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

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! 😀

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 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.
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#IWSG Bounce Back

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and this month’s co-hosts:
Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson,Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantine!

I really enjoyed the IWSG Newsletter this month, featuring some great advice…

Just Take a Walk 

“What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing? When the words just come out wonky? Or you realized you haven’t written a word in two weeks and you find the blank page daunting?
You could take a walk. It’s a tried and true way to break your mind free of distractions and worries.”


Thanks, Tyrean! I agree that walking (and other exercise) unlocks our creativity.

Instead of answering this month’s question, I ask for your support. I’m going through a tough time on the day job, feeling mired in rejection and poor communication from my bosses. I pour my heart into my career, so recent work events have cut deep. As a psychologist, I know we all endure hard times, and I want to practice what I preach by responding with resilience.

Image by alan9187 from Pixabay

How do YOU bounce back from setbacks in writing or in other areas of your life? What are your tips for growing from pain?
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#IWSG Writing Surprises #insecure #writers #support #group

Let’s support each other during the August group meeting, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone,Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan,and LG Keltner!

Today’s question: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

Some of my best writing moments have been surprises!

I had no clue how to write when I started my first story, Bad Blood into Good (awful title). The climax involved my hero eating poisoned food, turning his skin blue. When I returned his skin to a healthy color upon healing, one of my readers observed how this plot element exactly echoed my title. How fun when something unexpected like that happens.

Credit: Irina Kukuts from Pixabay


I love when writing takes a surprising direction, turning out better than we planned. I suppose we also face some nasty surprises as writers.

Here’s an article for insecure writers: How to Stop Self-Doubt From Holding You Back The idea of writing about your doubt intrigues me.

Also, I’m giving away a $10 gift card as part of the Back to School Giveaway. Enter here if you’re interested.

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#IWSG Infusing Characters with Personal Traits

Happy July to all writers! And Happy July 4th to Americans. Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, where we support and befriend writerly peeps.


I’m excited to be a co-host this month along with Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard,and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!


Congratulations to Ellen Jacobson (The Cynical Sailor) for her new release, Poisoned by the Pier (Molly McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #3). I’m reading it now and it’s a lot of fun! Molly’s husband is trying a fad diet involving rutabaga–this is not going to end well.

Are you entering the 2019 IWSG Anthology Contest? The genre is middle grade historical adventure/fantasy. I was fortunate to be part of Masquerade: Oddly Suited, Dancing Lemur Press’s young adult romance anthology, and I met some wonderful IWSG authors in addition to working with a publisher featuring fast, clear communication. What a pleasure! I encourage you to submit a story for this year’s contest.

Speaking of Dancing Lemur Press, they have a BOGO book sale this week! Check it out


I love the introspective nature of this month’s question: What personal trait(s) have you written into your characters?

Wow. What personal traits haven’t I written into my characters? I find writing to be therapeutic, so I pour myself into my characters. I’m a psychologist and my books typically feature at least one therapist character. I’ve infused characters with these personal traits as well: anxious, romantic yet clueless at romance, intellectual, sporty (particularly swimming and volleyball), competitive, sensitive, analytical, passionate, persevering, overeating, loud laugher.

I’m working on a new novel, and my heroine is a smoker. Since I abhor smoking, this is a bit of a challenge for me.

I’m curious to hear your responses to this question! Write on.