First Friday with The Crew: What books are we thankful for?

Hi GLIAS Gang!
Happy, happy Thanksgiving month. Here at Get Lost in a Story we have so many things and people for which we're thankful: careers, opportunities, the love of words and, most importantly, our friends and readers. In other words, YOU! And today we're giving you a little twist on the old 'what are you thankful for?' question. I wanted to know what book or books led each of the GLIAS crew members to want to be a writer.  I think you'll love seeing what stories made the big difference in each of our lives. And, maybe you'll find some new old books to pick up and be thankful for, too.

Here's wishing all of you a safe, happy and gorgeous November and a wonderful family-and-friend-filled Thanksgiving!

Liz's question for the crew:  WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

I am thankful for so many books, but my top three were relatively easy to pick--each for the part it played in turning my love toward writing and, specifically, writing romance. Here they are in reverse order!
#3: NATURAL BORN CHARMER, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Aside from being a great story with a fantastic first line, this book still ranks as one of my best "textbooks" on how to write the kind of novel I love to read. It showed me that I love intricate plots, stories that aren't over in five seconds, crazy careening multiple story lines, and technically excellent writing!

#2: HUMMINGBIRD, by LaVyrle Spencer. If anyone can be given total credit for making me certain I wanted to write romance it was LaVyrle. This '80s novel about single spinster Abigail and train "outlaw" Jesse in the 1800s Midwest is dated today, but still contains the best love/sex scene I've ever read. It was so realistic and heartbreakingly honest that I vowed I wanted to try and make my readers feel that way!

#1 THE BLACK STALLION, by Walter Farley. I devoured this series as a young girl and it not only showed me that a book could help a city kid live her horse-and-farm fantasies, it gave me my first book boyfriend in Alec Ramsay, my first favorite author, and my first story idea! This book not only made me a reader--it definitely is THE one that made me want to write my own novels!

I, along with millions of readers around the world, am thankful for Nora Roberts. The book that changed writing for me is SEA SWEPT and the Chesapeake Bay series. It’s hard to pin down exactly what changed or what was different about that book that resonated. The characters have stuck with me, the relationships between not only the hero and heroines but also the brothers hasn’t faded in my memory. I bought a second copy of the book so I could highlight what I liked and learn from it.

SO THANK YOU NORA ROBERTS for bringing joy back to reading with so many of your fascinating stories. And Thank You for influencing my writing with such a wonderful story like the Quinn brothers' series.

Name one influential book? You've got to be kidding. 

All right, one of my favorites is COME SPRING, a RITA award-winning novel by Jill Marie Landis, about a woman traveling west who gets mistaken for a mail-order bride by a surly mountain man. After reading that novel, I knew I wanted to write American historical romance. 

Fast forward to 2010, I've been writing full time for a couple years, a giddy finalist in the Golden Heart for my second novel. I happen into a meeting room and run in Jill Marie. From that first meeting and later, after I asked her to be guest on GLIAS, we became friends, and later, she became a mentor. She's taught me so much about writing, and especially how dig deep to find the emotional gold mines in a story. I owe a debt of gratitude to Jill for her wonderful books and her wise teaching. 

My books...

JANE EYRE, Charlotte Bronte
I read this as a teenager and it's the book that whispered to me that one day I would be a writer. I've read it about 50 times since then, seen every television and film adaptation, and I still love it like crazy. The passion, the drama, the plain and poor heroine, the rich and dominating hero. Swoon all round. 
THE WOLF AND THE DOVE, Kathleen Woodiwiss
This was the first historical romance I ever read and it was a revelation. I read it non-stop one night on a beach holiday, and then read it cover to cover again...and then promptly went off on a quest to find every other Woodiwiss book, as well as the full catalogue of book by Laurie McBain, Johanna Lindsey, Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee, Karen Robards and Judith McNaught.


We're talking books that made me want to write! I have several, and they are all historical romances, which is why I have a personal blog titled "Historical Romance Review" today. Here are my books:

-BRIDE OF THE MacHUGH by Jan Cox Speas (written in 1954 but only discovered by me about 2011)

-Anything by Elizabeth Stuart but my favorite was HEARTSTORM 

- Any of the historicals by Heather Graham (sometimes writing as Shannon Drake) but her 6-book Cameron Saga, beginning with SWEET SAVAGE EDEN, is the series I truly remember. 
-I love Virgina Henley's historicals for the way she makes history a character (as I do now). THE DRAGON AND THE JEWEL may be my favorite. I was thrilled when she gave me a quote for my first novel.
-LADY OF THE GLEN Jennifer Roberson still inspires me. I cannot forget it.
I could name many others but those come to mind.  


Books that made me want to write? Mine wasn't a book, it was Analog monthly magazine. (When I was in my SciFi period.) I loved the short stories and serials, although 

I hated having to to wait a full month for the next serial. Ben Bova, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson and unknown authors all helped ignite my imagination. The first book I ever began mentally plotting was Sci Fi. Someday I might even write that story!

The book that really inspired me to write was OUTLANDER, by Diana Gabaldon.  I fell in love with this story and the characters, and I knew I wanted to try to create my own world someday.  I joined an online writing forum where I began to talk to other writers and learn from them.  They gave me the courage to put my work out there, and I appreciate the support I receive from them to this day!
 Are you inspired, dear readers? I know I now have a ton of books to read and re-read. So...tell us, what are your favorite books? What turned you into grateful readers? We want to know--so maybe we can find a way into your hearts--permanently!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

From Lizbeth: a signed copy of her 
latest novel The Bride Wore Starlight.

From E.E.:  a digital copy of her 
American Mail-Order Bride 
Christmas Collection.
From Avril: an digital of her medical romance, 
From Fling to Forever
                                                            From Lara: a signed copy of her 
                                                                              latest  book, Enticed By The Operative. 

From Nan: win a copy of her current book, 
Through a Magnolia Filter.

 From Angi: win a Texas 
Christmas Ornament.

Leave us a comment for a chance to win one of several free books or an ornament from your GLIAS authors!  Do you have an author who inspired you?


  1. Very cool to see the influences of these authors on my friends.

  2. It's just been the last few years that I've realized authors are people. Yes, I knew someone wrote books... I just didn't think of them as anything other than an extension of a book title on the front cover. I don't mean that to sound harsh.. I'm trying to explain it was all about the book. Then I "met" some crazy fun authors on Facebook. You might know them here... they go by Lizbeth and Angi. I haven't laughed lately as much as I did the night I had to ground Angi from drinking any more wine. They are, mostly, responsible for inspiring me to see the authors as people, not titles. I have to add chatting with B.J. Daniels, after growing up reading her romances, was a pretty awesome moment too.

    1. Julie!!!! We still have to keep Angi from the wine most get-togethers--at least after her first quarter bottle. Otherwise we get no sleep at all laughing. I'm so sorry we're the ones who built your impression of the kinds of people authors are. But, man, we sure are glad we know readers like YOU!! Here's to weird socks and late nights online!! And thanks for being so great. At least you got to talk to B.J., too :-D

  3. The Bible. Agatha Christie's books. Little Women, Gone With the Wind and Roots.

    1. Fantastic choices, Tammy! You have great taste, and if these are your inspiring books, you've got a really special outlook on life!

  4. Oh goodness besides the bible which is everyone 1st pick and I read faithfully every day I have to say Jennifer Faye. Jen has been a writer friend for alot of years so has always been there when i was down with bad pain from my disease and when she posted something that i read something else or she hasn;t posted in a few days i will send her an e-mail of hugs as i know she is buried reading. Also Emelle Gamble has been a wonderful reader friend also and I could easily name off a few others that have went out of their way to help me as they know I have full body Reflex Dystrophy and they know that i am unable to use ebook etc but can write reviews with help from hubby who does the finger work so they send a book when it is coming out and i will post the review when they want it so I send special love to them also. Authors are like readers they need hugs and reviews and to know there are readers out there who care and if they need help readers are there. ptclayton2@aol.com

  5. Great column! Started reading Harlequin romance as a teen--loved all the exotic locations and dark, handsome heroes. Loved Kathleen Woodiwiss from way back. And Virginia Henley!