half done and the date you will finish it (several days before the deadline). So the calendar would look like this:

● June 2: Start Task A
● June 10: Task A half done
● June 17: Finish Task A
● June 20: Task A due

#2: Treat those interim deadlines as seriously as you would the final one!  If you use an online calendar, set it up to have reminders pop up in your face. If you do it on paper, place your calendar in a prominent spot where it can’t be ignored.

#3: Take a look at your self-talk. We’ve talked about this before; what we say to ourselves in our heads can be a powerful obstacle, or powerful encouragement.

When facing an unpleasant task, if you catch yourself thinking, I can do that later, replace that with, If I get this out of the way now, I can forget about it. Or, What a relief it will be to get this out of the way now.

If confidence issues are involved, that can be tougher to deal with. It can help to keep a journal for a few days in which you record your thoughts about the tasks you are supposed to be doing. Figure out what the most frequent confidence-sapping, procrastination-promoting internal comments are.

Then write down the words that are the exact opposite of those thoughts. Carry that piece of paper around with you and pull it out whenever you are tempted to put something off.

For example, I’m no good at this can become I’ve done this before and did just fine.

#4: Find other ways to stimulate yourself! Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. That’s not what I’m talking about here. 😉

I’m talking about those of you who found yourselves relating to the closet adrenaline junkie discussion in my previous post. You have yet another challenge–how to get the extra stimulation you need so you stop creating artificial crises in order to feel alive.

One way is to find totally different outlets for that need. Stop and exercise briefly several times a day, or play a few minutes of a stimulating video game periodically. You might even consider a treadmill desk.

treadmill work station

(photo by JoeHoover CC-BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

I will confess to being a little bit of an adrenaline junkie myself. But what I figured out a long while back is that focusing on the excitement of getting the task done is the best way to feed that need for stimulation.

What excitement? you might ask if you’re a chronic procrastinator. You may have rarely felt this excitement, because you were so stressed out by the time you got the task done that all you could feel was relief.

But it’s there for you if you can get the task done before you’ve reached that state of exhaustion, AND if you give yourself permission to feel it.

We’re back to the self-confidence thing. If you believe that you are not a very competent person than you may be blocking that excitement and again just focusing on the relief. You may not be giving yourself credit for the accomplishment of getting things done. So…

#5: Take a moment to stop and smell the success!!  Again, this is something that you will have to make a conscious goal for a while, to force yourself to stop and relish the sense of achievement.

And now I will model that for you. I’m actually writing this blog post a week in advance because I’ve got a very busy time coming up soon (a book launch). So now that it is done, I can celebrate.

Wahoo!! It’s done. Damn I’m good!! Gimme a high five!

woman and dog high-fiving

(photo: Sybel By Marlies Kloet CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

I hope these ideas are helpful for you. Do you have any other suggestions for the chronic procrastinators amongst us?

Here’s something you shouldn’t procrastinate about if you’re a Kate Huntington fan. The next book in that series is now available for preorder. Two quick clicks and it’s done. The book will pop up on your ereader when it’s released on October 27th.

It’s on sale for a reduced price during the preorder period. Just $1.99 (goes up to $3.99 after the release).

SuicidalSuspicions FINALSUICIDAL SUSPICIONS, A Kate Huntington Mystery, Book 8

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family blames Kate and they’re threatening to sue for malpractice. She can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

PREORDER NOW on  Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia

(Nook, Kobo and Apple fans, it’s coming soon to those e-retailers!)

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series and has started a new cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries (coming soon).

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 lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )