#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.)

#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!

#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.

#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.

#IWSG Bodies in the Boatyard by @Ellen__Jacobson 5 Star Review #cozymystery

Happy Holidays, writers! Time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.


Thank you to this month’s co-hosts:

J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey

Fall is my busiest time at work so I’ve focused more on my day job than on writing lately. But, I did submit a short story for consideration in an anthology, and I applied for a writing festival.


I’d like to share my review for fellow IWSG author’s latest release, Bodies in the Boatyard. Congratulations to Ellen Jacobson for her engaging cozy mystery series!



Bodies in the Boatyard (A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #2)Bodies in the Boatyard by Ellen Jacobson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Panda Bear on the Case

I continue to enjoy the integration of murder mystery, sailing science, chocolate cravings, and frisky felines in the Mollie McGhie series, which takes place in a small Florida boating community.

In book two, Mollie’s husband, Scooter, has moved on from calling her Sweet Potato to Panda Bear, and Mollie appreciates not being referred to as a root vegetable anymore. Their dilapidated boat has sprung a leak, so she gets hauled to the boatyard for repairs.

Conflict among Mollie’s Coconut Cove neighbors, along with an illegal poaching ring, lead to dead bodies piling up. Who finds these bodies? Mollie, of course–much to the consternation of the police chief. If Mollie weren’t so cute and good-hearted, she might get in trouble for her meddling! She is also lucky to have a feline mini-sleuth at her side, the adorable Mrs. Moto, to help her solve crimes.

I like clever boat names like The Codfather, and Mollie’s incessant sweet tooth that never stops scheming for sugar. There are also some fun jabs at extreme environmentalists who seem to value the environment more than human life.

I look forward to book three in the series!

View all my reviews

Winter is Coming #Giveaway #giftcard #psychthriller


Thank you to The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island for co-hosting the Winter is Coming Giveaway!

We had a 60-degree sunny day in Ohio on December 2 and then said goodbye to the sun forever. (I’m just a tad dramatic) Why? Because winter is coming! I don’t love the shorter days but I do love the holidays.

What do you hate/love about the winter?

To entertain you in the winter months, I’m giving away a $15 gift card and an ebook of my latest release, psychological thriller Twin Sacrifice.

Enter on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Bop on over to these blogs to check out their cool giveaways!


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#IWSG Creative Pursuits Beyond Writing

Happy November, writers! Join our support group to encourage fellow writers and vent about the writing process at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s awesome co-hosts. Congratulations in particular to Ellen Jacobson for her upcoming release, Bodies in the Boatyard. Anytime I start laughing simply from reading the dedication (“For cats everywhere who hate collars”), I know I’m in for an enjoyable read. I loved book one in the series: Murder at the Marina.


Co-Hosts: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman

IWSG Day Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?


Starting this writing adventure has helped me realize how important creativity is in my life. Aquarians born between January 20 and February 18, like me, are known to be creative. However, I never embraced my creative side until I started writing novels.

In addition to writing, I enjoy creative pursuits like Paint Nite and Pinterest recipes. Here are a few of my favorite creations: