#IWSG The Power of Language and New Anthology

Ho hey, it’s MAY! My favorite season of summer is upon us, and I can’t wait to swim in the sunshine and absorb vitamin D.

Just yesterday, Dancing Lemur Press released the latest IWSG anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited. I’m delighted to join nine authors penning short stories. Check out all of the blogs to read blurbs and learn more about these diverse, engaging characters!

Myles Christensen www.myleschristensen.com

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this awesome support group. Sign up HERE.

IWSG Day Question:
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? 


Wow, this question provokes thought. One time that stands out for me is when I learned to be a therapist in grad school. I remember my supervisors teaching me the importance of language for accurate listening and building rapport with my clients. I learned to use the same words as my clients–if they say, “That pissed me off!” then I reply, “You were pissed off.” But I also developed the skill of listening to the unsaid words, empathizing with something like, “Underneath your anger is a deep sense of hurt.”

Thank you to the awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG:

Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin 


#IWSG Finding Time to Write in a Busy Day

Welcome to September’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Join us at Alex Cavanaugh’s BLOG.

This month’s question…

How do you find time to write in your busy day?

My answer?

I don’t. I don’t write on the weekdays because my psychologist job takes too much out of me. Today I trained a new employee followed by seven straight psychotherapy clients, and combined with a workout, I barely have the energy to write a blog post, much less a book chapter!

But the weekends are another matter. I try to write a 4,000-word chapter each weekend. Therefore it takes me about 8 months to complete a novel. Some weekends I devote to other fun and enriching activities like travel.

Since I finished my latest novel SPIKED (Blocked #3) in late July, I’ve been chilling on the weekends. It’s been low-key but also a tad boring. I’m jonesing to start writing a new project soon.

If you’d like to share a release post for Spiked on 10-1-16, please email me at jenniferlanebooks at gmail and I’ll send you the html. 

Happy writing! May we all eke out more time for our craft.

#IWSG The Voices, the Voices! #writing #ILoveWriting


Feeling insecure? Need support? Join us for the Insecure Writers Support Group, created by Alex Cavanaugh and co-hosted by Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and Heather Gardner! 


If you’re like me, sometimes the negative voices get you down. Here’s a helpful post for writing: Five Negative Voices and How to Shush Them.

A more positive voice:


I love writing–I really do! Let me specify, though, that I love FICTION writing. The past two weeks I’ve slaved over writing a psychology book chapter for a textbook, and it was hell. No wonder I gravitate more toward therapy than research. One small consolation is that writing five fiction novels has improved my academic writing, too.

I’m almost done with my sixth book ACED (Blocked #2), yahoo! 



76000 / 80000 words. 95% done with Aced!
I’m hoping for a November or December release, depending on the editing timeline. Have you released a novel in December? I’m nervous the holiday rush might be a bad time to launch my baby.

Five Tips for #Writing #Therapy Scenes #IWSG


Time for August’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Writers, learn more HERE and join us.


Hey, everyone. I’m Jennifer Lane, psychologist/author (psycho author). I do therapy on the weekdays and write on the weekends, and I can’t decide which is more fun.

Character growth is essential in any story, and I often help my characters develop through psychotherapy. Finding the balance between authentic therapy and engaging storytelling can be tricky. Here are some tips:

1) Empathy. Otherwise known as validation or good listening, empathy is reflecting the speaker’s emotion. It’s a key therapy skill, regardless of the therapist’s theoretical orientation. Here are some examples of empathy:

Client: “What’s the point?”
Therapist: “You’re feeling hopeless.”

Client: “He’s such an ass!”
Therapist: “You’re really angry at him.”

Sounds simple, right? It’s not. A lot of times we want to give advice or solve problems, when all people need is validation. Empathic listening is quite therapeutic.

2) Boundaries. Therapists’ ethical codes discourage multiple relationships with clients. If I’m your therapist, I can’t be your friend, lover, business partner, babysitter, etc. Hollywood often shows therapists shagging their clients with no negative consequences. Not realistic.

3) Diagnosis. Though some therapists don’t put much stock into psychiatric diagnosis, it’s helpful to have a somewhat accurate diagnosis for the character. I giggled when I read Christian Grey’s initial diagnoses as haphephobia (fear of being touched) and parasomnia (sleep disorders). Fortunately Ms. James did her research for a later book, diagnosing him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Here’s a good website summarizing mental health disorders.  I also like the Writers Helping Writers Emotional Wound series

4) Progress. Is it common for a huge therapeutic breakthrough to occur? An insight that changes everything for a character? Not really. While I adore this scene in Good Will Hunting, it’s not characteristic of therapy.


Change tends to be difficult and gradual, and clients are unique in their responses to therapy. Some clients feel better merely by naming or reframing the problem. Others just benefit from a private, nonjudgmental space to talk.

5) Character Development. Therapy is a wonderful vehicle to develop your characters. Is your hero funny? Write dialogue for him that makes the therapist crack up. Does your heroine try to mother everyone? Perhaps she brings tea for the therapist, or knits the therapist a hat in the winter. Character interpersonal dynamics will unfold in the therapy relationship just like any other relationship, inserting some fun into the drama.

Have you ever tried to write a therapy scene? Hopefully these tips will help.

Learning Cool Stuff Through Writing #IWSG


Woo hoo, I love summer. Time for June’s Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh

Alex’s awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are M. Pax, Tracy Jo,Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

Writers, join us HERE


There are so many cool aspects about writing, but one of my favorites is learning something new.

I just wrote a chapter in my work-in-progress Aced where the hero attends confession with a priest. I like to write moments when my characters grow and challenge dysfunctional behaviors. Typically this involves throwing my characters into therapy. But Aced’s hero Alejandro is a Catholic Latino good boy, and I wanted to try a new space for healing and development outside the therapy office.

Although I attended Notre Dame for grad school, I’m not Catholic, and I’ve never experienced confession myself. Luckily, my critique partner is Catholic, and she provided a helpful link explaining the process. I also found this list of sins that blew me away. Jeez… I sin all the time!

Did you know that pirating ebooks is a sin? 😮

Both confession and therapy involve reflection and sharing secrets. But one unique part of confession is FORGIVENESS. I love the idea of seeking God’s mercy in an effort to forgive ourselves.

What cool stuff have you learned through writing?

Box Set Release & #Giveaway: The CONduct Series

Thank you to Omnific Publishing for launching a BOX SET of my babies to the world!


Enter the giveaway HERE. Thank you to these bloggers for celebrating the release with us:

Grace at Sweet Spot Book Blog
Darcia at Quiet Fury Books
Autumn at Autumn Review Blog
Michelle at Book Briefs Blog
Sophia at Delighted Reader Blog
Mandy at I Read Indie Blog
Jessica Subject at Mark of the Stars Blog

The CONduct Series
Can Two Ex-Cons Find Love?
Will the Mafia Let Them Live Long Enough to Find Out?


Romantic Suspense with a Psychological Twist: Now Available in a Boxed Set!
BOOK ONE – With Good Behavior:
With Good BehaviorIn a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can
true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.
Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer’s door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.
BOOK TWO – Bad Behavior:
Bad BehaviorGrant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.
The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with
Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.
Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.
When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.
BOOK THREE – On Best Behavior:
On Best BehaviorPlanning a wedding is never easy—especially when the Russian Mafia wants you dead.
On Best Behavior—the third and final book in The Conduct Series—finds our favorite couple moving forward, despite the odds. Following a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, excons Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finally free to pursue their love and the life that lies ahead for them. Grant now fights the forces that have hurt his loved ones by working undercover for the FBI, and he has infiltrated the Russian Mafia in Chicago. Sophie dives into swimming with Grant’s nephew, Ben, and into her career as a psychology professor. Thankfully, now it’s Ben’s turn to heal through
therapy sessions with Dr. Hunter Hayes.
With so many things going right for Grant and Sophie, it’s too bad the Russians aren’t their only threat. When Grant’s father, Enzo Barberi, discovers his own son thwarted his plan to break out of prison, his overdeveloped sense of vengeance flares to life. As Sophie scrambles to save her fiancé, it’s impossible to say who will kill Grant first—the Russians or his Italian family. Can love triumph over evil? Are hard work and a pledge to be on best behavior ever enough?
Once again, author Jennifer Lane brings a harrowing tale of romantic suspense with a psychological twist, and it’s sure to leave readers breathless.

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

Author: Jennifer Lane
Title: The CONduct Series Boxed Set
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9781623421694
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Author Website: http://www.JenniferLaneBooks.com
Twitter: @JenLaneBooks

New Release BREAKING FREE by SM Koz: Review, Interview, FREE on Amazon


I had the pleasure of reading the ARC of Breaking Free, a YA/NA contemporary romance by SM KOZ.


It’s free on Amazon 8/1 and 8/2…get after it HERE.

First is my review, then an interview with the author.

Breaking FreeBreaking Free by S.M. Koz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Blooms in Wilderness Program

This New Adult romance will be released 8-1-14, and the psychological aspects of the story enticed me to read an advanced copy.

Kelsie is a 17-year-old cheerleader who’s a hot mess. Her best friend died in a car accident, and Kelsie unfairly blames herself. To numb her emotional pain, she starts self-injuring. While cutting oneself is horrifying, I didn’t fully appreciate the horror until I was right there with Kelsie, feeling her pain and her disgust from taking it out on her body.

To try to curb her harmful behavior, Kelsie’s father sends her to a wilderness therapy program. She is ill-prepared and ticked off, with her huge suitcase and even bigger attitude. But the counselor Chris knows just how to handle her, and Kelsie settles down enough to get through the first day, eventually growing closer to the other teens in the program.

JC is the young man who captures her attention the most. He’s athletic, light-hearted, and also blames himself for a loved one dying.

Keslie tells her story to the woman hired to keep her safe—Marta—after she finishes the program. Therefore, the novel consists of flashbacks, which might not have been the best choice for the pacing of the plot. I thought the story took a while to get going. Also, the nicknames Kelsie bestows on each program participant seemed to interfere with clarity and my connection to the characters.

But once the plot kicks into gear, I was riveted. Another boy in the program has it out for JC, and a brewing storm threatens the safety of the group. That’s when Kelsie is forced to grow up fast, discovering that people may not be what they seem.

I dislike when parents are portrayed as incompetent twits in YA and NA stories. Though Kelsie’s stepmother is a shrew, I’m glad her father works hard at redeeming himself.

Kelsie’s interactions with JC provide much-needed lightness given the darkness they’ve experienced. The characters seem to be their age, which I appreciate.

I grab a handful of shirts and organize them by type, short-sleeved or long-sleeved, and color. After a few minutes, JC stands behind me and places his hand around my waist. “You really are OCD.”
“Is that a problem for you?”
“Yes, that is the final straw. I can handle everything else, but putting my shirts in rainbow order is too much.”


I loved the ending, which left me with a relieved, buoyant feeling. This is a wonderful debut novel!

View all my reviews


And now an interview with SM Koz:

Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, SM! How did you get started as an author?


SM Koz (SK)Thanks for inviting me! Technically, I first started writing about nine years ago. The story was a murder mystery that took place on a cruise ship and one of the main characters had an English bulldog named Penelope. I wrote two pages, realized it was too hard, and then never looked at it again for five years. After my husband and I moved to a sleepy little village, I found myself with a lot of free time. One day while I was cleaning up computer files, I ran across my story with Penelope and was somewhat impressed by what I read. Having lots of time on my hands, I decided to write a full-length YA novel. That one was about a girl who moves to the beach to live with her older sister for the summer and falls in love with a boy as they help a stranded dolphin, named Maurice, recover from a mysterious illness. That one will never be published, but it’s fun to go back and see what my first attempt at a novel was like. Since then, I’ve been writing about one book a year, some fanfiction and some original. Breaking Free is the only one I feel compelled to publish at this time, though.

JL: Blogger Christina Rodriguez recommended I read Breaking Free for the psychological elements, and I’m grateful she did! What inspired the therapy aspect of this story?


SK: I love Christina’s blog! Not many people are aware of this, but she helped me with my translations. As you know, I have a couple Hispanic characters, so I wanted to make sure my rudimentary Spanish made for realistic dialogue. She was a huge help!

As far as the inspiration for the story, I have a friend and a family member who have both cut in the past. When I first learned about self-injury, I didn’t understand why people would purposely hurt themselves and, therefore, I thought it was to attract attention. I ended up spending quite a bit of time researching the topic, which opened my eyes. Most people who cut don’t do it for attention. In fact, like Kelsie in the book, they try to hide what they’re doing. They’re ashamed, but it’s beyond their control as it has become an addictive coping mechanism to try and deal with their overwhelming emotions, whether it’s depression, anxiety, whatever.

After learning so much about self-injury, I wanted to help others who were in my position—wishing to help their friends, but not understanding how to or even why their friends did what they did. That’s when I decided to turn it into a story. Because I typically write adventure-filled books, I knew immediately that the main characters would be in the wilderness for their therapy and run into some unexpected hurdles along the way. I think it ended up being a nice mix of emotion, suspense, and romance with a couple plot twists to keep things interesting.

JL: You’re getting some lovely reviews. What has been your favorite comment about your debut novel?


SK: Thanks. It’s hard to pick just one, but there have been a couple people who have commented on the realistic nature of the story. Furthermore, some of these individuals have indicated they themselves have experience with cutting. Although I did an incredible amount of research for this book, it’s always challenging to write about something that you have no firsthand experience with. So, receiving this type of feedback provides me with a great deal of satisfaction. If people who share similar backgrounds are able to relate and connect to Kelsie, then I hope they’ll find strength in her story and learn better coping methods for their own self-injury behaviors. With Breaking Free, if I prevent or help stop one person from cutting, then I’ll feel like it was a success.

JL: I see on Goodreads that you’re planning a Young Adult novel next. What draws you to YA?


SK: Initially, I thought it would be easier. My story with Penelope was meant for adults, but I felt like my plot wasn’t complex enough for that audience. So, I switched to YA for my next one, but after writing the entire thing, I determined that plot was way too simplistic even for teen readers. That’s when I realized YA isn’t differentiated from adult fiction by complexity or writing quality, it’s about the type of story, the characters, and unique conflicts.

I enjoy slipping into the complex minds of teenage characters. They don’t always do what you’d expect or behave the way you’d like them to, but that’s okay. It’s all about their underlying nature. Everyone makes mistakes as they grow into the person they want to be. I enjoy playing with that because I think it allows for more interesting characterization and a lot of internal conflict as well as external.

Breaking Free is my first book that really focuses on the emotional complexities of the main character as the major plot line, though. I thought I might have a difficult time writing this type of story, but the words flowed relatively easily. In fact, I wrote this three time faster than anything else I’ve written. I’m not sure, but think I might have found my niche 🙂

JL: Thanks for visiting the blog, SM, and best of luck on your writing career!

SKThanks so much for having me!