19.3.21

RIVALS Release Party!

BIG congrats to my crit partner, Jennifer Lane, on the release of her fabulous new sports romance, RIVALS. I lucked out major with scoring Jen as a crit partner because her stories are so, so fun to read. And obviously others agree with me - look at all the great reviews pouring in. I'm so excited that Rivals is now available for everyone to read. ❤️

Title: Rivals
Author: Jennifer Lane
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021
Cover Design: Dan Irons, Designs by Irons


“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.
 

Speaking of Goodreads, below is a snippet from my 5 STAR review of Rivals. Read the entire review.








"Absolutely loved this book. The rivalry was spot on. This book has it all, humor, love and sports." ~Michelle from Besties & Books
"The uncanny portrayal of recruiting high-profile athletes in Rivals completely transported me into the story. I became so invested in Lauren Chase's success! When Coach Chase met Coach Trent, the chance of finding love on the recruiting trail turned into such a charming contest--a game more meaningful than they could ever imagine on the court or field." ~Gwynn Harrison, Head Swim Coach, Bridgewater College
"Fun read that captures the best of the greatest sports rivalry in the midst of a smoldering romance."~Kevin Kropf









Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist!

Jen fell in love with sports at a young age and competed in swimming and volleyball in college. She went on to become the Honda Award Winner for Division III Athlete of the Year. She still gets high from the smell of chlorine and the satisfaction of smashing a beautiful volleyball set.

Jen’s latest novel is Rivals, a romance between coaches from rival universities. Her Blocked trilogy also explores the transformation from hate to love. Particularly in this time of division, Jen’s favorite theme is finding common ground.

A romantic suspense trilogy (The Conduct Series) and a psychological thriller (Twin Sacrifice) complete Jen’s collection of stories. She calls Ohio home and shares writing space with her two trusted feline collaborators: Tuxedo and Tessa.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time, she likes to exercise and visit her amazing sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.


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6.1.21

Getting Book Reviews #IWSG January 2021

Hi, guys! Happy 2021. We made it, right? After going MIA in December, I'm back to take part in the January IWSG. This month, I'll share my strategy for garnering the all-important book reviews. This one got kind of long, so I tried to lay it out for for easy skimming. 

As I said in my last post, I'm not an expert on book marketing, so this isn't exactly advice. I'm simply sharing what I've learned in case you might find a tidbit that helps in your publishing journey. (It also serves as a "note to self" for the next time I publish something.) 

Release Week Review Strategy

1) Submit ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) to Review Sites

The Goal: I did this in hopes of receiving early reviews from established review sites so I could pull blurbs from the reviews for release day promo on social networks, etc. 

  • Submitted to two review sites that had each favorably reviewed some of my previous books - Fresh Fiction and The Romance Reviews
  • I submitted to each more than 6 weeks ahead of release day.

The Result: Positive Review at Fresh Fiction. Nobody picked it up at The Romance Reviews

What I'll do differently next time: I'll contact more than two review sites ahead of release. 

2) Get ARCS Into Hands of Readers 

The Goal: Get at least 5 reviews posted at Amazon during release week. (As you see, all my goals are baby ones.)

  • Three months before release, I started offering free e-ARCs to my author email list and via LibraryThing giveaways (more on LibraryThing below). 
  • Once a reader expressed interest by either responding to my email or entering the giveaway, I sent out e-copies of the book and created a Review Team e-mail list. 
  • After e-books were distributed, I sent a thank you email to the Review Team list with links to where early reviews could be posted.  
  • Two weeks before release, I sent a reminder email.
  • On release day, I sent another email with links to post reviews on Amazon.
  • A month after release, I sent a final email to thank & remind those who hadn't reviewed yet to do so. The email included links to free copies of some of my other books.

LibraryThing is like Goodreads. Authors can set up an account, and once you do, you can give away up to 50 e-books with a request that recipients post a review after reading. Once you have an author account and are logged in, go here to see giveaways and set up your own (or got to More, scroll to Free Books, and click on Member Giveaways). The upside is that this is totally free. The downside is that you have to handle all the sending of books yourself. I ran a giveaway 3 months before release and another 2 months before release. Rather than automatically send a book to entrants, I sent an email asking them to respond with their preferred format - that way I was only sending out books to those who cared enough to actually respond to the email.

The Result: Of the 38 readers who requested an early copy, 11 rated/reviewed on Goodreads by release day, and 8 posted reviews at Amazon during release week. The moral of the story is that it's a LOT of work to achieve a 21% success rate - but we writers are used to that, eh?  

What I'll do differently next time: I'll incorporate BookSprout and Goodreads (see below) into my pre-release review strategy.

Getting Reviews & Ratings After Release

1) BookSprout ARC 

Take a look around the BookSprout site. You can give away up to 20 books for review for free or even more with a paid membership. It was so easy, and BookSprout handles distributing books, sending reminders, and showing results. The readership seems very conscientious about posting meaningful reviews. Highly recommend this service.

The Result: 10 copies claimed; 5 reviews posted (but only one posted at Amazon. Four posted at Goodreads, and three posted at BookBub). 

What I'll do differently next time: Get a BookSprout ARC giveaway in the works pre-release. I might also make an Amazon review a requirement - I only made it optional this time to encourage more reviewers, which might've been the right strategy. I'll have to think about it. 

2) Goodreads Invite

I set up a free e-book giveaway as an event and invited all of my Goodreads friends to the event. 

The Result: I have over 200 Goodreads friends, and only 2 of them took me up on the offer. But they both came through with reviews, so that's 2 reviews I wouldn't have if I hadn't asked. It was easy to do and totally free. 

What I'll do differently next time: Put the offer out pre-release.  

3) FREE Promotion    

My book is enrolled in the Amazon KDP program, so I made the book free on Amazon for 5 days and advertised the promotion in free e-book newsletters (more details coming in a future post where I'll compare free promotions versus 99 cent promotions). 

The Result: I ran the promo to boost visibility of the book on Amazon, but it had the unexpected result of increasing Amazon reviews and ratings (Amazon now allows readers to rate a book without having to leave a review - a very good thing as many readers are shy about writing reviews). A handful of reviews posted in the weeks following the giveaway as well as a bunch of ratings. The book currently has 63 Amazon ratings.  

What Hasn't Worked (for me)

NetGalley

It's the worst - at least for my genre and style of writing. I'd already learned this lesson, but when I became greedy for more reviews after Molly's release, I ignored my own advice and NetGalley reeled me in.

As most of you probably already know, NetGalley can be expensive for authors to join on their own. But NetGalley Co-Ops exist, and I was able to hop onto one for only $65 for a one month term.

My result for Molly after a month on NetGalley: A whopping 4 reviews (2 One Stars, 1 Two Stars & 1 Four Stars). Any review is appreciated, and I can take criticism, but compared to an average of 4.3 stars after 63 ratings on Amazon, I can objectively state that the NetGalley reviews are harshly skewed. It seems some romance reviewers at NetGalley use authors as their personal punching bags for working out their own life issues. The good news is that not one, but TWO of the NetGalley reviewers said the story made them want to hurl their Kindles. I always hope to evoke emotion in readers, so mission accomplished.  

Now, jut because NetGalley doesn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for you, especially if you write in a different genre. I have nothing but good things to say about Xpresso Book Tours, whose NetGalley co-op I joined and with whom I've previously booked a blog tour. Giselle is a dream to work with - efficient, professional & honest in setting expectations.

I would LOVE to know what Book Review Strategies have worked for you. Please tell me! 



This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's co-hosts are:

Ronel Janse van Vuuren 
J Lenni Dorner
Gwen Gardner
Sandra Cox
Louise - Fundy Blue!

4.11.20

No Stress Book Launch #IWSG

Okay, so, last month I said I'd get into more detail on marketing successes and failures with my latest release. I feel kind of strange doing this because I am no marketing expert (as my current Amazon ranking can attest), so please understand that I'm simply sharing my experience in case there's some tidbit you can pick up that helps you. This is NOT hard and fast advice. 

Release Week Strategy

In this month's post, I share the strategy that worked well for me for my book's release week. Bear in mind that my goals are far from lofty. But my strategy was simple and fairly stress free. 

1. Set Release Week Pricing at 99cents & Advertise 

The purpose of 99cent pricing was so that I could advertise the book through cheap reads e-newsletters. Here are links to the six sites I advertised with from August 4-6 (one day per each newsletter spread across the three days). Through past trial and error, I found these six to have good cost/benefit ratios for my genre—chick litty romance with a "steamy" heat rating. They'll wave the minimum review requirement for new releases. 

E-Reader News Today ($65—the most expensive but WELL worth it)
The Fussy Librarian ($20—cost varies by genre. I went with Rom Com)
Love Kissed Book Bargains ($20—for Romance books only)
Book Sends ($25—price varies by genre. I went with Women's Fiction)

For most of the above, try to schedule three weeks to a month in advance. 

I also did a little bit of Facebook advertising, posted on social networks, and sent an email to my list of 300 subscribers, but the impact of these efforts was minimal.

THE RESULT: Hit #19 in two Amazon subcategories and #3,358 overall in Amazon. Barely broke even moneywise (only received 35% of the 99c price), but I got my girl off to a good start.


2. Get Advanced Reader Copies Out & Ask for Release Day Reviews 

The second part of my strategy took a bit more effort with a goal of getting at least a handful of reviews on Amazon on release day. I'll share my review strategy next month. 

What's been a winning strategy for you during release week?


IWSG Optional 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?  

For me, writing is an escape mechanism. It all started because I was overly stressed about new responsibilities in my personal life. I poured my excess energies into weaving my story instead of lying awake all night fretting. Escaping into my stories continues to keep me from wasting too much energy on unproductive worry. 

Get your manuscripts polished and ready for the upcoming IWSG Twitter Pitch



This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome co-hosts are:

7.10.20

Insecure Writers Support Group October 2020 Edition: Successes & Failures

Hello, fellow IWSGers! I hope October finds you doing well - er, at least as well as one can expect to be in the year 2020. Aren't we all so lucky to have our writing to distract us? After writing this post (on Sunday), I'm heading out for summa dis on this fine autumn day in the Midwest:

October Optional Question

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like? 

To me, a "working writer" is someone who consistently earns a decent chunk of change through writing. They don't necessarily have to make a living at it, but it should at least be a substantial supplement to their regular income. 

I guess technically I could be considered a working writer since my day job involves a lot of writing, though it's mostly in blurb form for social media, marketing emails, catalogs, etc. I occasionally get to write longer form for blogs and newsletters. 

As for fiction writing, I'm definitely a hobbyist. What that looks like for me is: I write what I want, when I want. I promote when I publish a new book, but I don't expect to earn a regular income from my novels...not that I wouldn't take it if it came to me.

But that doesn't mean I haven't learned a thing or two about marketing a book, mostly through tips from other independent authors and lots of trial and error. I've experienced a couple of successes with my latest release - and some failures - so for the next few IWSGs, I want to share with you what's worked for me and what hasn't in the hopes that you'll find some tidbit to help you with your own publishing adventures.

I'll get into more detail on all of the below in future posts, but for now, a quick overview of MOLLY UNPLANNED's path so far: 

Failure: Put her up for pre-order too early without marketing, so she entered release day behind the proverbial eight ball with low rankings. 

Success: Released at a 99-cent sale price and advertised the heck out of her in cheap-reads newsletters. (She hit #19 in two of her categories and 3,358 overall in Amazon. But could these have been even higher without the failure above?)

Modest Success: Got a handful of reviews at Amazon on release day by offering Advance Review Copies through my author email list and LibraryThing. 

Failure: I had no set marketing plan for after publication week. Molly's sales & rankings plummeted immediately after release week.

Failure: I panicked and advertised in cheap-reads newsletters at the book's then full price of $2.99. Response was abysmal. People subscribing to those newsletters only want free and .99c books.

Meh: I placed targeted Facebook Ads emphasizing "Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited." Seemed to give a small bump in KU reads and rankings, but I probably didn't make my money back. (If you're not familiar with KU and KDP, you can read all about it here.) 

Working Well So Far: In September and October, I've focused on getting more reviews & ratings through new means of free and paid outreach. Molly's up to 37 Amazon ratings/16 reviews. She's offered at NetGalley this month, so wish me luck! Sometimes those romance reviewers can be pretty tough. *gulp*

Unexpected Success: One of my means for gathering more reviews & ratings was to offer the book for free through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) - coupled with paid promotions in cheap-reads newsletters - and this surprisingly resulted in a big boost to KU reads throughout the following weeks. 

Like I said, I'll dig more into each of these, but this post has gotten too long, so I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks for stopping by. 😊 See ya at your place soon. ðŸ˜‰

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome co-hosts are:

5.8.20

Stories Unplanned #IWSG

Hola, insecure writers! I'm skating in here at the last minute, so let's get right to that Optional Question: 

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? 

Up until now, no, not really. I did have a short story idea grow into a novella, and an idea for one book grew into a series of three, but I'm not sure if those really count. I'm letting both the form and genre find me on my current story idea, though. Right now, I'm thinking it'll be outside my typical chick litty romance genre...but somehow you know elements of my comfort zone are going to find ways to work themselves in. It could be a whole novel or just a novella. Maybe even a short story...or a series of short stories??

In other writerly news, my latest chick litty novel, MOLLY UNPLANNED, released yesterday! 


I've found that a strategy of pricing at 99 cents for release and then advertising in a bunch of discount book e-newsletters is a pretty stress-free way of doing it, and I'm happy with the results. Molly's running in a few more newsletters today and tomorrow, so maybe I'll get even happier. 

Reviews are tough to get at low budget and low effort, but through an offer to my email subscribers and a couple of giveaways at LibraryThing, I got the book into 38 readers' hands pre-release, and I (barely) beat my goal of having 5 reviews posted at Amazon on release day. 

But the BEST news? So far readers are enjoying the story! The one thing that hasn't changed since I first started writing and posting my stories at fanfiction sites is that I still get giddy every time someone takes the time to write a review and tell me they enjoyed my story. ðŸ˜Š

How are you all doing this month?

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome co-hosts are:

3.6.20

Estoy Triste #IWSG

I knew that if I was here for the June Insecure Writer's Support Group, I'd be sad. Don't take it personally. If I have to be sitting here, I'm glad it's with you. But I wish I wasn't sitting here.

You see, I was supposed to be jetting to Peru today (and by jetting, I mean crammed into the cheapest economy seat).

A few months ago, when we were daydreaming, I posted a picture of some ruins in the Andes Mountains surrounding Ollantaytambo. I WAS GOING TO CLIMB TO THOSE RUINS and spend a day with local women, learning how to weave and do a hundred other super cool things.

But it's not just the heartbreak of a cancelled trip that has me so down. I'm concerned for all the wonderful people I'd hoped to meet and spend my soles with: the independent hostel owners and staff, the restaurateurs, the street vendors, the craftswomen, the waiters, the cab drivers, the colectivo drivers, the boot polishers, the tour guides.

In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, the Peruvian government acted swiftly and aggressively to shut down the country's borders and put its people on lockdown—now one of the longest lockdowns in the world, even longer than in Italy, Spain, and China. The hardships we feel during shutdown in developed nations is nothing compared to the toll it takes on people in countries lacking our infrastructure and resources. I'm not saying aggressive measures aren't necessary to combat the aggressive virus. I'm simply saying, this sucks.

And hey, in the spirit of 2020, how about some sudden death for my darling pet rabbit. Sure, why not?
Frolic in peace, sweet angel Gamgee girl.
But here's why I chose to title this post en españolthe Spanish language has two forms of the verb meaning "to be." One is used for states of being that are more permanent: Yo soy americana—I am American. The other is typically used for states of being that are temporary: Yo estoy aquí y estoy tristeI am here, and I am sad. Temporary states of being. I know I won't stay sad. And I know I won't stay herePeru 2021, baby!

Until then, I'll visit the gorgeous Andean Condor I adopted at Brookfield Zoo (once it freaking reopens), enjoy a purse woven by amazing Awamaki craftswomen near Ollantaytambo, donate to hard-hit organizations in Peru that are close to my heart, drink Inca Kola, and attempt to make a traditional Peruvian dish. And I will pray, pray, pray that when I return to that beautiful country, I'll find its beautiful people thriving.

Ohhhh golly, this didn't have much to do with writing, did it? Wait a minuteyes, it totally did. Writing this post helped me work out some of my angst and redirect it toward better places. It's a classic example of writing as therapy. Thanks for reading. :)

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.


This month's awesome co-hosts are:
 Pat Garcia
J.Q. Rose
Natalie Aguirre

6.5.20

Get in the Zone #IWSG

Hi guys! I hope May is finding you all a bit more combobulated than we were at the beginning of April 2020. Not that the future's looking any more certain or anything, but at least we've all had another month to adjust to...er, the weirdness of it all, right?

During April, I received edits back from my amazing expat editor who's quarantining across the pond in London. Working my day job for only limited hours these days allowed me time to make the recommended changes and format the manuscript for eBooks. Soooo...I'm targeting a release date or August 4, 2020 for MOLLY UNPLANNED.

Now to get my butt in gear for promo. Step One: get the ARC into reviewers' hands. If you're interested in reading a free eBook copy of this Chick Lit/Romance (About 90K words. Heat level: hot), in exchange for posting a review at Goodreads and/or Amazon, please send an email to author@nickielson.com and let me know if you'd prefer EPUB, MOBI, or PDF. You can read this post to see if the book is for you. Muchas gracias.

I also painted my bathroom last month. A while ago, in answer to an IWSG question, I said that my treat to myself for completing a manuscript is doing some sort of home project. Here's what Molly got me: 



Now it's time to tackle this month's optional question:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?

Care to share?

Turn off the internet, set a minimum writing time of at least ninety minutes, give myself a stern talking to, and pound out words for ninety minutes or more, no matter how terrible, no matter how many times I delete and rewrite. At some point before the end of my slated time, I usually find myself in the groove. But sometimes it takes repeating the ritual a few days in a row to get there. That's really it for me, no secret sauce.

I look forward to learning your zone-achieving tips! 

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.


This month's awesome co-hosts are:

1.4.20

S'up, Insecure Writers? #IWSG

So, heeey, This is weird, right? All of us, no matter what part of the world we're in, living in fear of the same exact enemy? If that's not uniting, I don't know if anything ever will be.

I believe we writers are uniquely equipped to deal with the quarantine portion of this pandemic. I mean, we sort of live for shutting out the rest of the world so we can be alone with our characters, right? I have zero fear of getting bored if this thing goes on for several weeks...or more.

The financial part's a bit different. I'm among those whose employment status is in the darkest of gray areas. Oh well, it's not like I made much money, anyway, and my husband, who works for a big telecommunications company, is busier than ever keeping people connected, so it could be worse.

I'm going to enjoy my time of "disconnecting" from daily duties to refocus on things I want to do. I've come up w/ a list of 10 Clever Things to Do from Home - for FREE, and these are some of the things I'll be doing (in addition to getting caught up with my writer life).

So, how the heck are you?

This post is part of the:



Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.
This month's awesome co-hosts:

5.2.20

A Picture Inspires Two Thousand Words #IWSG

Happy February, everyone! Where the flip did January go? It's a little bit scary to me that we're already a full month into the new decade. But then, sometimes it's difficult for me to accept that we ever left the 1980s in the first place, so perhaps the passage of time has always been a problem for me.

ANYWHO! Let's get onto this month's optional question:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story?

Yes!

What was it and did you finish it?

It was my short story "Impressionism 101". And yes, I finished it, but it's only 2,000 words, so that's not a huge brag. BUT I am very proud of it. The way it came about was that I took a shower. Okay, there's a little bit more to the story than that...

I was active on a fanfiction site that was holding original fiction contests. I'd recently competed in one and didn't get so much as a stinking Honorable Mention. So I was a tad bitter when the next contest theme was announced: Silly, Sexy, and Supernatural.

After seeing the new contest announcement, I promptly decided, "Well, that's a stupid theme," and then I took that shower. Under the warm stream of water, free from mental distractions, my wheels started turning. For some reason, a very specific Renoir painting was in my mind, one of a young woman and her baby sister (at least, that's who I assumed the little girl was), and from there, a story was woven---one that ended up incorporating many paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago's Impressionist collection.

And guess what? I wrote the story, submitted it to the contest, and won! So don't ever, ever, ever let a failure or rejection keep you down. Every single story you write is a fresh opportunity.


Winning the contest was very cool. It was the first time I honestly believed that maybe I didn't suck at this writing thing that I loved so much. But do you want to know what was even cooler? When I visited the newly renovated Impressionist wing at the Art Institute years later and saw that my lead was hanging right next to her silly, sexy & supernatural boyfriend! 


They found each other!!!

I've made copies of this short, fanciful tale (rated PG-13) available to download for free at Prolific Works, so if you're curious, please click here or on either of the pictures above to download a PDF. 




This post is part of the:

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome Co-Hosts:

8.1.20

"Holy Hell" - This is Why I Write #IWSG

Optional Question:
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

I love that this question came right now. I was just reminded of the very first novel-length story I ever wrote and why I wrote it. But first---how did I come to write it? My journey to writerhood was the result of 3 major factors:

1. I've always been a daydreamer. As a small child I'd spend hours rocking in the La-Z-Boy with my parents' easy-listening radio station playing in the background, just thinking and imagining to the likes of Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow. The clouds are still my favorite place to put my head...but I listen to better music now.

2. I dig words. I'd always thought of myself as more of a numbers person, but as I forged a career as an investment analyst and my (tor)mentor beat me down until I finally mastered the written portion of our quarterly reports, I realized that writing had become my favorite part of the job.

3. The Harry Potter series ended. I'd been a bit obsessed (when I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED), and I couldn't stand how it all ended for one of the characters. So, I daydreamed a story for him. That daydream had more teeth than all those previous and wouldn't leave me alone until I started writing it out. By the time the story was complete, I was prisoner of a new obsession---writing fiction.

The other day, when the review below came in on Fanfiction(dot)net for that vert first story I ever wrote, I was thrilled (still am): 



Isn't that why we all keep writing and putting our work out there? To give someone the story they've been looking for for a LONG time?




This post is part of the:

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome Co-Hosts

4.12.19

Livin' the Dream. Insecure Writer's Support Group - December 2019 #IWSG

Happy December, everyone! I hope this holiday season finds you in a happy whirl that doesn't spin too out of control.This month, the leaders of the Insecure Writer's Support Group gave this suggestion for a post topic:

IWSG: Let's play a game. 

Me: Okay!

IWSG: Imagine. 

Me: On it.

IWSG: Role-play. 

Me: Oooh...with costumes?

IWSG (ignoring my silly question---because OF COURSE costumes!): How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream?

Okay, well, you said the dream, so here goes....I'll take you back to a picture from a couple of posts ago.

Image by jeremynelms from Pixabay
That's where I live now (in the dream). Not in that exact building, but in the town below these ruins. Ollantaytambo, Peru.

You see, on a fluke, one of my self-published novels hit the big time. It topped all the best-seller lists, and the rights were purchased for major moolah (remember, dreaming here). My spicy fiction with a sweet and dreamy center is in the process of being made into a movie...or maybe a Netflix or Prime original series---it doesn't matter to me because I took my money and ran.

This financial independence allows me to split my days between writing new works and volunteering with an organization like Awamaki to help improve the lives of the indigenous people who live in this magical land once ruled by the Incas. I'll do my part to preserve their ancient culture in the midst of plans for an airport in the Sacred Valley, which is sure to bring many new challenges.

I look forward to the new inspiration this new life will bring to my writing. Of course, since I'm stinking rich, at least once a year, I'll return to the States to see those I love and get a taste of my old life...and to meet with my business adviser who deals with the not-fun part of being a wildly successful author. 

Can't wait to see what you all have dreamt up for your future writer selves!




This post is part of the:

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

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