Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blogoversary Day 2: Remembering Vacation Week

Welcome to the second day of my blogoversary extravaganza! Today we're looking back to "Vacation Week" (from last June), and in the process I say we should also look ahead to those warm summer days *hopefully* coming soon!

For those of you who are visiting or are new to the blog (or if you just want a blast from the past!), here are the links to the posts from Vacation Week:
I may have just had spring break, but I'm definitely eager for summer vacation and our fun family trips!

As you can see from the second link above, last year I interviewed author Laura Frantz for Vacation Week. I'm thrilled to welcome her back to "Seasons of Humility" today!

Amber: It’s such a pleasure to host you here at “Seasons of Humility” again! Could you share with us what you’ve been up to in your writing career since Summer 2010?

Laura: Thanks so much for hosting me here, Amber – I love connecting with you, fellow writers, and reading friends whenever I can!

Hmmm….2010 was a bit of a blur with 2 books out, ACFW in Indianapolis, an agent-hosted retreat in Monterey, and then a family reunion/research trip to Kentucky and Tennessee in December. The writing life is never dull. =) I love every minute, however, and hope to do more starting with a book launch in Kentucky this August for The Colonel’s Lady where I’ll be in period dress. Some of us are planning to appear in period costume at the ACFW banquet in St. Louis this September, too. Guess I won’t have to wear my black skirt and blouse 3 years in a row. ;)

Amber: Sounds like fun! Wish I could be there for that ACFW banquet. ;) What’s on the agenda for this next year? We’d love to hear anything you can tell us about your next release, as well as that new series you’re working on!

Laura: *GASP* - Some of you won’t believe it, but I’m moving out of frontier Kentucky into Pennsylvania for the next 4 books in a series called The Ballantyne Legacy. It’s a rags to riches story involving a handsome Scots tradesman and two sisters who fall in love with him. He has to choose between them, of course, and the result is quite catastrophic, at least for their little village! The next 3 stories in the series revolve around a different generation in this same family. I’m busy working on book 1 now. It’s very different than anything I’ve ever done, much more dialogue-driven than my more narrative works. I hope readers like the story as much as I’m loving getting into the hearts and heads of these characters.

Amber: Laura, if you've written it, you've got a loyal fan club who will just love to read it!

Your first interview here was centered on vacations and settings. Have you gone on any exciting vacations since last summer? Do you have any plans for vacations this coming year?

Laura: I was just telling my husband I’d love to go to Scotland – or return to England. There’s a reunion coming up in April at the castle where I attended college. Wish I could go to both! As for recent, past vacations, it would have to be the Books&Such Literary retreat I attended in Monterey last October. Wow! We were so spoiled while there – sparkling water and chocolate-dipped strawberries upon arrival, amazing speakers and small groups, the beauty that is found along the California coast. I could go on and on. The hotel where we stayed has such a rich history. It rests upon the site of a beautiful villa a man built for his bride a hundred or so years ago. While on their honeymoon, he died! She then had his child… What a romantic, tragic story. It was in all the papers back then.

Amber: Did you say chocolate-dipped strawberries??? Yum! ;)

If we could celebrate this blogoversary in “real life” (as a tangible party and not just a cyber party) and you were asked to help come up with ideas for party decorations, what would you suggest?

Laura: I am just dying to have a vintage bash where everyone comes dressed as their favorite historical character. We would be the decorations! ;) Of course, we’d have to have paper lanterns, garlands of flowers, streamers, white twinkle lites, confetti… We’d play croquet! Eat tiny tea sandwiches and sip sparkling cider. I love a good party and a vintage-themed one would sure warm my historical-loving heart.

Amber: That sounds wonderful!

Do you have a funny memory you can share with us from a party/celebration that you attended or hosted this past year?

Laura: Oh, my life seems to be more about work than play at present. I love your question and wonder if we could turn it around and ask your blog readers? I’d so enjoy reading their responses! So, readers, can you share a funny memory from a party/celebration that you hosted or attended this past year?

Amber: Good idea, Laura! Before I turn it over to the readers I just want to thank you so much for visiting here once again--it's always a treat to host you!

The Giveaway

Readers, to help us celebrate Laura has offered to give away a copy of her book, Courting Morrow Little, to one lucky winner! (To read my review of this amazing book, click HERE!)

Just share a funny party memory in the comments section and include your e-mail address for a chance to win!

(And just like the last post from Vacation Week last year, I have the pleasure of announcing that author Julie Lessman will be our guest here soon--tomorrow, in fact! So be sure to join us tomorrow as we discuss reading retreats and Julie's upcoming release!)


Keli Gwyn said...

What a great interview, Amber. Love the questions you asked.

Laura, it's so hard to think of you writing a book set anywhere but Kentucky. =) I know it will be great, just different, especially since you're also moving from narrative-driven to dialogue-driven.

I gotta know. Are you going to use the hero's POV? I've long wished you would so we could get in the heads of those awesome heroes you create.

I didn't attend any parties this past year, at least in real life. My CP did host a cyber celebration for my first sale, though, which was a blast. Her secret was cute little books that outlined my writing journey--and CUPCAKES. =)

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Amber and Keli, So good to see you both here this morning:) I remember Keli's cyber-celebration and how clever and unique it was. You have a great CP (more than one, I think)!

And yes, my editors requested that I use the male POV in The Colonel's Lady as well as the Pennsylvania series. It was quite a leap getting into my hero's head and heart! Interestingly, some of my readers prefer I NOT have the male POV but continue in a more limited perspective so it should be interesting to see how that goes. It encourages me to hear you like the male POV. I do think it lends to a more developed story.

I think we should have a Keli countdown till release day! I think of you so often and know you are still walking on air. And Amber, bless you for inviting me to be here today. You are an inspiration in many ways - and your writing is so very, very good!

Casey said...

*not an entry*

Ah, great interview!! You wne to college in a castle, Laura?? Wow, what an adventure that must have been. :)

And I get so excited when I continue to hear new snippets of teasers from your coming series, it's going to be awesome (like Amber said. :)

Fun times Amber and Laura!! You've had a great year! :D

LoRee Peery said...

What an interesting interview. Laura, we have names from the same source: victorious laurel leaves used for crowns during ancient games.
This is bad, I don't remember any real parties from this past year. There were lots of get-togethers. One I remember from the past is when I hosted family and didn't designate what they should bring for pot luck. We ended up with 9 pies.

Ariel Wilson said...

My friend Rachel had a murder mystery for her party, and we all had the most INSANE outfits :D I was supposed to be scandalous... so I wore a mini-skort (not mini-skirts for me ;) ) and 3 inch high heels, one girl was a GUY, and Lindsay had a stuffed cat because she was a crazy cat lady. It was so great!

Again, thanks for the giveaways :)


cynthia said...

Thanks for the great interview. Actually, my husband and I just got back from Monterey yesterday. So relaxing. Back to the real world today. Hmmm... A funny party moment. Well, not really funny for my husband. I almost didn't make it to my engagement party because I wasn't feeling that great that day. My husband proposed that day (it was supposed to be sunset, but he miscalculated the time.) Then we went to our surprise engagement party, which I thought was going to be a surprise birthday party put on by a friend of ours.

Thanks for the giveaway. I look forward to reading you book whether I win or not. :)

cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

Michelle said...

Wonderful interview, Amber and Laura! I really enjoyed it! It's so fun getting to learn more interesting tidbits about you, Laura. Like you went to college in an English castle? What an experience that must have been!

And your new series sounds fascinating. A challenge for you, I'm sure, but you're such a talented author; I have no doubt that it will be incredible! Keeping you in prayer as you continue on your writing journey.

As far as funny party memories, I would have to say it would be at my son's third birthday party. After opening his presents, he pumped his arms into the air saying, "Now we can eat cake!" He was very excited, and it was the cutest thing! Everyone cracked up! :D

Thank you for entering me!
scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Renee said...

I've been busy with school and tutoring this month, but am glad I found a few minutes to enjoy this interview, Laura and Amber. The new series sounds like something that will keep us all eagerly awaiting sequels! And now I'm wondering about a college reunion in a castle. Is that where they produce historical fiction authors?

My funny party memory is one a friend planned for her husband--who hates parties. She planned a surprise party for him at a restaurant, assuming he would make the best of the situation since we'd all be "in public." She was wrong! He walked in, saw a banner with his name on it, and walked out! My friend stayed behind with all of us and we had a good laugh and wonderful dinner . . . Not sure what her hubby ate.

Anyway, have a great day! (not an entry)

Project Journal said...

Hmmmmm funny part story??? Amber, you can't think that I'D have any funny part stories!? *gasp* lol. Hmmmm I don't really know actually! I mean there haven't been that many parties because usually we get snowed out lol....but one year we had the big blizzard right BEFORE my birthday so it was a winter themed party. We had to make snowmen and they'd get judged. My partners were my two best friends lol...and our snoman was SOOOOO ugly! Ridiculously ugly!! Not too funny, better if you could see a picture lol. We were so proud but now smack our foreheads and question what we were thinking!!!

Hi Laura : ) So nice of you to join Amber on her blog today. I wasn't here during travel week because well....I was travelling lol. Actually I was in Oregon, believe it or not. Soooooo I never was around through that week even though I was on it one day technically ; )

Laura, unfortunately I haven't read any of your books still :( SOrry but they sound fantastic! Seriously really good! The new series coming out sounds like my cup of tea, so will definitely try and check it out.

HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY, Miss Teeny Tiny! I have to say it everyday...
Talk to you ater,

Laura Frantz said...

Casey, So good to see your smiling face here:) Love that you love snippets of my series. It is sure a joy to talk about it! I am always leery of giving too much away but by the time September 2012 rolls around, you won't remember anyway, right;)

LOL, LoRee! Nine pies! Some folks would think it the best potluck ever. I would, especially if they were chocolate cream pies... You're so right. Laurel leaves and the crown symbolism has always intrigued me. Very old origins:) Bless you for being here today.

Ariel, That party memory is unforgettable:) And would be hard to top!

Laura Frantz said...

Cynthia, Monterey is such a beautiful place and has such a rich history. Sounds like you enjoyed it immensely. And bless you for wanting to read my book, win or not:) Good to connect with you via Amber here!

Michelle, I can just see his little arms pumping and feel all that excitement:) Boys are sure fun! I so appreciate your kind words about my books and new series. Writing is never dull, nor reading! I'm so thankful the Lord brought us together through our love of good books!

LOL, Renee Ann:) Love the castle-historical fiction writer link. Even if I did live in the 3rd floor servants quarters, it was an incredible experience. I remember thinking and hoping the Lord would use it in my writing one day. I wrote the sequel to TFD and housed it in Ian's Castle Roslyn but alas, it is unpublished. I chuckled further about your friend's husband and that is my Randy to a T! He recently made me promise I'd NEVER surprise him with a party or he'd do the very thing you mentioned here - walk out!

Laura Frantz said...

Hannah, A snowman party would be one of the best ever as I'm just wild about snow. Wish I was wild about rain, living where I do, but in truth it's snow or sun for me and we'll just skip all that other stuff;) So good to meet you here and hope one day we meet up again, via Amber or otherwise. Bless you bunches!

Anonymous said...

Hannah, I thought I was Ms. Teeny Tiny? :P

Bluerose said...

I'm still absolutely loving the cover of The Colonel's Lady!! Of course, CML is beautiful, too! :) I'm very much looking forward to diving into The Frontiersmans Daughter in the very near future. I'm probably the last person around the blogosphere to read it. :P

I haven't been to a single party this past year. I've never been a party-goer. :)
We didn't even have a party for my little boy's 2nd birthday, because I was so sick. HORRIBLE, I know, but we're planning a big one this year, Lord willing!
So, I'll share a memory from his 1st birthday party, since that's the closest one in the past. We had a carnival themed party at the park. (under one of the pavilions). When we got there to decorate, there was NO power. We had corndogs that were going to be microwaved. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Thankfully, there was lots of other "carnival" snack food to keep everyone satisfied. We had to come home and stuff boxes of corndogs into our little freezer, though.

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

Amanda Stanley said...

Loved the interview ladies!! :D Laura every piece of info I get on your upcoming books makes them that much harder to wait for!! I cannot wait for The Colonel’s Lady and I’m so excited to see what you’re gonna do with The Ballantyne Legacy! So many new characters to fall in love with - especially those wonderful heroes you write so well ;)

A funny party moment that sticks out in my mind was on my 18th b-day. Some of my friends and my whole loud, Italian family went to a brunch at a nice local restaurant. It was my first b-day at a fancy place so I felt special :) Anyway, they had a live band playing mostly classical music, until my Uncle asked them to play happy birthday and he sang to me in his best Dean Martin voice, LOL! He’s really good at impressions, having done work at a lot of local radio stations pretending to be “celebrities” :D It was fun and made it more special, if not kinda embarrassing – literally the whole restaurant stopped and listened!

Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, as I already have a copy of Courting Morrow Little – aka my favorite book ever!! :D

Blessings to you both!!

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I am *slightly* jealous that you went to college in a castle Laura...I only went to "Harvard on the Mon" (local nickname for Cal U). :-(

As for fun party memories I don't really have any recently other than all the fun birthdays and blogiversaries on the Web. I'm a shy girl so parties aren't my scene...I'd rather stay home with Captain Jack or Red Shirt. ;-)

Congrats again Amber on a great year of blogging!

XOXO~ Renee

Carla Gade said...

This was a delightful interview with Laura. I'm so looking forward to her new series! I lived in Pennsylvania for 5 years and it is so beautiful there I know Laura will do a fantastic job with it.

Funny celebration memory? Well, the cardboard cutout caketop decoration I made for my husband's 50th birthday caught fire. Really!
Happy Blogoversary!

Please leave me out of the drawing as I've already ready Courting Morrow Little. Thanks anyway! I know the lucky winner will love it!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

lovely interview Amber & Laura!
funny party memory? just wks ago for Barbara Vey's 4th ann at PublishersWeekly - virtual online party with nonstop banter for a week between authors and us 'guests'! totally fun having to come up with creative party talk relating to the authors, other guests and all the a.maz.ing food & bevs! WoW! over 23,000, yes, comments! no one wanting to leave longer than a potty break or they had missed too much of the convo to know what was happening "))

Joy Tamsin David said...

Ooooohh I would love to read Courting Morrow Little (I'm jumping up and waving my hand right now!!!)

Funny party memory...hmmmm, I'm having a hard time coming up with one. Maybe I shouldn't be trying to visit blogs after midnight. LOL. If I think of one tomorrow morning I'll come back and post it.

Happy Bloggiversary Amber and thanks for hosting a giveaway Laura. :)


Joy GLee G@ aol. com

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

so, Laura, being wild about snow... how about a trade? ") i'm still dealing with it up here & looonnnnnging for a break ~ ")

Julie Lessman said...

LAURA and AMBER!!! I am SO sorry I'm late to the party, but what a party it is!! LOVE the interview and your new series sounds TO DIE FOR, Laura!! Uh ... if you need any endorsers, you know where to go ... :)


Laura Frantz said...

Bluerose, I had to smile since I LOVE corndogs! What a neat idea and I'm sure the pictures are great. We've missed more than one birthday and holiday celebration because of illness ourselves:( Grrrr. And don't worry about reading those books. Hopefully they'll still be circulating when you have a more time on your schedule. Thx for being here and blessing us today!

Laura Frantz said...

OH Amanda, Bless you for that;) I can tell you're Italian just from your beautiful pic! Sounds like you have a BIG, happy family which I've always dreamed about! The Dean Martin imitation is funny and quite neat, given he does that for radio, etc. It means so much that you love CML like you do. I wish I'd never typed THE END on that one:)

Laura Frantz said...

Renee, LOL;) CJ and RS, indeed! Hope you feel the same about my Colonel McLinn... I'm a bit of recluse myself though you probably couldn't tell so understand about the stay home aspect. As for colleges, I've not heard of that and it is cool! Wish I could relive those English castle days. Now I'm only able to write about them!

Laura Frantz said...

Carla, I didn't know about your PA connection! I'm still trying to fathom your deep south college days;) And I'm chuckling about that cake top for the big 50!!! Thanks so much for blessing us by stopping here. You are such a dear friend!!

Laura Frantz said...

Wow! 23k comments!! What a party:) That's truly something to blog/write about! I'd love to be in on that next time as I'm sure I could learn a few tricks! Thx for coming on again and offering to switch weather. If you could see the torrents coming down outside my window. Whoa, Noah!

Laura Frantz said...

Joy, I'm so glad you visit blogs at midnight:) It's fun to wake up and see you here! And I'm thrilled you're waving that hand to read Morrow's story. That sure makes me smile!

Laura Frantz said...

Julie, YAY! No party is complete without you, dear friend!! I know your day is going to be a whirlwind as you always seem to attract attention wherever you go and deservedly so;)
About that endorsement...I like that!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Amber I'm really sorry for hitting these posts late. Laura, I'm so excited that you've set your new series in PA, I don't read as much about the East Coast in historical fiction. But I love reading about Kentucky, too.

I know if you hosted a party, Laura it would be elegant and comfortable. Historical costmes, that's a hard question. I do think I would love to wear one of Victoria's dresses from the Young Victoria movie, maybe with a neckline a tad higher :)

Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments! I apologize for not responding sooner (so no worries, Julia--I'm "late" to my own party!). But I have loved reading your comments, and I'm so grateful for all of your kind words. :)

And Laura, thank you so much for letting me host you and for responding to everyone! You are so sweet, and it's such a pleasure to feature you on my blog again. :) Thank you for your sweet words! YOU are an inspiration to me, and to have such a talented author tell me that about my writing...that means so, so much to me!


Laura Frantz said...

Julia, So glad to see you! I've been thinking about you and the littles, hoping things are going well and missing you on the web! Thanks for coming here and making my day with your comments. YES, a Young Victoria dress would be one of my picks, too, as that film had such wonderful costumes. The only trouble would be settling on one dress! Glad you're looking forward to the PA series. Maybe I'll move to NY next;)

Katie Marie said...

Hey Amber! I am just now visitng your blogiversary party - Im sorry its taken me so long. Ive had a crazy week! But, I've long admired Laura's beautiful covers and intriguing synopsis to her books, so would love to be entered into this giveaway!

A funny moment? Hmm...I've had lots of those in my time! But if I just picked one...there was a time when we were coming home in the dark and I looked ahead on the road and asked "Is that a person? Oh, no, it's a tree." With the light playing off of the trees in the woods, it seriously looked like it was moving - therefor a person - until we drew closer. Sadly, I had a few friends of mine in the car that heart my silly comment and they have made sure I haven't forgotten how I mistook a tree for a person!

Well, thats one of my silly moments. Not so funny to some...but my friends about died laughing when it happened!

Thanks for the giveaway! Laura, I enjoyed reading your interview!

~ Katy

Jo said...

What a fun blog this was to read.

My hubby's 65th birthday fell out on the same night that our life group was meeting and we were meeting at the club house to watch a movie smiliar to Left Behind. Anyway, since it was his birthday we decided to make it a pot luck which he didn't realize that we were going to do and since I don't drive, I asked a good friend of mine to pick up the cake so he had no clue at all that we were having a surprise birthday party for him. It was great! Thanks for the giveaway!


Ann Lee Miller said...

True confession: I'd rather curl up with a good book than attend a party. :) Surely, I must have some happy party stories, but, for the life of me, I can't come up with one.