Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Not-So-Funny-Thing Happened During Our Tour of the Capitol

Today's Capitol tour was more exciting than expected. After our tour, we hit the cafeteria with the kids. The sixteen of us lingered a bit past the 4:00 closing time. We were gathering up the trash and packing the kiddies, (seven adults and nine smidgeons) when an alarm started. A voice came over the PA announcing that the Capitol grounds were on lockdown, and the cafeteria staff flew into action. They were AMAZING. Hats off to them and probably everyone else, but I was immensely impressed with how they flew into action to protect us.

One worker commandeered one of the strollers, (we had two strollers and a wheelchair) and politely but firmly told us to follow quickly. Several other workers created an evacuation line to herd us to a secure place, assuring us we were safe as the alarm continued to sound. All the staff in there were equally calm, prepared, friendly, but in control of the situation as they moved us into the theater area. I was so proud and impressed.

Two school groups were searching for their students as we tried to get info. No one was saying much, but the Twitter feeds had the first report, then the news feeds started talking about a shooter outside.

We were fine and our containment only lasted about 45 minutes, but I felt safe and protected by the wonderful staff. Hats off to those cafeteria worker-turned-security people for jumping into action. Most of them spoke with accents and came here from other lands, but they placed themselves in front of us to keep us safe. PROUD AMERICANS ALL!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!!!!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dragons of Alsace Farm by Laurie L.C. Lewis

The Dragons of Alsace Farm

by Laurie L.C. Lewis

Giveaway ends August 11, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, June 27, 2016

She Remembered Love: "THE DRAGONS OF ALSACE FARM" is available in print and e-book!

A Four-Year Project of Love is Published

THE DRAGONS OF ALSACE FARM

is now available.

The idea for The Dragons of Alsace Farm developed over four years ago when our family began grappling with our mother's dementia. We learned so many lessons, regretted our inability to catch it sooner, felt guilt, cried, pulled our hair out, argued, and eventually accepted Mom's new normal, realizing that she was still in there if we could drop our old expectations and appreciate who she now was.

Our mother has always been the most generous, loving person imaginable. When budgets were tight, she would create magic from a few pounds of flour and sugar, or with crayons, poster paint, and aluminum foil. Everyone who met her loved her.

She cared for our father through prolonged health crises, and her grief at his passing was ongoing and nearly corporeal. She adored children. All children. And though she raised us with a strict hand, she relaxed her rules and opened her doors for any troubled, displaced youth that passed her farm. And then things began to get complicated. Some of us passed it off as depression over Dad's passing, but those living closest to her reported observations that were completely out of character for her, and family members felt the stress.

A neurologist finally made gave us a diagnosis which was overwhelming at first, but it explained so many oddities and problems that had been cropping up in our family--confusion about family members, uncharacteristic money problems, Mom's increased anxiety and erratic mood swings, and almost constant stomach ailments.

Bit-by-bit, the knotted tales untangled. Mom was mixing the past, the present, and her dreams together as if they were all current events. These issues, and her inability to understand the changes in her mind and perception ratcheted her anxiety to levels we had never before seen.

We launched a variety of plans to keep Mom on her beloved farm, and we contacted every agency we could find. What few services Mom might have qualified for were denied us, because when workers came to evaluate her, Mom would be so delightful and charming that they would declared her nopt in need of assistance.

At some point, we came together as a family and made a plan. All during these months and years, "The Dragons of Alsace Farm," took shape as more and more people contacted me, sharing their stories. The dragon Agnes faces in the book is dementia. Her dragon impacts everyone who loves her, even as they battle their own secret dragons,

It has been a learning experience, one I felt others could benefit from. So I interviewed doctors, therapists, caregivers, and friends facing this diagnosis with their own loved ones, and a story was born. It is a great honor and delight to finally announce that this love project is now up on Amazon. 

I hope you'll find something of personal value in this story. Have the hard conversations with your aging parents early. Strengthen relationships now so you can pull together when and if the need arises. Make memories now. Record them. and above all, remember love.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brandon Gray's "ORISON"

Book Nook Review of 
Orison
by Brandon Gray


Orison, Brandon Gray’s YA sci-fi fantasy, was an award-winning book coming out of the gate. Gray submitted his unique tale of colliding human and dryad worlds through Amazon’s grueling Kindle Scout platform where it was selected for publication. And for good reason. Good fantasy requires intricate world-building, and Gray weaves a complex story line through the fascinating world he creates where humans and dryads interact, fall in love, and yes . . . have fits of jealousy and rage.

The King family grew wealthy when their plantation’s harvests far exceeded their neighbors’. But something happened to end the mutually beneficial arrangement between the Kings and their dryad neighbors, sending a curse upon the land and into the family.

The current heir to the King land is Branson, a self-centered, irresponsible party-boy whose past is riddled with sorrow and sin.  His most recent binge leads to an accident that destroys the tree housing a powerful dryad spirit. Tradition now requires Aurianna, the shunned granddaughter, to make an oath to avenge her grandmother’s murder by killing Branson. But before she knows who the killer is, Aurianna finds wounded Branson and tends to him, creating an inner conflict that threatens to destroy her world and his.

A powerful attraction draws Branson and Aurianna to one another, and down a destructive path for both, but there is one voice Branson listens to above his own libido--that of Abraham--the aged family friend/handyman whose own life and land seem mysteriously blessed. Abraham understands both worlds, and he opens Aurianna's and Branson's understanding of the forces at work in their lives, understanding that helps them to see the choices before them, and to accept the consequences of those decisions.

Brandon Gray delivers a powerful story while raising thought-provoking questions that challenge main character Branson’s do-what-you-want choices and values. The topics are hard-hitting at times, and though Gray handles them with respect and care, this is not an MG read.

For this reason, Brandon Gray, aka Braden Bell, wrote Orison, his first YA novel, under a pen name to make that distinction with his faithful readers. The much beloved author of the MG series, Middle School Magic, has been heralded for writing books that reflect and speak to his target audience. It is not by accident or merely good marketing. Bell/Gray—teacher, director, father, PhD—loves young people, and he continues to write books that make them think.

Orison’s measured beginning builds to a page-turning sprint as the dryad and human story lines converge. This reviewer could not foresee the final twists, and was extremely pleased to see that Orison is book one of a series.

I was thoroughly engrossed by this unique, powerful book, and recommend Orison, and all Gray/Bell’s books, to thoughtful readers who love beautiful writing. In fact, Bell’s books are my go-to gifts for my own grandchildren, and Orison’s powerful themes add another volume to his masterful collection.

 If you have middle school-aged youth, get them Bell’s brilliant Middle School Magic series, but Orison will entertain and provoke thought in readers from savvy teens to adults. It's available on Kindle. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cover Reveal: ON THE CORNER OF HEARTACHE AND LOVE by Rone-Award Nominee Lisa Swinton!

Talented Rone-Award nominee and friend, author Lisa Swinton, is dishing up another sweet romance. I've watched this one unfold, and it may be my favorite book by this talented author. Put it on your wishlist. Due out in September!

On the Corner of Heartache Love
Cover Reveal!

Coming September 2016!

About the Book

After three years, Maren Summers is elated to finally have her dream wedding to her dream man, Kevin Bryant. In her sights is the promotion to Weddings she’s worked so hard for at the newspaper. Happily ever after is within her grasp…

Until Kevin jilts her at the altar, elopes with another woman, and becomes her boss. Devastated by the twisted turn of events Maren moves in with her best friend and notices the not-so-homeless guy on the corner, Zane Whitfield. As his heart-wrenching tale unfolds—his vow to wait a year on the corner for his lost love—Maren sees his compassionate human-interest story as her ticket away from 
Kevin, weddings, and her heartache.

But as the New Year approaches, is Maren headed for heartache again when Zane's lost love returns, or has time changed more than one heart?

About the Author

Lisa Swinton caught the romance buy early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it yet. She feeds her addiction with romance novels, films, and chocolate. A doctor’s wife and busy mom of two, she enjoys putting her musical theater degree to use at church and in community theater. She enjoys researching her family tree, painting her house, and baking. She loves to travel and all things Jane Austen. In her next life she’d like to be a professional organizer.
You can visit her at:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

BUXTON PEAK BOOK ONE: WHO IS IAN TAYLOR?

WHO IS IAN TAYLOR?

Author Julie L. Spencer is determined to let everyone know the answer to this question. In fact, she's created a movement to spread the word. And the answer????


 Ian Taylor is the main character in the first book of the Buxton Peak series by Julie L. Spencer, and it launches today, June 21st 2016.

Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? is the beginning of a love story that forces Ian Taylor to let go of those who use him, embrace those who love him for who he truly is, and find strength in his music when everything around him falls apart.

   From Julie:
   "I love my story and can’t wait to share it with the world! -Julie L. Spencer

   Follow the link above to attend the launch party for Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor?  And also check out her first novel, The  Cove on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Have you read The Cove? What’s your opinion?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Talented Rone-Award nominee and friend, author Lisa Swinton, is dishing up another sweet romance. I've watched this one unfold, and it may be my favorite book by this talented author. Put it on your wishlist. Due out in September!

On the Corner of Heartache Love
Cover Reveal!

Coming September 2016!

About the Book

After three years, Maren Summers is elated to finally have her dream wedding to her dream man, Kevin Bryant. In her sights is the promotion to Weddings she’s worked so hard for at the newspaper. Happily ever after is within her grasp…

Until Kevin jilts her at the altar, elopes with another woman, and becomes her boss. Devastated by the twisted turn of events Maren moves in with her best friend and notices the not-so-homeless guy on the corner, Zane Whitfield. As his heart-wrenching tale unfolds—his vow to wait a year on the corner for his lost love—Maren sees his compassionate human-interest story as her ticket away from 
Kevin, weddings, and her heartache.

But as the New Year approaches, is Maren headed for heartache again when Zane's lost love returns, or has time changed more than one heart?

About the Author

Lisa Swinton caught the romance buy early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it yet. She feeds her addiction with romance novels, films, and chocolate. A doctor’s wife and busy mom of two, she enjoys putting her musical theater degree to use at church and in community theater. She enjoys researching her family tree, painting her house, and baking. She loves to travel and all things Jane Austen. In her next life she’d like to be a professional organizer.
You can visit her at: