Author Spotlight: B. S. H. Garcia

I have a very special guest on my blog today.

B. S. H. Garcia releases her debut novel, Of Thieves And Shadows, on June 1, 2023. It’s the first installment of The Heart Of Quinaria, an epic fantasy series.

I was among the lucky ARC readers who got to read this gem of a book before it’s released. To say I was impressed would be a huge understatement. And I’m beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to chat to this incredibly talented author about her books and her writing journey.

This is the best part of being in the writing community, by the way — meeting amazing people and having a chance to connect with them and talk to them about their stories, their fascinating worlds and characters, their dreams, and their writing life. Peeking into the magic of storytelling, essentially.

So I’d like to express my gratitude to B. S. H. Garcia for taking her time to answer my questions and revealing some of her secrets.

Let’s start!

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, please?

Sure thing! I currently live in the PNW—Bend, OR, to be specific—though I’ll be returning to Colorado’s mountains within the year. So far, I’ve been 88% successful at keeping two tiny humans, two cats, and a smol doge alive, so I guess I’ve got that going for me. I like mead, movies, and mountains. Somewhat of a cosplay fanatic, thanks to my talented husbean (no, that’s not a typo). Books are life, obviously. I’ve only published fantasy, but I do intend to delve into sci-fi and horror down the road. If I’m not nerding out or lost in the woods during my once-a-month free time slot, I’m probably staring at the same page for an hour straight, debating if that’s a good place to indent a new paragraph.

Books are life. Couldn’t agree more!

How and when did your writing journey start? What is the thing you enjoy most about writing?

I failed at music and acting and moved on to the next best thing.

Just kidding.

I mean, the above are true. I had a stint in Hollywood and landed a stellar calculator commercial—don’t you dare look it up. Some of the small roles were fun, and so was theater, but the pressure proved to be too much for nineteen-year-old me. Walking into a room and being told no before you even start your lines is sobering.

After completing an English degree and deciding I did NOT have the patience to teach, I looked for other ways to utilize both my degree and my renewed interest in creating. I’d written off an on my whole life, including many short stories, but I didn’t sit down to crack out my first novel until 2018. It came surprisingly easy to me, but that’s probably because the story had already been kicking around in my mind for nearly a decade at that point. I had a recurring vision of a scene—what is now my last chapter of OTAS—and I had to get it out.

Coming back to the original question, storytelling is what got me into writing. I’d been making up and orchestrating stories in various mediums since I was a little kid, and writing soon followed. But I wasn’t one of those people who always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a creator, a storyteller. And I guess I’ve always been.  

As far as what I enjoy most about it, that’s a bit harder to nail down. For one, it’s my primary form of creative self-expression. It’s also a way for me to process life and my place in it. What I didn’t initially expect and have come to enjoy, however, is the way writing connects me to people. I’m introverted and struggle to begin relationships, especially in my adult life. Writing allows me to be my most vulnerable self in ways I can’t in-person or through spoken word. Having someone reach out to you and let you know how much your story means to them is one of the best feelings out there. It’s this unspoken kinship between the author and the reader. And now it’s my favorite thing.

I know that feeling. It’s absolutely amazing! To me, that’s the best part of writing. And what’s the most rewarding part of being a writer for you? Also, what’s the most challenging part?

Again, having readers reach out to me is probably the most rewarding thing. I haven’t even released yet, but the handful of advanced reviewers who’ve gone out of their way to let me know they’ve enjoyed my writing means the world. I don’t think they realize just how much their positive feedback can affect a writer and help them keep going when the road gets tough. 

On that same note, one of the most challenging things can be juggling negative or even critical feedback. Once the book is out of beta stages and ready for publishing, you can’t do much with negative responses besides take notes for future projects. I’m someone who could keep perfecting a story forever, so I’d say that just accepting something is as good as it’s going to get is hard for me. But I’m getting better at letting go, and hopefully I can learn to accept negative reviews without absorbing them or letting them drown out all the positive ones.

Oh, yes, I can definitely relate to that. The struggle with perfectionism is never-ending in my case.

Why did you choose to self-publish your books?

I think for a lot of indie authors, it’s about creative control. We want to decide which version of our story goes out, who edits it, have input on the cover, the release date, etc. I did query for a while and ultimately received an offer from a small press, but I turned them down after careful consideration. Aside from the creative control aspect, I didn’t feel comfortable signing over my rights. Unless you get a six-figure deal with a Big 5 press, I (personally) don’t believe they make you a priority, and so few authors even earn out their initial advances. I decided I was the best champion for my book. I wanted to be able to write all the stories in my series, guaranteed, the way I want, on the schedule I want, and hire the best cover designers and editors. I will admit that it’s been a learning curve. Some days I want to scream, trying to juggle it all. But the truth is the thing that frustrates me most is marketing, and that’s something I’d have to do even if I was trad published. It’s just part of being a creator in our world today. So far, I have no regrets about my decision, and I’m excited to see where my journey takes me.

There’s a lot to juggle. Trust me, I’m right there with you, screaming. And at the same time, it is the most exciting journey ever. It’s most definitely worth it!

Please tell us about your books! How did you come up with the idea of the fascinating world of Quinaria? How long did it take you to write your first book?

I briefly touched on this a few questions ago, but the whole idea began with a daydream. Ever since I was a child, I’ve played out stories and built characters in my head. As I grew and left toys behind, my initial vessels, I began to visualize characters in my mind instead. I’d often have my most vivid ideas occur on jogs or hikes. Something about my body moving allows my mind to free itself up. So, the idea for the story began by visualizing my MC, Elaysia, at a pivotal point in her life. It didn’t stand out to me at the time; it was something I did with many characters often. But she was one of the ones who never left. I continued on with my acting career, quit that, started a new career, got married, completed a college degree–all without writing my story. But when college ended and created a gap in my once homework-filled evenings, I decided to replace with something for me. Thus, Quinaria was born. I spent a solid month world-building every night and weekend, and it only took me two months after that to write a 120k story. It seems so crazy to me now, five years later, that it just poured out of me like that. Of course, I was in a different place with no kids and a mostly chill job. Then, between several moves, job changes, pregnancies, and births, editing was off and one for years after that. I wanted to give up so many times, and I actually tried to. I’d set my story aside for months and say, “this isn’t going to work for me,” or, “other people, better people, write.” But my characters never left me alone. So, it’s their fault I’m here today. 

As far as the ideas for the world-building itself, a lot of that came from a place of selfishness. There were elements I rarely came across in reading that I desperately wanted in my story, and that led me down rabbit holes of research, which (I hope) translate into quite a unique and believable world. And while the initial world-building set the cornerstones of my first draft, I continued to expand upon that over the following years. In fact, I still do today. Every time I draft a new bit, I get a little deeper into my world. You don’t even want to see all my word docs, post-it notes, journal entries, and Pinterest boards. It’s a chaotic nightmare of world-building vomit. Ha.

Well, the mind-blowing level of world-building in your book definitely shows how much work you put into it! Also, I loved the characters! Who are your favorite characters? Anyone you can personally relate to, or maybe someone you have a lot in common with?

My characters are like my babies, and like a good mom, I love them all equally. At least, I’m supposed to say that, right? They all have a bit of me, which can’t be helped, I suppose. And I have so, so many. Epic fantasy club. I’m obviously partial to my POV characters. I’ve spent the most time in their skin. But there are plenty of secondary characters I can’t imagine the story without. See how I’m still not answering the question? If I had to choose, Zavik has a special place in my heart. He’s my little cinnamon roll. But the story wouldn’t exist without Elaysia. So, maybe them. I probably relate to them the most, too.

I love this. He is a cinnamon roll! And one of my favorite characters.

If you had a chance, would you like to live in the world you created?

This is a tough one. It would depend on when in my world’s timeline. Far enough back and in the right place? Sure! Where OTAS kicks off? I’m not sure I’d feel safe anywhere for long.

True. Not the safest place. On the other hand, neither is our real world these days…

As far as I know, you are currently working on book two. When can we expect it?

You are correct! Unfortunately, drafting has been sidelined while I prepared for launch, but I do plan to dive back in hardcore as soon as OTAS is out in the wild. Book two will (fingers crossed) release about a year from now. Given the scope of my stories and the limited time I have to write, I can’t commit to more than a book a year at this point. I am, however, hoping to release novelettes or short stories in between each main series installment, so you will have those to look forward to.

Given your circumstances I’d say it’s incredible you can do a book a year! But I must admit, I can’t wait. I miss the characters and have to know what happens next!

As a reader, what is your favorite genre, and what are some of your favorite books?

I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say fantasy, right? Lucky for me, that’s true! I enjoy just about everything under the speculative umbrella, though, sci-fi and horror included. I also have a soft spot for classics, some historical fiction, and I actually love a good non-fiction, most often in the science, writing, or history categories. I really cannot begin to choose my favorite books. There are far too many. I can tell you that I’ve recently been reading some solid indie books (yours included!), and I’m turning to graphic novels when I need a breather in between large books.

Thank you, it means a lot to me. I also read (and aspire to write) multiple genres.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Find a writing community or build one. This has been the single most important factor in my success and the only reason I’ve made it this far. Writing is solitary, the act itself, but the stress surrounding it doesn’t have to be. I don’t know what I would have done without all my writer friends. Their support, insight, and advice have made this dream a reality. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go it alone. Find your people.

Amen to that! I keep saying that it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. And the support from the writing community is something I will forever be grateful for.

Last but not least… what’s your idea of a perfect writer’s day?

My dream day has yet to happen, but I imagine it would go something like this: I’d wake up in a cabin in the woods/mountains. Alone. Just me and nature. I’d stretch, brew some coffee, and go for a walk/hike. I’d return and write for a few hours, then break for lunch/snacks and some yoga. Write some more. Read. Read and write. Write and read. Go on another walk. Drink some wine. Read, write, self-care, repeat. This a dream scenario to me because I so rarely have time to myself like this. I may not even get that much writing done, but damn, it would be good for my soul.

I think you just described my perfect writing day. At least we can dream, right?

Well, this was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time! I’m your number one fan, waiting impatiently for the sequel. Meanwhile, I’m wishing you all the success with your upcoming release!

Dear readers, I hope you enjoyed this interview. You can find B. S. H. Garcia here:

Sign up to her newsletter so that you don’t miss any important news!

And let’s once again take a look at this masterpiece:

Of Thieves And Shadows releases on June 1, 2023. You can preorder your copy now, and if you sign up to the author’s newsletter, you’ll also get a free prequel to this story, From The Ashes. It’s a beautifully written novelette that could be read as a standalone or as part of the series.

Completing My Fantasy Trilogy

As I release the final part of my fantasy trilogy—The Dream Tamer Chronicles—at the end of this month, I feel like taking a moment to look back at my journey and reflect. It’s a bittersweet feeling, I must admit. On one hand, I’m beyond excited to share this new story with the world, wrapping up all the previous plots in the first two books, and providing the readers with some sort of closure.

It’s a great accomplishment. I have written three books in three years. There are readers looking forward to this last instalment in the series, impatient to find out what happens with the characters they grew to love. And it’s amazing. I’m so grateful for that.

On the other hand, it means that I have to say goodbye to my characters, too—and that makes me sad. I’ve been living in that world for three years, and now it’s time to pack up and go. A part of me will stay there forever, though.

It all started with an idea. A story about a young widow who struggles to cope with grief, and despite having the most supportive and loyal friends anyone could wish for, she’s ultimately lonely and lost. She’s so unsure about everything that happens in her life that when she starts having extraordinary dreams that feel way too real, she quickly blames it on her depression and is initially reluctant to share her experiences with anyone, fearing they’ll think she’s losing her mind. 

As I wrote Tina’s story, certain side characters started demanding more attention. They wanted their stories to be told, too. This is how the second book was born. When I was writing book one—which originally I thought would be a standalone —after completing the chapter where Alice, Tina’s friend and mentor, leaves her an old diary with a story of her life and her dream-traveling adventures, I immediately knew what the next book would be about. Alice’s story needed to be told. I wanted to read it myself.

Book two lets us take a peek into Alice’s past—tragic and heartbreaking at times, yet full of hope and life. As Alice’s world is on the verge of disappearing, Tina is desperate to find clues that would help her save her friend. She opens Alice’s old diary and dives into her fascinating life story, while searching for ways to help her in the present, because after everything she’d been through, Alice deserves her happy ending more than anyone else.

Meanwhile, the friendship between Tina and Kate is growing stronger. Kate lost her husband in the same car accident, and she is searching for her own ways to deal with grief, all while being crushed by a destructive feeling of guilt. In book two, we find out that Kate might be one of the dream-travelers too, just like Tina, and she’s getting obsessed with the idea of finding her late husband in the other realms and getting the much-needed closure.

Except it’s not as easy as it may seem. Kate’s first dream-traveling experience goes wrong, and she gets lost in the dream worlds, while her physical body goes into a coma.

Tina has to rescue another friend. In book three, we follow Kate’s journey in the other realms, and Tina’s search-and-rescue mission at the same time. They both change and grow, and they both need to learn to let go of the past and move on. 

I love all these stories. Sometimes I feel tempted to say “this was my favorite” about one of them, but it’s wrong, and it’s not accurate. It’s like comparing which of your kids you love more.

All these stories, despite being a part of a trilogy, are different. They’re written in a different style, and they have different vibes. Which makes perfect sense because they are written from different points of view. Even the same main character in all three books—Tina—doesn’t stay the same throughout the trilogy. She learns. She changes. Just like we all do in our lives. We stumble, we fall, we make mistakes, we learn from them—or at least attempt to. We get up again and force ourselves to move on, filling our hearts with hope and faith. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed.

These stories are about giving yourself a chance to be happy. About letting go, and moving on. About opening your heart and mind, and focusing on your inner light. 

Just like Tina, Alice, and Kate, I’ve been through a lot. I’m still learning, still changing and evolving. Struggling at times to see that flicker of light in the darkness. To try again. To trust again. To hope again. 

I’m so grateful to these characters for all the lessons they’ve taught me. Saying goodbye is sad. I’ve always hated goodbyes. But I’m completing this journey with gratitude in my heart. After all, it’s not really a goodbye. It’s not the end. It’s just the beginning of something new.

How to Start Writing And Stick With It

So, you want to write a book. Where to start?

The most important part of the writing process is—don’t be surprised—actually writing. What’s even more important is beginning to write – if you’ve never really done it before.

If you have a story idea in mind, and you’ve always wanted to write a book, but never had the time, the courage, or enough motivation, hopefully, my insights will help you. 

The most important thing is to start. To take that first step. Even if it’s just opening your notebook—or the notes on your phone—and jotting down your ideas.

Every writer has a different process they prefer and are used to. I can only tell you about mine. About what worked for me personally.

When I started writing my book, I had a 6-month-old baby on my hands. He’s now 3,5 years old, and if I’m honest, it leaves me with even less free time to do anything. And I mean, ANYTHING.

Maybe you have all the time in the world. Maybe you only get a few minutes to yourself at the end of a busy day. We’re all different, we have different circumstances and family situations, and that’s totally understandable. 

But if you have the passion and the determination to start writing—believe me, there is always a way.

As you continue your writing journey, you’ll be discovering new things about yourself as a writer. About the writing process that works for you personally. Like, for example, whether you are a plotter or a pantser. You might have come across these terms before. Basically what it means is that plotters like to come up with a rather detailed plan for their story. Some may even have every single chapter plotted out before they begin. Pantsers – well, they just write by the seat of their pants and see where the story takes them.

And then there are plantsers—something in between. I believe I fit into this category, because I start out with a rough outline in mind (which I write down in my notes—and I highly encourage you not to skip this step), I have a basic idea of who my story is about, and what will happen in the beginning, middle, and end.

All the rest starts unfolding as I write. Including side characters, and all the adventures my main characters have to go on.

So here’s your step one. Think of an idea, have a brainstorming session with yourself (or your partner, friend, cat—whoever you find suitable for the role) and write it down. You can tweak it later. Don’t look for perfection. Just get it out there, and maybe even leave it for a day or two, so that you can come back to it later.

But then, at some point, you actually have to start writing. Again, don’t overthink and edit as you go. Let your creativity flow, let the ideas in your mind transform into words and sentences and get them on to that page (or screen—whatever you decide to use).

Here’s what I did. I started writing in my note app on my phone. Don’t recommend it, especially if you’re typing with one hand while holding a baby with the other. One wrong movement, and you end up deleting a chunk of your text with no undo button.

What I found more convenient later on was a Google Docs app on my phone. I still open a new doc for every chapter I write. It works for me, but maybe you’ll find it easier to have just one big document. Again, give it a try, play with it, see what works for you.

Now that you’ve overcome the fear of the blank page (if you had it to begin with) and wrote a sentence, or paragraph, or maybe a whole chapter, there’s a risk that you won’t continue. For whatever reason. You’re feeling insecure, imposter syndrome is attacking, or you don’t like what you wrote, or you just get wrapped up in everyday tasks and can’t find the time.

And then the inspiration and the motivation you had in the beginning start to dwindle. 

This is the most dangerous part. 

Don’t let this happen to you.

What you need at this stage is to create a habit. Consistency is extremely important in writing. To keep yourself motivated, to perfect your skill—you need to keep writing.

One piece of advice: don’t set unrealistic goals. Don’t compare yourself to others. You might see someone sharing that they write 2000-3000 words every day, or even more, you’ll feel like it’s unattainable for you, and you’ll be tempted to give up.

Don’t do that. You do you. It doesn’t matter how many words you write every day or week. What matters is that you write consistently. Work out a schedule that works for you. Can you do 500 words a day? Awesome. Only 100? Still awesome. Can’t write every day? Give yourself days off. Write 5 days a week, or 3 days a week. Things change. Figure out what works for you at this particular moment of your life, and stick with it for now. You just need to get going and form a habit of writing. Maybe it will mean that when you have a few free minutes to go on your phone, you’ll type a couple sentences instead of scrolling social media, checking your email or the weather forecast. Stuck in a traffic jam or waiting for an appointment, or to pick up your kid from school, sporting event, etc? Type or dictate some ideas for the chapter you’re working on. You’ll be amazed at where this can take you when it becomes a solid habit.

At the beginning of my writing journey, I started publishing my chapters on Wattpad. Later on, I changed my mind and decided to just finish the book and self-publish it. But I want to mention that I’m grateful for Wattpad. It gave me exactly what I needed at that point – discipline and accountability. Something I needed to gain the momentum and to create a habit. I set a schedule for myself, and even though I didn’t have hundreds of followers waiting impatiently for my next chapter – I knew, myself, that I had a deadline to meet. A self-imposed deadline. And it worked.

At some point I dipped, though. Life got a bit too crazy—as it tends to—and I missed a month or two of writing. What saved me was finding an accountability partner—a writer friend on Instagram—who was in a similar situation. We decided to encourage each other and let each other know every day how our writing was going.

It made a huge difference. For a couple months, I was writing every single day, and even marking the number of words for each day on the calendar. It was a new habit, a new routine, and it also made me feel proud of myself.

And guess what – that’s exactly how I finished my first draft.

Which leads me to the next important point. Find a supportive community. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other writers. Connect with them. Engage. Learn from them and share your experience, your struggles, your successes. Every author out there had to start somewhere. They’ve all been exactly where you are right now. You can learn a lot from others, and just being a part of a community of like-minded people can take you a long way. I have met amazing people and so many talented authors in the writing community, and I’m so grateful for them. Of course, at first I felt insecure and unsure. Felt like I don’t belong. Like, “All those awesome people out there are authors, and they know so much, and they have books published… Who am I? What do I bring to the table?”

Does it sound familiar? Trust me, I know how that feels. My Instagram account used to be dedicated to jewelry making—which is what I was doing for about a decade. When I started writing, my feed changed completely, because I started following writers and authors. I started searching for writing-related discussions on social media. There are a lot of writing groups on Facebook. There’s an awesome writing community on Twitter—I came to that one later on in my journey, but I’m really glad I did. Whichever platform you prefer, you can “find your tribe.”

If you want to become a writer, you need to be a writer. You need to feel like you’re a writer. And constantly remind yourself of that. Because guess what, if you’re writing, you ARE a writer. It’s that simple.

Start taking your writing seriously. Start taking yourself seriously. I don’t mean give up your day job right now or move to a deserted island with only a notebook and pen. You don’t really have to sacrifice anything if you want to let something new in. Well, you might need to sacrifice your habit of procrastination, if you have one. But what can I say… good riddance, right?

Again, it’s not about how many hours a day you dedicate to it. Not about how quickly you can write a book. It’s about making yourself comfortable in this new role, and giving it importance – maybe even priority. It’s about the process, not the result. The result will come, trust me, if you have the right process and the right mindset in place.

So in a nutshell, here’s what you need to do if you decided to start writing.

You need to come up with an idea, and you need to start. And stick with it. Make it into a habit. Welcome this change into your life, and embrace it. Look for support and motivation from others, but don’t rely on that fully. It’s your story. It’s your journey. You are the one who needs to believe in yourself first of all. There will be battles ahead—with self doubt, insecurities, and imposter syndrome. Prepare yourself for that by becoming strong and empowered through your own self-belief.

It might seem scary at first, but trust me, finding the courage and following your dreams is worth it. Give it a try. Start writing your story.

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

How often and how easily do you take steps out of your comfort zone?

I haven’t set any resolutions at the beginning of 2023, but I decided where my focus will be this year. Or my “word of the year”, as people often put it.


Which means constantly learning and evolving. Trying new things, welcoming new opportunities, gaining knowledge, skill, and experience. In all areas of my life. Writing, self-awareness, parenting, interacting with other humans around me.

It will most definitely involve making tons of mistakes, tripping and falling, but also getting up and giving it another try.

Because growth is painful. Growth forces us to leave our cozy comfort zone and go out there. To overcome stuff. To face our fears. To push aside our insecurities and self doubts—all that baggage we keep lugging around wherever we go. Mine’s awfully heavy, to be honest. I really need to get rid of that stuff.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because yesterday I took a huge step out of my comfort zone and started a podcast.

I’ve never tried it before and I feel terribly anxious. I want people to hear it, and I’m also terrified they will actually listen to it. I didn’t even want to share it on social media at first.

So today I’m taking another step out of my comfort zone and telling everyone about my new podcast.

It’s called Dreams, Books, and Miracles. I’ll be talking about writing and reading. Sharing parts of my writing journey and hopefully encouraging someone to embark on their own. Talking about books I enjoyed and talented authors I keep meeting in the writing community. And about how important it is to follow your dreams and overcome your fears.

If you check it out, I’ll be thrilled (terrified, of course, who am I kidding, but still thrilled!) to get some feedback. Comment, or send me an email, or suggest something you’d like to hear in the future episodes — whatever you have to say means a lot to me and supports me on this journey.

And if you’re also thinking of starting something new and taking that first step out of your comfort zone—I’m rooting for you. You can do this. You’ll be so proud of yourself for giving it a try. Go ahead, open that door and step over the threshold. Good luck!

My second book is coming out next month

“You know what, life is not fair, and it can throw a lot of crap at you when you least expect it. But sometimes, it gives you pretty awesome things too—amazing people, fascinating experiences. I guess the trick is to try and focus on that. To celebrate what you gain instead of dwelling on what you’ve lost.”

~ Follow the Blue Rabbit, book 2 of The Dream Tamer Chronicles

I always find it fascinating how my characters speak to me—or rather through me.

I love these magical moments when the writing is flowing—pouring out without any special effort—and one of the characters comes up with something that I read later and can’t help but wonder if those words were, in fact, addressed to me.

I learn a lot from my characters and I’m so grateful for all the wisdom they share, all the lessons and important reminders they give me, and I hope that the readers will be able to connect with them as much as I do.

Can’t wait to share this story with the world. And to get back to writing book 3 of the series, as soon as book 2 is released. I had to put it aside while I was editing and proofreading, but my thoughts keep going back to my characters. I miss them.

Follow the Blue Rabbit releases on September 30, 2022. It will be available on Amazon as ebook and paperback and will be included in Kindle Unlimited.

The ebook is available for preorder at a discounted price. You can preorder your copy here.

Author Spotlight: Meet Jessica Cantwell

One of my favorite fantasy reads this year was The Realm Saga by Jessica Cantwell. A beautifully crafted parallel world full of mythical creatures and people with supernatural abilities. Very likeable characters you easily get attached to. Adventure, action, romance–these books have it all.

Jessica Cantwell, the incredibly talented author of this amazing trilogy, has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions.

Hi Jessica,

Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, please?

Hi Elena, 

Thank you so much for having me. My name is Jessica Cantwell and I’m the author of a young adult fantasy series titled The Realm Saga. I live in New York with my family and cats. I love being close to the water and have a passion for travel.

We have so much in common. I love being close to the water too. I even moved to a different country to live by the sea.

Have you always wanted to become a writer? What is the thing you enjoy most about writing?

No, writing was not something I really thought of. In school I had dreams of moving to Hollywood and becoming an actress. That was until one of my teachers told me I had no talent! I had a pretty troubled childhood and absolutely no guidance when it came to career goals. I didn’t know what to do, honestly. So, I did what came naturally, which was hair. I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist for over 26 years. I stumbled into writing after being a victim of gun violence when I was 17. Putting my experiences down on paper was very cathartic. It opened a whole new world into writing and the one thing I love most about it, is having the freedom to create whatever I want. It can be non-fiction or fantasy, a cozy mystery or a scary thriller. Writing is so versatile in what you write and how you choose to write it. After all, it can be a full time career or it can be just a fun hobby.

This is so terrible and I’m so sorry you had to go through that! But I guess the silver lining is that the world of writing was opened to you through that traumatic experience.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest part of being a writer? Also, what is the hardest part of being a self-published writer?

Oh goodness, I feel that there are quite a lot of obstacles when it comes to writing. For me, the hardest thing about the writing process is finding the time to do it. Balancing work, children, spouses and everything that life throws at me can be such a juggling act. I get stressed out easily and seeing others crank out book after book, when it takes me forever and a day to write one, is tough. I have to keep reminding myself to stay in my own lane! It’s a slow and steady process for sure. The hardest part of being a self-published author is exposure. Getting my name and books out into the world is tough business! REALLY tough business!

I can really relate to all that. Same struggles, same stresses. And as if the pressure from all the juggling wasn’t enough, we go ahead and put more pressure on ourselves!

There are always positives though. What do you think is the best part of being a self-published writer?

Full creative control, no deadlines and more profit. I think authors, like us, are very lucky to have the ability to self-publish. The icing on the cake is when a reader identifies with my work and becomes a fan. There is no better feeling!

Full creative control is why I chose this path too. And I am definitely a fan of your work!

Please tell us about your book series. How did you come up with the idea? How long did it take you to write the trilogy? Which characters are your favorite?

Years ago, when my children were little, I started writing screenplays. I even got as far as getting an agent and pitching the idea to movie studios. Except the script was for an animated children’s film and every studio, like Disney, said they have their own writers and that they weren’t interested. I knew then that I really wanted full control over what I wrote and a way to get it out into the world. Self-publishing on Amazon was fairly new at the time, only in e-book form, but I thought, what the hell? Twilight was very popular and I was so sick of reading about vampires! I had this idea to write a story that included Greek mythology, which is a favorite of mine, and thus, The Realm Saga was born. I wrote the first two novels and published them in e-book form in 2013. In 2014 I fell ill and, after a long few months of testing, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was a very transitional time for me. I had a lot of changes and things to work through. Marketing my books took a back seat and because I had little to no sales, I unpublished. 

In 2020 when covid hit, I joined Instagram to follow Selma Blair, who was recently diagnosed with MS. I needed to find others with MS and be a part of a community. I was working from home with extra time on my hands so I decided to re-publish those first two books. I randomly posted about it and made a sale right away! In a matter of days I stumbled upon the writing community and met other amazing writers. It wasn’t the community I intended on joining but it is what motivated me to finally finish book three. 

So, the entire trilogy took over a decade to write and publish. The main character Lily, is a lot like myself. She doesn’t fit in and is quite lonely. I wanted to create a new world for her to escape to. One that accepted her for who she is and gave her the friends and family she deserves. Blaze was the first character I wrote for Lily. He’s strong, intelligent, and unique in the fact that he is a centaur. I wanted him to be a true gentleman and have all the characteristics of a chivalrous sentinel. Tracy was modeled after my husband, an irresistible, sexy, flirt, who is girl crazy. I am absolutely in love with Blaze and Tracy. Poppy shows another side of me – the short, petite, firecracker. Dmitry is the brother I always wanted. Alia takes after my spunky daughter and Sabeena is a breath of fresh air. I truly love all of the main characters that I have created. I feel like they are family!

I also fell in love with them, and with the beautiful world you created. When I was a kid, I used to be obsessed with Greek mythology, so I really liked all those references too.

Characters in your books possess some amazing superpowers. If you had a chance to choose, which one would you pick for yourself?

This is a discussion we have in my house more than I’d like to admit! Yes, we are those kinds of nerds!! I’m torn between the power of persuasion and teleporting. I have no patience, so being able to blip from place to place would be ideal. Then again, having the Jedi mind trick up my sleeve and persuading others to do what I wanted would be amazing. Imagine going to Disney or Paris and no one else is there because “Those are not the vacation spots you’re looking for?”

Love this! What an amazing idea. You’re a genius!

Teleporting is my dream too. I was also fascinated with the shapeshifting ability. That’s pretty awesome and could come in handy in many different situations.

Another thing you and I have in common is the passion for jewelry-making. And I know you make some amazing candles too! Could you please tell us a bit about that? How and when did it start? What do you enjoy about it the most?

I have this nagging pull to be creative in all forms. I bake and decorate cakes. I re-finish furniture. I paint and draw. But in 2020 when I quit a very toxic job, I knew I needed something to do, so, I started an Etsy shop where I sell candles and jewelry. I love the freedom of creating things, regardless of if it is jewelry, a candle or an imaginary world in my books. It’s beyond freeing. Sadly, I am going to close the Etsy shop down in the near future. I’m finding that I have too many fires going and need to clear my plate a bit. I will still make candles and jewelry for myself though!

That’s sad. But I understand about having too much on your plate. I stopped making jewelry when my younger son was born. There just wasn’t any space for it. Maybe things will change in the future and I’ll come back to it. So far, I’m creating worlds too, and it feels great.

The most important thing is that you’re still creating. Even if it’s for yourself. You’re absolutely right, it’s beyond freeing.

What are you currently working on, in terms of writing?

Right now I am writing a women’s literary fiction novel based on my life, the abuse I suffered as a child, and being a victim of gun violence. It is a complete 180 from my YA fantasy series and the few people that have read a sample say that it is my genre! That makes me feel great because I have a handful of women’s lit. projects that have been sitting on a shelf for a very long time. I’m about 1/3 of the way through this manuscript so maybe we will see a publication date in late fall, early winter? I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I’m also illustrating a children’s picture book series but that has been on the back burner while I get this newest story out of my head! I guess I should disclose that I read and write a wide variety of genres. I’ve considered publishing a few under a pen name but I’m very on the fence about it. As we all know, it is hard enough to market your own name/brand. I can’t imagine taking on a different persona and starting from scratch! I think I’m too old and exhausted for that!

I can’t wait to read it! I’ve been reading a lot of women’s fiction recently and have also been thinking of writing some. Maybe after I finish my series. So excited about your new project!

Also, I am truly amazed by your multiple talents (now I hear there’s illustrating, too!) and so sorry that you had to go through all those terrible things in your life.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Oh so much! Some of this I have learned the hard way so, here we go: 

Definitely stay in your own lane and write at your own pace. Join a writing community for tips, tricks and advice. Focus on quality over quantity. Cranking out books that lack in quality will get you nowhere. Write for yourself and write what makes you happy. Art is subjective so you can’t please everyone. Don’t read the reviews of your books. They aren’t posted for you. And if you do, don’t let them get you down. If you write for yourself, and write what makes you happy, it will show in your work. Fans will find you. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! Don’t skip this process because you are “self-published.” If you can’t afford an editor, use editing and dictation software to help you find mistakes. Use proof-readers, beta-readers and arc-readers to help you put your best foot forward. Use formatting software because formatting is just as crucial as editing and cover art. Yes, people do judge a book by its cover so do your research on what is trending. Have fun and know at the end of the day, you did it. If only one sale. You’re a published author.  

Thank you so much for this, Jessica! It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you better. Looking forward to reading your next creation!

You can find Jessica Cantwell here:

And here:

Why Do I Write?

There are many reasons. I’ve always wanted to write, and when I finally started, it felt so right that I almost regretted missing all those years. I’m saying ‘almost’ because I don’t really regret anything. The way my life went, the things I had to go through, and the lessons I learned, all of this has shaped me into the person I am today. And this is the person who is finally ready to tell stories.

Going back to the reasons for writing—there are plenty. But here’s one of the most important ones I want to focus on today.

I have two sons. 

I have a teenager who thinks he’s got life figured out. 

And I have a toddler who is only beginning to learn what this world is all about. And when he is the same age as his big brother is now, he’ll probably think the same.

It’s okay. They are learning. And I’m learning with them. 

But I’m also teaching them something too. 

I’m teaching them that it’s okay to follow your dreams. No… wrong wording. Following your dreams is the right way to go. It’s in fact the only way to go if you want to find yourself. And to stay true to yourself.

I’m teaching them that following your dreams can be hard. And scary. But it’s not a reason to give up.

I’m teaching them that it’s never too late to start. 

My teenage son is reading my book now. It’s not his preferred genre. And there’s a great chance  he won’t like it. But every time he picks it up, he’s holding physical proof of the fact that anything is possible. That it’s possible to start writing when you’re 40 years old, when you are raising a baby, when you hardly have any time or energy, but counteract it with enough stubbornness to type on your phone in the middle of the night. To type words in the language that is foreign to you. 

So maybe he’ll feel more hopeful.

He learns that if you don’t know how to do something, it’s possible to research and learn. For example, you can learn all you need to know about self-publishing your book. And while doing that, you can meet so many people on that journey. You can also genuinely connect with those people from all parts of the world. You can read their stories, support them, learn from them, and call them your friends. 

So maybe he’ll feel less lonely.

He learns that you can pour your heart out on the paper (or screen), wrapping it gently in words, linking those words together and making phrases, using those phrases to build stories. Stories based on your thoughts, your feelings, your imagination, your dreams, your joy, and your pain. 

So maybe he’ll learn to open his heart. 

And as for my little one, he is really obsessed with my book cover. Every time he sees my book, he needs to hold it. Well, I can’t blame him, the cover is absolutely stunning. But seriously, do you know why I think he’s drawn to it? Because he can feel what it means to his mom. He can feel what I invested in that book. And I’m not talking about the financial investment here, of course. He can feel the energy coming from a dream that came true. It’s pretty much like magic.

He’ll grow up and I’ll have many more books published. But I will tell him where it all started. How I decided to follow my dream when he was a little baby. How the chapters of that very first book were created while he was sleeping in my arms.

I’ll tell him this story and then I’ll say, “You see, son, anything is possible if you really want it. You need to be brave enough to start, and then you just keep going no matter how hard it gets. Don’t give up, don’t turn back, believe in yourself, and you’ll get there.”

These are the things I want to teach my kids. And what better way is there to teach than through leading by example?

Writing For An Anthology

I was invited by one of my author friends to participate in an anthology. It’s coming out this Halloween, and I’m really excited about it. This will be my second published work this year (following the release of my debut novel, “Follow the Hummingbird”, in July), and it means so much to me, since I only started writing last year. 

I saw a lot of authors participate in different anthologies, and have always thought that it must be a great experience. You’re writing your own story, but at the same time you’re part of a team. It’s a challenge because there is a certain topic/theme/genre your story needs to be in. Besides, there is a deadline, which makes it even trickier. 

In my case, the deadline felt tight. I learned about the anthology on August 22nd, and at that point I didn’t have a story that would be a fit for the project. I needed to create it. I needed to come up with an idea, and then have it written, professionally edited and proofread within less than two months – because the release date is October 31st, and of course, the stories have to be submitted in advance. 

So yes, this was definitely a challenge. I know that some other authors had stories that were already completed, but others, like me, had to write them from scratch. 

The wordcount range was from 5K to 35K.

As someone with very limited time for writing, I had my doubts. I really wanted to take part in the project, but I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had nothing at that point. I had started to work on two other writing projects by that time, so I’d have to put them aside and focus on the third one instead. I am a toddler mom, so most of my writing happens late at night, if I have any energy left after chasing my super active 2-year-old the whole day. Sometimes I sneak in some writing during his naps in the day. But I don’t have the type of schedule where I can make or keep firm commitments. 

But I thought, maybe I can manage to write 5000 words in a month. (The second month I intended to use for editing). I was nervous, a bit overwhelmed and excited all at once.

So I decided to accept the offer and take part in the project. I paid the anthology buy-in straightaway, before I could change my mind, and started thinking of the story.

I didn’t have to wait for inspiration. The story idea just came to me that same evening. I couldn’t sleep until 2 a.m. and kept thinking about it and writing down all the ideas in the notes on my phone. And then I decided to start writing. So I wrote a little bit of the opening scene. Then I woke up early the next morning, and while my little hurricane was still asleep, I continued writing. By the time my son woke up, I had 2,000 words of the new story written. 

In just a few days, I finished the story, having written 11,000 words in total. All that time I couldn’t think about anything else except the new world I had created and the characters and their adventures. 

My husband read the story and thought it was great. He even commented on how the story could easily be expanded into a novel. 

Then I heard the same from my editor. 

I am now thinking that I could expand this novelette into a novella and make it a prequel to a bigger story, or maybe even a series. 

I know for sure that this story has great potential. I can feel it. And I’m so grateful that it just came to me, exactly when I needed it.

I’m looking back now and thinking that a couple of months ago it wasn’t even in my plans. I had just released my debut novel, and started working on book 2 of the series, making peace with the fact that I wouldn’t release anything any time soon. 

Now, I have a whole new story that will be available to readers in a couple weeks. 

Isn’t this amazing?

Another beautiful thing about taking part in an anthology is working as a team with other writers. I have met some wonderful people there. Besides, spreading the word about your new release is so much easier when you join forces with other authors! 

Thanks to this anthology, I’ve been in Halloween mood since the end of August. And of course, while writing a story about a witch, I just had to buy a witch hat!

I’m finishing the edits this week and sending out my story, “The Secret Spell”, to the organizers. It will be formatted along with the other stories, and at the end of this month we’ll be celebrating the release of our anthology, “The Season Of The Witch.” The cover has already been created, and the book is available for pre-order on Amazon.

So I can say that my first experience of writing for an anthology was very positive, inspiring and encouraging. It was a challenge, and it was great fun at the same time.

I’ll definitely be participating in other anthologies in the future. Although for the next few months my priority is writing the next novel in my series. I’ve even decided to try NaNoWriMo this year – but that’s a topic for a separate blog post. 

If you want to check out our awesome witchy anthology, you can find it here:

Author Spotlight: Julie Embleton

Today I would like to introduce Julie Embleton to you. Julie is a new adult fantasy author. She is also famous in the writing community for her extensive support to indie authors. And on top of all that, she’s just an amazing person who kindly agreed to answer some of my questions today.

Let’s dive in.

Hey, Julie! Thanks again for finding the time to do this. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, please?

I’m an Irish lass, and I live right beside the Irish Sea in north County Dublin. I lived abroad for many years, but always missed Ireland—yes, even the weather. 

I write paranormal fantasy for the New Adult genre, so readers will find vampires, werewolves, witches and all sort of other paranormal folk in my tales. I’ve also written short stories for two fairytale retelling anthologies.

When not crafting stories from the voices in my head, you’ll find me with my tarot cards. I’ve been working as a professional tarot reader for the last six years and will soon be launching my brand new tarot website: The occult fascinates me, and I’m looking forward to sharing this passion through my blog, while continuing to offer guidance with tarot.

My career background has hotel management and HR, but I’ve just been made redundant after eighteen years with the same company, and am now taking the next year to work for myself as both an author and tarot reader, so exciting times ahead! 

I’m a mum to a sassy teenager, and slave to two crazy cats.

You can find me or @julieembletonauthor on Instagram

I just love it how you described the essence of the human-feline relationships! Have you always wanted to become a writer? Or were there any other dreams?

I never dreamed of being an author. I loved books as a kid and was an avid reader, but the idea of writing didn’t kick in until I was a teenager and we studied creative writing in school. From then on I wrote dozens of stories, but they were always just for me. 

As a kid, I wanted to be a nurse, but after a stay in hospital, I realised it involved dealing with puke, so I dropped that idea like a hot potato. I then fell in love with art, and soon settled on becoming a graphic designer which I now hold a degree in, but shame on me, I never followed it as a career. I fell into Hotel Management, then HR, but along the way, carried on scribbling my stories until I decided to brave independent publishing in 2013. I’m due to publish my eighth book in September 2021. 

Oh, wow, this is amazing! Eighth book! Congratulations! What is the thing you enjoy most about writing?

The escapism. It’s daydreaming on a grand scale, and I get paid for it too! For me, there’s nothing more addictive than the creative flow where plots, characters and dialogue pour onto the page. When I’m in that zone, reality fades into the background. Time stops too. That in-between place makes me feel like I’m living in a different dimension and sometimes it’s hard to come back to reality.     

I know what you mean. Love that feeling! What, in your opinion, is the hardest part of being a writer?

The marketing. I think for the most part that authors are an introverted lot, so putting ourselves out there and shouting for attention is as unpleasant as a hot needle to the eyeball. The self-publishing industry has changed so much since I first began, and keeping on top of trends, skills and technology is a full time job in itself. Over the next year I’m planning deep dives into Amazon ads and other marketing tools. A lot of my fellow authors are as mystified about these strategies as I am, so I’m hoping to blog about my findings!

Amazon ads. 🙈 Still dreading the thought of diving into that. I’ll be looking forward to reading about your experience! But back to your writing — please tell us more about your book series!

The Voyager Chronicles series is a trilogy that flips between the modern and medieval, with realm-hopping, sorcery shenanigans, despicable villains, gutsy heroes and heroines, and a sprinkle of romance.

In order, the titles are: The Dawning, The Veiling, The Claiming. 

The Turning Moon series is centred around two werewolf packs and the paranormal threats they face from demons, fellow werewolves and even vampires. While my books are not classed as romance, there’s always romantic suspense within the plot, as I love a good happy ever after and can’t resist playing matchmaker with my characters. My next release, Torn, is book four of the Turning Moon, and book five is already under way!  In order, the titles are: Bound, Released, Haunted, Torn (due September 2021) 

Congrats again on the upcoming release! The series sound absolutely awesome! Here’s another thing I wanted to ask you: you are known in the Instagram writing community for the support you provide to indie authors. Can you tell us a bit more about that? When and why did you decide to start doing it? How did the famous #selfpromotesunday come into existence?

Following a conversation with a fellow author who worried she was being pushy when she self-promoted, (there’s that pesky fear of marketing again) I started the tag so indie authors could come together to share their work, with the emphasis on their post being a shameless self-promote. With a dedicated weekly tag, I wanted to give authors the opportunity to shout about their work, but also have a place to meet new friends, offer support and encouragement, ask for advice, and of course, add even more titles to heaving To Be Read piles. I didn’t think it would become as popular as it is. Even now, I get authors messaging me to say it’s the only time they promote and feel like they have the ‘right’ to because they’re using the tag. I’ve met dozens of my author friends through #selfpromotesunday and have discovered some of my favourite indie books through it too. When I first started, there were only two posts that had ever used the tag, now there are over 5000! As the host, I do my best to comment on every post, and I also share many posts on my stories, just to spread the bookish goodness even farther. 

5000 posts! Julie, this is incredible! Thank you again for everything you do for indie authors! I remember that your account was blocked by Instagram, and you had to start from scratch again. That was so amazing! Not the fact that you lost your account, of course. You know what I mean. 😅 My sincere admiration to you! Why do you think it happened? Any advice on how to prevent it? Where did you find the strength and patience to do it all over again? By the way, you’re an absolute star! ⭐️

Ah, Instagram. The platform I love to hate. In January of 2021 I did unfortunately get locked out of my @julie_embleton account. Two years before then, I had downloaded a follow/unfollow app which I used a few times, found useless and forgot all about. I came across a warning on another platform about Instagram cracking down on accounts using third party apps like Later, Repost, Follow/Unfollow apps etc, and as I never used the follow app, I decided to delete it. I opened the app to see what steps I needed to take before deleting it, but because I hadn’t used it in so long, and had gained almost 2.3k followers since I’d last opened it, my guess is that it connected to Instagram and they flagged it as a phising attempt. Now when I try to log in to my old account I’m told I need to request a security code to prove it’s me accessing my account. I’ve requested it over and over since January, but the email never arrives (even though they can still email the same address with reminders of what I’ve missed since I last logged on to the account. Go figure, eh?) 

From what I’ve heard, I’ll never get the account back which is disappointing. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s been tough starting from scratch all over again. I had almost 2.5k followers, but thankfully, within days of opening my new account, @julieembletonauthor lots of my Instagram friends immediately followed so I wasn’t left in the wilderness. I still use Later and Repost with my new account, but will definitely stay away from the follow/unfollow apps. I’d encourage users to do research into any apps that link to Instagram. I know lots of people who’ve been locked out and all are still out in the cold like me with years of work lost. There’s no direct customer service in Instagram, so pleas and request for help fall on deaf ears. I now have an account on MeWe and Vero, but Instagram is my main platform, even though I’d punch it in the throat if I could.  

Oh, goodness, I’m glad that I have no idea how to use those apps – I guess it’s safer this way. 😅 And yes, if I were you, I’d definitely want to punch it in the throat too. 🙈 Here’s another question. Considering how much kindness and support you’re giving out to others, I really hope you’re getting it back too! Are you?

Yes, most definitely, but I don’t keep score! When I get excited about a book, I have to shout about it, it’s as simple as that. And I really enjoy sharing the Self Promote Sunday posts because I know for some authors, it’s not easy to put themselves out there, so a share here and there is simply spreading the love. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?  

Read, write, read, write, read, write. The more you read, the more technical skill you’ll develop and employ. The more your write, the stronger your unique voice will become. 

Dream big, believe in yourself, and don’t let anyone talk you down. 

I think finding your tribe is vital, too. When you gather with people who are on your wavelength and aspiring for similar goals, there’s no ladder with ‘top and bottom’ achievers, it’s just everyone walking hand in hand, helping each other along the way. Your tribe are also the people who’ll nudge you out of your comfort zone and help you take bigger, braver steps that you mightn’t have taken on your own. But most importantly, they’re the people who’ll champion you and be there for your wins and fails!

Thank you for the brilliant advice, Julie! I couldn’t agree more about the importance of finding your tribe. I’m forever grateful for all the support I have received (and keep receiving) from the writing community. And I try to do my best to pay it forward. Once again, thank you for everything and I’m wishing you tremendous success in everything you do!

Become Your Own Superfan

I got a two-star review on Goodreads. It didn’t have any text attached to it. So I don’t know what exactly the person who read my book (I do hope that they actually read the book) didn’t like about it, or what they found wrong with it.

It felt strange. It didn’t really upset me, but still, it stung a little. So I decided to reflect on my thoughts and feelings about it. I mean, I know that it’s not about me personally. It’s about my book, and it’s about that person and their opinion, which they are totally entitled to have.

But still, at some point I found myself feeling a little bit deflated and discouraged. You know, we all have those days, we all have those ups and downs. One day you feel like you’re on top of the world, and the next day you feel like you’re a complete failure. Or the imposter syndrome kicks in and it’s nagging you, saying ”Well, what did you expect? Did you think you were a good writer? And that everybody was going to read and like your book?” I’m sure many of you recognize that nasty little voice that lives inside your head.

So I was thinking about it, and analyzing my feelings, and trying to see what I’m doing wrong and what lesson I can learn from it. 

And here’s what I came up with:

First of all, the only person that needs to truly believe in you and your writing (or whatever it is that you’re passionate about) is yourself. It’s great if you have a supportive environment. It’s awesome if your friends and family are there for you and they believe in you, no matter what. Or if you have an amazing streat team on Instagram, and you know that people are rooting for you all the time.

But you have to be absolutely sure that if all that is taken away from you — for any reason whatsoever — there will always be one person left on your side. YOU.

If tomorrow you wake up, and the world suddenly hates you. And people are like, “We just don’t like you anymore, and we don’t believe in you anymore. And we don’t want to read your stories anymore, and we don’t want to talk to you anymore.”  Even if that extremely unpleasant scenario happens to you – you still need to be there for yourself. You have to not let anyone or anything bring you down or stop you from believing in yourself.

Second, people are different. They all have their own agenda. They have their good days and bad days. They have their moods. 

People have things, other people, and circumstances that influence their every thought, their every word, and every decision. They’re not in control of it most of the time (or they choose not to be, but that’s another topic altogether.)

Let’s admit it, more often than we want to, we find ourselves not in control of our own lives. So how would you control anyone else, right?

What I’m talking about here is that you cannot influence other people, you cannot influence their opinion, you cannot influence/change/predict the next thing that they’re going to say or do, whether it’s concerning you, or anyone else, or anything else. 

You can’t do anything about it. So let it go. 

I’m a control freak myself, and I know too well how hard it is, but seriously, just LET IT GO. You cannot do anything about it. When you accept it, things will become much easier.

We’re all seeking approval and validation, whether we admit it or not. We all like to be praised. And valued. And liked. Even loved. 

There’s nothing wrong with it, really. It’s a very natural thing. Problems start when it becomes a need, a priority, something you can’t function without.

And most of us fall into that trap more often than we would like to. 

Because when we start depending on validation and approval from others – we’re trapped. Eventually, it will make us lose our real goal and forget our main destination. It will seem like we’re moving ahead, while in reality we’re just running out of breath on an invisible treadmill. 

I saw a review on Goodreads recently from a fellow author Nicole Adair. She reviewed her own book, “A Tangle of Dreams.” She wrote, “I’m writing this review because the opinion that matters most to me is my own. It hasn’t always been this way, but that’s the way I’d like it to be from now on.”

There is so much power and so much wisdom in this. I keep repeating to myself, “That’s the way I’d like it to be from now on.”

Try this approach. I most definitely will. 

Become your own number one fan. Your own supporter. If others offer you their approval and support, accept it with gratitude, but don’t make it a necessary condition for your success. 

After all, nobody knows you better than you do. Nobody understands you better than you do. Everything else and everyone else is beyond your control.