#IWSG : Favorite Personal Experience In Your Writing

Time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh.


How’s it going, writers? I’m happy with the new job I started in August, and looking forward to the holidays. Since I work for a university now, I actually get Veteran’s Day off work, yahoo!

Do you enjoy using personal experiences in your writing? I do. For example, I like to write therapy scenes incorporating my experiences as a psychologist.

I’m blessed with some hilarious friends and I like to “borrow” their dialogue now and then. When my swimming buddy Joe met my plus-sized cat, he said “That’s not a cat…that’s a cow.” Guess what one of my characters will say about his brother’s fat cat?

I’m currently writing my fifth novel, a New Adult volleyball romance titled Blocked. Although swimming was my main sport in college, I also played volleyball, and it’s a blast writing about this fun sport. My teammates and I engaged in fierce euchre tournaments, and not surprisingly this card game is making its way into the story.

What is one of your favorite personal experiences that you’ve incorporated into your writing?


If you’re feeling insecure, here’s a funny scene from the movie Young Adult to make you feel better about yourself as a writer:

Author Celebration! #IWSG

While all of us get mired in insecurities now and then, I think there’s a lot to celebrate about being an author, like NEW RELEASES.

Our own Ninja Captain and creator of IWSG Alex J. Cavanaugh launched book three in his Cassa series: Cassa Storm!


We’re proud of him for finishing his first series–what an accomplishment. Buy it HERE.

I love how my pub sister Nicki Elson challenges herself with new writing projects, like this zombie fairytale Hans & Greta, coming soon! Great job, Nicki.


Another talented pub sister Carol Oates designed that creepy cover. Well done, Carol!

Finally, I read a wonderful author blog post last month that I wanted to link to for the Insecure Writers Support Group, but alas, I can’t find it now. The gist of the message was that your book might not be a best-seller…it might not receive critical acclaim…but it is YOUR story, and therefore it is important.

We write books the way only we know how — each novel is a unique creation to celebrate. Sometimes we get wrapped up in comparing ourselves to others, instead of appreciating our special author voice and the opportunity to share that story with the world.

Speaking of unique, Nicki, Carol, and I have our leading men engaged in a Book Boyfriend SMACKDOWN (don’t ask). If you have extra time *laughs* and want to vote for our guys, please hop over to Love Between the Sheets HERE.

#IWSG: Critique Partners

Congratulations, Alex Cavanaugh! Your brainchild Insecure Writers Support Group celebrates its two year anniversary today, and I’m happy to be part of the group.


Today I want to discuss critique partners, and I have many questions for you. Do you have a critique partner? Several? How does it work for you? (What’s the structure? Has it helped you? What do you wish you’d known when you started?)

A good friend and I agreed to be critique partners, and I want to learn from the collective wisdom of this group about how to make this relationship work best.

When I started writing, I posted stories online, and the feedback made me eager to get the next chapter out there. Now that I’m writing novels, my motivation has waned. I’m hoping that having an encouraging friend waiting for the next chapter will help inspire me to write more frequently.

~*~


In other news, my next novel On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3) launches 9-24-13. In celebration, my publisher slashed the price of the first novel in the romantic suspense series to only $.99. 

If you have a moment, would you be willing to help spread the word by tweeting one of these?

Win a print copy of ON BEST BEHAVIOR by @JenLaneBooks — romantic suspense with a psychological twist. http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/63573-on-best-behavior

They found love in a hopeless place. WITH GOOD BEHAVIOR by @JenLaneBooks only $.99! #romance http://www.amazon.com/With-Good-Behavior-ebook/dp/B003VU00QU/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

Thanks for your support and here’s to a wonderful September.

Visualizing Your Book #IWSG

Time for our monthly support group! *pulls up a chair and nods to group leader Alex*

What’s on tap for today’s group? I want to discuss book VISUALS.

Have you made a book trailer for your novel? Looked for images of models representing your characters?

I’ve spent hours on both tasks this week. My aunt Nancy, who works as a video producer, is helping my publisher and me with a book trailer for On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3), before its release in September. My task is to write a script and find images.

Nancy and I agreed on the opening line for the trailer:

Planning a wedding is never easy…

Especially when mobsters want you dead.

But the rest takes diligent work to make it shiny and fresh!

Then, I needed to find images to represent my hawt romantic heroes for my publisher’s “Men of Omnific Smackdown” at the end of September. It was HARD WORK perusing thousands of images of scrumptious gents to find just the right ones, I tell you. Whew.

I think I found the right guys though. It helps when my pub sister Carol Oates manipulates the images to make them just right!

I’m taking advantage of 7 day trials at a stock photo and video site.

Have YOU made visual representations of your characters and stories? Any tips you’d like to share?

Authors Promoting Authors

A big thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the…
Insecure Writers Support Group.

Today I’ll share an idea to make yucky marketing more fun:

Create a MARKETING TEAM with fellow authors!

Do you feel uncomfortable tooting your own horn? Do you lack the time to keep your books in the public eye? My pub sisters at Omnific Publishing decided to overcome those problems by designating one author a week for some major book pimpage.

How does it work? The designated author creates some marketing materials and shares them with our closed Facebook group. Then other authors in the group promote that author throughout the week.  Here are the various marketing strategies:

1) Tweets. The author creates tweets like:

Friendship is the best kind of ship. #NA #Navy #swimming #romance STREAMLINE by @JenLaneBooks http://amzn.to/1928OMJ #HotMenInUniform
…and her fellow authors tweet like crazy.
2) Goodreads. We “like” the 4 star and 5 star reviews for the designated author’s books, thereby bumping those reviews to the top.
3) Facebook and Pinterest.
My amazingly talented pub sister Carol Oates volunteered to create images with quotes from our books on them. I can’t wait for my week to unveil images like these:


What creative marketing strategies have YOU tried?

IWSG: Nicki Elson’s Divine Temptation

The more insecure you are, the more you the devil can tempt you (or something like that).

Welcome to June’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh! Author Nicki Elson introduced me to IWSG and has helped me with quite a few of my own insecurities through her warmth and support.

When I discovered Nicki wrote a paranormal romance, I was nervous. One of my insecurities is that I seem to be one of the few readers who’s not into paranormal.

But happily, I LOVED Nicki’s book Divine Temptation! A book about angels and demons seems more spiritual and less paranormal to me, I guess. And I do enjoy romance novels.

Hop over to Nicki’s BLOG where I interview her about her insecurities, and stick around to read my review of her fantastic novel!

Divine TemptationDivine Temptation by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep and Affirming

Nicki Elson, author of the fun and flirty college romp Three Daves, heads in a different direction for this adult spiritual romance. I loved the realistic characters, the suspense, and the deep questions this novel provokes.

Maggie Brock is reeling after her husband Carl divorced her. Together they have a daughter Kirsten and a son Liam, and Maggie has to figure out how to proceed as a single mother. She takes a job as administrative assistant at her Catholic church, and tries to tolerate Carl’s new girlfriend establishing a relationship with her children.

Nightly dreams of an angel visiting her bedroom intrigue her, until she awakes one night and realizes this male angel is real. Quiet, lean, and handsome, he invites Maggie to give him a name: Evan. It’s not clear why God sent Evan to protect Maggie, but it is clear she is in some sort of danger. Eek!

Complicating matters is the arrival of a prissy, suspicious priest to oversee the workings of the church, aka the Monsignor. Maggie gets bad vibes from him. Is he the malevolent force Evan is supposed to thwart? When Maggie runs into the monsignor and he questions her, she keeps Evan secret.

For all she knew, the monsignor would attempt to incarcerate Evan E.T. style to study him.

Ha! Maggie struggles with her attraction to Evan, knowing God would disapprove of her getting it on with one of His angels. I have a little crush on Evan too, I must admit. Poor Maggie!

Evan provides this heavenly advice: “Stop trying to control what you feel and just feel it. Trust.”

Meanwhile, ex-husband Carl woos Maggie back into bed. I wonder how common it is for divorced couples to sneak sex again? That happened in a recent read Blue Shoe but I enjoyed Divine Temptation far more than Blue Shoe. Maggie and Carl’s sexy reunion leads her to think that maybe they can make it work again, until Carl bursts her bubble. Their ensuing argument is painful to read:

“You know what?” Maggie fumed. “Thank you, Carl. Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons we didn’t work. You’re absolutely right—we’re so much better apart. Because you never ever did anything wrong. Ever. I t was just mean old Maggie telling you things were wrong. I just made it up in my crazy, little mind, but really, you were perfect in every way.”

I love the shades of grey in the characters. Maggie’s no saint–she’s just trying to do her best–which makes her imminently likable. I’m impressed how Evan comes across as both sweet and powerful, matching my view of divinity. Kirsten is a whiny pre-teen who pushes the limits like a teenager but needs those limits like a child, and Liam adores video games like Mario Bros. Maggie’s friend Sharon is direct and funny. Even Father Tom and the Monsignor have their obvious faults.

The plot twists and turns, leading to a creepy showdown between good and evil. This is one of my favorite quotes from the story:

“You might not believe in the devil, but do you believe evil lurks in this world?”

Wow, that gets to me. I view God as a loving force, and at times I question the presence of hell and the devil. But I have witnessed evil in this world–no question.

You can tell how much this angel story affected me. I encourage you to let Maggie and Evan into your heart as well!

View all my reviews

Insecurity and Judgments: Writing Hiatus

I almost missed ANOTHER month of the IWSG! But I’m posting during a break in psychotherapy clients.

Thank you to Ninja Alex for developing this supportive author meme.

I’ve been embroiled in some good stuff with my psychologist career lately, so writing/blogging has taken a back seat. My fourth novel has been under contract for a while with Omnific Publishing, and I can’t wait to start with the edits. I finally started writing my next novel — a New Adult romance with sports and politics — but I only have about 500 words so far.

I could get really insecure about this hiatus in writing, saying things like:

“I should have started another novel by now.”

“The NA genre is hopping and I should strike while the iron’s hot.”

“Maybe I’m being lazy.”

But I don’t think these judgments will help anything. Instead, I’ll use the NONJUDGMENTALLY mindfulness skill. According to Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., the nonjudgmentally skill is:

* See but DON’T EVALUATE. Take a nonjudgmental stance. Just the facts. Focus on the “what”, not the “good” or “bad”, the “terrible” or “wonderful”, the “should” or “should not”.

* UNGLUE YOUR OPINIONS from the facts, from the “who, what, when, and where”.

* ACCEPT each moment (this doesn’t mean you like it or agree with it).

 To practice this skill, I’ll examine the facts, like “I feel anxious that I’m not writing frequently right now” or “The psycho part of my psycho author career has needed more time recently”.

Have you experienced an ebb and flow in your own writing career? How do you deal with judgments and insecurity?