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Guest Post by Alex Erickson and a #giveaway

Author Alex Erickson is here today in support of his latest release, Death by Iced Coffee, the eleventh book in his Bookstore Cafe Mystery series, which was just published on April 25th. And he’s giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter below.

A charming, relatable sleuth and quirky cast of characters sets Alex Erickson’s Bookstore Cafe Mystery series apart from the cozy pack–and this time, bookstore owner Krissy Hancock is stepping out from behind the counter and lacing up her sneakers to participate in her hometown’s first-ever marathon, only to find herself racing to solve a murder instead.

Take it away, Alex!

The Doubt Monster

Some things never change. When I sat down to work on this post, I struggled to come up with a topic. Do I write something about cats? Again. Something about coffee or bookstores or . . . what? I was flummoxed. I had nothing to say. I’m rather boring when you get right down to it. Just check my Twitter and Facebook. The posts are few and far between. My author photo is nearly a decade old. I always feel as if I have nothing to contribute. And even if I did, who would care anyway?

I don’t do events all that often, in person or otherwise. My social anxiety rears up and kicks me in the stomach every time I try. It doesn’t matter how big or small the event might be. It could be a book signing with fifty other authors, or just me at a library. Or it could be an online interview. Or maybe it’s something as simple as a post such as this. My brain goes into hyperdrive, screaming at me that I’m DOING IT ALL WRONG!

Krissy, from my Bookstore Café series, goes through a magnified version of what I experience. She’s indecisive. She struggles with any sort of contact with others, whether it is relationship related or something as simple as asking a question of someone. While I tend to avoid the situations entirely, she does the opposite and ends up blurting out the first thing that pops into her head, with no real idea how it will be taken or if there will be major consequences. If I do have to talk to someone, I tend to mutter something basic and then lose all track of where I wanted the conversation to go.

It’s two sides of the same coin. It all about the Doubt Monster and how we deal with it.

I recently went to Malice. My nerves were all over the place, but I managed to fight through them and sit on a panel. I don’t know how I survived. Maybe it was because the crowd was small. Maybe it was how my panel mates kept me grounded. They were friendly and understood my overactive brain. I’m sure I had moments where my mouth opened and words came out that may or may not have made sense, but I didn’t feel as if I totally bombed it. My brain wanted me to believe I would. It always does.

And that’s the thing about anxiety. It will always be there. It will always tell me I’m wrong, that I’m invading other people’s space. It’ll insist that if I were to go up to someone and say “Hello,” they’d turn their noses up at me and walk away. It’ll say I don’t look the part. I don’t act the part. I don’t belong.

Even online, I struggle. That’s why there are hardly any social media posts or blogs. As soon as I think I might put myself out there and say something, my brain kicks in and asks, “Who would care?” And, of course, that little evil voice answers, “No one.”

So, when I sit down to write posts such as these, I have a hard time coming up with something to say that I feel would be interesting to others. The Doubt Monster has a permanent residence in the back of my mind. It will never shut up and let me go about my merry way.

Maybe I’ll feel more confident as time goes on. I could post more about my cats (and the two new additions to the family.) I could talk about my hobbies, which might not be of great interest to all my readers, but some might find my gaming and music stuff fascinating. I could talk about my favorite Sci-fi shows. The dark crime shows from other countries that I watch with the subtitles on. It’s like reading a book, but with moving pictures!

But I’m not ready for that quite yet. For now, I’ll continue to keep mostly to myself and let bits and pieces slip free in little posts like this. It’s the only way I’ll keep myself sane and keep from becoming overwhelmed by my good old friend, Anxiety (with a capital ‘A.’)

Readers: Who else fights with the Doubt Monster? And has anyone ever defeated it? If so, let me know how so I can do the same! One lucky commenter below will win a signed copy of Death by Iced Coffee. U.S. and Canada only, please.

About Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson is the author of the Bookstore Café mystery series. He hides away in his home in Ohio with his family and their gaggle of cats. You can find him online at and on his rarely used social media at and

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