insecure writers support group

#IWSG Writing Future

Join us HERE and thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the group.

Much appreciation to the co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG: Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

This month’s question: What would make you quit writing?

This question hits deep because I haven’t written fiction for about eight months. And I’m not feeling a current urge to write. But I won’t go so far to say I’ve quit–there’s a finality to that statement that doesn’t fit me right now. If I speculate about reasons for taking a break or even quitting writing, here’s what comes to mind:

  • Lackluster sales. There are so many books out there that it’s hard to capture reader’s attention. Still, I’m disappointed by sales of my last two novels, Rivals and Twin Sacrifice. I’m thankful for lovely reviews by readers devoting time to my books–I just wish there were more of them. Reviews, even critical ones, spark motivation in me.
  • Consuming career. I have high productivity goals and a fast pace in my psychologist position at an academic medical center. Therefore, I want to decompress on weeknights and weekends by swimming, reading, walking, socializing, playing volleyball, and watching TV. (Swimming laps outside in the summer is so relaxing!) The demands of my career have felt even more relentless this past year due to the pandemic worsening mental health for many, especially teenagers.
  • Time for a break. I started writing in 2007 and publishing in 2010, and maybe it’s just time to slow down. I like to write only when I’m inspired, and I don’t want to force it.

How are you feeling about writing? What inspires you to jump back into writing after a hiatus?

Image by AI Leino from Pixabay 
insecure writers support group

#IWSG Letting a Manuscript Percolate

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh, and join us for the IWSG here.

Thank you to the co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

June 2 question – For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

I’m more impatient than a toddler awaiting ice cream, so my first draft doesn’t stay on the shelf for long. In fact, I can’t even write one chapter without some serious editing as I go. I marvel at authors who shelve their stories for months or delay publication for years. As soon as I’m done with my manuscript, I’m shipping that puppy off to my editor!

Although impatience has stayed constant over the 11 years I’ve been publishing novels, I hope the clarity and tightness of my writing have improved. I’ve observed that at least my critique partner and editor suggest fewer edits with each successive novel.

On another note, how’s your writing motivation these days? Sales for my latest novel have pretty much sucked–not awesome for inspiring my muse. But I am enjoying reading engrossing books like We Are All Made of Stars and watching riveting TV shows like Mare of Easttown.

insecure writers support group, new release

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.

insecure writers support group, new release

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.

insecure writers support group

#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.
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?

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IWSG: Feels So Good to Type “The End”

Happy October, writers! Join us for the Insecure Writers Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh.

Thank you to today’s commendable co-hosts: Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

I’ve plodded through my ninth novel for the past 18 months and *finally* finished a few days ago. It’s a sports romance titled Rivals.

When an Ohio State volleyball coach meets a Michigan football coach as they recruit twin star athletes, the hot rivalry begins. How will it end? Find out in early 2021.

Rivals is up at Goodreads.

I have an awesome editor, but my book designer is busy with her day job. I’m searching for a cover designer and formatter who communicates effectively. Who’s your go-to for self-publishing?

My quick response to today’s question: According to the IRS, writing is a HOBBY for me! 😀

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#IWSG Your Future Writer Self

Join us for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group at creator Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Happy Holidays, writers! I just returned from Chicago where my family celebrated Thanksgiving. My oldest sister made a yummy meal including a brussels sprout salad, and my middle sister went all out planning a Frozen-themed party for my niece’s second birthday. (The seal was a gift for my niece that snuck onto the table. Not part of the movie, but still a wintry theme.)



December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Imagining the future, hmm. My writing life has never been intentional–I fell into it through fan fiction, and I consider writing more of a hobby than a career. As a result, it’s tough to plot a future for my writer self. 


I have envisioned a time when my psychology career slows down, meeting with fewer clients per week, and increasing writing time then. I’d like to venture into different genres, character ages, and tenses. I want to continue improving my craft. I also picture myself near a beach somewhere, likely South Carolina to watch my precious niece grow up! 


Thank you to the courageous co-hosts for December 4: Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson (A special thanks to Nicki Elson for being the best damn critique partner a writer can have.)
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#IWSG Arresting Google Searches




It’s time to disclose our inadequacy and excitement about writing. Check out where it all started on Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts:


This month’s question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

What a great question! I’m sure many of us fear getting arrested for our bizarro and sometimes illegal internet searches, all in pursuit of writing with authenticity.


No way I can choose just one, so here’s a list of strange searches I’ve conducted:

Nicotine patches (for my WIP)
NCAA recruiting rules (also WIP)
Seafood restaurants in Pensacola, Florida
Secret Service protection for families of presidential candidates
ANFO (explosive)
Paintings of dogs playing poker
US Naval Academy Honor Concept
Parts of a guitar
Insulin pumps
Frank Sinatra songs
Parolee voting rights
Chemistry experiments gone wrong

And last but not least: 
Splenectomy!
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#IWSG How Does Reading Affect Writing?

Writing can be lonely and disheartening, and I’m thankful for our monthly support group to lift up writers everywhere. Alex Cavanaugh started the group and has a great admin team to keep it going.

Thank you to these intrepid co-hosts:


This month’s question:
It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?


I’ve only heard about how much reading can help writing, and I’ve experienced those benefits myself, so I disagree with the notion that reading may interfere with originality in writing. Our imaginations are infinite–even if we read an idea that inspires our own work, we will produce a much different take on the story than any other writer.

It is true that particular genres sometimes flood the market (like paranormal romance around the time of my debut novel in 2010), but this phenomenon is probably more about following trends than about too much reading.

How has voracious reading made your writing better? Here’s how it has helped me:

1) Familiarity with the genre helps me improve my story’s structure (including pacing, voice, length, characterization). 

2) Reading increases my vocabulary and clarity. Occasionally, I jot down words or phrases that resonate with me, like in the murder mystery Defending Jacob that I just finished reading. The author described a TV news van barnacled with satellite dishes and antennae–a cool description, I thought. 

3) Reading absolutely stimulates my writing! When I read an amazing book, I can’t wait to get back to my manuscript and try to create a teensy bit of magic myself.