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!

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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: 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

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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: 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!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June IWSG:

{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:
JH Moncrieff
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Jen Chandler
Megan Morgan
Heather Gardner



June Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Ha! Many times, I've tried to quit when the words stopped coming. When I ran into rejections. When I wearied of the entire run-around that can be seeking representation. 

But, I can't. Try as hard as I have tried to quit at times, I can't shake the feeling that I'm meant to write. And meant to write the stories I've been inspired to write. Here's the thing, I write Inspirational stories. For years, I tried to fool myself that I wrote enough to the ABA side of the market to pick up an agent of that style books, it wasn't meant to be. The last agent I pitched and queried, praised my writing, but called a spade a spade--"your writing leans to the Christian market, and I don't have the contacts to sell it." 

Did that make me want to quit? Not this time. I retooled my thinking, started my hunt for conferences that showcase agents for the Christian market, and I'm in it for the long haul. I'll never doubt this journey isn't path I'm destined to walk. 

Links!

Great Ideas! "13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime"

In an general, life affirming way, I offer--"How to Complain Less"--We all need this one.

And another oh, so important one for the care and feeding of writers--"Your Body is as Important as Your Mind"

Next Post: Why the Book Pusher post for June, of course! ;-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Book Pusher: May

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You know you need books for the summer... ;-)


THE TASTE OF AIR Gail Cleare: Women's Fiction

Life is short. Be happy. How long does it take to learn this deceptively simple idea? For Mary Reilly and her daughters it takes a cottage in Vermont.


LOOK LIVE Patricia McLinn: Mystery

With another snappily plotted mystery, McLinn extends her Caught Dead in Wyoming series into high tech and missing sons.



THE SCARLETT THREAD Francine Rivers: Christian Women's Fiction

Good story in an older style. A CBA classic. This is one of the best Christian Women's Fiction title available. Be sure to read with the time it was written in mind. 


UNSTRUNG Laura Spinella: Women's Fiction

This is one of the most amazing books I've read lately. Olivia Klein's life is both haunting and uplifting. I'm amazing and transported as only singing choral music has in my life. Her main character is a symphony violinist, and Spinella describes the feeling of providing the door knob into Heaven that I've experienced singing in a choir. An amazing read. Get this one! Read it now! You'll never forget it.

What are you afraid of? Check out "Time to be Honest About the Fear That's Getting in Your Way".

"How to Embrace Your Strengths--and Flaws--To Find Your Writing Voice" says it all.

By all means, read Chip MacGregor's answers for writers' questions.

Check this one out, too! "Literary Agents Aren't Dead, Part 1"

Next Post: IWSG, of course!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day: My Momma Had Words With Me

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Momma with my siblings and me
I do post this every year, but this year it's even more special. On April 29, I was honored to read "My Momma Had Words With Me" at Atlanta's Listen To Your Mother show.

Momma, I love you and honor your gift of the love of reading. And always will.
My Momma Had Words with Me


            I don’t know if it’s true anywhere else, but in the South, to “have words with” someone means to fuss, argue, or reprimand. My momma had another purpose for having words with me, for me, and around me. We didn’t discuss why people read or why it was important. My siblings and I just read. The power, magic, and glory of words surrounded us. No lectures were needed. No punishment was forthcoming to make us read. It was second nature to read. After all, our parents read in front of us every day. Momma focused on fiction while Daddy read the newspaper, biographies, and his professional journals.
So, it was all Momma’s fault that my father-in-law was shocked when my daddy built bookshelves that covered half the walls in our study from the floor to ten-foot ceiling. With wide eyes, he said, “No one has that many books!”
            My husband shrugged. “She does. Everyone in her family does.” He knew there would be no wasted space in our study.
            It was Momma’s fault that we take delight in words. She gave us no choice in the matter. From the time we were toddlers, we all had library cards and joined the summer reading program at the regional library branch in our home town. Every week, we checked out five books. All the librarians knew us by name.
How do you feed a growing reading habit? Momma knew. She made sure there were books to read that challenged us. She made reading more books fun and expected. When our abilities to read outstripped our ages and we needed bigger, more complex books, Momma checked out adult books for us on her own library card. As the school librarian at my elementary school, she found harder and harder books for me to read when I had read everything at the lower levels. I clearly remember reading Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson in the fifth grade. It was my first adult novel and I’ll never forget holding the large book and being carried away into the Southwest by the words.
In time, my siblings and I found our own preferred genres. When given a list of three hundred books for college-bound students in the 1960’s, we attacked it from different angles. The fact that the complete works of Shakespeare and the great Greek historians were available in our home, made it easy to get started. My sister loves literature. My brother has a taste for biography, science, history, and true life adventure books. I read history, fiction of all types, and poetry.
            As voracious readers, we are the people who keep bookstores—large, small and online—in business. We are the people who always have up-to-date library cards. Our to-be-read lists of new books and old favorites are extensive. None of us is bored as long as there is something to read. And that isn’t likely to happen if we live a thousand years.
            It’s Momma’s fault that there is a longstanding family joke about the end of civilization. If an asteroid or other near extinction event occurred, our combined libraries would form the basis for restarting science, math, history, and literature. We could quickly raise man’s knowledge back to its former heights.
            The majesty and beauty of the words I grew up with created the desire to shape and form my own stories, to create new adventures, new people to meet, and new places to go. Momma encouraged me. She kept the poetry I wrote as an eight-year-old. Her simple acceptance made no obstacle insurmountable. Her faith that I could do anything I wanted allowed me to experiment and try different styles. She not only taught me to love words, but the persistence it takes to shape, order, and arrange them in coherent ways. When she gave me the love of words, she gave me the tools to accomplish what I desired to do. She gave me the ability to tell stories that soothe hurts, inspire challenges, and entertain. My mother gave me life—physically, mentally, and emotionally. She gave me dreams and encouraged me to strive to reach for them. My mother gave me words to share and the persistence to achieve the dream of being a writer. She still encourages me to write and inspires me with her own voracious reading.
            Thank you, Momma, for having words with me. I love you.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: May

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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:
Michelle Wallace
Nancy Gideon
Tamara Narayan
Liesbet @ Roaming About

Feather Stone

Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Short Answer: Everything! ;-)

Long Answer:  Since I write contemporary Women's Fiction, the adjectives "weirdest" and "coolest" doesn't mean the same as I think it would to a writer of SF or Fantasy. My research is grounded in the reality of families. The saddest, most unforgettable, and important thing I've researched so far is the foster care system--both nationwide and in Georgia in particular. My stats are for back in 2006-2010, but there were 854 case workers over fourteen thousand children in foster care and under the watch of the Department of Family and Children Services.

As one of my characters says:
“When home becomes a war zone, the first casualties are the children.”

And: “Consider just one form of abuse—sexual. One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused during their childhood, and only one in ten will tell someone about it."

There you have it. The sad state of our abused children and the families that need help. It's one of the reasons for my first WIP--MOTHER'S DAY--to show the need and the scope of the problem. It's a huge topic, but when you get to the nitty-gritty, it's about the children in the cracks.

So, you can see what research means to me. I'm a retired teacher, and I was a trained mandated reporter. I taught the children of the foster care system and the abused. I still worry about the ones in the system today.

It's research that makes that come alive in my story, and research that causes others to get involved in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), as foster parents, or working to offer respite for the caregivers.


Next Post: A special return of my essay, "My Momma Had Words With Me." On Saturday, April 29, I was honored to be included in a cast of eleven marvelous women in the Atlanta Listen to Your Mother 2017 show. Check out my cast spotlight. We share essays of and about motherhood. It was a fabulous show!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Book Pusher: April Mini Book Reviews

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THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN Eva Marie Everson: Christian Women's Fiction

With a fabulous mystery wrapped in a mystery, Things Left Unspoken dives deep into Southern stories and history and what it means to grow from twisted roots, but become straight and true. A must read! You won't be sorry.


SAILING OUT OF DARKNESS Normandie Fischer:  Christian Women's Fiction with elements of Romance

Normadie Fischer is a wonderful writer. I love all the storylines--Sam, Teo, Jack, and India. (I would never have guessed the storyline for India and Jack!) She did a great job of portraying depression. Be sure to read BECALMED and all her Carolina Coast stories.


THE ART OF LOSING YOURSELF Katie Ganshert: Christian Women's Fiction

A stirring story of faith and what it takes to survive lifts The Art of Losing Yourself. How dry do your bones have to get when your hopes and dreams are denied before you ask for help? Carmen Hart and her half-sister Gracie Fisher are taken to their last step in this lovely story.


THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME Cynthia Ruchti: Christian Women's Fiction

They Almost Always Come Home is a stirring story of faith and what it takes to survive. Libby and Greg Holmes must journey through grief and marital estrangement to find their lives again.

Links: (You know I'll have some.)

Glennon Doyle Melton has two words for writers: Faith and Sweat. I like that.

Listen To Your Mother/Atlanta will be at 2:00 PM at the Act3 Theatre, in Sandy Springs, GA on April 29. Come one, come all!!! Psst: I'll be reading my essay "My Momma Had Words With Me." ;-)

And check this out! I'm the first cast member who was under the spotlight for the Atlanta Listen To Your Mother April 29.


Next Post: IWSG!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG: April

{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:
Christopher D. Votey
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Fundy Blue
Chrys Fey




Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Ut oh... No, but there's a reason for that. Something about my overused excuse--health. See, I've never even attempted the A to Z Challenge. I know my limits and I know I can't even think of that many posts in one month or even a theme. Add that I don't have a book to market, and you have a hive of reasons for not even being a member of that challenge.

Okay. Okay. I know your wondering what's keeping me in the IWSG? I know I'm not good at visiting around. That makes me sorry at supporting all of the rest of you. I can only blame my lack of focus and energy. I'll try to do better.

But, I do have some stellar links for you this month. :-)

Great link: Check out Jennifer Johnson-Blalock's "Six Tips for Sending a Requested Manuscript."

And "STORY GENIUS--for Pantsers."

And one more! "How to Write a Novel".

I couldn't leave this out--"Writer Guilt vs. Writer Shame."

And one more--I'm on a roll--Nathan Bransford offers another good post of queries--"Summarizing Through Specificity"

Next Post: April's Book Pusher Mini Reviews, of course!
(Psst! I might not be very good at other things, but I am good at pushing books.)