Tag Archives: The Infernal Detective

A Check-Up From the Neck Up (and Book Giveaway Announcement)

This is the last installment of my Tour of Fives, celebrating the release of the 5th book in my mystery series. I felt I should bring things back home with my Five Top Tips for Maintaining Mental Health. (This is a revised version of a post I wrote as a guest of Ginger Calem last year.)

When I was a psychotherapist, I realized that doing my job well meant that I worked myself out of a job. Eventually my clients didn’t need me anymore to boost their self-esteem and figure out how to stay on track mental-health-wise in their lives. A few would pop back now and then, when they needed a sounding board for some major life decision. But for the most part, I never heard from them again after they graduated from therapy.

One of my clients, however, had a different take on this. She came in about once a year or so for what she dubbed her “check up from the neck up.” Sometimes she had specific things to discuss but sometimes she just wanted to catch me up on her life and get my feedback.

(photo by safedom, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

(photo by safedom, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia)

I realized this was a very healthy thing she was doing–checking things out with a professional before they became a big deal.

I can’t help but wonder why we don’t have mental health check-ups, like we do for our physical health. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we nipped our psychological problems in the bud, instead of waiting until they fester and make us miserable?

And more emphasis on preventive mental health practices would be an excellent idea as well. So here are:

My Five Top Tips for Maintaining Mental Health.

#1: Check in with yourself several times a day and notice how you’re feeling. Make it a habit that you link to something else in your routine, like mealtimes or driving to and from work. Just stop and take a few seconds to assess where you are emotionally.

I do this when I’m in the car by myself. Then if I realize I’m not completely content, I have some alone time to explore why not, and what I want to do about it.

There are three basic things we can do about something we don’t like. We can (1) change it; (2) get away from it; or (3) change our attitude toward it. This list may sound a bit oversimplified, but it gives us a good place to start to make proactive decisions about a situation that is keeping us from feeling content with our lives.

This ties in with…

#2: Avoid doing things you don’t like to do. Now I’m not advocating being irresponsible (nor procrastination, which tends to just spread out the stress). But when we don’t like something, instead of just forcing ourselves to do it, we can look for ways to make it more palatable.

I don’t like to exercise, but I know it’s a necessary evil. So I looked long and hard for a way to exercise that I didn’t mind, and I found it.

Zumba class! Yay!

Zumba class! Yay!

I love Zumba dancing! Now I’m not saying I jump up with joy when it’s time for Zumba class. I still face some inertia, but that’s a lot better than dread and loathing.

I dislike cleaning even more than exercise, but I discovered that if I do one or two chores every day or so–clean a toilet here, dust a room there–I always have a relatively clean house without spending a huge chunk of time on it.

Delegating or trading off tasks with others is another option. When my husband and I were dating, we would often end up at K-Mart during the course of the evening, so he could buy yet another package of underwear and put off doing laundry a bit longer.

boxer shorts laid out on floor

You own enough of these, you never have to do laundry again!

Now you might be wondering why I kept dating this guy. Actually I am too because it sounds kind of creepy in the retelling, but we’ve been married almost 37 years, and that’s the weirdest thing he’s ever done. He just really, really disliked doing laundry. But he likes to cook, which I’m not fond of. So he took over the kitchen and I rule in the laundry room and we’re both a lot happier.

If you truly hate something, you definitely should not force yourself to do it. If you do, it will make you mentally and emotionally sick. Kinda like forcing yourself to eat spoiled food. Ick!

Instead, try to figure out why that situation is pushing your psychological buttons. Once you know this, you may be able to pull the wires loose from it. But even if you can’t disconnect the button, at least you will know why you need to avoid that thing that you really hate. You’ll go from feeling a little crazy to knowing you are taking good care of your mental health.

Now let me make an important distinction here, between the things you hate and the things you fear.

#3: Face the things you fear IF they are obstacles to getting where you want to be. If you’re afraid of snakes and you live in the city and never go hiking, don’t worry about it. We do not have to face every one of our fears. Only the ones that are stopping us from achieving our goals. But facing your fear doesn’t mean you just forge ahead, making yourself do something. That may make matters worse.

Again, identifying the psychological button may help you disconnect it, or at least work around it. But sometimes we are just afraid of the unknown or the unfamiliar.

I was that way regarding promoting my books. I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not very techno-savvy and I knew I’d have to learn about Twitter and Facebook and blogging, and… and… *grabbing my paper bag*   So I reminded myself of my own advice to clients.

When we’re feeling overwhelmed it can really help to “chunk it down.” I gave myself permission to take it slow, to just learn one thing at a time until I was comfortable with it. So I got on Twitter. A month or so later, I was tweeting away with ease; then I tackled Facebook. Now I’m feeling comfortable with both and I’m contemplating whether I should try Pinterest or Google+ next (it’s more a matter of available time now).

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! We Americans come from independent stock. We feel we should do things for ourselves. That’s great, but there’s no shame is asking for help. Don´t you feel good when you know you´ve helped a friend? Give others the opportunity to experience that good feeling.

female friends offering a comforting hand

(photo by Mathias Klang from Göteborg Sweden CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Knowing I had my friend, Shannon, to coach me made it a lot easier to tackle my fear of social media. Friends can reassure, offer suggestions, or just hold your hand.

But ultimately you also have to…

 #4: Trust your gut!

If you’ve got a gut feeling about something, know that there is a reason for that feeling. What we call our gut instinct is really some part of our brain, that we are not currently in direct communication with, that has noticed something is off, or has made some connection between two or more pieces of information that puts a different spin on something.

Your gut instincts are never wrong! Let me repeat, your gut is never wrong. It has picked up on something relevant! The problem is that we get these instinctive hits as vague feelings, not in words. So we have to figure out what our gut is trying to tell us. And sometimes we misinterpret the message.

One of the tricky things here is trying to tease apart what are true gut feelings and what are irrational fears, either of the unknown or residuals from past experiences. Here’s where friends (or a therapist) can again come in handy. Running the whole situation past someone whose judgement you trust–and whom you know will not be judgmental of you!–can help you put it in perspective.

But while you’re trying to sort it out, you need to continue to respect that gut feeling. (I’m thinking I need to do an entire post on this soon.)

And last but never least…

#5: Relax at least three times a day. This is basic stress management. And no whining that you’re too busy and can’t do this. I’m talking about a 5 to 10-minute break (although 15 to 20 minutes is better). I have talked about this at length before. If you take the time to relax and lower your stress level for a few minutes, you will be more focused and more productive when you go back to what needs to get done.

And you are much more likely to be happier and healthier at the end of the day!

 

Reading is one of my favorite ways to relax. And our own Kirsten Weiss is one of my favorite authors. She has a new teaser video out to get us psyched up about her next book (her Book #5!)

And she has Book 4, The Infernal Detective, FREE on Amazon this Thursday and Friday, July 4th and 5th!

Make a note on your calendar to snag yourself a copy for some great summer reading! Then talk to me in the comments.

What helps you relax and/or keeps you on the right track mental-health-wise? Have these tips helped you rethink how you approach certain things?

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 or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for 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.)

The Mystery of the Ouija

I’m still playing the vagabond on my Tour of Fives blog tour (at K.B. Owen’s place tomorrow talking about 5 Reasons I’ve Come to Appreciate History). So we’re doing something special here today.

It’s Metaphysical Monday with Kirsten Weiss.

Take it away, Kirsten!

One of the things my metaphysical detective, Riga Hayworth, has not done to summon the dead is use a Ouija board. In my mystery novels, this is for practical reasons – Riga doesn’t have to summon the dead. They’re constantly underfoot.

But Ouijas are cool. (Unless you think they’re demonic; then they’re bad.)

It’s unclear where the name, “Ouija,” came from. Back in the 19th century era of spiritualism, mediums and table knocking were the rage. But contacting the departed was also complicated. Automatic writing often produced nonsense, and rapping for letters (one knock for A, two knocks for B…) took a boring amount of time.

Innovations resulted, such as a dial plate with numbers and letters set into a wooden table. These inventions grew in complexity. Even more elaborate devices, such as Robert Hare’s Spiritoscope, were developed to prevent fraud.

A Spiritoscope

A Spiritoscope

But you needed to be a professional, or obsessed, to afford one of these contraptions.

spiritoscopes used to catch fraudulent mediums

Spiritoscopes were designed to keep mediums honest, but they were expensive.

The early iteration of a Ouija board married the French invention of a planchette, used for automatic writing, with an alphabet board – a board with letters printed on it – to create the “talking board.”

a planchette

Planchette circa 1860’s (photo by Brandon Hodge, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The religious community reacted predictably to the spiritualist craze, labeling it necromancy. And technically, since any calling up of the dead is necromancy, they were right.

Perhaps that’s why in February, 1810, Charles Kennard and his Kennard Novelty Company patented the Ouija board – not as an occult item, but as a party game. This likely broadened its marketing appeal. But the board didn’t take off until the 1960s, when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the board, selling two million boards in 1967.

Ouija Board

I know psychics who swear Ouija boards are portals to hell, and refuse to keep them in the house. Others say they’re just paint and wood, and much like Tarot cards or any other tool, can be used responsibly, or not.

What do you think of Ouija boards? Did you play with them at sleepovers or Halloween parties when you were a kid?

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten is the author of the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery novels: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, and The Infernal Detective (click on the books in the carousel above to see more about them). Each book explores a different branch of magic. Book 5, tentatively titled The Elemental Detective, will explore Hawaiian magic and huna. She’s also working on a Steampunk YA mystery, which might just feature a steam-powered Spiritogram.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for 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.)

Wacky Relatives and Other Wedding Woes (and a new Riga Hayworth Mystery!!)

 

picture of wedding cake

(photo by sparechangekitchen CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 WANA Commons)

When my husband and I were planning our wedding a few of his, shall we say, less stable family members were being a bit problematic. For the sake of cordial relations with the in-laws I won’t get any more specific than that.

He looked at me one day and said, “ You’re not getting a very good deal out of this marriage in terms of extended family.”

I laughed. “Honey, we’ve got just as many crazies in my family,” I told him. “You just haven’t met them because they’re not speaking to the rest of us anymore.”

I thought of that conversation the other day as I started reading the latest Riga Hayworth mystery. In this fourth book in the series, Riga is getting married. Or at least, she’s trying to. But weird and wacky things keep happening. Like a dead photographer who gets up and walks away.

Then some of her crazier relatives show up and she finds out some things about her family that have her doubting whether she should even get married. Is it fair to her fiancé, Donovan, to bring this baggage into his life? But then again, Donovan has his own baggage.

The bottom line is we all do. Show me someone who has no past trauma, no issues from childhood, no crazy family members that make them cringe in embarrassment, and I will show you a… well, a fictional character, because that’s not reality. Actually it wouldn’t even be a very believable or interesting fictional character.

As a psychotherapist, I was always pleased to see engaged couples giving some thought beforehand to what impact their baggage might have on their relationship. It’s always better to know ahead of time what problems you’re likely to encounter so you can perhaps plan some strategies, or at least not be taken by surprise. Facing those possible demons head on right from the beginning is a lot healthier than denial and defensiveness.

groom slipping ring on bride's finger

(photo by cellar_door_films CC BY_NC_SA 2.0)

But I also encouraged them to not let that baggage stop them from getting married. One of the many things that a good marriage does for us is provide healing experiences. Knowing someone loves you unconditionally goes a long way toward countering past hurts. And a loving spouse can help us realize that just because our family tree may have a few nuts in it, that doesn’t mean we’re damaged goods.

Riga knows they have their baggage but they also have plenty of good things going for them–genuine caring, good communication (or so she thinks) plus a few metaphysical talents–that are sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse.

It will be interesting to see how their marriage progresses in future books, that is if they can actually manage to get married in this one.

Check out The Infernal Detective below (I love the blurb for this book!) and then let’s chat a bit in the comments. What wacky relative showed up at your wedding? Have you ever felt like you were lugging too much baggage from the past into a relationship, or maybe found the other person’s baggage too hard to cope with?

Or if you don’t feel like getting that heavy (pun fully intended) you can just congratulate Kirsten on her new book. Happy Release Day, Kirsten!!

cover of The Infernal Detective

When Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding, it’s par for the course. When the corpse drives off with her fiancé…

That’s a problem.

Riga knows dead. More intimately than she’d like. So when a murdered photographer gets up and walks away, she believes there’s necromancy afoot. And when she discovers that several of her wedding guests are under the influence of dark magic, she’s certain. But how can she catch a killer and stop a necromancer when even her nearest and dearest are lying to her?

Murder. The undead. Irritating relatives. The Infernal Detective is a fast-paced, paranormal mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, and magic lies just beyond the veil. Available on AMAZON now!

Oh, I almost forgot. Kirsten also has a really cool trailer for the book. Would you like an invitation to Riga and Donovan’s wedding?

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 a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by clicking on the RSS symbol above or by filling in your e-mail address, 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)

How to Become a Necromancer –for Fun and Profit

Kirsten Weiss has come up with a fun post about raising people from the dead. Okay, now that I’ve written that out I see that it sounds a bit strange, but still…

Kirsten loves to mix mystery with the paranormal in her books. Her next book, coming out in May, revolves around necromancy. Here is the World English Dictionary‘s definition of necromancy:

1. the art or practice of supposedly conjuring up the dead, especially in order to obtain from them knowledge of the future
2. black magic; sorcery

A famous necromancer, Edward Kelly, invoking the spirit of a dead person. Source: Astrology, A New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences by Ebenezer Sibly, M.D. F.R.H.S., London, 1806. (copyright expired) fromoldbooks.org

So with tongue firmly planted in her cheek, Kirsten helps you explore whether necromancy is the right career path for you. Take it away, Kirsten!

Is necromancy right for you? Do you see ghosts? Regularly commune with the undead? Have dreams of world domination? Watch the Oprah network? If you answered “yes” to any of the prior questions, then death magic may be a viable career path. Just follow this simple step-by-step guide to becoming a master of necromancy.

necromancer title=
easel.ly

Any questions? I’ll be hanging out here today to discuss this career option further, or the realm of the paranormal in general.

And here’s a little teaser blurb for my book:

When Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding, it’s par for the course. When the corpse drives off with her fiancée…

That’s a problem.

Riga knows dead. More intimately than she’d like. So when a murdered photographer gets up and walks away, she’s believes there’s necromancy afoot. And when she discovers that several of her wedding guests are under the influence of dark magic, she’s certain. But how can she catch a killer and stop a necromancer when even her nearest and dearest are lying to her?

Murder. The undead. Irritating relatives. The Infernal Detective is a fast-paced, paranormal mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, and magic lies just beyond the veil. Coming in May from misterio press.

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, and The Shamanic Detective.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

We’ve Got a T-Shirt Contest Today!

No, I did NOT say a wet t-shirt contest. Get your minds outta the gutter, you all!

Our book designer came up with a gorgeous stylized death’s head for the cover of Kirsten Weiss’s upcoming paranormal mystery novel, The Infernal Detective. And Kirsten thought – why not turn it into a t-shirt? And then… why not give one away?

To enter, just type your e-mail into the form below. We promise not to use it for nefarious purposes – but Kirsten will need it to contact the winner. You can, however, get bonus points by signing up for Kirsten’s Metaphysical Detective newsletter. It’s quarterly and discusses her books and the paranormal research that goes into writing them.

We’ve got men’s and women’s versions of the t-shirt up to XL.

 

Win an Infernal Detective t-shirt!

 Check it out… Cuz there’s no such thing as too many T-shirts, and Kirsten’s newsletter is awesome!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. I’ll be posting my serious post this week on Tuesday. And then a Just for Fun post on Friday about my wonderful big brother!

 

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!