insecure writers support group

#IWSG Taking Risks in Writing

Happy spring, northern hemisphere writers! Join us for a monthly venting of our hopes and fears at the IWSG, Alex Cavanaugh’s brainchild.

Thanks to our helpfulco-hosts this month: PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton.

April 7th’s question: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Sometimes anxiety prevents me from being brave in my personal life, but I have taken some risks in writing. My March release, sports romance Rivals, was the first time I wrote a novel in present tense. I like it! It’s fun! And another risk with Rivals (especially financially, eek) was the creation of my first audiobook. I’ll share more about the wonderful world of audiobooks in May.

As a psychologist, I need to broach uncomfortable topics to be effective, and another way I take risks is to incorporate squirmy themes into my stories. Twin Sacrifice dives into recovering from childhood sexual abuse, and the Blocked trilogy explores falling in love across the political aisle.

One big motivator to take risks: the support of fellow writers! Thank you to Nicki Elson, Ellen Jacobson, Shannon Lawrence, Pat Garcia, Valerie Ullmer, Sheri Hollister, Natalie Aguirre, Alex Cavanaugh, and Diane Wolf (I hope I’m not missing anyone) for your great support.

What risks have YOU taken?

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IWSG Favorite Genres

Join our group to share our insecurities and writing progress. Thank you to Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh for creating this wonderful community.

The clever co-hosts for the March 3 posting of the IWSG are Sarah – The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose. Thank you for co-hosting!

March 3 question – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

While I still have a soft spot for the genres I write (sports romance and romantic suspense), my book club and Goodreads friends have helped me branch out:

Science Fiction like Dark Matter and Ready Player One.

Historical Fiction The Nightingale and The Dutch House.

Magical realism such as The Snow Child. (I’m not a fantasy fan, mostly because I find real life so damn interesting, but a touch of the fantastical can work for me.)

Reading fascinating psychological thrillers like The Silent Patient even encouraged me to write one myself.

I’ll read anything that has compelling characters who make me laugh and cry. How about you? How closely do your favorite genres match your writing and reading preferences?

I’m gearing up for the release of my new sports romance, RIVALS! If you’d like to spread the word before the launch on 3-19-21, you can sign up HERE.

Thank you to IWSG author Ellen Jacobson for reading an ARC, and for author Darcia Helle hosting me on her blog today.

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IWSG Blogging Buddies and RIVALS

Happy February, writers! Join us for the Insecure Writers Support Group here.

I’m thrilled to co-host this month, along with Louise – Fundy Blue,Mary Aalgaard,Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

February 3 question – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?  

Blogging has been wonderful for building relationships! The best part of IWSG, for me, is the community of writers I’ve come to know. And blogging offers more freedom and ownership than social media.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

In 2010, authors from my small publisher started a blog hop– the beginning of my friendship with awesome author Nicki Elson. Since then, Nicki and I began a productive and fun critique partnership! She recently helped me select audiobook narrators.

I’ve also befriended quite a few warriors from the IWSG Ninja Army: Alex Cavanaugh, L. Diane Wolf, Natalie Aguirre, Chris Fey, Ellen Jacobson, Anna Simpson, Roland Yeomans, Pat Garcia, Stephen Tremp, and Feather Stone.

(I apologize in advance for my difficulty commenting on Blogger from my MacBook unless there’s a pop-up comment form. Clearing my cache doesn’t seem to work anymore.)

I appreciate all of your support in writing and publishing! If you’d like to spread the word about my new release, sports romance RIVALS launching 3-19-21, please sign up on this form.

In addition to Nicki Elson critiquing my baby, I’m grateful to Diane Wolf for her book design! You can find Rivals on Goodreads and pre-order on Amazon.

I’ll share my adventure creating my first audiobook for Rivals in a future post. It’s been so cool.

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#IWSG Countdown to Launch and Reading Pet Peeves

Happy 2021, writers! Join us for this supportive monthly gathering to vent our hopes and fears. You can sign up at our founder Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s collegial co-hosts: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

How’s your writing? I’m gearing up to publish my next sports romance, RIVALS. We’re working on the cover design, and I’m scheduling a day off work in March for the release. Since I’m self-publishing, I want to avoid the typical Tuesday of traditional publishing launches. What do you think of releasing a book on a Friday? I’m considering 3/19/21.

Question: Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

Ooh, I like this question. My first two pet peeves as a reader are the very errors that plagued my early writing:

  1. Adverb abuse. I hope writers won’t waste my precious reading time with She left swiftly when it’s more fun to read She skedaddled.
  2. Cliches. Don’t “beat a dead horse” by using phases like “every cloud has a silver lining” or “it’s raining cats and dogs”. My aunt told me that good writing is poetic–fresh, lyrical, and unique.
  3. But most of all, I’ll abandon a story that lacks an emotional connection to the characters. If I don’t care about the people inhabiting the story, the writing quality doesn’t matter. I love vulnerable characters who grow through facing intense conflict.
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IWSG: Writing Productivity

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and the congenial co-hosts for December: Pat Garcia,Sylvia Ney,Liesbet @ Roaming AboutCathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

December’s question: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

In the past, the demands of my university day job used to lighten in the summer months, and I would write more then. Now, my day job is steady throughout the year, so my writing has the same pace year-round: LEISURELY.

Although my writing pace has slowed, I’m thrilled that the wonderful Jessica Royer Ocken took less than two weeks to edit my latest novel, Rivals. Thanks to the speedy critique of Nicki Elson as well! I’m now working on cover design, formatting, and…

creating my first AUDIOBOOK *squee*

Image by Felix Lichtenfeld from Pixabay

Audiobooks are the only format I read these days, and I’m eager to develop one of my own. If you’ve made an audiobook, any tips for me?

Happy Holidays to all writers!

insecure writers support group

Insecure Writers Support Group: Why I Write

Happy November, writers! Kvetch with us at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to the wonderful co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG: Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Fantastic question! I never expected to become a writer. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I lived the writer experience long before publishing novels. As a psychologist, I write a case note after every psychotherapy session. These are narratives about the past, present, and future; narratives about tragedies and triumphs. I’ve also written a few scientific journal articles and book chapters.

So, maybe it wasn’t so far-fetched that I started writing novels, since they share a common motivation with my case notes: trying to make sense of why we do what we do.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay
Image by Foundry Co. from Pixabay
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

Over time, I’ve developed other reasons for writing:

  • Demystifying psychotherapy
  • Sharing the healing power of love
  • Exploring how functional and dysfunctional families work
  • Creating happy endings when I can’t find them in real life, and…
  • CONNECTING with the reader. I think we’re all seeking connection.

What about you? What motivates you to write or read?

insecure writers support group

IWSG Blurbs…Blech!

Is it September already? Waah. Good thing it’s time for the Insecure Writers Support Group to boost my mood as the days grow shorter. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and all of the supportive writers in this group.

I’m grateful to the awesome co-hosts:  PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

Ideal beta partner? I already have one! Nicki Elson is the bombdiggity. She even helped me edit the blurb for my upcoming sports romance, RIVALS. Just about every author hates writing blurbs, and I suffered through this one. What do you think?

“I embrace my rival. But only to strangle him.” 
~Jean Racine 


After landing her dream job as head volleyball coach at Ohio State University, Lauren Chase’s career has become a nightmare. Her only hope of saving her job is to recruit a star player to her team. Too bad the player’s twin has signed a football scholarship for OSU’s chief rival, Michigan. And too bad Michigan coach, Jeremy Trent, sends sparks through Lauren every time they cross paths. But no way will she pursue an attraction to a man who represents the university she hates. 

Jeremy detests his boss, and he hopes that signing the nation’s #1 recruit is the ticket he needs to become a head coach himself one day. Lauren Chase is already a head coach, and Jeremy has to admit that she intrigues the hell out of him. He wants to know why her performance has tanked after winning a national championship. He wants to see beneath Lauren’s fast pace and dirty mouth. But he can’t get with a Buckeye, right?

Maybe rivals don’t have to remain enemies. Maybe they can learn to appreciate their opponent’s strengths. And, if they’re lucky—if they excel at the game—maybe rivals can bring out the very best in each other. 

Add Rivals to Goodreads HERE.

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IWSG: New Releases by Nicki Elson and Chrys Fey

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.

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Congratulations to my critique partner, Nicki Elson, on the launch of her 8th novel yesterday: MOLLY UNPLANNED.

Here’s my 5-star review of Miss Molly.

I’m thrilled to co-host today, along with: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

Speaking of the lovely Chrys Fey, I’m part of the blog hop to celebrate her new release, Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout. Congratulations to Chrys! Scroll down to read my own experience with these issues.

KWWF

Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:

  • Writer’s block
  • Depression
  • Writer’s burnout
  • What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
  • Finding creativity boosts

With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love – writing.

(The table of contents of this book looks fantastic!)

BOOK LINKS:

Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Goodreads

Chrys Fey Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout. https://www.chrysfey.com/

Keep Writing with Fey Blog Hop: Share your story about writer’s block, depression, and/or burnout and how you overcame it or what you are currently doing to heal.

Since writing is secondary to my work as a psychologist, I write only when I feel like it. Therefore, I don’t experience much writer’s block or burnout. But I have turned to writing to deal with feelings of depression from painful events in my psychology career.

For 15 years, I have worked for two different university departments, and I don’t seem to fit well with one of them. Twice, that department has chosen to work with another psychologist instead of me. (I guess I’m a masochist for returning after the first time they let me go.) The process has been all the more agonizing due to their lack of direct communication. It was a gradual ghosting instead of a kind cutoff.

Therapy has taught me that self-talk is important for healing. When hurtful events happen, we can benefit from compassionate narratives. Since I write romance novels, some of my narratives compared getting fired to romantic rejection:

When reality sucked, I turned to fiction.

They don’t know my strength.

I won’t let one person determine my value.

We separated, then reunited, but the bitterness and poor communication continued, leading to a divorce.

A relationship breakup doesn’t mean either person is wrong or bad; it’s just a poor fit. I can find a better fit elsewhere, or I can stay single by going into private practice! 😀

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What is YOUR experience with writer’s block, depression, or burnout? Thanks for stopping by.

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#IWSG Publishing Changes and KITTIES!

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for convening the monthly IWSG, where we share our neuroses to help us feel less alone.

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The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

July 1 question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I rarely follow publishing trends but I did find some predictions in this article. Self-publishing is already flooded, and all the writers pumping out words during quarantine will drown the market. I can’t wait to read the brilliant creations!

The demand for screenplays will likely increase given all of the streaming services. I hope to learn more about writing screenplays.

For those of you with a work in progress during COVID-19, are you altering your story to include the pandemic? I’m not. I believe many readers want an escape from this dreary reality.

Speaking of WIPs, mine is plodding along, up to 62K words out of about 80K. How’s your WIP?

My biggest excitement this month is KITTIES! I adopt two kittens tomorrow, a brother and sister. It’s been five years since my cat, Izzie, crossed over the rainbow bridge, and I’m finally ready.

I fell in love with tuxedo cats when author Jayne Rylon posted photos of her foster kittens on Facebook. Did you know tuxedo cats are smarter than other color patterns? So, I’m adopting a male tuxedo cat and his sister.

 

I’m thinking of the names Tux and Tessa. Got any fun bro/sis cat names to suggest? Whatever their names, I’m sure they’ll be excellent writing companions.