Friday, January 19, 2018

The Swamp Witch Giveaway Has A Winner!

Well the contest closed at midnight last night and this morning I finally got around to picking a winner. Now it’s time to tell the world!

Tasha R. entered the contest by visiting the author of The Swamp Witch series on Facebook – you can find Sonia Taylor Brock here – and will now be the proud owner of a paperback set of the 4 books currently in the series, as well as a bit of swag the author will be sending her way.



Congratulations Tasha, I hope you’ll enjoy the stories of this series as much as I have!!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

FAOM: We Recommend...

The very first romance novel I read was a historical romance I stole off my older sister’s shelf when I was a teenager. I fell in love with the characters of that book and the somewhat madcap, sort of heartbreaking, but totally enchanting story that was told. I was always an avid reader and dreamer but that book was quite possibly the first time I was left with a HEA that simply melted my heart. When I first read that book I was on the verge of first love, I had a basic understanding of relationships and what they entailed (I was a teen after all, and it was the ‘90’s), but romance wasn’t really something I’d spent a lot of time thinking about in detail.

Throughout my remaining teenage years, I found myself searching the shelfs for books which would leave me feeling a similar warm-heartedness upon finishing the last page. It wasn’t until my early 20’s (and after having my first child) that I put forth a concerted effort to find the kind of books that provided that feeling and gave me a brief mental escape from my daily life. That moment, or period in my life is really when my obsession, for lack of a better word, with the romance genre came in to being. I went back to that very first book and read it again, then I haunted the library and bookstores exploring the shelves. I used the internet to the best of my ability to discover other authors and books that would be similar to what had hooked my interest in the first place. In those early days of my romance reading, historical romance was my go-to and my collection of books (these days in the Corner Table House referred to as “Mom’s Love Library”) has grown and grown and grown.

It’s no longer just historical romance on my shelves, but the books and stories from those early days are still some of my favorites to turn to when I need a break from my normal chaotic life, or when I want a romantic story that offers a glimpse into a way of life entirely different from today, or when…. Well, you get the point. Even today I still love historical romance.

So, when I started working with Kelly for this month’s FAOM posts I decided to ask her if she’d help me out with a new kind of post for the blog. A kind of recommended reading, top 5 in a genre, my favorite stories kind of list post. And that’s what we have for you today. Each of us scoured our minds, our bookshelves and our hearts, and have come up with 5 historical romance novels that we recommend to you…

5 Books Recommended By Author Kelly Lyman
Historical Romance

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. If you've read this book already (or seen the Starz show) need I say more? This book has everything. And I really do mean everything. I have read it roughly five times. I would have listed each book, but Voyager, on the list, but didn't think that would be fair. This is, hands down, my favorite series of all time...excluding Harry Potter which goes on a totally other list. #jamiefrazerforever


2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. While not many people would put this into the historical romance category but rather historical fiction, I have to add this one. I read this book in one week – which given the size and the fact I have four kids and tend to be a slow reader, says a lot. I could not put this book down. And, I think it is fine to have it in my top 5 because there is a huge romance storyline in the book. I also enjoyed this mini series. 



3. The Turncoat by Donna Thorland. This book is all about the Revolutionary War. And it has spies. And it has lovers on opposite sides of the war.  Also, I'm in love with the cover. 

4. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. This is the first book in a series. I loved each book, but this first one is what got me hooked. The humor is great and the author does a fantastic job with each character in the series (and there are a ton of them!). I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit during this series.


5. The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden. This is simply a sweet, sweet romance. The characters are well developed and I was engaged with the story from page one. It is well written and I couldn't put it down.

5 Books Recommended by LD Ferris
Historical Romance

1. Say You Love Me by Johanna Lindsey. This is that first romance novel that ensnared my mind, my imagination and my heart with the genre. This book is the 5th in Lindsay’s The Malory’s series – I did go back to read the ones that came before it and all that have come after it in the series and loved every single one – but this one still (and will forever) holds a very special place in my heart.

2. Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens. Reading The Malory’s also introduced me to something else that, to this day, I truly love. Long, involved, interweaving series whose books main characters are all family, or in some way related. Searching for something similar to The Malory’s brought me to Laurens’ The Cynster’s series. This title is the first book in the series and throughout the many, many books that have followed, I’m still fascinated by the stories, the characters and everything.


3. To Wed a Scandalous Spy by Celeste Bradley. Because who doesn’t love a good spy romance? The intrigue, the adventure. Add in the romance and you’ve got a winner in your hands. This story has all that and is chock full of humour too. This is a first book in a series as well and launches Bradley’s Royal Four series.

4. Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. This one is the 4th book in Quinn’s Bridgerton series - another family series featuring the 8 Bridgerton siblings. I truly adore each of the siblings’ story but I am in love with this one because it also features the character who (in many of Quinn’s books) is also known as Lady Whistledown and who throughout the first 1/2 of this series constantly offers commentary on life in English/London high society and the Bridgerton Family quite often. Truly, this book and the whole series cracks me up, makes me happy and touches my heart with the sweet, warm-hearted stories.


5. Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh. The 5th book in The Bedwyn Saga, I was captivated by each of the books in the series but this one… this is one of those stories that knowing all that’s come before the first page only makes every emotion stronger, every situation more important, more meaningful and simply more. I struggled to pick a favorite book from this particular series, they really are all wonderful, but for so many reasons this one had to be it.

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Which books from our lists have you read? Which ones will be added to your own TBR lists? While we’re at it, why not share your own #1 historical romance read with us?

Any hey, speaking of historical romance… Have you entered to win a e-copy of Kelly’s The Petticoat Letters today? Click here to do it now!

Monday, January 15, 2018

FAOM: An Author INTERVIEW Part 1 - Life & Writing

Life as a writer, an author?

I certainly class myself as a writer and though I’m working toward it, I can’t yet call myself an author – at least not a published one. I don’t know about other aspiring authors out there but I constantly find myself wondering whether, or more accurately how my life differs or is the same as the authors whose work I read. So every time I’m in the position of chatting with an author about being an author I inevitably ask the basics, the every day, and how they ended up at the point they’re at.

This month I feel I’m in a particularly intriguing position of being able to talk with an author who is brand new to the title of “published author” and so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to really look at the difference between where she is and where I feel I am. Fortunately for me, January's Featured Author of the Month Kelly Lyman is a great sport and devoted a good bit of time to really thinking about my questions, coming up with insightful answers, and more. (I'll tell you a little about the more at the end of this post!)

Today we talk about the simple but extremely complex part – the writing



THE INTERVIEW – Part 1
[italicized = LDF // regular = Kelly Lyman]

Why (or how) did you decide to be a writer?

Well, I sort-of fell into it. It was after the birth of my second baby and I was feeling frustrated. I needed a creative outlet (I’ve always been a creative person, though all through my childhood/teenage years it was with music and dance). I had had this story twirling around inside my head and told my girlfriend about it. “Well, write it down,” she said, in which I replied, “I have no clue how to even begin.” She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It doesn’t matter. Just start. Just write the damn the story.” So, I did.

When you started writing what was your goal?

My goal was simple. To write a story for myself to prove I could do. I needed to find a creative release as I was knee deep in diapers, bottles, and baby toys.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Oh goodness. It totally depends on the day! I have four kids so their needs come first and my youngest is still home in the morning as our school district has half-day kindergarten. That being said, I do try to write in the afternoon after I take her school, however, that is also when I catch up on email, social media, etc. So, I’d say generally speaking, I typically start writing around 1:30pm and finish around 3:30pm.

Do you write every day? Do you have a daily goal when writing?

Nope. Four kids, remember! I don’t write on weekends unless I’m on a deadline. And I don’t have a daily goal. I have a weekly goal (finish a scene or chapter by the end of the week). There are some days where I’m able to bang out a ton of words and impress myself. There are other days where I write one sentence because the words just aren’t coming. There is also a lot of research involved since I write historical romance, so it takes me a bit longer because I’m trying to be as accurate as possible.

Do you listen to music while you’re writing? Do you make/use playlists to help keep you inspired or focused on the story or scenes you’re writing?

Yes! Sometimes I listen to music while writing and other times I listen to music before I write. It just depends. When writing action, I listen to music. However, the softer scenes, or the romance scenes, I tend to listen to music before I sit down. I have a playlist on Pandora that helps me “set the mood.”

Do you have a process you have to follow, items you have to have with you, or other “superstitious” or good luck type of things that help you while writing?

Not really, no. The only thing I always have near me is my diffuser that I put essential oils in. They help me focus and just make the room smell nice!

When you’re writing do you drink coffee, tea, water, soda, wine?

On the off chance I’m writing in the morning, I’ll drink coffee. In the afternoon, I’ll drink either tea (peppermint or thieves), or water. Every once in a while I’ll drink wine though that is only at night.

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Every time I do one of these interviews I look at the responses and I think “that’s what I do” or sometimes it’s a “that’s my life” kind of reaction. Other times I’ll see what an author has said and think “man, I couldn’t do it that way!” More often than not I realize how similar my daily routine is to the authors I talk to. I discover that their initial motivations for writing were essentially the same as mine.

I suppose I could be philosophical about it and say that it’s simply we’re all human and we’re all trying to do the same thing – which is absolutely true. But each and every one of us writers and authors has our own quirks. It’s those things that I love to learn about others because I know that mine are there and, I guess, I can’t help but be fascinated.

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As you may have noticed this interview is denoted as a segment – Part 1 – of the whole. Part 2 will be posted next Monday, and a special, sort of, Part 3 will come later in the week when Kelly shares with us in her own words what releasing a (debut) novel entailed for her. Keep your eyes peeled for those posts and in the meanwhile… 

Have you entered the January FAOM Giveaway yet? Don’t sweat it, click here and enter today!


Until next time, Happy Reading!

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