Author, Books, Writing

Talking Phobias, Fears and Facing the Unknown with Katherine Smits – @katherinesmits

Good morning, bloggers!

Happy Tuesday to you.

Today, I am pleased to welcome Katherine Smits, author of WATER DREAMS. She is speaking to us about Phobias, Fears and Facing the Unknown. So, get ready to dive in to a very interesting post…

Phobias, Fears and Facing the Unknown

In graduate school, I learned phobias are a form of anxiety disorder, sometimes resulting from a bad experience, such as extreme fear of dogs after a bite, but sometimes arising with no known cause. Many different phobias exist, including fears of animals, insects, heights, flying and enclosed places.

When I started working with veterans, I expected to help patients overcome their phobias. However, over the course of twenty years as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, as well as with a number of other agencies, not many clients asked for help with this problem, although a lot of people told me they had phobias.

In my experience, many people with phobias don’t want to get rid of them. Instead, they want to avoid the things they fear. They are convinced everything will be fine as long as they stay away from dogs, bugs, tall buildings, airplanes or caves. When they find out most treatment involves interacting in some way with what they dread, they are usually even less inclined to seek help.

The only thing wrong with this solution is you can’t always avoid things that frighten you. You may encounter a loose dog on the street. Bugs will get in your house or yard. Sooner or later, flying may be the only feasible means of travel.

Maybe you can avoid tall buildings and caves. Or maybe you can keep your confrontations with your demons down to a few instances. It doesn’t seem worthwhile to endure treatment for something you don’t have to experience often. However, another problem with phobias is the anxiety a person feels when encountering the object tends to generalize over time to similar things. For example, if you’re horrified by palmetto bugs (giant cockroaches found in Florida and my personal phobia), and you successfully avoid them, someday you may find yourself breaking into a cold sweat when you run into small cockroaches, crickets and eventually all insects. This generalization of anxiety can become debilitating as you use more and more of your mental and physical energy on avoidance.

I believe phobias are similar to other fears. Everyone is afraid of something and that’s good for survival. Fear keeps us safe, but it can also keep us from living our lives fully. If we don’t learn to confront our fears, we may never take the job, move to the new city or start a new relationship after heartbreak. Somehow, we have to figure out when to protect ourselves and when to take a risk.

Nik, the heroine of my book, Water Dreams, is a young woman from the small, primarily Greek town, of Tarpon Springs, Florida. She is terrified of water. She’s barely able to look at it when she drives over bridges. This is a significant problem in a state surrounded by water on three sides and where rivers, lakes, canals and swimming pools abound. However, she doesn’t want to get over her phobia. She just doesn’t go near water, until she has no choice.

Throughout the book, Nik deals with her fear of water by gradually confronting it a little at a time. Her battle with her phobia is reflected in dreams that start out as nightmares and gradually change to messages from her subconscious, which help her overcome not only her phobia, but the other challenges she faces.  Ultimately, conquering her phobia leads to solving her other problems.

Nik meets a merman, part of a race of creatures who call themselves Nerei and want humans to continue to believe they are only mythological creatures, not real. Since this is a romance, Nik and the Nerei, Bas, find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to each other, but they experience profound obstacles to their relationship.

Nightmares, phobias, tricky mermaids, drug dealers and human mages who control the elements, Water Dreams has them all. It includes romance, fantasy, suspense and mystery. If you’re interested in learning more, the e-book is 2.99 and is available from Amazon or any other on-line retail site. Soft or hard cover copies are also available from Foundations, LLC (my amazing publisher).

Do you have a phobia? I’d love to hear about it if you feel like sharing. What have you done to overcome or avoid your fears? If you have conquered a fear (doesn’t have to be a phobia), what did you do? Please answer in the comments below.

I’ll pick one person randomly from everyone who responds for a $5.00 Amazon card. It’s just a token of thanks for reading and responding to this blog, but it’s enough to buy a couple of e-books, if you use it wisely. I’ll announce the winner of the gift card in a day or two and I’ll need your e-mail address to send it to you, so please check back and contact me if you’re the winner.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, there’s a Contact Form on my website. The newsletters are infrequent, but always include freebies and contests. I hope to hear from you.

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Katherine Eddinger Smits, Author
Author Bio: 

Katherine Eddinger Smits grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Although not from a Greek background, she fell in love with the Greek culture of the town and its close-knit families. She moved away years ago, but she still visits Tarpon Springs frequently to visit old friends and classmates, walk the beaches or shop and eat at the Sponge Docks.

She started writing stories in grade school and always intended to write novels someday. However, she put off writing fiction while she raised her family and worked as a clinical social worker at four different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers around the country. Although she was devastated to learn that her first career choice—mermaid, was not realistic, Katherine found helping veterans and their families fulfilling, and managed to squeeze writing into her life. Whether it was clinical assessments, creating brochures for social programs, or putting together newsletters for clubs and organizations, she always had a project in the works. 

Katherine lives with her husband in Homosassa, Florida and Falling Waters, West Virginia. They have a daughter who resides in Alexandria, Virginia and a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Water Dreams, Katherine’s debut novel, is a paranormal romance set in Tarpon Springs, Florida and is the first book in the Love’s Siren Song series. It is available from Foundations, LLC, Amazon, and other major on-line retailers. Please visit Katherine’s website for information about upcoming releases and sign up for her newsletter for contests, freebies and special announcements.

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Author Logo

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Where to find me:

Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page

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Water Dreams Blurb: 

Nik—an outwardly normal young woman terrified by water, living in the Greek-American town of Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Bas—a shapeshifter merman tasked with obtaining Nik’s help to gain what his species most desires.

The Nerei—a race of beings who want humans to continue to believe they are mythological but need independence from water.

What happens when Nik refuses to help Bas and the Nerei? 

How will Nik and Bas save each other when they fall in love, against his people’s laws?

Book trailer

Thank you so much for joining us today. Please help in supporting today’s guest with likes, shares, and comments. Don’t forget that YOUR comments enter you for a chance an awesome prize from Katherine.  🙂

Until next time…………………Happy Reading & Reviewing!!!

22 thoughts on “Talking Phobias, Fears and Facing the Unknown with Katherine Smits – @katherinesmits”

  1. My niece loves mermaids… so much so she used to work as Ariel at Disney. She still dyes her hair red to look more like her (and she’s a mom in her twenties). She’s also retired from the Navy due to PTSD and has become very conscious of mental conditions as a consequence. I will be recommending this novel to her, as it touches on so many things that take up part of her life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Staci! I hope she enjoys the novel and wish all the best for her. The VA is doing a better job lately with helping female veterans. If she hasn’t sought treatment from VA yet, it would be a good idea. I know sometimes vets are reluctant to go to VA, but they know PTSD better than anyone. If I can be of any assistance at all, please let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve!. Sharks are a real concern in the ocean. In Water Dreams, Nik spends the night in the Gulf and Atlantic and she worries about sharks. Believe me, I do too. I learned at a young age to tell the difference between a shark and a dolphin fin.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m pretty certain my biggest phobia is fear of the unknown (fairly common for most peeps) and I’m scared of heights!!! I’m ok if I’m “contained” in something — like belted in the seat of a roller coaster (I’ll still scream bloody murder going up high) — but I can’t climb more than 2 or 3 rungs of a ladder. I have never tried to overcome these – fear of unknown usually goes away after you try said thing once (or else it will leave me saying “never again!!!”) and fear of heights — I won’t ever apply to be a skydiving instructor or window washer of a skyscraper (I can live with that!) I’m glad you were brace enough to share your creativity with the world! Your book sounds great and that cover is HOT!!! (Plus, I love Tarpon Springs!!!) wonderful post…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Connie. The cover was done by the amazing Dawne Dominique. She’s actually the reason I submitted to Foundations. I was published by another company and she designed the cover. They went bankrupt about 10 days after the digital release of Water Dreams and of course, the book was suddenly unpublished. When I was ready to submit to another publisher, I heard Dawne was with Foundations and I knew that was the place for me. The let me keep the cover, for which I will be forever grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lorana, I learned to manage my fear of palmetto bugs by getting in touch with my anger. I’m furious when they invade my house and I’m furious that no one else will kill them. I channel all that anger into smushing them with the heaviest thing I kind find (except not a book. Books are sacred.) It helps a lot that I’m a lot bigger than they are. Thank you for your comment! Now, go get mad at those spiders.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never been comfortable in enclosed spaces such as elevators and prefer to hike the stairs. A number of years ago I had to have an MRI and came quickly to realize I am claustrophobic – it is not pretty when you have a meltdown! Needless to say, I went back another day and they sedated me. In lala land I do not care what they do to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like elevators either, but not because of the small space. Those things just freak me out. So do escalators. lol


  4. I know lots of people who don’t like enclosed spaces. I think that’s pretty healthy in many ways. It keeps you out of places where you might get trapped and taking the stairs has lots of health benefits. Hurrah for medication when you need the MRI.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anxiety disorder seems to run rampant in my family. However, I’m the adventurer. Highest, longest rope bridge, dive with sharks, etc. But I read that this too was a form of anxiety. I need to find that article – it was interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks to everyone who participated. The contest is now closed. chose Diane as the winner. Diane, please send me your email address and I’ll send the Amazon card to you. I also decided to award a gift card to Staci for the answer I liked best. So, Staci, if you send me your email address, I’ll send you a card also. My email is: katherinesmits@gmail. com. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

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