amreading, BOOK OF THE WEEK, new adult, New Adult Romance, romance author, romance author, romance books

BOOK OF THE WEEK: For A Short Time by Lori Lapekes #romance #newadult #amreading

FOR A SHORT TIME POSTCARDThe Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes.

Get For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing  ONLY .99 CENTS.

OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late?

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

BOOK OF THE WEEK, contemporary romance, NA, new adult, New Adult Romance, romance author, romance books, romance novels

BOOK OF THE WEEK: FOR A SHORT TIME by Lori Lapekes #amreading #romance #NA

FOR A SHORT TIME POSTCARDThe Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes.

Get For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing  ONLY .99 CENTS.

OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late?

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

amreading, blog post, BOOK OF THE WEEK, contemporary romance, From the Editor's Desk, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, new adult, New Adult Romance, romance books, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

Book of the Week: For a Short Time by Lori Lapekes #amreading #romance #NA

FOR A SHORT TIME POSTCARDThe Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes.

Get For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing  ONLY .99 CENTS.

OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late?

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

amreading, amwriting, Art and Writing, Author Marketing Plans, Author Research and Travel, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, blogging, book reviews, From the Editor's Desk, new adult, New Adult Romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, Supernatural, Supernatural thriller, suspense, urban fantasy, Writer's Craft, YA, YA paranormal, YA Romance

FROM ROMANCE JUNKIE TO FULL TIME AUTHOR: Q and A with Catrina Burgess #amreading #romance #blogger #reviewer

Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)
Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)

Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) is an author and blogger based in Arizona. When she’s not writing, she loves to bake and spend time with her husband and three rescue dogs  Coco, Trouble, and Ashy and their cat Shitty Kitty.

Welcome Cat!

When did you launch Romance Junkies and what made you decide it was time to step back from running it?

I started Romance Junkies back in 2002. At that time I was a freelance web designer and aspiring romance writer. I’ve always been a big reader and in between working a day job and writing I was doing a lot of reading. I thought it would be fun to start doing book reviews with some of my friends. And since I was a web designer I decided to whip up a little website where we could post the reviews. I thought the site was going to be a small weekend project, but the first week we were open, I got a very nasty email from one of the big romance review sites. The letter had a very threatening tone and was telling us we couldn’t feature certain authors that were apparently “their authors.” I remember reading the email to my husband and afterward saying in an astonished tone, “Who knew there was a romance mafia.” I’m pretty laid back, but I don’t like bullies. I decided that day to spend all my free time working on the Romance Junkies. My goal was to try to make it as big as possible, for no other reason than to annoy the “Romance Mafia.”

After 13 years of running the site, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend more time working on my writing, and I wanted to try some new projects. Some new challenges.

Are you still involved in the Romance Junkies site?

Marie Harte, who writes contemporary romance for Sourcebooks publishing, is the current owner/operator. She is a good friend, and I know she is going to do a fabulous job with the site. I have stepped down from all Romance Junkies management, site decisions, and actual work, but I’ve stayed on with the site as a reviewer. I plan to do a few reviews here and there.

When you founded Romance Junkies back in 2002 what was the online world like for romance authors/novels and how has it changed since then in your opinion?

Big review sites and big blogs filled Romanceland. I remember I would hit my favorite sites and blogs each week to get news and gossip about what was going on. Over the years, social media has expanded with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now I get a lot of my Romanceland news via Twitter and Facebook. Rather than blogs run by a big group of people you see a lot more small, individually run blogs. A lot of young book reviewers are doing their reviews on YouTube.

You’re also an author – when did you start writing and why?

awakeningI started writing back in 2001. When I turned 36 years old, my husband lovingly told me, “You need to start working on that writing dream you’ve had since you were a kid, because let’s face it time is running out.”  I told him I had no idea how to write a book, and he gave me one of his no-nonsense stares and told me, “Stop whining and go figure it out.” Now in his defense, he does tend to be very straightforward in the things he says. He will tell you the honest truth, whether or not you want to hear it. He is also the most supportive husband—he is one of my main critique partners and has really helped me over the years become a better writer.

I started working on that first book in 2001. It took me eight months to write that first book and five months to edit it. While writing that book, I realized how much I loved the whole writing process. Yes, it’s crazy hard, impossible some days, but so much fun. There’s nothing better than battling through and writing a book and getting to those sweet words—THE END. Nothing cooler than seeing the characters you have in your head become walking and talking entities.

What genre do you write in and why?

I started out writing romance. I have four stories that were published with one of the big epublishing houses. I’m not going to name them since my career with them ended when the house blew up with a bunch of crazy drama.  Around that that time I got very sick. So sick I had to give up my day job—I was teaching computer classes and doing freelance web design. My husband, who had always helped me run Romance Junkies, took over the bulk of the work on the site. He also had to take on an extra job since I was no longer able to work. The poor boy had a sick wife at home, was working two day jobs, and was putting up features on Romance Junkies during the wee hours. I told you he’s a very supportive husband. Every year I got a little better and after two years I was able to get back to working on Romance Junkies. Though sadly I was still too sick to go back to working a regular day job.

possessionWhen I was really sick, every six months I would try to write. The first two years the fatigue was so overwhelming I just couldn’t write. I didn’t have the mental clarity to get words down on paper. And then after year three of being sick I saw that author Candace Haven was offering a fast draft class. I decided to give it a try, even though I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be well enough to participate. To my surprise suddenly I could get the words out. The tips I learned about fast drafting in that class really changed the way I wrote. Instead of editing as I worked, I started just banging out a fast, rough first draft. It was so freeing to allow myself to be creative and to turn off the editor in my head. Of course with no editor on duty, that meant my rough drafts were incredibly rough, and it would take me as much time to polish and edit a manuscript as it did to write it.

Before I was sick, I wrote romance, but now the stories coming out of me were much darker. Even more surprising—they were YA. Working on that first young adult book Awakening was a life saver. When your life is full of fatigue, your world becomes very small. You mourn the high energy person you used to be. You have so many limitations on the things you can do you get depressed. I took all that depression, all those dark thoughts and I poured them into my story. I spent the next two years writing the four books in the Dark Ritual series under the pen name Catrina Burgess. Those characters in the book, the Scooby gang as I call them, kept me entertained and I truly believed helped me get better. I’m still sick, and I still have a lot of limitations on the things I can do, but on a good day I can think clearly. I’m mentally 70% there, which is a huge improvement. More importantly, I’m well enough to write. I never realized how much I loved writing until I couldn’t do it anymore.

fff-logo-clear copy10014760_659073720820922_1636794537_o1-e1415204780483You’re published by Full Fathom Five – the publishing company launched by James Frey – who shot to fame years ago with his bestseller A Million Little Pieces – how did that come about and how is it going so far?

I’m with the infamous James Frey publishing through the Full Fathom Five Digital house. I wrote the first three books in my Dark Ritual series and posted them on Wattpad. Wattpad is a teen writing community. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my YA books. I was writing them to entertain myself and my teenage nieces. I was shocked when the series started to get a lot of traction on Wattpad. Before I knew it, the first three books had over 3 million reads. I was getting fan email from teens from all over the world. I decided to enter Awakening, the first book in the series into a Wattpad writing contest. To my amazement, out of 3,000 entries, Awakening was picked as one of ten winners of the Wattpad 2014 Prize. Awakening was named best suspense book. After winning the contest, I was contacted by Full Fathom Five.

I spent a good deal of time researching the new house and their management. It’s always a risk to go with a new house, but I decided to take the risk. It took six months to negotiate a contract we could both live with. Once I was on board with the house, I got to know the staff as I worked with them. And I really enjoyed working with them.

The toughest part of the whole process was the eight months of publisher edits. Since I signed in January and the first three books all came out the month of October, I was under very tough deadlines. But somehow I survived them, though I don’t remember much about last summer, it seemed to have whizzed by in a blur of edits.

Revenant2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024I love how the series turned out. I adore the covers. And I would have happily continued working with FFF, but unfortunately the digital house this year decided to downsize. They are not taking on any new submissions. I plan to write a half-dozen books set in the same world as the Dark Rituals series, but now I’m free to do whatever I want with those books. It’s a bit scary having an orphaned series. It’s very unlikely another house will pick up the rest of the series. At the moment the plan is to self-publish the rest of the books. Nowadays when you self-publish you have to consider covers and edits. Those expenses come out of your own pocket. You cross your fingers and hope that the book sells enough to repay the money you paid out of pocket. There is no guarantee it will. There is a risk, but there is also quite a bit of freedom having full control over your book. It allows you to take more risks with the story and the characters.

Given your background at Romance Junkies – what do you think are some key things that every author should do to promote their books?

If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have had a pat answer for you. There seemed to be a roadmap that authors could follow to find success and sales. But in the last three years the publishing industry has been in a free fall. Suddenly authors who had been making a great living writing are having a hard time surviving.

I’ve given a lot of thought to why there has been such a drastic change in Romanceland in the last three years. Is it because Amazon changed its algorithms?  The fact that so many indie authors are now publishing romance? Has the avalanche of free books turned readers off from buying books? Could it be that the middle class is shrinking, and people seem to be working more which leaves them less time to read and less money to spend on books? I think it’s a combination of all of the above.

Legion3-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024So what can an Author do that will ensure she/he sells a zillion books? If I could answer that question, I would be the most popular person in Romanceland. I think it’s still important to try and get your name out. It helps to be active on social media. Book blog tours, Facebook ads, reviews—I think these things still help with book sales. But when it comes to the big sales I think it’s lightening striking—the combination of timing and luck. If you are lucky enough to have a project that hits big with Amazon rankings and somehow gets found by the readers and those readers spread the word about the book to all their friends–you get this grass roots buzz happening. The rankings and readers interest gets the blogs all talking about the book, and the big sales seem to follow. I don’t know that anyone has found a guaranteed way to make all of those things happen. If they did, I’m sure the whole of Romanceland would be talking about it.

Personally, I’m going to try a few non-writing projects see if I can raise my Author visibility. In the fall I’m going to start doing YouTube videos about paranormal topics. Hopefully, I can make the videos informative yet zany enough to entertain my teen readers.

Let’s say your book has been out there for six months, and the shine is off the apple – what are some key things that an author should do to keep their name out there?

Another good question. The answer seems to be write more books. It’s a tough time in publishing—authors are expected to write multiple books a year and, at the same time, do a ton of social media and marketing. You see many authors struggling to find time to write with all the marketing they are doing. Some authors seem to be able to juggle the two seamlessly. I’ve seen authors who are somehow on Twitter all day long interacting with their readers and yet they still find time to write. I wonder when they sleep.

What do you love reading and who are three of your favorite authors?

spiders-bite517UL7sjo-LI love Jennifer Estep’s spider series. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is on my “auto-buy” list. I just discovered Calia Read, and I love the books in her new series–Unravel and Unhinge.

You have chronic fatigue syndrome – how does it affect your writing and daily routine? What are some things you do to help keep yourself balanced?

Chronic fatigue is a dreadful thing to have. Most people don’t realize how debilitating fatigue can be. There are days when I feel like I have a house sitting on my shoulders and getting up and putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher seems like an impossible task. I’ve always been a type A personality, but no amount of mental strength or willpower can fight through that much fatigue.

I found what works for me, is if I set a weekly page count. I try to write every day, but that’s not always possible. I find with the weekly page count it helps me push myself to get pages done on those days when I feel well enough to write. But there are many days during the week when I’m too sick even to sit at the laptop. Especially if I overdo it.

imgres-1Last Olympics the women’s volleyball team had a mantra they used—breath, battle, believe. It’s a mantra I’ve adopted to help me get a book done. I breathe and take it easy on days I can’t work. I battle and work on the book on days I feel good. And I believe that if I keep working away the book will eventually get done.

Bonus: What are you really good at and why? (can be something silly) J

I can crochet afghans. It disturbs and amuses my friends that I can crochet. I’m someone who lives in graphic t-shirts, jeans, and vans, and I guess crocheting is something that people always think of grandmothers as doing.  I’m good at it thanks to my very own grandmother who taught me how to crochet.

Thank you!!!!!

Connect with Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) via her website and via facebook, goodreadswattpad, and via her blog

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

amreading, blog post, contemporary romance, Deal of the Week, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, new adult, New Adult Romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

DEAL OF THE WEEK: FOR A SHORT TIME by Lori Lapekes (NA contemporary romance)

FOR A SHORT TIME COVEROur LACHESIS PUBLISHING DEAL OF THE WEEK is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes.

Get For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing  ONLY .99 CENTS.

OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late . . .

EXCERPT:

“It can’t be over between us, all the signs were there for you to finally be the right one for me,” Keri insisted.

“What signs?” Keith asked.

Keri stared into his shadowy face. Clinging tatters of mist drifted across it, obliterating his eyes for one moment, his mouth the next moment. The fog was cool and clammy to the skin in the dismal mist.

“The signs,” said Keri. “You know, the signs.” But, suddenly, she couldn‘t think of a one.

He turned his back on her, and began to fade away into the mist.

“Keith, come back!” Keri said. “I‘ll remember them, I know I will. It‘ll make a difference!”

But Keith continued to shrink into the fog. Soon he was only a dark patch in the distance, then that was swept away by the wisps of lonely swirling mist.

Keri was left in silence. A silent world of emptiness and chill.

“Keith . . .” she whimpered, “come back, I need you . . .” Only silence.

Keri heard her heart beating against her chest.

“Keith.” she whispered, tears trailing down her cheeks. Her knees went weak, and she sunk into the ground. “Don‘t leave me, I need you, don‘t leave me.”

“Straighten up, Keri,” came a voice behind her.

“What—who?” Keri asked, and slowly turned around. It was clearer where he stood, almost as though the sun was ready to break through the mist that was strangely falling away from him.

Jeremy.

“Please, stand up,” Jeremy said again. Something about the tone of his voice, oddly authoritative yet gentle at the same time, made Keri gather her strength and stand.

“Come here,” Jeremy said, and held out his hand. “

Keith left me,” Keri sobbed, but found herself drawing nearer to Jeremy. He seemed spectral as she stared at his hand, his comforting hand, and it drew her closer. When she reached him, she took his hand, and he pulled her close.

A jolt of something indescribable, joy mixed with peace and an incredible calmness pulsed through her at Jeremy‘s touch. He held her hand tighter, pulled her closer, and Keri began to quiver as she found herself face to face with Jeremy, gazing into wonderful eyes radiating a calm assurance and wisdom she had never before encountered. Heat raced through her and her legs became weak.

Jeremy‘s eyes glimmered. It paralyzed her to stare into them. Those eyes seemed to search into hers, gently probing, as though trying to connect with her soul. Keri became lightheaded, intoxicated, the poison of Keith‘s rejection now drained away.

“You‘re going to be all right now,” Jeremy said, and his voice seemed to roll like thunder and yet felt like a breathy whisper at the same time. It echoed as he continued, and suddenly the fog parted and a warming blaze of sun fell across them.

“I‘ll stay with you,” said Jeremy. “You don‘t have to be afraid anymore. You can finally be yourself.”

Those words flowed through Keri in cascades of relief. Finally, finally she felt it. She couldn‘t quite grasp what it all meant, but a weight had lifted.

“Thank you, thank you, Jeremy,” Keri said, gulping in great breaths of air. “What would I do without you? You‘re the one I need, you‘re the one I was meant for all along”

At those words, Jeremy smiled. Keri‘s eyes strayed toward his lips, and lingered there. His mouth smiled, his eyes smiled, and Keri was sure his heart smiled, too.

And so did she. Keri let go of his hand, and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He put his arms around her shoulders and drew her tighter to him. When they fully connected, the warmth of their touch was explosive, and Keri could scarcely control herself. She closed her eyes and suddenly, tantalizingly, his lips were pressed against hers. She gasped inwardly as the warmth and movement of his kiss sent shivers down her spine and into her toes. At first Jeremy‘s kiss was sweet and gentle, but as it became more urgent, its passion leached all of the strength from Keri‘s limbs until she was practically hanging limp in his embrace.

All she could think was—how did he learn to kiss like this? Was it the way it was supposed to be when two people were genuinely . . . in love?

No—it couldn‘t be! Jeremy was just her dear friend, like a brother, really.

Yet . . .

“Aunt Keri, get up!” said a wee voice far, far away. “You promised to play opera lady with me this morning.”

“What?” Keri moaned.

There was a soft shaking on her shoulders. “Aunt Keri, Keri, get up, sleepyhead! Take the pillow off your face.”

Reality crawled back to Keri in a lazy wave. Jeremy‘s embrace vanished, and the scene dissipated into fragments as Keri awoke, reluctantly pulling herself from the dream. Only a dream.

“Jutht a minute, Kate,” Keri mumbled. “Have thum patienth.”

“What?” Katie asked. “You sound weird.”

“It‘th the pirrow on ma face,” Keri said, rising slowly as she removed the pillow. “I like ta thleep like dat.”

Keri noticed the oddity just as Katie‘s eyes bulged at her.

“What‘s wrong with your face?” Katie cried.

Keri‘s hand flew to the right side of her face, which felt heavy and numb. It seemed dragged down, contorted. She could barely see out of her right eye.

“There‘s drool coming out of your mouth, just like Rover‘s,” said Katie. “I think your pillow got too heavy! It melted your face!”

Keri tried to gasp, but her mouth would not work correctly. It seemed weights were pulling her lip down on the right side, making it lopsided.

Dear Lord . . . had she had a stroke?

She flung off her blankets, twisted to the side of her bed, and sat up. It seemed her right arm worked fine, as well as her leg. And she could think clearly. But the horrified look on her niece‘s face confirmed the frightening fact that something was drastically wrong.

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 OR on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, blog post, blogging, book reviews, contemporary romance, From the Editor's Desk, Good Books, Good Reads, new adult, promoting your books, Publishing industry, reader appreciation, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

The Write Review: Q and A with prolific book reviewer Megan Cooke #amwriting #amreading

Megan Cooke, book reviewer
Megan Cooke, book reviewer

Megan Cooke is a 20-something special education elementary school teacher based in southern Maryland. 

“The crazy wonderful shenanigans of my students keep me busy in the best way, and I love getting to work with each and every one of them.”  

A dog person Megan has a golden retriever named Cameron, who she says is “the best 65 pound lap dog a girl could ask for.” Megan also loves photography and travel and does a lot of both in her spare time. 

But Megan does something else in her spare time. She reads prolifically and writes about the books she reads, posting her reviews on her blog, on Facebook on Goodreads. She also has a Pinterest page. She used to post her reviews on Amazon, but that changed a few months back when Amazon banned her from its site. More on that later. 

Megan’s fan base is in the thousands. Fellow readers look to her to give an honest and informed opinion on a variety of books. Readers like Megan have something to say, not only that, they also have a lot of clout when it comes to impacting book sales.

Welcome Megan to the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog.

LP: Tell us how you got started reviewing books and why?

10313820_842341429110180_6158526084508575521_nMC: I have always been an avid reader, and have always loved talking about books, and one day on my way home from work I got to thinking about the possibility of starting a book blog to combine both of those loves. I had blogged a bit in college for school related things, so I was somewhat familiar with how to get started, so after talking to my best friend about it, I created my blog, The Never Ending Book Basket. My goal for my blog and reviewing was really just to spread the book love as much as I could, and to have recommendations and reviews for other readers like myself looking for that next great read. I truly believe books can bring us all together if we let them, and almost 3 years later, I still have the same goals for my blog: to connect to other readers and to spread the book love like crazy.

LP: How do you juggle work/family and your passion for reading and reviewing books – how much time do you spend per week reading and reviewing books? How many books do you, on average, review per week?

Diana Durbin can't decide which book to read.
Diana Durbin can’t decide which book to read.

MC: I will admit when I first started my book blog, I really had no idea what I was doing and I was pretty terrible at balancing it all, but I’ve definitely gotten better about that over the past few years. Now I set aside time two nights a week to set up blog posts and social media posts for my blog’s Facebook page, so that way I can spend the rest of my nights reading and reviewing, as well as spending time with my family and friends. I typically read every night for at least a couple of hours, and I definitely read more on the weekends, so I’d say I read and review about 3-5 books in a typical week. Some weeks I read more, and some I read way less, it just depends on what’s going on. I also beta read for some authors, so if I’m doing that and beta notes, I definitely read a bit less during the week. For me reading has always been an escape, so it never really feels like work to run my blog or to read and review a book. I truly love every minute of it!

What genres do you review and why? How do you acquire the books? Do you buy them yourself or do authors send them to you or both?

Marilyn Monroe book love
Marilyn Monroe book love

MC: I am a true lover of love stories, so most of the books I read and review currently fall into the romance category. I read many subgenres of romance, and I am a huge fan of new adult and contemporary romance, but I also read many other genres of books too. I love young adult, some mystery and suspense, and memoirs too, but really I’ll read any kind of book that piques my interest. Many of the books I review I have purchased myself (my blog got its name from my real never ending book basket full of unread books), though I do sometimes read and review books that are sent to me by authors. I also sign up for blog tours for books, and have received ARC’s in exchange for posting an honest review of that book.

Do you review only new releases or do you review older titles – and why?

MC: I review both new releases and older titles, because I equally love finding those new must reads and getting the chance to tell people about them, while also discovering and loving older titles that other readers recommend to me. Most of the books from my real never ending book basket are older titles. I read and review newer releases, typically when I sign up for a blog tour. When I decide to read a book, it’s because I really want to read that particular book at that moment. I’m definitely a mood reader, and will shift my book choices depending on what mood I’m in and what kind of read I want. Sometimes I want a more emotional read that’ll make me want to throw my tablet or book across the room, and other times I want something lighter that’ll make me laugh and smile like crazy, so I choose my books, both newer and older, accordingly.

LP: Tell us about your blog and your various social media sites. Where can we access your reviews?

Sophia Loren lost in a book
Sophia Loren lost in a book

MC: I like to think of my blog as a recommended reading list of sorts. In addition to review posts, I post cover and excerpt reveals for upcoming books, as well as random book related posts. Every book I read is reviewed on my Goodreads page, which is linked to my blog page. I don’t do a full review post on my blog for every book I read, but when I do write a review post, you can find that review on my blog, as well as on my blog’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

LP: What kind of audience reach do you have? And what kind of feedback do you get from YOUR readers about your reviews?

MC: I have about 4000 followers on my blog’s Facebook page, a couple hundred followers of my actual blog, and some followers through Goodreads While I do try my best to get my reviews out there to support the authors I read, and to spread the book love as much as I can, I really try to focus on building authentic connections with my followers. My goal for my audience reach is to have meaningful connections with the people who read my reviews and follow my blog’s various pages, and so far I think I’ve been pretty successful with that. My reviews are typically positive and detailed, so much of the feedback I get about them from other readers is that they can tell I really loved the book based on what I wrote, so that makes them want to read it too. I’ve also had readers tell me they really got a great sense of the book I was reviewing based on what I wrote in my review. A lot of readers also tell me how they felt the same way I did about the books that I’ve read and reviewed, and it’s always great to share the same feelings about books!

Rita Hayworth relaxing with a good book
Rita Hayworth relaxing with a good book

LP: Do you ever get contacted by authors regarding a review you wrote about one of their books? And if so – have you had any negative/positive connections with authors?

MC: I have been contacted by authors regarding my reviews of their books, and that has led to some amazing connections with authors that have pretty much made my blogging life, haha. There’s been a few times when some of my all-time favorite authors have messaged me to thank me for my review of their book, and I’ve even had the chance to meet some of those authors who’ve messaged me, which has led to some unforgettable moments. I am a true fangirl at heart, so meeting and connecting with these different authors, even through a message or a comment about my reviews, truly means the world to me.

LP: You recently have gone through something quite negative with Amazon. Your blog post about it generated almost 2,000 comments (and counting). Tell us what happened and how you plan to move forward from this. 

Alexis Carrington was a bitch, but Joan Collins loved her books.
Joan Collins’ alter ego Alexis Carrington invented bitch. Amazon, you are no Alexis Carrington.

Oh Amazon . . . About two months ago I received an email from Amazon notifying me that I was banned from reviewing anything on their website, and that all of my previously written reviews had been removed because I had “manipulated product reviews”. I’m still not even sure what that means exactly, and I’ve been given no further clarification from Amazon, despite my repeated efforts for answers. After I wrote about what happened, many people have said that I could’ve been banned for being a part of Amazon’s Affiliate Program and for reviewing books that I linked to, others have said it could be because I know authors or because I have too many 4 and 5 star ratings, and many have told me that Amazon just does what it wants, so that’s why I was banned. At this point I really have no idea why this happened. I have always been a huge supporter of Amazon in the past, using them as the only retailer I purchased e-books from, in addition to buying paperback books, and giving away e-books and gift cards to their website, so to say this whole thing was disheartening is putting it lightly. They removed hundreds of my reviews that I had worked hours on, and they were all gone in an instant and they won’t even tell me why. I’ve since found out that this has happened to countless other book bloggers, as well as other everyday product reviewers. That’s what led me to writing my post, Amazon, You Hit Like a Bitch. I was frustrated, but really I wanted to show that what Amazon did wasn’t okay at all, at least not in my book. I also wanted to show that despite Amazon doing all this to me, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from being the book blogger I wanted to be, and it wasn’t going to stop me one bit from spreading the book love as much as I could. Going forward, I plan to use other book retailers to purchase both paperbacks and e-books, as well as to review my purchases. I also plan to keep sharing what happened to me in hopes that one day maybe Amazon will get its act together with this, or that one day we’ll maybe get an answer as to why they keep doing this to consumers who consistently support them.

LP: I know it’s hard to pick your top three favourite authors (definitely a toughie for me LOL) – but tell us about three authors that consistently wow you.

513zFgygDFL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_MidnightLily_v2-430x688MC: This is a seriously tough question! (I feel like I’m picking between my favorite tiny humans right now, haha!) I hate to pick just 3 because I could pick tons and tons of authors, since I’ve read some amazing ones in my reading career, but three authors that consistently wow me are Colleen Hoover, Mia Sheridan, and Kim Holden. Each of these seriously talented authors have written some of my all-time favorite books, and I will never forget reading and experiencing their books that have made me cry like a baby in public, on more than one occasion. I’m definitely a lover of emotionally charged stories, and each of these authors have thoughtfully crafted stories that have touched and pulled at every single emotion I have in ways that are distinctive to their specific writing style. They consistently write books that make you think and feel and question with all that you have, and they continue to give me some of the most utterly phenomenal reading experiences.

LP: Way back when, I was a movie critic for a morning radio news program. Over the years I had a few “favourite” moments on air. Tell us about some of YOUR favourite reviews where you felt that you really connected with the book and you were able to convey that in how you wrote about it.

Bright-Side-Kim-Holden26201118MC: I definitely have had a few reviews stick with me over the past few years. When I wrote my review for Bright Side by Kim Holden, I was an emotional wreck, but in a good way. I was so moved by that book, the meaning of its story, the literal goodness of its main character Kate, and Kim Holden’s writing, and I think I literally poured all of that into that book review. To this day it’s one of my favorite reviews, and I like to think it really captured what it’s like to read that book. (And a fun fact about that review is, 3 days after I wrote it, I got a tattoo of a quote from that book.) Another more recent review was this past January when I read Hallowed Ground by Rebecca Yarros, which is hands down one of the most breathtakingly emotional books I’ve ever read. I was so swept up by the emotions of that book and all that those characters went through, that I started full on crying while writing my review. I was still that consumed and affected by everything with that book, even though I’d finished it days earlier. I worked hours on that review, trying to get it just right, so that I could accurately convey how phenomenal that book and Rebecca Yarros’s writing are. I personally think it’s one of my strongest reviews that truly showed how connected I was to the powerful and emotional journey of the characters in that story.

LP: In your opinion what is the purpose of a book review and what should a well-constructed book review contain?

Marilyn Monroe would have made a fine novelist
Marilyn Monroe would have made a fine novelist

MC: I think the purpose of a book review is to show one person’s thoughts and feelings on a book that they read, as well as to show other readers what it might be like to read and experience that particular book. I think it’s important to remember that a review is one person’s opinion, so I think as readers it’s important for us to know what we do and don’t like in the books we read. That way when we read a book review, we can make connections to the review to see if that book is something we might like, or if we might feel the same way as that reviewer. I think a well-constructed book review should really be about what it was like to read that particular book. It should be specific enough to give an idea and a sense of what the book is like to read and what it’s about, but not too specific to where any spoilers or major plot points are revealed. Reviews should also be honest, and whether they contain praise or criticism, or a combination of both, it should always be done in a constructive way with some elaboration. Maybe it’s just the teacher in me needing support for an answer, but I personally want to know why a reader felt a certain way about a book, which is why I make it a point to include that kind of reasoning in my own reviews.

LP: Have you ever considered becoming an author? Why/why not?

15950494MC: I have considered becoming an author, and it’s definitely something I aspire to be. One day I hope to get my act together by actually consistently writing and working on one of the many story ideas floating around in my head. I definitely have a few stories and characters that I’ve been working on for a bit now, and often times my long work commute comes in quite handy for plotting more on those ideas. My phone and various notebooks are filled with these characters and their stories that I’ve come to know and love, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to get it all out on paper.

LP: Bonus: What’s one of your favourite books from your childhood or teen years?

MC: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is hands down my favorite book from my teen years. While I could NEVER pick a favorite book, if I had to make a list of my all-time favorite books, this book would definitely be on that list. That book is amazing, and it means so much to me.

Thank you Megan Cooke for joining us today! 🙂

Connect with reviewer Megan Cooke via her blog: THE NEVER ENDING BOOK BASKET, on Facebook on Goodreads and on Twitter

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

amreading, blog post, contemporary romance, Deal of the Week, e-book sale, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., new adult, New Adult Romance, YA, YA Romance

DEAL OF THE WEEK: FOR A SHORT TIME by Lori Lapekes #amreading #NewAdult #NA #romance

FOR A SHORT TIME COVEROur LACHESIS PUBLISHING DEAL OF THE WEEK is For a Short Time  (New Adult contemporary romance) by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes

GET IT FOR .99 CENTS (or less) at Lachesis Publishing  or on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late . . .

EXCERPT:

“It can’t be over between us, all the signs were there for you to finally be the right one for me,” Keri insisted.

“What signs?” Keith asked.

Keri stared into his shadowy face. Clinging tatters of mist drifted across it, obliterating his eyes for one moment, his mouth the next moment. The fog was cool and clammy to the skin in the dismal mist.

“The signs,” said Keri. “You know, the signs.” But, suddenly, she couldn‘t think of a one.

He turned his back on her, and began to fade away into the mist.

“Keith, come back!” Keri said. “I‘ll remember them, I know I will. It‘ll make a difference!”

But Keith continued to shrink into the fog. Soon he was only a dark patch in the distance, then that was swept away by the wisps of lonely swirling mist.

Keri was left in silence. A silent world of emptiness and chill.

“Keith . . .” she whimpered, “come back, I need you . . .” Only silence.

Keri heard her heart beating against her chest.

“Keith.” she whispered, tears trailing down her cheeks. Her knees went weak, and she sunk into the ground. “Don‘t leave me, I need you, don‘t leave me.”

“Straighten up, Keri,” came a voice behind her.

“What—who?” Keri asked, and slowly turned around. It was clearer where he stood, almost as though the sun was ready to break through the mist that was strangely falling away from him.

Jeremy.

“Please, stand up,” Jeremy said again. Something about the tone of his voice, oddly authoritative yet gentle at the same time, made Keri gather her strength and stand.

“Come here,” Jeremy said, and held out his hand. “

Keith left me,” Keri sobbed, but found herself drawing nearer to Jeremy. He seemed spectral as she stared at his hand, his comforting hand, and it drew her closer. When she reached him, she took his hand, and he pulled her close.

A jolt of something indescribable, joy mixed with peace and an incredible calmness pulsed through her at Jeremy‘s touch. He held her hand tighter, pulled her closer, and Keri began to quiver as she found herself face to face with Jeremy, gazing into wonderful eyes radiating a calm assurance and wisdom she had never before encountered. Heat raced through her and her legs became weak.

Jeremy‘s eyes glimmered. It paralyzed her to stare into them. Those eyes seemed to search into hers, gently probing, as though trying to connect with her soul. Keri became lightheaded, intoxicated, the poison of Keith‘s rejection now drained away.

“You‘re going to be all right now,” Jeremy said, and his voice seemed to roll like thunder and yet felt like a breathy whisper at the same time. It echoed as he continued, and suddenly the fog parted and a warming blaze of sun fell across them.

“I‘ll stay with you,” said Jeremy. “You don‘t have to be afraid anymore. You can finally be yourself.”

Those words flowed through Keri in cascades of relief. Finally, finally she felt it. She couldn‘t quite grasp what it all meant, but a weight had lifted.

“Thank you, thank you, Jeremy,” Keri said, gulping in great breaths of air. “What would I do without you? You‘re the one I need, you‘re the one I was meant for all along”

At those words, Jeremy smiled. Keri‘s eyes strayed toward his lips, and lingered there. His mouth smiled, his eyes smiled, and Keri was sure his heart smiled, too.

And so did she. Keri let go of his hand, and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He put his arms around her shoulders and drew her tighter to him. When they fully connected, the warmth of their touch was explosive, and Keri could scarcely control herself. She closed her eyes and suddenly, tantalizingly, his lips were pressed against hers. She gasped inwardly as the warmth and movement of his kiss sent shivers down her spine and into her toes. At first Jeremy‘s kiss was sweet and gentle, but as it became more urgent, its passion leached all of the strength from Keri‘s limbs until she was practically hanging limp in his embrace.

All she could think was—how did he learn to kiss like this? Was it the way it was supposed to be when two people were genuinely . . . in love?

No—it couldn‘t be! Jeremy was just her dear friend, like a brother, really.

Yet . . .

“Aunt Keri, get up!” said a wee voice far, far away. “You promised to play opera lady with me this morning.”

“What?” Keri moaned.

There was a soft shaking on her shoulders. “Aunt Keri, Keri, get up, sleepyhead! Take the pillow off your face.”

Reality crawled back to Keri in a lazy wave. Jeremy‘s embrace vanished, and the scene dissipated into fragments as Keri awoke, reluctantly pulling herself from the dream. Only a dream.

“Jutht a minute, Kate,” Keri mumbled. “Have thum patienth.”

“What?” Katie asked. “You sound weird.”

“It‘th the pirrow on ma face,” Keri said, rising slowly as she removed the pillow. “I like ta thleep like dat.”

Keri noticed the oddity just as Katie‘s eyes bulged at her.

“What‘s wrong with your face?” Katie cried.

Keri‘s hand flew to the right side of her face, which felt heavy and numb. It seemed dragged down, contorted. She could barely see out of her right eye.

“There‘s drool coming out of your mouth, just like Rover‘s,” said Katie. “I think your pillow got too heavy! It melted your face!”

Keri tried to gasp, but her mouth would not work correctly. It seemed weights were pulling her lip down on the right side, making it lopsided.

Dear Lord . . . had she had a stroke?

She flung off her blankets, twisted to the side of her bed, and sat up. It seemed her right arm worked fine, as well as her leg. And she could think clearly. But the horrified look on her niece‘s face confirmed the frightening fact that something was drastically wrong.

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS  or on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

amreading, blog post, Deal of the Week, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, new adult, New Adult Romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, YA, YA paranormal

Deal of the Week: The Possession by J.D. Spikes (YA paranormal romance)

Secret Journals Posession 1400x2100Our DEAL OF THE WEEK is The Possession by J.D. Spikes.

On sale for.99 cents. This week only! Click here to purchase.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Daphne Wentworth is almost seventeen, definitely a red head, and most likely the tallest girl in her class, which is awkward to say the least when it comes to dating boys in her school. But she doesn’t have to worry about school for the next two months since she’s spending the summer at her aunt Dwill’s lighthouse in Maine. What she does have to worry about is seeing ghosts in the lighthouse cemetery, having strange dreams, and hearing the voices of star-crossed lovers who lived two-hundred years ago. And then there’s a local boy named Zach Philbrook who works for her aunt. He’s too gorgeous for his own good. He’s also very tall, with midnight black hair, and the most beautiful indigo blue eyes Daphne has ever seen. Zach is treated like an outcast by the local teens in town. He’s Micmac and therefore not “one of the gang”. Daphne can’t help being drawn to his strength, especially considering that he’s had to live his entire life dealing with ignorance. But the local teens aren’t the only trouble-makers in town. As Zach and Daphne get closer, the lighthouse ghost lovers begin haunting them. When Daphne and Zach try to figure out how to fight them, the spirits get bolder and more dangerous.

EXCERPT:
The cemetery wasn’t far and wasn’t scary. Not to me. Just a scattering of old stones with ancient memories written on them. People long gone to another life and no one here who remembers them.
I dropped my canvas shoulder bag of goods on the ground near the gate. Wrought iron and rusted, it leaned into the cemetery boundaries at a precarious angle. Thank God I didn’t have to push it open . . . I’d have probably landed on the ground with a rusted spiral in my gut. This place was unfamiliar to me, except in passing. Though I’d known of the cemetery’s existence, I’d never gone in. I had too much to do in the land of the living for my short time here. No one ever came out here, so what difference did the overgrowth make? Aunt begged to differ and insisted I clean the place up. The lighthouse was two hundred years old this summer, she reminded me, and the cemetery belonged to the lighthouse. So, on a bright June day, I found myself alone in a somewhat decrepit cemetery in a clearing in the woods. I made my way around the ancient stones in an attempt to put off the start of my project. Most were upright and clear enough of the tangle of brush that a portion of the inscription could be read. One small stone, nearly buried in the overgrown grass at the north corner, caught my eye. I flattened enough of the green to reveal the single word Sarah, and beneath it Age 3 Months. Sadness flashed through me, unexpectedly. There were babies buried here? I slipped the hand pruners from my back pocket where I’d stuck them and carefully snipped the grass down in front of the headstone. I pulled viney growth from the top corner of the stone, revealing a W. and a P. Sarah W.P. My hand cramped as I diligently snipped away at the grass, clearing the plot. The screech of the gate would have warned me . . . had the gate been in better repair. With its useless tilt, however, I never heard him coming. The bag dropping next to me on the mixed pile of living and dead debris announced his presence. I flipped to the side, tripping myself with my legs, but managed to keep the pruners in front of me. I pointed them into the air in front of my face. Blue-black eyes studied me, one hand hooked into his pants pocket by the thumb, the other paused in front of him, fingers splayed where it had dropped the bag. In books you always read about these moments. Crickets clicked, or birds called, or someone’s watch ticked, marking time. Maybe all three. In real life, the only thing you really hear until you recognize that person is your own heavy breathing, that being indicative of the fact that you are in the middle of nowhere with no possible help nearby. So how do you protect yourself from something that isn’t really there?

Like what you’ve read? You can get your copy of The Possession by J.D. Spikes right at Lachesis Publishing for only .99 cents (this week only) or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with J.D. on her web site and on facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Author Research and Travel, authors, Fantasy/Adventure, Historical Paranormal, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, new adult, paranormal, Supernatural, Time Travel, Time Travel Paranormal

How does a YA author connect with YA readers? by Richard Blackburn

large

Image; www.gettyimages.com.au
Image; www.gettyimages.com.au

I really enjoy giving talks to students. I’ve been invited into scores of high schools because my three published books have been accepted for the New South Wales Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC). This is a popular initiative in Australian States, where students sign up each year to read a certain number of books and receive certificates if they attain set goals. Their teachers question them before they submit their claim for a certificate, to make sure they have actually done the reading. The books, for the New South Wales Challenge, are set out in lists for each age group but it is not easy for an author to have a book accepted by the PRC committee. It cannot be self-published and must adhere to their standards of language, content and things like that. It also must be well written.

Image: stratfordlibrary.org
Image: stratfordlibrary.org

So, very early in my writing career, I made the conscious decision that I would write for teens and early twenty year olds (even though I have had ‘fanmail’ from youngsters up to eighty years of age). I didn’t read when I was younger. There were no books in my house. My parent were members of the local library but the few times I was taken there I had to sit on a hard wooden bench and not say a word. I’m so happy that things have changed and modern libraries encourage young readers and invite authors like me to give talks to the young readers’ groups.

But I’m getting off my original subject, which is the joys of giving talks to young writers. I always discuss the students’ needs with their teacher and tailor my talk to suit their requirements, but if I have a free hand, I like to talk about writing historical adventure stories.

I tell them that it is possible to gloss over facts and use generalities, and you could still tell an exciting tale, but if you want to sound professional and take your reader into the past with you, beware. You have to do a lot of research. If you get one thing wrong, there are re-enactment groups out there who look upon the past with almost religious zeal. Write anything wrong and they will want to crucify you!

Image: www.todayifoundout.com
Image: www.todayifoundout.com

So where are these pitfalls? The first is to think that something very normal to us today was always like that. Take sitting down to a meal. You might think a family in medieval times would have plates, knives, forks and spoons on the table. Wrong. Most peasants carried a knife at their belt at all times. They might need to cut honeysuckle vine to make rope or peel bark from a willow tree to crush to make a pain killer. So they would not need a knife supplied at meal times. And forks were not used in Europe until the eighteenth century. In England, the Royal Navy would not let sailors use forks even into the eighteen hundreds; they said it was effeminate!

Image: cookit.e2bn.org
Image: cookit.e2bn.org

And plates weren’t used either. At a noble family’s table, four day old rye bread would be cut by the panter. No, not the bloke who had trouble breathing. French was the main language used in England for about three hundred years after the Norman invasion, and the French for bread is pain. So this servant’s job was to cut pieces of stale bread so the noble family and their guests could use them as plates. The higher you were up the social ladder, the more ‘trenchers’ (from the French tranchier – to cut) you were given. So the Lord didn’t have to have his desserts on the piece of bread now soaked in cold, greasy gravy but the knight might have to.

613z0qgvmRL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_I try to make my talk as amusing or gruesome as possible, so I like to quote from The Boke of Karuying (The Book of Carving) by Wynkyn de Worde. In the section on good manners, he talks about table manners. It is not polite, he says, to spit on the tablecloth or over it. Also he suggests not to blow your nose on it, either, which, of course, you might never have thought of. He discourages spitting a long way but says the polite thing to do is cover your mouth with your hand and spit on the floor near your chair. With many noblemen having at least fifty people to each meal, I wouldn’t like to be the servant who had to wash the floor after each meal.

Image; www.wickedhappyfuntime.com
Image; www.wickedhappyfuntime.com

And the choice of words used in your historical novel is important. If a person is speaking in the fourteenth century, he wouldn’t use modern expressions. There are also many words that just weren’t invented then. The word POSH comes from the letters chalked on luggage of wealthy people travelling to India in the days of the Raj. The cabins on the port side of the boat would be shady therefore cooler going to India and the starboard ones cooler coming back. So the mnemonic POSH, for Port out, Starboard home, was used. Flash in the pan, going off ‘half cock’ were expressions based on the use of the musket, a weapon not invented until after the period of my books. But a ‘cock up’ did happen in those days. An arrow usually has three feathers, with one of them sticking straight out of the shaft (the cock feather) and the others at an angle to the nock (the notch for the bow string). If you shoot the arrow with the cock feather on the side of the bow, it will send the arrow off course, thereby causing a ‘cock up’.

Image: www.reddit.com
Image: www.reddit.com

There are so many more aspects of medieval life that differ from today. The food they ate and the fact that most of them drank beer all the time. Students are usually amazed to find out that part of a servant’s wage was ‘small beer’ and a page boy would receive half the beer ration given to an adult. Then there are the clothes they wore. Kids like to hear how King Edward III ordered his soldiers to pad their codpieces when fighting the French, to look more manly. I like to take along a chain mail joupon and helmet and invite students to put them on, so they could feel the weight and try to imagine what it would be like to fight a battle dressed in armor.

Image: www.williamcowley.co.uk
Image: www.williamcowley.co.uk

And when I’m visiting England, I visit as many castles and stately homes as possible. Actually seeing the rooms used by nobility and the things they used in daily life is very interesting to me. Unfortunately I’ve never found a medieval hut still preserved, with the artifacts of the poorer people, but I read as many contemporary books and documents as I can find and search for paintings of the period. As I tell the students I talk to, it took days to clean a lamb’s skin and stretch it out on tenter hooks to make parchment. Each skin would make about eight pages which would be scored with feint lines using a pen knife; the tool used to sharpen the goose feather used to write with. And the best ink was made by finding oak apples with wasp holes in them. These would be crushed with a copper oxide and thickened with gum Arabic for the best writing consistency. So, having gone to all this trouble to make the materials, very few authors would waste their time writing about common people, who couldn’t read anyway.
DAWN OF THE SENTINEL COVER
Return of the Sentinel Book 2 Guardians of the Gate by Richard BlackburnSo I put a lot of work into making my writing as close to the real life of those days as possible. I hope my readers enjoy the results of my labors because I’ve really enjoyed doing it.

Richard Blackburn has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 Dawn of the Sentinel and Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, are out now. Book 3: The Gatekeeper Rises will be out in 2016. You can get both books for only .99 cents right here at Lachesis Publishing during our Black Friday/Cyber Monday ebook sale! 

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us on twitter.

blog post, Free Book, Lachesis Blog, NA, new adult, New Adult Romance, Question of the Week, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

Question of the Week: What is Your Favorite Chocolate Treat?

a5371459-75b5-4545-b1b9-89bcf1ffb9dcIP0407_Chocolate-Layer-CakeOUR QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE TREAT?

FOR A SHORT TIME COVERYOU COULD WIN AN E-BOOK COPY OF Lori Lapekes‘s romance novel For A Short Time. Leave your answer here.

Lori Lapekes certainly loves her chocolate and has been known to much on chocolate-covered cashews while writing. She also indulges in the occasional slice of rich chocolate cake after reading a not-so nice review. Lori is the author of the new adult contemporary romance For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .89 CENTS (THIS WEEK ONLY!) or on amazon, barnes and noble, and kobo.

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

Follow us on twitter.