Wednesday, October 5, 2022

IWSG: Best Characteristics of My Favorite Genre

October is here! I love the change of seasons, and I especially love going into autumn with the vibrant colors, knowing that nature is prepping for a period of rest and restoration.

It's also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another installment of Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you haven't yet, be sure to check out their website:

This Month's Question: What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

My Answer: The thriller genre is my favorite to read and write. I love the embedded tension and the need to read faster in order to find out what is going to happen next. I love feeling like I can't set the book down, being compelled to keep turning the pages. Plus, the thriller genre has so many sub-genres and companion genres, which add variety and a change of pace while still being fast-paced page-turners.

How about you? What are the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group


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!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Honesty . . . well the truth is: I've been struggling with the whole publishing industry lately. It is hard. On so many varied levels, it is hard. No, I don't want to quit, but the traditional publishing industry and its many gate keepers have contributed to my need to see a therapist. And yet, I'm not ready to delve into the self-publishing world. It's scary to me. "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom" . . . according to Thomas Jefferson. 

"When is your next book coming out?" people often ask me. 

Right now. I'm doing the best I can with so many different aspects of the industry. The next book will come out when the universe decides it is time. Until then, I'm working on my mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and . . . I am really enjoying doing freelance editing. If you ever have a need for another set of eyes on your project, I'd love to take a look. Editing brings me great joy. Click here for more information about my editorial services.

How are you doing on your journey? Feel free to share and connect in the comments.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Book Review: POINT LAST SEEN by Christina Dodd

 Scroll down for my complete review . . . 


by Christina Dodd

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 9781335623973

Description from the Publisher: LIFE LAST SEEN: When you’ve already died, there should be nothing left to fear… When Adam Ramsdell pulls Elle’s half-frozen body from the surf on a lonely California beach, she has no memory of what her full name is and how she got those bruises ringing her throat. GIRL LAST SEEN: Elle finds refuge in Adam’s home on the edge of Gothic, a remote village located between the steep lonely mountains and the raging Pacific Ocean. As flashes of her memory return, Elle faces a terrible truth—buried in her mind lurks a secret so dark it could get her killed. POINT LAST SEEN: Everyone in Gothic seems to hide a dark past. Even Adam knows more than he will admit. Until Elle can unravel the truth, she doesn’t know who to trust, when to run and who else might be hurt when the killer who stalks her nightmares appears to finish what he started… 

About the Author: Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with suspense, romance, and adventure and creates some of the most distinctive characters in fiction today. The bestselling author of more than fifty novels, her works have been translated into twenty-five languages, won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart and RITA awards, and been on Library Journal's Best Books of the Year list. 

My Review:

I loved WRONG ALIBI by Christina Dodd, so when I was given the opportunity to read an early copy of her newest book, I was excited. 

I loved the fictional town that Dodd created in POINT LAST SEEN. And I loved the variety of characters. But too many elements of this story were forced, especially the romance between the main characters. There were multiple instances where the romance was vulgar and other spots where it was too immaturely described. I also found myself extremely frustrated trying to guess how old the characters were. The first mention of Elle's age was literally halfway through the book, and she was identified as 24, but then later in the book, she's 28. Elle only ever guesses at Adam's age - somewhere in his thirties.

I seriously tried so hard to love this book, because I loved the last one I read by Dodd, but the plot here dragged on and on. Maybe my opinion is in the minority. Maybe my expectations were too high. But this story didn't quite live up to its potential. 

[I received an early copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group: When the Going Gets Tough

The first Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writer's Support Group! YAY us!


June Question: When the going get gets tough writing a story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end?

My Answer: Ah. What a great question!! I've been in that spot many, many times. The best trick I have is to open one of my favorite books on the craft of writing, randomly flip to a page, and then whatever concept is explored on that page, I apply it to the passage/chapter/scene that I'm struggling with at the moment. So for example, if the challenging scene is about two characters walking through a park and the random concept from the writing book is about second-person point of view . . . I'll rewrite the challenging scene in second-person POV. The exercise gives my brain a different way to process the writing, the story, the characters, and stepping out of my typical method gives me more insight and hopefully some new excitement for the story. I don't need to keep the changes I make during the exercise; I just need to remotivate myself to move forward in the story. Detours exist for a reason. They help us navigate around the hazards and construction sites. Give it a try. Take a detour. It may just open up a whole new landscape you hadn't considered before or even known existed.

What are your thoughts? How do you move past the bumps in the road in your writing?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Book Review: THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE by Bessel van der Kolk

 The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh. Boy. This was a challenging book to read, but so worth the effort and time! I highly recommend it.

Trigger warning: this book goes into explicit detail when relating examples of trauma. I tried to skim some of those examples, because I didn't want to internalize it all, and sometimes I had to set the book down for a while after reading the heartbreaking details of other people's trauma.

This book explains so much valuable information. Now that I've finished reading, I will go back and review the highlights, bookmarks, and notes I made throughout it. I'll journal about those points and discuss them with my therapist.

While I dread the idea of working through my own trauma, I am excited at the idea of healing my broken bits. This book has left me feeling hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Book Review: INTUITIVE EATING by Tribole & Resch

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet ApproachIntuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach by Evelyn Tribole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book broke me. Seriously.

I've always known I had issues with food, but I had no idea my issues ran so deeply. This book was a huge eye opener for me. After reading it, I realized I had to seek help from a professional therapist--someone to go through the book with me chapter by chapter to discuss what issues were triggered for me and how I could resolve them. So I researched therapists who specialize in disordered eating, and I met with four to try to find a good fit for me. Interestingly enough, all four therapists told me that I do not have disordered eating and I do not need a therapist who specializes in that. They all told me I have unresolved trauma and I need a therapist who specializes in PTSD and trauma work. Huh. Imagine that. So now I'm meeting weekly with a therapist who assures me that once I've dealt with the trauma from my past and once I learn new coping mechanisms, the food issues will be resolved. I'm dreading having to face all that old junk, but I am excited to heal my broken bits. Wish me luck. ...

View all my reviews


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Off to My Happy Place

Well, if you need me . . . feel free to knock on my tent door:

I'm off in the boonies for a while, loving life and loving the peace only found in nature.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Book Review: Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

When I was offered a chance to read this cute summertime rom-com, I jumped at it. Scroll down for my complete review.

Long Story Short

by Serena Kaylor

Published by: Wednesday Books

Publication date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1250818416

Description from the Publisher:  Beatrice Quinn knows that she belongs at Oxford University and has spent sixteen very serious years studying to get in. Homeschooled and a whiz at statistics, she thought the hardest part would be getting accepted, not convincing her parents to let her go. To get their permission and prove that she can conquer her social anxiety, Beatrice will have to attend a Shakespearean theater camp and complete a detailed checklist of teenage milestones. With Oxford on the line and a new enemy in the form of the camp founders’ popular son, it’s too bad there’s no textbook for being a “normal teenager.”

About the Author: Serena Kaylor likes to write about that first flush of summer love, whispered conversations at midnight, and endings happy enough to make your toes curl. She grew up running wild as a changeling through North Carolina swamps, and as an adult, has wandered from libraries into medicine. When she’s not writing, she can be found experimenting in her kitchen, wallpapering any blank surface, and hugging every dog that will let her. Long Story Short is her debut novel.

My Review:

This was a fun read!

Serena Kaylor's debut, Long Story Short, offers up a terrific summertime adventure for all of us who are nervous to step outside our comfort zones. 

Yes, this story is promoted as a rom-com, but it's not only that. It's a fun adventure about a socially awkward girl trying to learn more about people and the world around her while discovering more about who she truly is and what she likes in life. 

And yes, it is funny. There were several laugh-out-loud moments for me. For example: "I imagined that like most skills, there would be a learning curve to kissing, and I could anticipate poor performance until given the opportunity to receive some instruction."

While overall, I loved the book, there were a few hard to believe moments: when her finger "slipped" and she accidentally applied to Oxford; when her parents, who are therapists, discussed clients by name and issue (huge violation of HIPPA laws and gives therapists a bad rep), and when the physical touching aspect of her new-found relationship happened too fast. But none of these criticisms overshadowed my enjoyment of the book.

If you're looking for a fun, light, summer read, pick up a copy of Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor.

Some of my Favorite Lines:

"I nodded , always a beat behind as the conversation moved forward before I could organize my thoughts enough to contribute."

“It’s easy not to care what other people think of you, when you obviously don’t care either.”

[I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Challenges Associated with Audiobooks

Happy April everyone! I love seeing the spring flowers blooming and the never-ending blue skies of Idaho. It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

This month's question: Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

My answer: My first book, Who R U Really?, was made into an audiobook, but I did not produce it. My agent sold the audio rights to Audible. They produced it. They chose the narrator. They oversaw all the production responsibilities. The only part I played in the process was to speak with narrator prior to the recording to review pronounciation of certain words, like Skadi and Thea. Other than that, I had no input. And that was the biggest challenge for me. Letting go of the control and hoping for the best. I was super nervous to listen to it the first time, because it was already post production and no changes could be made. Thankfully, the narrator did a terrific job, and I was thrilled with the final product.

For more information about the Insecure Writer's Support Group visit their website. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Writing Hard Scenes

Oh, it's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another installment of Insecure Writer's Support Group. I always find the questions SO thought provoking.

This Month's Question: Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

My Answer: There are quite a few scenes in WHO R U REALLY? that actually happened in real life. The hardest part about writing the story was making those real-life scenes translate into a believable fictional tale … because sometimes real-life events are too hard to believe. For those of you who've read the story, the scene where the mother and daughter played Scrabble was the hardest scene for me to write, because not only did that game happen in real life but the devastating events that immediately followed the game also happened. As I wrote the scene, I got very emotional. It was hard, but if the story was going to be shared, the scene had to be written. To make it tougher, I had to write it from my daughter’s perspective rather than my own since it's a book for young adults.