Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Gifts to My Fellow Writers

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Source

It's the giving season and I've be remiss if I didn't share a few "gifts" with my fellow wordsmiths. So, check these out and enjoy the season, hug your family, friends, and significant others, and be filled with  Joy! I'll be back the first Wednesday of January.

Have a fabulous holiday season whatever your way of celebrating
Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Book Pusher: December Mini Book Reviews

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}


This is your last chance to use The Book Pusher's mini book reviews for your shopping list for gifts. ;-) You know you want to buy a few for family and friends--or the ever popular "gift for myself" list.


GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN Lois McMaster Bujold: Space Opera

 A fabulously twisty and rewarding SF Romance by a master in the field. Must Read, but only if you've read the entire Vorkosigan series beforehand.


DRUMS OF AUTUMN Diana Gabaldon: Historical/Time Travel

Another fabulous part of the OUTLANDER Series. If you haven't read these books, what are you waiting for?


TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS Normandie Ward Fischer Romance/Women's Fiction

In a continuation of her Carolina Coast Series, Fischer gives her readers a Christmas story of danger, warmth, and redemption. If you love good stories, be sure to read this one.




THE ROSE GARDEN Susanna Kearsley: Historical Romance

This wonderful romance will weave its way into your heart, and its twists and turns will delight, scare, and excite you in turn.



EXIT SIGNS Patrice Locke: Romance

Either a romantic comedy or romantic suspense, but who cares? The main character, a documentary writer, is always trying to pin down the genre controlling her life with limited success--until she meets Jesse Elliot, and then all bets are off. Fun Read!


GREAT SMALL THINGS Jodi Picoult: Women's Fiction

Picoult takes on the charged topics of racism, justice, and privilege in Great Small Things and succeeds in opening eyes to the full story. As always Picoult's multiple--POV narrative opens windows into the minds of each character touched by the story.

Next week: Some gifts for writers... ;-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: In the Next Five Years, I will...

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Insecure Writers 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!

Our Co-Sponsor's this month are:
Jennifer Hawes
Jen Chandler
Nick Wilford
Juneta Key
JH Moncrieff
Diane Burton
MJ Fifield


In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there.

Short Answer: Published ;-)

Long Answer: It takes more than wishes and dreams, doesn't it? I've been intentional about going to conferences and pitching agents who rep what I write. Doing what they suggest or say they want is hard work, but rewarding--even if the answer is no! Truly! Yeah, it's hard to hear that little word, but when they tell you more than a form rejection, it can be mined for gold.

Another thing I've done is to take advantage of the Blue Pencil session offered with my registration for the Surrey International Writers conference in October. I followed though on the suggestions before submitting to the two agents I spoke to there.


I've entered in a pitch contest. That one's still hanging, too.

What will I do now? Work on book 2 and start the long hard slog that is creating a target list of agents. I'm still a bit worried about that last one. ;-) But, I'll manage. Then I'll query. Yikes!

So, what about you? What are you doing for you Five-Year Plan?

Next Week: December's Mini Book Reviews--AKA the last minute gift suggestion list. ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Grateful Writer

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}


Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The colors of the leaves enchant me. The cooler temperatures allow me to turn inward and settle into a good story--either my own or someone else's. Everything says that it's time to be thankful for what I have, so I'd like to take this post and list a few of my reasons for thanksgiving this year.
  • My mother is home after a few trips to the hospital and doing better.
  • I pitched two agents at the Surrey International Writers Conference and both requested a submission--one a full and the other a partial. These requests are on their way.
  • My husband and the pups are doing well and make my life easier and more fun.
  • My best writing buddies and I planned for one and half years  to meet up at Surrey and pulled it off. From all over the world, we were able to congregate fourteen of our seventeen members for five days of amazing camaraderie and fun. Without these ladies, I'd not be submitting stories to agents and contests. So, I'd like to dedicate this post to the ladies who share the journey. Long may we write!
The Ladies!

    With Diana Gabaldon
  • I got to meet many of my buddies from the Books and Writers
    Jackie, Nan, and Cat
    Forum.
Taylor, Beth, and Veronica

Me, Taylor, and Beth
The Forum Gang!

With Aven























More of the B&W Crew!










Beautiful Surrey and Snow in the Rockies!



The next post will be in two weeks. See you on December 7 with another post from #IWSG.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Book Pusher's November Gratefulness, Part 2

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

I know you still need to buy a few Christmas gifts and I'm grateful for the good books I can share to finish your list off. Enjoy!

LETTERS FROM PARIS Juliet Blackwell: Women's Fiction

When two women, both searching for identity and separated by a century, are united by a mysterious letters, you have a fabulous new book by Juliet Blackwell. This one is a charmer. Must Read.

I LIKE YOU JUST FINE WHEN YOU'RE NOT AROUND Ann Garvin: Women's Fiction

Throw in job loss, a mother's dementia, an absentee boyfriend, and a sister's abandoned newborn, and you have Tig Monahan's life. Ann Garner's wise, warm, and wonderful story will have you turning the pages.

FLOWERS FROM THE STORM Laura Kinsale: Historical Romance

A classic romance by a master wordsmith! The fraught love of Christian and Maddy will keep you turning the pages, rooting for their marriage. Some scenes are on the spicy side.

LINNY'S SWEET DREAM LIST Susan Schild: Women's Fiction

(first in the Willow Hill series) With gentle truth, excellent characters, and a sure touch with story, Schild kicks off her debut and will warm you heart.

SWEET CAROLINA MORNING Susan Schild: Women's Fiction

Book 2 of Schild's Willow Hill series picks up almost where Linny's Sweet Dream List left off and continues the sweet, warm, and engaging life of Linny Taylor Jack Avery, and their families and friends.

Next Week: My Thanksgiving Gratefulness Post!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Book Pusher: November Gratefulness: K. Callihan, D. Chamberlain, D. Gabldon, C. Kline

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

FOREVERMORE Kristen Callihan: Paranormal Historical Romance

Forevermore is a satisfying and thrilling conclusion to Callihan's Darkest London series. Remember, these are on the spicy side.


NECESSARY LIES Diane Chamberlain: Women's Fiction

True stories create the most fascinating fiction as exemplified by Diane Chamberlain's harrowing and, in the end, hopeful story of the sad history of North Carolina's history. Social worker Jane Forrester uncovers a travesty based on a little known part of history. In her capable hands, there's hope for healing at the end.


VOYAGER Diana Gabaldon: Historical Fiction with a touch of SF

Trust me--you want to read all of Diana Gabaldon's books. This is the third in her OUTLANDER series. It encompasses the end and aftermath of the Rising of 1745 in the Scottish Highlands, Claire Fraser's need to find her husband, Jamie, and so much more. This is a must read in a series of must reads. Start at the first with OUTLANDER. You won't be disappointed by Gabaldon's lyrical prose, gripping stories, and deeply drawn characters.


ORPHAN TRAIN Christina Baker Kline: Women's Historcial Fiction

How I've neglected to read this one before now is a mystery, but I'm thrilled I read it. At its heart, Orphan Train is a story of two foster children whose travels and journey mirror each others even though eighty-two years apart. A must read.

Next Week: Links!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Insecure Writers 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!

Our Co-Sponsor's this month are:
Joylene Nowell Butler
Jen Chandler
Mary Aalgaar
 Lisa Buie Collard
Tamara Narayan
Tyrean Martinson
Christine Rains


What is your favorite aspect of writing?

For once there is no short answer. ;-) How can there be when writing is such a huge part of my life? I've thought about this question a lot and I keep coming back to one answer--other writers. Not storytelling--which is a major love of mine--or sharing my words with others. No, my favorite thing is other writers. Those people who get this craving that has so fulfilled my life. I can't tell you how much the people at the Books and Writers Forum mean to me. Or how important the Women's Fiction Writers Association is.

But when I get to the heart of it, I have to come home to the group who supports me, loves my stories, and can be most instructive with their critiques. These are the people who I turn to when the story goes awry. When I can't find words. When I need to cry over the darlings I've had to murder. They are also the people who planned for a year and a half to converge from all over the world at the Surrey International Writers Conference two weeks ago. Even though, three of our group couldn't make it, we kept in touch with them via Facebook. One sent a care box all the way from Australia full of Tim Tams and personalized notes and selections from our writing. There are no words that can express what these friends mean to me. They keep me writing. They keep me honest. And most of all, they are fabulous people who tell amazing stories.

Go, SOC, Go!

Next Week: The first of two November Book Reviews!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Book Pusher: More October Harvest for Christmas Shopping...

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

You need to fill those Christmas stockings with good books...You know you do! So here are a few more for you to consider.


AT THE EDGE OF SUMMER Jessica Brockmole: Women's Fiction

WWI's history yields some of the most fascinating stories. Brockmole's Clare and Luc are one testament to that truth. This is s must read.


PRETENDING TO DANCE Diane Chamberlain: Women's Fiction

How far do you have to run to leave anger behind? Chamberlain's Pretending to Dance is a compulsive read that answers that question beautifully.


THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS Cathy Lamb: Women's Fiction

When Toni Kozlovsky must confront grief and family trauma, her voice extends through a sage of sacrifice, love, and survival. Glorious storytelling makes this a must read.


PETAL, ROOT, THORN Ella Joy Olsen: Women's Fiction

Petal, Root, Thorn is a strong debut with five strong women, an uncommon love story, and the truth that there is sadness and joy in every story. This is another great read.


ECHOES OF FAMILY Barbara Claypole White: Women's Fiction

With wry humor and spot-on detail, Claypole White once again tells an insightful story of another mental illness. This is a do not miss read.


Next Week: IGSW, of course!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Links

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Wow! Check out Why the Great Green Dragon Could Not Exist.I guess I knew this from speaking and reading English for sixty (yes, you read that right years). It makes a ton of sense once you see it spelled out.

I bet you didn't know that writers are masochist. Really. Ready the Seven Cruel Ways Writers Torture Themselves. You'll understand.

Now to that writer torture device--the Query. Here's Rachelle Gardener's take.

And writer torture device number two--the synopsis. Here's three takes on how to do it:
Check out this reminder of how to approach a workshop--Check Your Ego at the Door.

Backstory takes finessing. Here's Margie's Rule Number 17: Finessing the Backstory.

Here's why you must backup your work--One for the Books: Novelist Runs Into Burning Home for Laptop

And finally after all of that, Remember Why You Started.

We deserve flower after all that work!
Creative Commons

Next Week: A second harvest of mini book reviews--just in time for Christmas shopping. ;-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Book Pusher--October Harvest: L. Bujold, S. Knipper, K. Long, F. North, W. Randel,

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}


A CIVIL CAMPAIGN Lois McMaster Bujold: SciFi--Space Opera/Romance

Bujold's hero, Miles Vorkosigan, heir to a Count and Imperial Auditor is in love, so why is he so scared the lady will get away? His congenital disability might be one, and the other suitors are flocking. Bujold is in fine form in this installment of her Vorkosigan series.

THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN Stephanie Knipper: Women's Fiction--magical realism

This amazing, magical tour of heart, love, sacrifice, death, and life will win your heart. Must Read!


BROKEN PIECES Kathleen Long: Women's Fiction

A journey of loss and loneliness results in healing and renewed strength. This is a lovely story that plumbs the depths of grief and finds a few smiles along the way.


THE WAY BACK HOME Freya North: Women's Fiction

Absolute freedom vs. absolute neglect--either creates a childhood to run away from. So, why is Oriana returning home after eighteen years? Mystery and secrets run the halls of Winward and we're allowed to peep in of them in North's THE WAY BACK HOME.


THE MOON IN THE PALACE Weina Dai Randel: Historical Women's Fiction

This hypnotic historical of the young Empress Wu has political intrigue and palace jealousies. Set in the atmosphere of ancient China, THE MOON IN THE PALACE is a great coming of age story.


Next Week: October Links!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: When do you know your story is ready?

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Insecure Writers 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!

Our Co-Sponsor's this month are:
 Beverly Stowe McClure
Megan Morgan
Viola Fury
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Angela Wooldridge
Susan Gourley

When do you know your story is ready?

Short Answer: A long time after you think it is. ;-)

Long Answer: There are steps to getting a story ready. When you've finished the first/second/third draft, you might think it's ready, but wait! There's more to be done. If you don't have some beta readers, get them post haste. You need more eyes on the story before it sees the light of publishing. I know I needed this step. When my betas could easily identify places I told instead of showing, others that were actual plot holes, and most importantly, characters who needed to be expanded so that the motivations behind their actions were clear. Without this input my story would have been much poorer.

Next I found that polishing was a labor-intensive step. This step took more than one pass. I was still amazed at what I'd missed and shudder what I'm still lacking even though three agents have partials. 

That's when I knew it was time to pitch. I've not worked up the moxie to cold query yet. I'll let this round of partials play out was I work on book 2. 
Walk Among the Leaves with Me

Happy Writing!
Next week: A new harvest of the Book Pusher's Mini Book Reviews!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Connections and WFWA Rising Star and Star Awards

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the right column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

Connections with other writers is key to the wellbeing of the day-to-day writer. Sure, it can be a lonely business, but it doesn't need to be. Find your tribe, your buddies, your fellow genre writers. Next, figure out where you can hang out face-to-face. I promise you won't be disappointed. You'll return to your daily writing rejuvenated and energized.

Romance writers have the RWA conferences. Christian writers have the AFCW Conference. You name the genre and I predict there is a connection point for you.

If you write Women's Fiction like I do, it's the Women's Fiction Writers Association yearly retreat. We met last week in Albuquerque. I promise I'm raring to go back into my work now.

Add the announcement of the finalists of the 2016 Rising Star and the first ever STAR award to the excitement. I'm honored to be able to share these winners with you.

Albuquerque, New Mexico – September 23, 2016 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) announced the winners of the Star Award given to authors of published women’s fiction. This is the first year Star Awards have been bestowed, and are the start of an annual tradition.
The Star Award General winner is Scott Wilbanks for The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster. Wilbanks is an American living in Auckland, New Zealand.  His book was published in August 2015.
The Star Award Outstanding Debut winner is Kelli Estes for The Girl Who Wrote in Silk. Estes lives near Seattle, Washington, and her book was published in July 2015.


Albuquerque, New Mexico – September 24, 2016 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the winners of the third annual Rising Star award given to authors of unpublished women’s fiction.  This is an annual award, and agents active in acquiring women’s fiction chose the winners.
       The First Place Rising Star winner is “The Substitute Princess” by Kathleen M. Basi.  Basi lives in Columbia, Missouri.  Her book is about a woman who takes on an actress gig as the substitute princess for the Prince of Monaco’s fiancĂ©e to save her family’s deeply in debt Christmas tree farm, and learns that fairy tale love can’t replace love with family connections.
The second place Rising Star winner is “By Accident” by Laura Levin, who lives in Nyack, New Jersey.  This book reveals life’s choices that are made by a family regarding love, marriage, unintended pregnancies, guilt behind a friend’s death and the secrets that are kept as a marriage and lives are tested by a stranger’s phone call.
The third place Rising Star winner is “Shelter Me” by Gabrielle Luthy.  She lives in St. Kilda, Australia.  The character in Luthy’s book is an in-debt surrogate mother who returns to the father of her child for financial help, but entry into the financial world of investors leads to an accusation of embezzlement which forces her to make decisions regarding family, love and honor.

Here's a few pictures to give you a flavor of the conference and the connection I shared, the beauty of Albuquerque and the lovely sky of the area. Enjoy!






Next Week: the IWSG October post!