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IWSG: Channeling Charles Dickens

So, this is the IWSG post where I dazzle you with a plethora of positive writing news. (Don’t you just love that word? Plethora has such a nice ring to it.)

Cover reveals! Impending releases! Story sales!

However, it’s also the post where I admit I’m a quivering mass of insecurity, believe I am doomed to be a complete failure as an author, and have been contemplating applying for a marketing director job because, clearly, finding happiness in the corporate world is easier than dealing with this damn self-doubt.

And when is this self-doubt the worst? When I find out I’ve sold a story to an anthology, and that this lucky story was successful among 300 other entries.

Make sense? Not a bit! Welcome to the brain of a writer.

I can see the comments already…

“If you’re contemplating quitting, maybe you’re not that dedicated.”

Um, I quit my six-figure day job and remortgaged my house, so f*ck your perceived lack of dedication.

“If you’re contemplating quitting, maybe you’re not meant to be a writer. Real writers want to write every second of every day.”

Really? Who are these mythical, hyper-motivated writers? Because I’ve never met one. As far as I can tell, crippling self-doubt is a legitimate part of the writing process.

“You just said crippling and self-doubt in the same sentence. You probably need medication. Or a therapist. Or both.”

Thanks, Doc, but I’ll be fine. Eventually. I’m not insane; I’m a writer. There’s a small, often negligible, difference.

So yes, the good news. GhostWriters Four is finally up for pre-order! (Cue self-doubt: what if everyone hates it? What if it sucks?)

Feast your eyes on ye olde storyline:

Jackson Stone is sick of ghosts. With his love life in shambles, he heads to Romania for a horror writers’ retreat, hoping it will be a break from the supernatural and breathing space from his relationship with medium Kate Carlsson.

But as his fellow writers begin disappearing or losing their minds, he realizes he needs Kate’s help. 

When Jackson loses his own memory, Kate’s love is the only thing that can bring him back. But she’s falling for the man responsible for the evil in Romania. A man who claims to be her soul mate. Will this master of wraiths forever break Kate’s bond with Jackson?

* * *

If you’d like to be part of my release-day reviewing team, let me know. Forest of Ghosts will be released on March 22, 2019, so all you have to do is receive a lovely free electronic copy of the book from me and write a review on Goodreads and Amazon that will be published on release day (or earlier–you can leave reviews on Goodreads now.)

If you’d like to have me on your blog talking about how I braved the world’s most haunted forest to write this sucker, let me know that too. (Or whatever you’d like me to blather on about–I’m versatile.) Like all of my books, Forest of Ghosts will be available in paperback, ebook, and audio formats.

Second bit of good news: as alluded to earlier, my story Heart of the Lion will be unleashed upon the world next year as part of the Not All Monsters anthology, a collection of dark fiction written by–gasp!–women. I’m super excited about this, because I love that story and it’s taken forever (or, in actual time, a couple years) to find a home for it. It’s a ghost story of sorts, but a very different kind than you might expect. I’ll keep you posted about the impending release date once I know more.

And the last bit of news: aside from occasional sales, this is the final week my ebook City of Ghosts will be available for free. So if you’d like a copy, please snap it up now. My publisher will soon be moving the GhostWriters series to Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a Kobo and meant to get the books but haven’t yet, please don’t put it off. Paperbacks and audiobooks will still be available through the usual channels. For buy links to all my books, please head over to the Books section of my website.

How’s the month been treating you beautiful people? Am I the only one who experiences crippling self-doubt even though

  • I’m totally committed
  • I just had a good thing happen to me (what more optimistic folks may call a sign)

Please tell me I’m not the only one. Please?

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

66 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Heck, no, you’re not the only one! And I’m with you: show me a writer who loves the work every minute of every day and never doubts herself, and I’ll show you a liar. So yeah, I can simultaneously celebrate every individual sale, and despair because a real writer would have too many sales to notice each one.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh man, ain’t that the truth! A day that includes a book sale (not a free download) is a great day. But I’d rather have free downloads than nothing at all.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        BTW, I don’t read horror, so I can’t do a review, but if you have materials for a spotlight I can put that on my blog.

        Reply
        • JH

          It’s not horror–it’s supernatural suspense. Think mysteries with ghosts. 🙂

          Thanks, Rebecca. I’ll be in touch.

          Reply
  2. Avatar

    Sending virtual hugs 🙂 I’d be happy to help with your release in any way I can. I’ve been banished from leaving reviews on Amazon, but can help out on Goodreads if that’s of any use. Also happy to host you on my blog on Saturday, March 23rd.

    Reply
    • JH

      That’s so amazing of you, Ellen! Thank you. Goodreads definitely helps, especially because if I’m going to get nasty reviews, that’s typically where they end up. Always good to have some positive words to counteract them.

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    Isn’t crippling self-doubt one of the job requirements of being a writer lol?
    Debbie

    Reply
    • JH

      I’m beginning to think so, Debbie!

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    Crippling self doubt is my best friend. You can put me down as a reviewer and let’s get you back on Monster Men to talk about the haunted forest and promote the book!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Hunter! You’re the best. I would love that. I’ll be in touch tonight.

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    That’s me: Totally committed, totally doubting all the way. That said, the doubting has been taking me over lately, and I worry about starting to write for everyone else, and not myself. Not sure how to back away from that one.

    Reply
    • JH

      So sorry to hear that, Randi. It’s difficult, especially when you start getting pressure from reviewers and readers. But you’re a strong, determined woman–I have no doubt you’ll break through it.

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    Write all the time? That’s not living.
    I’d like to have you write something ghostly for my blog for the release!

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that’s awesome, Alex! You have such a huge audience. I’ll be in touch post-haste.

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    You’re among friends, J.H. I’m in the middle of writing a first draft so you can imagine where my self doubt is right now! I’ve pre-ordered Forest of Ghosts and looking forward to it pinging onto my Kindle on release day. Would love to have you on my blog. Just tell me when you’d like to visit!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Cat! You’re awesome. I’ll be in touch about your blog ASAP.

      Reply
  8. Avatar

    “Crippling self-doubt” is my middle name. Okay, it’s not really because then my name would be waaaaaay too long. 🙂

    You are doing amazing, and I wish you congratulations on all the successes. If you’re struggling with celebrating them, we’ll all celebrate for you! Whoo-hoo! (That was me celebrating…..) 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Madeline. It feels like I’m so far behind from where I want to be, but all I can do is keep pushing forward.

      Reply
  9. Avatar

    You have a lot of good things coming up. But that doubt is normal and I’m sure it won’t stop you.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Diane. It can’t. I am, as they say, all in.

      Reply
  10. Avatar

    I think crippling self-debt is a requirement for any job, and especially artistic endeavours. If you don’t doubt yourself from time to time, you’re either an arrogant asshole or you have some sort of personality disorder. Probably both.

    I think, when you step back and look at your accomplishments objectively, you can see you are doing a hell of a job and should be proud of your success. Just like we’re all proud of you!

    I would love to help out with your book release. Not sure if I’ll be able to have the book read and reviewed by the 22nd, but I’ll do my best.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much for the kind words and offer to review, CD. I’ll send the ARCs your way tonight. No worries if reviews aren’t up by the 22nd. Anywhere close to that would be helpful.

      Sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize my own accomplishments, because they’re never close to what I want to achieve.

      Reply
  11. Avatar

    February was a lot like most writing months for me: some good news, some bad news, some complete lack of news. I do think that self-doubt is not at all a logical beast, and good news can cause panic and doubt as easily as bad. But you’ve got grit and I know you’ll keep going. We got this!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Samantha. I agree. Hopefully March kicks February’s butt!

      Reply
  12. Avatar

    Up, yeah, I’ve said that I want to quit. Several times. I’ve said it when suffering from deep depression. I’ve admitted, too, but I am a damn dedicated writer. It’s normal.

    Congratulations on all of your achievements! And good luck!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Chrys! And I’m so happy things are better for you now.

      Reply
  13. Avatar

    Goodness, I wish I could write all the time. At the moment, I wish I could write just some of the time. 🙂 I worry, but not too much. It seems I write in glorious spurts. Congrats on the new release!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Charity. I get where you’re coming from. Sometimes life gets so busy, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze writing in.

      Reply
  14. Avatar

    Would love to be part of the release day review team!

    Reply
    • JH

      You got it, Jim! Thanks so much.

      Reply
  15. Avatar

    Haha, how can you be the only one? Brave writer that you are, you nipped those doubters in the bud. Congratulations on everything! Can’t wait to hear about the anthology, and I’d love to read and review! About reviews on Amazon, I probably won’t be able to post there because we are “connected” (I’ve visited your blog and you’ve visited mine, so anyone else like that will have the same results) and they stop that now in the reviews section. I know,it sucks, but it’s one of the ways they’re combating fake reviews… I can post on Goodreads and FB, etc. though.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Lisa! I’ll be in touch tonight with a reviewer’s copy for you. As for being connected, it might be worth a try. I haven’t had that issue yet–even my best friend has been able to post reviews on Amazon, so fingers crossed.

      Reply
  16. Avatar

    Lately, I’ve had a lot of crippling self doubt. However, before I started publishing books, I didn’t. I loved writing every free second. I knew my first drafts weren’t good, but I still liked them and savored the process of making them better. I felt guilty when I met other writers who doubted themselves and put themselves down. I felt like something was wrong with me. Seeing other writers doubts and insecurities, combine Querying four novels and publishing one, changed that. I still love writing, but damn, I doubt my skill more now than ever. While it’s good to know other writers also doubt themselves, sometimes I think the online writing community takes that too far promotes that insecurity, making writers feel guilty and anomalous for being confident.

    Reply
    • JH

      You could be right, Sara. It’s never wrong to actually feel confident and good about your skills. I think most writers would give their eyeteeth to feel that way–it’s just not common.

      Reply
  17. Avatar

    Oh, honey, you are soooo not the only one. When I look at my paltry sales figures, my stomach plummets like a runaway elevator in a Bruce Willis action film. But hey, I am selling books–newbie author me among all those other, more established writers. So, onward. Congrats on your publishing success, and happy writing in March.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Sadira. It’s good to hear I’m not alone, but I’m sorry you go through this too. Paltry sales figures are not fun (speaking as one who knows). It’s all about the marketing–still working on that.

      Reply
  18. Avatar

    The writer’s mind is where I live and I haven’t had half the success you’ve had outside the writing realm. Don’t give up on your dreams just yet. Tomorrow the thoughts may shift–again. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Anna. My thoughts are constantly shifting like sands in the Sahara.

      P.S. My “success” is greatly overrated. 😀

      Reply
  19. Avatar

    I totally understand. I’m suffering from insecurities right now, myself. Bah! Let’s blame it on the harsh winter.
    I’m super excited to read and review your book. I love your ghost writers series. Your characters are multi-dimensional a interesting. Your writing is superb.

    Reply
    • JH

      What lovely compliments, Mary. You’re the best. Thank you so much!

      Reply
  20. Avatar

    I’d super duper trooper love to be part of your release team. Also, your crippling self doubt makes me feel less the loser. Thanks.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Ryan. While I’m happy to help boost your confidence, why on earth would you ever feel like a loser? You’re awesome!

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Patricia! That’s amazing of you. I’ll be in touch.

      Reply
  21. Avatar

    Crippling self-doubt? Yep – got it in spades!! Definitely part of being a writer – and why I haven’t put my work out there quite yet … working on it!
    Good luck with your books!!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Jemi, but you need to get your work out there. Trust me, once you do, you’ll wonder what took you so long. DO IT.

      Reply
  22. Avatar

    Ah, Doubt. I’m oh so familiar with it.

    You are doing great. You are an amazing writer. You are awesome, and other people–like myself–know it.

    Keep being awesome. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks Loni. What a beautiful thing to say. You’re pretty damn awesome yourself!

      Reply
  23. Avatar

    You are not alone 🙂 Every writer must write at his or her own pace. Keep moving at your own pace and hold your pen up high 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Erika. I’ll try my best. 🙂

      Reply
  24. Avatar

    I definitely slip into in the “failure as a writer” mode, but I’m 60,000+ words into my WIP, so screw it – I’ll just keep writing.

    FYI, too late for you to be doomed a complete failure as an author. You’ve already attained complete success. So step away from the job application. Where else will we get a plethora of positive writing news? And the next installment of GhostWriters.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thank you so much, Lee! That was just the comment I needed to put away my resume. I really have to stop doing that.

      60K? That’s amazing. Go, you! I can’t wait to read it.

      Reply
  25. Avatar

    You just keep rocking, girl! Congrats on the new release. Wish I had the time and resources to join the reviewing team, but I’ll make it up to you later! Love the new cover, and the title!

    When you wrote a while ago that you gave up your day job, I actually had no idea that constituted a six-figure income. But, what do I know about six-figure incomes? 🙂

    You are doing awesome with your writing and your releases and your stories picked for anthologies and getting the word out and being a success. I do think success can lead to extra self-doubt. But, what do I know about success?

    As the agent rejections for my memoir are flooding my inbox, I can honestly say that I have felt less doubtful in the past. Cheering you on 200%!

    Reply
    • JH

      So sorry to hear about the rejections, Liesbet. I know you already realize this, but it really is all part of the process, and you don’t want an agent who isn’t madly in love with your work. When I had to fire my first agent, I thought it would be so much easier to get another one. Well, it wasn’t. Took me forever. This industry is a never-ending waiting game.

      Thanks for the kind words, and you have nothing to make up to me. You’ve been a wonderful friend. Hope we get the chance to meet in person someday.

      Reply
  26. Avatar

    Self doubt is just a part of the process 🙂 And please, if you know a free writing therapist, send them my way.
    If you would like to take over my blog for your book release, I’m sure the blog would be happy for the guest post. The poor neglected thing will be excited at the post. Pick a date, send me an email (donnahole at gmail.com) and lets make it happen.

    Reply
    • JH

      Dolorah, I’d be honoured. Thank you so much! I’ll be in touch shortly.

      Reply
  27. Avatar

    I love your responses to the asinine comments by some people since we have all met people who say these dumb ass things. You have courage and guts to do something most people dream about. What is wonderful is, despite the crippling self doubt, you rise above it and write anyway.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Birgit. What a lovely compliment.

      I’m always stepping out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I have no idea why. But I keep doing it. Masochism?

      Reply
  28. Avatar

    I would love it if you share your spooky forest experience on my blog, or any other blather! I have a few theme days that could match up. Send me an email or look me up on Twitter, et al.

    Reply
    • JH

      Will do, Willow! I’ll be in touch shortly. Thanks so much!

      Reply
  29. Avatar

    First, you are not alone. Doubt rears its ugly head frequently, esp. with a new release. Or while revising & editing. Or just any old time.

    I’d love have you visit my blog. I don’t read horror (sorry) but I’m happy to shout out your new release.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Diane, but I’m sorry to hear you go through this too. I’d be honoured to visit your blog; I’ll be in touch.

      By the way, my GhostWriters series isn’t horror–it’s supernatural suspense. Think mysteries with ghosts. 🙂

      Reply
  30. Avatar

    Self-doubt is a horrible, horrible thing. The fact that it strikes when a good thing has happened, just means that there’s the Fear – you know the one, the one which says as something good’s happened, so there will need to be a balancing bad thing happen.

    Good to hear you refuting the negative shite you’ve been on the receiving end of with such vehemence & eloquence. I shall continue to channel you 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Debs. I hope that’s all it is. I do have a tendency to worry about nothing. It’s almost a hobby.

      Reply
  31. Avatar

    Nope, you’re not the only self-doubter. I not only self-doubt, I also never seem to find or make time to write. Seems like I’m always busy and am involved in WAY too much. So yeah, struggling writer down here in the US 48 too.

    Reply
    • JH

      Sorry to hear, James. I definitely feel your pain. If I was a guest at the LUW con again, I’d do my best to kick your butt (aka motivate you). 🙂

      Reply

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