insecure writers support group, writing

#IWSG Drawing the Line

Join us HERE, the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh.

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

Hope your October is off to a great start, writers! Warm weather has continued in Ohio, allowing me to sneak in some outdoor swims late in the season. Friends and I swam in a local quarry last week, and the 72-degree water temperature was brisk but invigorating.

Sadly, I had to cancel a swim vacation in Baja, Mexico. We planned to glamp and swim 2-4 miles a day in the Pacific, but international travel didn’t seem wise in the throes of the never-ending pandemic. But maybe I’ll fulfill my dream of swimming in Spain next year instead.

This month’s question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

I rely on my reading preferences to draw the line in my writing. I enjoy reading creative curse words and healing from horrific traumas. Therefore, my characters sometimes swear like sailors, and I embrace the challenge of delving into the aftermath of sexual trauma or criminal violence in my sport romance and romantic suspense novels.

Though romance is my favorite genre, I don’t enjoy reading plentiful, graphic sex scenes. It’s no surprise that I avoid writing erotica.

I also value free speech. While I don’t want to offend readers, I hope to stay true to myself without worrying about political correctness.

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#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 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?

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

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!