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Writing Inspiration #IWSG

Join us for the monthly IWSG created by Alex Cavanaugh

Muchas gracias to this month’s co-hosts Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Diane Burton, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!

May 3 question – When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

One reason I became a psychologist is that people fascinate me. How do our childhoods affect us? Why do we engage in behaviors that end up hurting us? How can we rise above past wounds to become the best versions of ourselves?

I feel the same way about the characters I write. The challenge of developing rich characters with flaws, fears, and triumphs truly inspires me.

I also feel inspired by…

  • song lyrics (mostly I pay more attention to the melody, but sometimes I hear lyrics that summarize my plot or character conflicts perfectly)
  • books, TV shows, or movies that engage me or make me laugh and cry (The Chain, The Golden Couple, Ted Lasso, Friday Night Lights, Prison Break, Top Gun Maverick)
  • funny / weird things people say (I recently heard the term “big dick energy” and just have to use that in my next book)
  • taking walks while listening to music lets my writer mind wander in all directions plot and character (but lately I’ve listened to audiobooks on my walks…and I haven’t written anything…hmm)
Image by pic_jumbo at pixabay
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Writing My First Novel #IWSG

Writers, join our fun and caring support group, created by Alex Cavanaugh, HERE.

I appreciate the co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

April 5 question – Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you’re at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Though I enjoyed creative writing as a child, I never intended to become a writer or author. But the world of fan fiction swept me up in its encouraging community, much like the support of this wonderful writer’s group. I posted one chapter at a time about characters in a favorite TV show, and fellow fans cheered me on (even though my writing was quite amateur at first).

As a psychologist, I listen all day. As a writer, I guess I had a lot to say, because the words poured out of me. After two long, rambling fan fiction stories, I started writing my first novel featuring an ex-psychologist who fell in love with a felon she met at her parole officer’s doorstep (With Good Behavior). And I was lucky to find a small publisher, Omnific Publishing, to release my baby into the world in 2010.

I have since published nine novels and two short stories. Writing is a side gig for me, not a career. Since the pandemic began, I have taken a hiatus from writing. But I recently started outlining novel #10, once again featuring a female psychologist character and a male swim coach character whose trauma she helps heal. I can’t wait to dive in!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 
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Reading Envy #IWSG

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writers Support Group!

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose. Thank you to the co-hosts!

I had let my Microsoft Office license lapse on my home laptop, but I finally bought it again–the first step to getting back to writing. Writers, do you use Microsoft Word or another application?

March 1 question – Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

All the time! I like to highlight quotes that speak to me–maybe clever similes, hilarious dialogue, or psychological truths–and post them in my reviews on Goodreads.

Here are a couple of favorites:

“Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?”


“You’re never more important that you are then.” 
― Fredrik Backman, Anxious People


The conductor stepped up, tapped twice on the rostrum, and great hush descended. I felt the stillness, the auditorium alive, expectant. Then he brought down his baton and suddenly everything was pure sound. I felt the music like a physical thing; it didn’t just sit in my ears, it flowed through me, around me, made my senses vibrate. It made my skin prickle and my palms dampen.

― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

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Book Covers #IWSG

Writers, join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, developed by Alex Cavanaugh.

Many thanks to today’s co-hosts: Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!

Today’s question: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish traditionally, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I was fortunate to start my author journey with a small publisher known for their eye-catching book covers. Omnific Publishing created this cover for my debut novel, With Good Behavior, which portrayed the romance element between two convicts well, I thought. (Some thought the handcuffs represented BDSM, ha ha!)

I was mostly pleased with Omnific’s receptivity to my input, though I did want a larger image of a couple kissing underwater on my new adult swimming romance, Streamline:

When I turned indie in 2014, I knew the importance of a professional cover, meaning I would never try to create one on my own. I hired my publisher’s book designer, Coreen Montagna. We didn’t intend to focus on hot shirtless men, but that was the best image we could find for the first book, and sequels just *had* to follow the same format.

For my latest novel, Rivals, I had a lot of input with my graphic designer friend, Dan Irons, including the design for my first audiobook cover:

Of all the publishing tasks, creating book covers can be challenging, but also a blast! (At least more fun than writing blurbs.)

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#IWSG Move

Happy 2023, writers! Join us for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group developed by Alex Cavanaugh.

I appreciate the co-hosts for the January 4 posting of the IWSG: Jemima Pett,Debs Carey,Kim Lajevardi,Sarah Foster,Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

I’m getting my post up late today because I just returned from visiting family in South Carolina. I’m feeling discombobulated as I juggle unpacking, grocery shopping, and laundry in the midst of returning to work after a restful holiday.

January 4 questionDo you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?

My word of the year is MOVE. I plan to make a big move in my life, and that brings excitement and anxiety. I’m still hoping to get back to writing, but I don’t know how that will figure in with my plans.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay
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IWSG Baja Mexico Swim Vacation

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Happy December, writers!

Join us for the monthly support group to lift up and celebrate writers of all persuasions. Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

In November, I had the opportunity to take a bucket-list dream vacation revolving around my favorite sport: SWIMMING! A company in England, SwimTrek, hosts swimming vacations all around the world, and we decided on Baja, Mexico. My college swimming teammates and I glamped on Isla de Espiritu Santo while swimming 2-4 miles a day in the crystal-blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.

The island had no electricity or wi-fi, adding to the spirituality of the experience. We were lucky to have a talented chef who prepared ceviche, fish tacos, and even a birthday cake! There were seven swimmers from my alma mater, and fun new friends from California, Canada, Germany, and Italy.

A highlight was swimming with sea lions.

What a memorable experience! A swimming vacation just *might* be the setting for my next novel.

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Developed by Alex Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a wonderful community that shares the struggle and excitement of writing. Join us!

Many thanks to the creative co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG: Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!

November 2’s optional question – November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

While NaNoWriMo intrigues me, I have yet to participate. A big reason why is that it’s a busy time of year in my day job. It’s also true that writing every day hasn’t been my style.

I think that writing 50K words in one month is a cool concept, and I would like to try it one year.

For those who have participated in NaNo, what were the best and worst aspects for you?

insecure writers support group, writing

IWSG: Faves of the Romance Genre

Created by Alex Cavanaugh, join this supportive group here.

Thank you to today’s amazing co-hosts: Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

Hey, writers! How’s it going? I’ve been swimming more to train for a swim vacation in Mexico soon. We’ll swim 2-4 miles a day in the ocean while glamping on the beach.

I still haven’t been writing, but I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks, including Book Lovers and The Cheat Sheet.

Both books are romances, which brings me to this month’s question: What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

It surprised me how many writers answered a previous month’s question by stating that they could never write romance. The romance genre, especially sports romance and romantic suspense, is about all I know as a writer.

Image by Maria Godfrida from Pixabay 

How do I love thee, romance? Let me count the ways:

  1. Unresolved sexual tension. You know that feeling when two characters lust for each other, yet neither ponies up to share their feelings due to fear of being rejected? When they clearly belong together? It’s palpable! The Bridgerton series on Netflix captures UST perfectly, and I’m enjoying the book series as well.
  2. Shared vulnerabilities. Sharing your heart with a potential boo leaves you so exposed, but your partner will likely respond by opening up their inner insecurities, too. Writing romance is an effective way to reveal characters.
  3. Opportunity for creativity. Authors have covered first dates and marriage proposals countless ways, but how can a writer come up with a fresh take? It’s a fun challenge.
  4. Happy endings. Life can be painful, and I relish happy (yet still somewhat realistic) endings.
new release

New Release: Reckoning by Nick Wilford

Congratulations to Nick Wilford for releasing the third book in the Black and White trilogy!

 Title: Reckoning

Author: Nick Wilford

Genre: YA dystopian

Series: Black & White

Series #: 3 of 3

Release date: 20th September 2022

Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing



The time has come for those who perpetrated wrongdoing and suffering on the land of Loretania to face their judgement. Lord Histender and the other members of the deposed Reformers’ Government are in jail awaiting trial for keeping that country in a state of disease-ridden deprivation, alongside other heinous crimes.

Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible, the kind and benevolent new rulers of Harmonia, are looking forward to seeing justice finally being done. But nothing is that simple. Lunkin, the psychotic former Chief Scientist, has one more trick up his sleeve and is wreaking havoc even from behind bars. Soon, Loretanians who have come to make a new life in Harmonia are falling victim to hate crimes and brutal attacks. And things take a turn for the desperate when Wellesbury himself becomes compromised.

Can Welles and Ez turn the tide of public opinion and secure justice for the people of Loretania before it’s too late?


Purchase Links:

Download the first part of the series, Black & White, for FREE!
Amazon US: / Amazon UK: / Smashwords: / Barnes & Noble:;jsessionid=50FD13B948B9FF72DE497F39E2EBE2F4.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154483671 / Kobo:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo 

Add it on Goodreads

Author bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or wrangling his six adorable dogs. His first traditionally published novel, a YA sci-fi adventure entitled The Becalmer, will release from Creative James Media in August 2023. His other books include the Black & White trilogy, a YA dystopian series, and A Change of Mind and Other Stories, a collection featuring a novella and five short stories, four of which were previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew.




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#IWSG New Anthology Release, First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts

Writers, join us for the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh.

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

Congratulations to  Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White,Denise Covey,  and Sammi Spizziri for writing stories about first love in the new IWSG anthology!

I was honored to serve as a judge, and I swooned over the sweet and sexy meet cutes in each story.

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth?

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

Release date: September 6, 2022

Print ISBN – 9781939844880, $14.95

EBook ISBN – 9781939844897, $4.99

Romance – Clean & Wholesome (FIC027270) / Contemporary (FIC027020) / Historical (FIC027050)

186 pages, Freedom Fox Press, an imprint of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.