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Special Guest – S. K. Golden – Author of The Socialite’s Guide to Murder (A Pinnacle Hotel Mystery) #GuestPost / #Giveaway

The Socialite’s Guide to Murder (A Pinnacle Hotel Mystery)
by S. K. Golden

It is my pleasure to welcome S.K. Golden to Escape With Dollycas today!

How I (and my sleuth) Deal with Anxiety

By SK Golden


TW: Panic attacks

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I’ve struggled with panic attacks since childhood. I’d be lying in my bed, trying to go to sleep, and convince myself the end of the world was going to happen any second. Or, that my heart would stop beating, and then I’d be uncomfortably aware of my beating heart. Also, that prayer that we use to have children say? “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I hope the Lord my soul will take,” is just a terrible thing to have kids say before they go to sleep. Or ever! My goodness. I was convinced me dying at night was a very real possibility.

As I’ve gotten older and had therapy and consulted with doctors, I’ve found several things that have helped me deal with my anxiety so that it rarely spikes into a full-blown panic attack. The last, bad panic attack I can remember was after my twins were born and I got the stomach flu. The pain of the illness messed with the part of me that was recovering from the trauma of labor (because it was traumatic, even if was worth it) and I was convinced I was dying. Appendicitis or something bad. It was the middle of the night and I was lying on the bathroom floor crying to my husband to call an ambulance. Instead, he sat down next to me and started talking. What he’d done at work that day, what his plans were for tomorrow, funny stories he remembered from his teenage years.

I thought, is this man trying to kill me? But I let myself get distracted and the pain subsided because it had been my panic that was making my heart race like that, that had made it hard to breathe. I still had the stomach flu, unfortunately. But we had some medicine that helped and he put me to bed and spent the rest of the night taking care of our little infant twins whenever they’d need a feeding or a diaper change even though he had to go to work early the next morning.

Since that panic attack, I’ve learned that what helps me the most is giving my anxiety a name. Calling it for what it is. I’m anxious. This stirring in my gut, this racing in my chest, this buzzing in my ears: its anxiety. Giving it a name takes its power away, as silly as that sounds. It’s the biggest thing that has helped me. I don’t have to be scared of the unknown, of what’s happening to me, because I know what’s happening.

Evelyn, the main character and the sleuth in my debut historical cozy mystery, THE SOCIALITE’S GUIDE TO MURDER, learns how to do this during the book. She is different from me in a lot of ways, but one way that my main character and I are similar is in our struggles with panic. Evelyn, too, has dealt with anxiety for most of her life. It’s set in the 1950s, so their label for what she’s going through is a bit different. Evelyn gets diagnosed with agoraphobia and shell shock. She has attacks of anxiety that leave her breathless. Fortunately for me, I’m not agoraphobic. Just because I prefer to be home doesn’t mean that I have to be home, you know what I mean?

The first thing she learns in the book is a breathing exercise. Deep breath in, hold, release. Three times, four times, five times in a row. Get that oxygen in your body. The next thing Evelyn is taught to do is close her eyes and focuses inward. What is going on inside her body? Her stomach is in knots. Okay. Give that sensation a name. Fear. Good. Good job.

This last part is the important part for her, and maybe for you, too, if this is something you struggle with. Picture yourself as a child, in a moment where you were experiencing the same feeling. What would you say to that fearful, anxious child? It’s okay. You are not alone. You will get through this. You are okay. You are safe. You are loved. 

Now, tell that to yourself.

Other things I’ve found to help me with my anxiety are doodling, bullet journaling, zoning out to a podcast, and taking colored pencils to a grown-up coloring book. Isn’t it wonderful they have those now? Snuggling with my dog helps. I have a Corgi named Goku and I adore him. Evelyn has a dog she snuggles with for support, too. He’s a Pomeranian mix named Presley and he spends a lot of time in her purse, ala Elle Woods and Bruiser. My cats – two black cats we adopted from the shelter at the same time so they’re a bonded pair now, Lady and Lion – are great comforts when they choose to be, too.

There’s always journaling your feelings (especially if it’s nighttime and you can’t sleep, I find that writing down the anxious thoughts gets them out of my head) or calling up someone you trust who will listen with sympathy. The sympathy part is key. My mom is great at that. My dad is good for calling when I need more of a kick in the butt. He’s someone who will tell me, “Walk it off.” Lovingly, of course! And, I can always count on my husband to regale me with fishing stories to help me focus on something other than the panicky feelings inside of my body.

Another trick Evelyn uses is focusing on solving murders in her father’s hotel. I have less chance to do this. But, I can focus on writing the fake ones for my sleuth to puzzle out.

Thank you Sarah for visiting today with such a great topic! 

Now keep reading for more info about Sarah and her book! Be sure to enter the giveaway! 


About The Socialite’s Guide to Murder

The Socialite’s Guide to Murder (A Pinnacle Hotel Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York City, 1958
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101764
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101764
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q7XM28Y

The hotel was her refuge, but scandal is afoot—and a killer stalks the halls in this charming series debut perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.

It’s 1958 and Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy has not left the Pinnacle Hotel in fourteen months. She suffers from agoraphobia, and what’s more, it’s her father’s hotel, and everything she needs is there. Evelyn’s always been good at finding things, she discovered her mother dead in a Manhattan alleyway fifteen years earlier. Now she’s finding trouble inside her sanctuary. At a party for artist Billie Bell, his newest work is stolen, and Evelyn’s fake boyfriend (and real best friend), movie star Henry Fox, is accused of the theft. But just as Evelyn sets out to prove Henry’s innocence, she finds Billie Bell dead.

The murder weapon links the crime to the hotel’s chief of security. But why would he use a knife with his initials on the handle? With her beloved home in disarray, Evelyn joins up with hotel employee (and her secret crush) Mac Cooper to get to the bottom of the case.

As Mac picks locks and Evelyn snoops around the hotel, they discover the walls around them contain more secrets than they previously knew. Now, Evelyn must force herself to leave the hotel to follow the clues—but when she and Mac set off to chase a lead, their car crashes and they barely escape with their lives. Someone snipped Evelyn’s brake lines, and now the stakes have become dangerously high.

Evelyn’s knack for sleuthing—and her playful imagination—are always hard at work, and she throws an elaborate party at the hotel where every guest is a suspect. But will the killer emerge from the glamorous lineup? If not, Evelyn just might find herself…next in line for murder.

About S. K. Golden

Sarah K Golden is the author of the cozy mystery Murder at the Pinnacle Hotel. Born and raised in the Florida Keys, she married a commercial fisherman. The two of them still live on the islands with their five kids (one boy, four girls — including identical twins!), two cats, and a corgi named Goku. She graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Administration and has put it to good use approximately zero times. She’s worked as a bank teller, a pharmacy technician, and an executive assistant at her father’s church. Sarah is delighted to be doing none of those things now. She is currently working on book two in the Evelyn Murphy series.

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