Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Book Pusher: November

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Get a jump on your Christmas shopping with theses gems!

THE BRONZE SKIES Catherine Asaro: SF

With an assured character voice, Asaro continues the story of Major Bhaajan that takes you deep into the Skolian Empine's history. 


SHARDS OF HONOR Lois McMaster Bujold: Space Opera

With this resounding story, Lois McMaster Bujold created a SF series that will stand the test of time. It's a good as anything any other Grand Master has ever written.

A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD Julia Spencer-Fleming: Mystery

This is the second of Spencer-Fleming's marvelous Russ Van Alstyne and Rev. Clare Ferguson stories. If you love mystery, read this one.

A BROKEN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL Katie Ganshert: Christian Women's Fiction with elements of Romance

Redemption and forgiveness are big concepts for us to understand and, more importantly, live. Ivy Clark, Sara Knight, and Davis Knight all have a difficult and different road to understand the truth--God is love. Taking the journey with them is worth your time. Excellent read. One of Ganshert's best.

POLDARK (ROSS) Bk. 1 Winston Graham: Historical

With a mix of sweet romance and the history of Cornwall, this story is a lovely combination that will keep you turning the pages.


A SON'S VOW Shelley Shepard Gray: Women's Fiction and Romance

Gray pens a riveting story of grief and recovery with elements of women's fiction and romance. This is a lovely read.




THE POISON WE DRINK Carol McClain: Women's Fiction

Torrie Sullivan and her friends face one of our greatest problems--bitterness. But healing is available. A Good Read.


ANOTHER WAY HOME Deborah Raney: Romance

How long do you have to wait for God's time? Danae and Dallas learn how hard waiting is when infertility and family twines together in the third Chicory Inn book. Lovely read.


EMPIRE FALLS Richard Russo: Literary Fiction

With a deep understanding of the failing economy and the desperation it engenders, Russo creates characters who will draw you in and hurtle you through a whirl of emotions. A classic Pulitzer Winner.

Next Post: Insecure Writers Support Group, of course!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: November and Links!

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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! Co-Hosts: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton,  MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

To NaNo, or not to NaNo? That is the question.

I'll not make the Bard roll any longer, but the question still stands. Tons of writers will join in the writing orgy that is November and the National Novel Writing Month. I'll be cheering them on, but I'll only be participating from the side. See, I know myself. To get obsessed with numbers of words drafted is a sure want to shut my production down. I've leaned to participate unofficially. I'm actually in the midst of a drafting stage, so I'll be putting down words. Only, I will not total them up. The words will still be drafted, but I will never know how many were added. That way, I can join the push without losing my way into the counting of words at the expense of writing them. Back in 2010, I wrote 22,000 new words using this method. (I see your question...how do I know how many there were that year? As a member of a group who posted our raw words to threads, the counting was done for me. See, no counting on my part. ;-) 


Let the word flood begin! And good luck of all of us toiling with story stuff this month. 


Links!
Next Post: Why a great big list of Mini Book Reviews, of course! What did you expect?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Book Pusher: October

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Here's a harvest of books for you!


UNDERCITY Catherine Asaro: SF
Undercity is a stirring addition to Asaro's Skolian Empire Series. The main character is an unlikely hero--Major Bhaajan--a PI with a voice you'll love.



BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT Joanna Bourne: Historical Romance

With another fabulous romance, Joanna Bourne finds Severine de Cabrillac an interesting romantic option--a jewel thief and wine maker. But can they find who killed his wife and is after Severine in time? You'll turn the pages as fast as you can read because Bourne has created a wonderful plot--a always.


THE FEATHERED BONE Julie Cantrell: Women's Fiction

This is an amazing examination of faith and grace at the intersection of abuse and family life. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans and Katrina, Cantrell's story will stop you cold and rebuild your compassion.


IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER Julia Spencer-Fleming: Mystery

Not only are Spencer-Fleming's books wonderful, intricate mysteries, she also creates deep, rich characters. The developing relationship between Clare Fergusson, the Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the police chief, is amazing for it emotional reality. If you read mysteries, read these books! If you love real characters, read these books.


SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL Diana Gabaldon: Historical Fiction with elements of SF

Anytime you read this master of fiction's words, you're in for a treat. That goes double for new words. This anthology is stuffed with five older short (well, at least by Gabaldon's standards) pieces
and two ravishing new ones. Get it now!

THE ALMONST SISTERS Joshilyn Jackson Women's Fiction

This is Jackson's best book yet. With an unflinching vision, The Almost Sisters takes on the real layers of the South and race, allowing us to come to the truth of who we are and what we could become. Absolutely must read now!

CLOSER HOME Kerry Anne King: Women's Fiction

No matter how far you go, you're always moving closer to home. At least, that's what Annalise Redding discovers in King's story. Good read!


THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US Charles Martin: Adventure/Romance

The Mountain Between Us is an amazing testament to enduring love and the stamina and faith required to maintain it. Must Read (Now, a movie, but I haven't seen it.)

TWO ROADS HOME Deborah Raney: Christian home life 

The second story of the five Chicory Inn series is a sweet story of counting the blessings and choice we all make. A sweet read.


LIFT AND SEPARATE Marilyn Simon Rothstein: Women's Fiction

This is a wry look at marriage, family, mothers, and of course, bra sizes and fit. This one will have you in stitches--and tears. Good read.

Next Post: November IWSG

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG October, Conference Report, and Links!

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IWSG Poster Child




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! Co-Hosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

October Question
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Short Answer: 
Of course! Why recreate the wheel? ;-)

Long Answer:
My main character is a retired history teacher who is recently widowed and childless not by choice. I'm a retired teacher, childless not by choice whose husband is very much alive and a wicked plot-twist generator. My hubby is the body model, as am I for the two characters. In fact, all that my MC says about her hubby--elementary teacher, tall, blonde, gorgeous, etc. is all about my man. Like I said, why recreate a person who isn't like the one who still makes my heart beat after forty years? 

Many of my characters are drawn from real people. Why not? After the hours I've invested in people watching, it's only to be expected. Right? 

Conference Report:
I've just returned from the 2017 ACFW conference. I came home with four agents looking for my proposal. One's already said no. Three to go. Cross your fingers for me. 

Links!
Next post: The Book Pusher for September to fill all your reading needs...uh...for awhile. ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Book Pusher: September

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BARRAYAR Lois McMaster Bujold: Space Opera

If you like your adventure pulse-pounding, BARRAYAR is your book. Add two of the most delicious love interests ever and you're in for a treat. Intelligent characters make this read wonderful. Read this Book!

SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE Christa Allan: Christian Women's Fiction

When life goes into storm mode for Olivia Kavanaugh, she has to find the faith to let herself forgive and live. A fabulous read!


EVERYTHING WE LEFT BEHIND Kerry Lonsdale: Romance and Family Fiction

Be sure to read Everything We Keep first. This sequel will keep you turning its pages with its amazing plot twists and deep psychological insight. Great Read!


HOME TO CHICORY LANE Deborah Raney: Christian Fiction

Home to Chicory Lane is sweet start to a five-book series and is the story of the tight-knit Whitman clan and how going home again can be the answer to achieving your dreams.


WHEN THE MORNING GLORY BLOOMS Cynthia Ruchti: Christian Women's Fiction

When the Morning Glory Blooms is the story of three women, three tales of motherhood in all its joy, sorrows, and above all else, love. Ruchti's story will hold you heart and fill it with the beauty of forgiveness and family. 


MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE Robin Sloan: Magical Realism/WF

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore is truly an unclassifiable story, that rewards its readers with one of the sweetest truths at its heart. Check the genre classification on Amazon before reading to see if it fits your tastes, but you'll be glad you read it. 

Next Post: IWSG
I'll be attending the ACFW Conference in Texas this week. Keep my in your prayers, thoughts, and wish me the best! 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 ACFW Conference Mix and Mingle

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This is going to be fun! I'm attending the ACFW Conference starting Wednesday. 


Just a reminder of my last large conference--Surrey International, October 2016

I wanted to get into the swing of meeting a few people early. Check out Laurie Tomlinson's blog for more info on the Mix and Mingle.

– Copy/paste the questions and fill out your own answers in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that specific post (not your homepage) using this handy link-up tool. Just click on the button below that says “Add your link”. If you don’t have a website, feel free to answer the questions in the comments below!
– Make sure to link back to Laurie’s post after you fill out your answers so any of your readers who are conference attendees can participate, too! The more, the merrier.

Name: Zan Marie Steadham (As a good Southern girl, I use both of my given names. ;-)


Location: Temple, GA


What you write/tagline/trademark: Tag line: Hope Comes Home. I write contemporary Women's Fiction. In the blogging world, I'm known as "The Book Pusher." Check my posts out!


Place in the book world: Published author of two devotionals and two church histories. I've edited a history and a TBI patient's memoir.


On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: All the hugs, all the time.


Something VERY serious: How do you take your Starbucks? Tea! Iced, hot, all the time.


The unique talking points that will get you going for hours: Besides my WIP, I'll talk about history, teens, and my two toy poodles. FYI: I have a deep-fried Southern accent of a Georgian born and bred. 


Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: My husband of 40 years and our current pets, Max and Casey--the above mentioned toy poodles.


Conference goals we can pray for? I’ll be there from Wednesday afternoon and I'm praying for a chance to pitch several agents and connect to other writers of all genres.


Anything we can celebrate with you? My 40th anniversary was two weeks ago. There are great people to meet by the map of Africa in a college class...just saying.


If you wish, you could like my author page

I can't wait!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG for September and Links!

{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! 
Co-Hosts: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler Raimey Gallant Beverly Stowe McClure

September Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?)

Short Answer: All the time. Everyday. ;-) 

Long Answer: I've been working on my present WIP since March 2008. It was only this May that I realized the theme of my story. It's been in front of my face the entire time. I write Christian Women's Fiction. Here's my short pitch. 


Laura Grace Bradshaw, retired teacher, childless, and recently widowed, defies her narrow-minded family and her small Southern church when she opens her home to abused twelve-year old Samantha Smith, who might be the key to long-buried family secrets.
Do you see the theme? I didn't. It's a Good Samaritan story. Truly, I hadn't seen that until lately. I added an epigram and some scripture at the end to show the theme more clearly. Will those additions be part of the published version? I have no clue. Only the Good Lord above knows that. 
When I pitch it at the national ACFW conference in Dallas later in September, we'll see if any of the agents like it. Whatever happens, I know the best will be. I trust the new understanding to see me through. 
What about you? What's the craziest thing you've learned from writing?
Links:
Next post: September Book Pusher, of course. ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Book Pusher: August

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FACE THE CHANGE Samantha Bryant: SF

The third installment in the "Menopausal Superheroes" series is a fitting addition to a creative storyline. Read the first two and come to this one, ready to enjoy!



THE RULES OF HALF Jenna Patrick: Family and Women's Fiction

How hard it is to live where everyone knows you're crazy and treats you as the town pariah? Will Fletcher knows. And the women who love him fight to protect and care for him. Fabulous Read!


A FRAGILE HOPE Cynthia Ruchti: Christian Women's Fcition

How I love everyone of Ruchti's books, but A Fragile Hope is the best yet. Josiah and Karin Chamberlain's story of love, hope, and growth is as good as it gets. Don't wait! Read this one Now! 


REDEEMING LOVE Francine Rivers: Christian Historical Romance and Women's Fiction

With this inspired retelling of the Bible's "Hosea" in the gold fields of California, Rivers opens up the truth of grace and forgiveness for many. This is an other title, but worth the read any day.


BEFORE WE WERE YOURS Lisa Wingate: Women's Fiction

All families have stories from their past, but should secrets be hidden from the descendants? For the children of the Acadia, Wingate answers a resounding no! Excellent read!

Next Post: IWSG 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: August

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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!
Co-Hosts: Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor Yvonne Ventresca LG Keltner


July Question:
What are your pet peeves when reading/ writing/ editing?

1. Having to edit out And, But, Now, Well, and Oh at the beginning of nearly every dialogue line. You'd think that by now, I'd stop clearing my rhetorical throat.

2. Editing every book I read. Again, you'd think I'd understand that I can't affect the page I'm reading after it's published. (Worse yet--rereading my own published things. Oh. My. Goodness!)

3. Twiddling my pen/keyboard for hours for four measly little words. I'd be happy with ten. Nah! Don't you even think it.

4. Since I draft in the pantsing style, I find editing threads together to be a bit on the onerous side. Unfortunately, I'm a bit stuck in this style. Though, I will read Lisa Cron's STORY GENIUS as I draft the next novel. I think... 

5. Having to cut really great scenes because of # 4. Sigh.

What are your pet peeves in this great game of wordsmithing?

Once again, I apologize for not getting around to other IWSG blogs. Chronic Pain and Fatigue is a nasty taskmaster.  


Links:
Must Read: "The Two Demons of Despair"--I can't think of a better link for IWSG!

"You're Aren't Lazy--You're Just Terrified"--Great article that explains so much!

"7 Tips to Help you Write When You Don't Feel Like It"--Another great article!

"What is the Theme of a Your Story?"--This one is super helpful!

"How to Write in Deep POV + get into the mind of your character" is another excellent link.

And here's a big dose of truth about writing--"Writing Through Life's Stages"

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Book Pusher: July

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The more books, the merrier your summer will be! 


THE STONE NECKLACE Carla Damron: Women's Fiction

Mitch Hastings is a braided cord that ties this cast of wonderful characters together--each with their own demons, but potential to live a fuller life. Great read!


LOOKING GLASS LIES Varina Denman: Women's Fiction

Cecily Ross's self esteem has taken a beating and she has fallen into the depths. Her climb to the heights is inspiring and truthful. Good read.


BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS Camille Di Maio: Women's Fiction

This is a fabulous story of love, sacrifice, and redemption. Della Lee's story will break your heart and mend it all at the same time. An absolutely must read.


LIFE AFTER Katie Ganshert: Christian Women's Fiction

Learning to ask who, not why is at the heart of Autumn and Paul's story. This one is a Must Read Now!


A NEST OF SPARROWS Deborah Raney: Christian Fiction

Life is a long, winding journey toward home and Wade Sullivan's is one of the most rewarding. Raney has crafted a story of heart, love, and concern. Good read


AS WATERS GONE BY Cynthia Ruchti: Christian Women's Fiction

The journey from despair to hope is a long one, and Ruchti's characters are rich, inviting, and forgiving. Lovely story! Told exceedingly well! Must Read

Next Post: Insecure Writers Support Group!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: July

{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!
Co-Hosts: Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, Doreen McGettigan








July Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Surprise! I can't come up with a short answer. ;-)


Limiting the answer to one valuable lesson is hard, because there is so much I'm learned through writing. To make a value judgement though, I'll say the most valuable one is to trust my voice--in all aspects. When I write, I know my values and life experience comes into play. Trusting myself to express that is key to being able to tell a story that holds interest. Creating characters who are individuals requires that I trust my creations to hold together. All of that depends on my trust of my voice--the one that underlies all I do. Learning this lesson has made writing more fluid, rewarding, and exciting. All in all, that's a victory over self doubt, don't you think?


And remember--errors are just opportunities to improve. 

Next Post: Why The Book Pusher's July Mini Book Reviews!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Book Pusher: June

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It's Summertime and the books are here! Go to the beach, mountains, deck, backyard--I'm not picky--and read! ;-)


LAND OF SILENCE Tessa Afshar: Christian Women's Fiction

Like a tapestry, Land of Silence has to be woven from disparate threads. Afshar's talent for weaving Biblical truth and stellar storytelling will leave you breathless. Read it now!

THE HIDEAWAY Lauren K. Denton: Women's Fiction

Family secrets and enduring love, both past and present, are tucked into every room and crevice of The Hideaway. Sara Jenkins must uncover her grandmother Mag's life to find her own life. Wonderful read!


THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN Karen Katchur: Women's Fiction

How many secrets does it take to create an avalanche? Katchur's mystery has as many twists as a mountain road. Great read!

THE DISTANCE HOME Orly Konig: Women's Fiction

Emma Metz must find the path home through loneliness, loss, and rejection, but the destination is all the sweeter once she reaches her safe harbor and destined home.

ELISHEVA: PART I--THE PRICE Michelle Levigne: Christian Women's Fiction

In the tradition of older novel's like The Robe, Levigne's first century residents experience Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Relive this story of life with these vivid characters and find hope in the story that gives life.


A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN Susan Meisner: Women's Fiction

With multiple POVs and timelines, Meisner weaves another spell-binding story with war brides, with their stories of love and resistance, and a present day woman with the gift that ties them together in amazing ways.


Links:
Pansters unite! "The Case for Writing a Story Before You Know How it Ends"

"One Habit Every Writer Needs Right Now" I'm so big on goals--tiny, small, medium, or large--that I help other writers make and keep them at the Community CompuServe Books and Writers Forum. Truly this link will change your writing.

And queries, of course--"How to Immediately Improve Your Query Letter's Effectiveness"

Next post: Insecure Writers Support Group, of course!