Friday, December 30, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 GIVEAWAY HOP

Thanks once again to Kathy at I AM A READER, NOT A WRITER, and to Babs at BABS' BOOK BISTRO for sponsoring this great hop. It opens right after midnight on December 30, and closes at midnight PST on January 3.

A New Year deserves some new reads, so I'm offering three free reads!

1) a new and signed copy of any of my books
2) My gently-read copy of a favorite 2011 read, plus
3) a free download on my web site of my first novel, a family Christmas story titled, "UNSPOKEN" for all who play on this stop of the hop. How's that sound?

Here are the details for my stop on the hop.

After working for a few years to make it happen, I recently found out that all five volumes of FREE MEN and DREAMERS either are available in ebook format for the Kindle! I could use some help spreading the word, so here's how you enter.

First, please make sure each entry is posted separately. I use Random.org to select my winner and this program uses entry numbers in it's selection.

Mandatory entry: You must either be or become a member of this blog.

Entry 2: Friend me on Facebook.

Entry 3 and 4: Tell others that my Free Men and Dreamers series is available in Kindle format. Copy and paste the following to your Twitter feed for a third entry, and to your Facebook page for a fourth:

The Founding Fathers' dream of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance. FREE MEN and DREAMERS is now on Kindle! http://tinyurl.com/7wlpwfk

That's it! Now visit all these other wonderful blogs!




Friday, December 23, 2011

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS EVE MOVIE

On previous days I've shared my peaceful plan for Christmas breakfast, my easy-peesy cookie recipes, and a few of my favorite stories. My favorite Christmas Eve movie is "The Nativity Story." I had just completed teaching the OT in Seminary when I first saw it, and I was dazzled by the historical accuracy depicted in the period and the characters. Christian devotees will be spellbound, and history lovers will be too. Spectacular way to personally experience the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS MORNING MENU

Christmas morning can be a daunting time for a mom, especially if you want to get something hearty and nutritious into your family before they tear into pies and cookies. It's especially difficult if you are also cooking a Christmas dinner the same day.

Years ago I found this delicious breakfast casserole recipe. The family loves it, and because it's assembled the day before, you can pop it in the oven before opening gifts and it's ready just as you finish up. We top the nutritious egg casserole off with some less nutritious but splendid and easy sweet rolls also made the evening before. These are staples of a Lewis-family holiday, and they have become as traditional as our tree.

I hope they make your Christmas morning special and peaceful!

Breakfast Casserole
This is the most delicious Put-It-Together-The-Night-Before recipe I've ever found. Perfect for a busy but special morning event.

Ingredients:
1 pound spicy pork sausage 1/4 cup onion 2 1/2 cup hash brown 5 large eggs 2 cups shredded cheese 1 3/4 cups milk 1 cup Bisquick 1/4 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper

Directions:
Cook and crumble sausage and onion together until sausage crumbles. Stir in the hash browns and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain on paper towels, then place in a 9X13 baking dish. Mix together the eggs, cheese, and the next four ingredients. Pour over the pork mixture. Chill overnight or at least 8 hours. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Category: Breakfast
Servings: 8

Sweet Rolls

Yummy and evil!!!

Ingredients:
Frozen bread dough
2 sticks butter
cinnamon
Brown sugar
powdered sugar
few tablespoons milk
Directions:


Thaw 3 loaves of frozen bread dough until it is easy to work. Roll into a rectangle 12 inches wide by ½” thick. Spread with butter, then sprinkle cinnamon all over. Next, sprinkle a layer of brown sugar over the top. Roll up jelly roll style. Cut into 1 to 1½ inch slices. Arrange in a greased pan or pns. Let rise 2-3 times. Bake in 350 degree oven for 18-22 minutes, (until no longer doughy in center.) Frost when cool. (Frosting- Melt on low 1 stick butter. Add +-1 lb powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1-2 tsp. milk. I double this.)

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Category: Breakfast Servings: 12

MID-WINTER'S EVE GIVEAWAY HOP

MID-WINTER'S EVE GIVEAWAY HOP



Many thanks to Kathy at I Am A READER, NOT A WRITER, OASIS for YA, and THE DAILY HARRELL for co-hosting this hop. It opens at 12:01 December 21st and closes December 27th at midnight.

After working for a few years to make it happen, I recently found out that all five volumes of FREE MEN and DREAMERS either are available, or will be available, in ebook format for the Kindle before the end of this hop! To celebrate, I'm offering my winner their choice of either a free Kindle download of any volume of my books, or an autographed hardcopy.

Also, as my Christmas present to each of you for supporting this blog and my books over the year, I'm offering my first novel for free to each person who enters this hop. It's a Christmas book titled, "Unspoken," published in 2004. Keep in mind that it was my very first novel, a sweet family story about forgiveness--no history, no War of 1812 drama, but some family Christmas drama and a little romance. Just visit my web site and you'll see a link for a free download of UNSPOKEN.

Sound good?

Here's how you enter. First, please make sure each entry is posted separately. I use Random.org to select my winner and this program uses entry numbers in it's selection.

Mandatory entry: You must either be or become a member of this blog.

Entry 2: Friend me on Facebook.

Entry 3 and 4: Tell others that my Free Men and Dreamers series is available in Kindle format. Copy and paste the following to your Twitter feed for a third entry, and to your Facebook page for a fourth.


The Founding Fathers' dream of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance. Read FREE MEN and DREAMERS. Now available on Kindle.

That's it! Now visit all these other wonderful blogs! And please have a wondrous, joyous Christmas.


Warmly,

Laurie








Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE PUZZLE


The woodworker started his day like every other day. He stopped by his son’s house to walk his adored eight year-old grandson to school, and after dropping him, off he headed on to his little Main Street work shop. There in the shop, by the large bay window, stood a homemade table covered by a recently completed jigsaw puzzle. He loved puzzles. In fact, a day never passed where the table wasn’t covered with a puzzle in some stage of completion.

He worked on them throughout the day, a minute here, a minute there, whenever he took a break from his labors. Sometimes he would pop a piece into place as he passed by, but generally he would set aside a block of time in the lull of his work to sit at the table while he stared at the intricately cut pieces, trying to visualize each part’s place. His favorite puzzles were the kind he could only buy at the hobby store, those whose pieces recreated the works of the great masters: Da Vinci, Matisse, Rembrandt, Rubens, and today he needed a new project to begin.

It was the third of December and the hobby store shelves had been thoroughly picked over by the holiday early birds. The only puzzle remaining had been opened and re-packaged without a photo of the completed image. It was the reason no one else had bothered with the toy, but the man found the dilemma intriguing and carried it to the shop to give it his best effort.

After hours of work he still had no idea what the finished project would disclose but he continued to move the pieces around the old oak table. There were shapes colored in hues of scarlet and a few blues but the bulk were in tones of beige and brown, none of which were descriptive enough to give the man a ready clue as to what great work his completed project would imitate. He smiled. The difficulty of the work didn’t dissuade him. He knew that time and patience would reveal the image’s secret.

He was mulling over some golden pieces he had snapped together. Two little of the intricate section was completed place it in a meaningful context. He looked out the window to get a new perspective, and noticed some of the townsfolk dragging out the Christmas lights to begin decorating Main Street. He saw people on ladders hanging wreaths, and others stringing lights and ornaments on the tree in the Town Square in anticipation of the evening’s annual tree lighting ceremony. The woodworker smiled and when he returned his attention to the puzzle he was immediately able to snap the three blue pieces precisely into their place.

Encouraged by his success and the lack of customers, he tackled the puzzle with renewed enthusiasm until Bruegel’s, The Adoration of the Kings, began to emerge. He continued to place pieces, soon revealing the stall and the donkey, some soldiers, a host of onlookers and of course, the three kings. The blue pieces had formed the veil of Mary who held the Christ Child in her lap, but after placing every piece he had, he sadly realized his puzzle was missing one crucial piece.
It was at this moment, that his grandson, returning from school, opened the door and called out a melancholy greeting to his grandfather who was on hands and knees on the floor, searching for the missing piece.

“Why so glum?” the woodworker asked.

“I want to be the one to climb the ladder and place the star on top of the tree, but they will only allow me to hang ornaments on the lowest branches.”
“I see . . . and you don't think that's very important?” smiled the woodworker who was still searching for the lost piece.

“No,” mourned the child. “I am eight now. I can do more than that.”

The grandfather slowly rose to his feet and slumped into his chair. He patted his knee, calling for his grandson, and once the boy had scrambled up the man pointed to his puzzle.

“See. Despite all the work I have put into this puzzle it is marred because of the loss of one piece. One small piece,” he repeated sadly. “The story is incomplete because without that piece we cannot reveal the face of the Christ Child. We cannot tell if He was smiling or sleeping, how He responded to the loving touch of His gentle mother or the adoration of the strange Kings. The story is obscured because one piece has not contributed its share to the story.”

The boy raised his large brown eyes and stared into his grandfather’s wise, crinkled ones.

The man hugged the small child close and kissed his head. “It matters not what job we do, only that we each contribute what is required of us.” He tapped piece after piece of the puzzle. “When the work begins, who knows which contribution will be the one to reveal the face of the Christ?”

The boy scrambled off his grandfather’s lap and peered into a crack in the old, wooden floor. He drew an object from the crevice and when he returned to his grandfather’s side he opened his palm revealing a single puzzle piece. He snapped it into place and there, lying on the table before him, was the smiling face of the Christ Child in his mother’s protective arms, surrounded by the three kings. He gingerly touched the holy face, then he began rubbing his hand over the completed picture, feeling the ridges that marked the boundaries of one piece’s contribution from another’s. Then, smiling lovingly into his grandfather’s face, he hurried out the door, ready now, to simply do his part.

ELFEN RESCUE PLAN


It's a bittersweet moment for we older wives and moms as we watch our daughters and daughters-in-law take up the torch and carry out their first Christmas celebrations. The joy and wonder of childhood memories seems to dim a bit as they realize what we have all realized at some point--"Making a wonderful Christmas is a lot of work!"

I heard this uttered from the lips of a young mother who was overwhelmed by the daunting tasks involved in preparing Christmas for only three people. "Try making Christmas Magic for fifteen people, including extended family," I thought.

I'd never say it out loud. Such reality is too much for a newbie Christmas elf who will learn all too soon that being the Christmas "elf" is much like a being a window. If all goes well, the recipients of your planning and labor will see right past the bags under your eyes, seeing only the beautifully wrapped and carefully selected gifts stacked under a perfect tree, surrounded by festive decorations festooning a tidy home, boasting an abundant array of cookies, fruits and assorted holiday treats. Ahhhhhhhh. . . . . But miss a beat . . . let one ball drop, and somebody will likely utter a lethal satisfaction-killing line like, "What, no pecan pie this year?" or "Last year's tree was prettier," or the killer comment of them all, "It doesn't fit." Arghhhhh.

Try as we do to maintain the perfect, uncomplicated, sacred aspects of the Christmas celebrations, we tend to get a bit lost in the Santa-based revelry. I love it all, but elfing is a killer. Consider that the primary "elf" in the family begins Christmas prep as early as December 26th, setting up the next Christmas club, sale-shopping for next year's gifts, and picking up the discounted decorations to make the next year's decor festive.

Now store that stuff, (and try to remember where), as you take down this year's tree. The real shopping blitz may be a year-round exercise for bargain-hunters, but for those of us who can only do one thing at a time, the stress of playing James Bond to secure the secret "want-lists" from each family member probably only happens after the kids are finally nestled in school and the patio furniture is secured away. And then the real mission begins.

We shop, wrap, and calculate everything to be sure the checkbook holds steady while also assuring that each pile is equal in value and quantity. Then there's the shipping of gifts to faraway people. (Try stuffing a Holiday Barbie and a Fisher Price Riding toy into an economy-sized box!)

We select our cards, write a cheery letter, sign, stuff, address the envelopes, then mail them out, and one little check mark is all we get to place on our to-do list!

Moving on, we set the tree up, trim it, (and there's something sinister about tree lights. You know it. I know it. Nuff said,) drag out the gifts, decorate the house from inside to out, shop and bake enough food to feed the equivalent of the Tabernacle Choir, and we do all this between maintaining the flow of life--laundry, soccer practice, bathroom cleaning, normal meal prep and, did I mention, hosting Thanksgiving?

Feeling a little flat, we try to recapture the lagging Spirit of Christmas by reaching out to others in service, watching the traditional Christmas TV fare like "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," or "The Nativity Story" and we plan for the reading of the Christmas Story from Luke 2. "

When Christmas Eve rolls around, (it feels like it comes about six days after Thanksgiving), we elves are generally so sleep-deprived we become an unstable entity who, like nitro, could go off at any time, melting into a puddle of tears, or feeling so giddy that they're likely to bust a move to a Nat King Cole carol, much to the horror of the entire family. It's not pretty, and we're not proud of it. We're just really, really, really tired.

So rescue an elf. You know where to find us. Give us a hug and a pat for this year's effort, and promise to don some gay elfen apparel and join us next year. And while you're at it, a foot rub and somer peppermint cocoa would be really nice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

CHRISTMAS STORY 2: "ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH"

ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH

Christmas Story 2007
by Laurie LC Lewis




John laid the Bible carefully on the end table and ruffled his young son’s head. He smiled as Ann bent low to place their toddler daughter near enough to receive a good night kiss.


“How about we say prayers with Mommy and Sarah tonight, Jacob?” John suggested as he tenderly showed Jacob how to fold his arms. With eyes misting and his heart stirred by the too frequently neglected expression, the man found it hard to begin, finding his voice more easily as his son snuggled closer.

After the amen was uttered, Ann rose and guided the children to bed, leaving John to marvel at the simple turn of events that had precipitated the change in their family that night. He scanned the table where the critical shopping lists now lay, tossed inconsequentially upon the return home, their errands left incomplete. Odd, since just a few hours earlier he and his wife had sat there with their carefully balanced checkbook, newspaper ads and their list spread between them, strategically making the decisions about whom and what to shop for.

They had divided the errands between them— his wife and Sarah setting off in one direction while he and Jacob headed in another, beneath dangling snowflakes the size of garbage can lids, past inflatable snow people and their revolving, musical village. Twice, his rambunctious five year-old had dashed off to explore the colorful display, each time earning a stern rebuke from his father. His father’s reproach only unsettled the child further until the man finally relented, allowing his son a few moments to survey the dazzling display that showcased the gems of the season—the must-have toys which were set upon blocks of rotating, plastic “ice”, beneath which the names of stores and price tags were displayed.

With hands clenching his carefully-crafted list of errands, he stared at the scene, taking in the sounds of three dozen children, each one pointing out desired items while voicing their requests aloud. Soon he heard his own son’s voice joining in the cacophony, crying out request after request for each and every item on display, and for a moment . . . for just a regrettable moment, as the crowds jostled him and the music and voices raised all around, he voiced his thoughts. “I hate Christmas. . .”

The bitterness of the words chilled his heart as soon as they passed his lips. Hungry to find Ann, to have her reset his anchor, he lifted Jacob into his arms and whispered, “Let’s hurry and find Mommy.”

Clutching his son close, he dashed off to the first store on his wife’s list. As he approached the location he saw a crowd gathered around the store’s window and he marveled at the attitudes of the people coming away from the area, speaking in soft tones, their faces as bright and soft as their smiles. Curious, he drew near and to his amazement, little Sarah was the cause of all the excitement.

On tiny toddler knees with her nose pressed to the glass, she knelt before a Nativity scene, babbling as she pointed from one character to another. “Beebee!” she cried out with excitement. “Nicey beebee!”

“Yes,” her mother whispered hoarsely. “He is a very nicy baby, Sarah. He’s a very special baby too. His name is Jesus.”

“Jesus. . .” replied Sarah with reverence equal to her mother’s. “Nicey Jesus. . .”

With a trembling finger, Ann pointed to Mary. “And this is his mommy. Her name is Mary. She didn’t have a nice crib or a soft blankie for her baby, so she had to wrap him with pieces of cloth and lay him in this soft hay. The animals kept him warm and,” she pointed out various figurines, “angels sang to him . . . and shepherds and Wise Men came to visit him.”

Sarah slid her finger along the glass until it too pointed to Mary. “Pretty mommy. . . pretty beebee.”

John stooped down, gently placing Jacob beside Sarah and sliding an arm around his wife’s shoulder. Other children were now drawing close to the scene. Gazing at them, Ann wiped a tear from her eye and smiled as she explained the moment to John. “I was standing in line at the kiosk over there, struggling with Sarah who was crying and squirming. I was at my wits end when she suddenly became still and quiet. When I checked to see why, I noticed that she was staring at this store window whispering, ‘Beebee . . . beebee. . .’ After I paid the vendor, I put her down and she ran right over here. This is what she’s been doing ever since. It’s like she gets it, you know?” she sniffed. “It’s as if this little child understands what’s most important about Christmas.”

“I know this story, don’t I, Daddy?” asked Jacob with a furrowed brow. “Didn’t you tell it to me once?”

Sliding his list into his pocket, John squeezed his wife’s hand and raised her to her feet. Each bent down and picked up one of their children, placing kisses on their cheeks. “Once is not enough for the telling of the Christmas story, Jacob. Let’s go home and read it again, tonight, because once is never enough.”

Merry Christmas!
Love,
Laurie

Thursday, December 15, 2011

ADVENTURE WITH GRANDMA

Who doesn't love and even need a few good Christmas stories to warm their heart and remind us how small and simple acts of Christmas magic can renew souls and change lives? This is one of my favorites. Enjoy!


ADVENTURE WITH GRANDMA

by Anonymous (But I'd love to find out!)



I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous, cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in thosedays. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes,"I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) and wrote, "To Bobby, >From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house,explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous.

Santa was alive and well and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Friday, December 9, 2011

PLEASE PAUSE FOR A GREAT CAUSE

Two years ago a father and his two sons were killed in a plane crash, and in a moment, the Mingo family lost all of their men. One family was especially hard hit. Jordan Mingo left behind a young wife and three small children--the youngest was only three months old.

Shelley Mingo works to support her family, but she could use some help this Christmas, not just for toys, but to ease the other expenses everyone faces.

Her good friend is author Rachelle Christenson, (author of Wrong Number). Rachelle has created a drawing with some great prizes. All the proceeds will go to benefit this family.

So please pause for this great cause, and help this deserving family as you count your many blessings this Christmas season. Five dollars multiplied by many hearts can do a lot of good.

Here's the link: http://rachellewrites.blogspot.com/2011/12/giveaway-hop-fundraiser-for-shelley.html

GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY HOP

Here's a hop that's perfect for last-minute Christmas shopping! Many thanks to Kathy at "I'm A READER NOT A WRITER," and Peep from Attack of the Book for co-hosting this hop!

I'm giving away a $25 restaurant coupon to either Applebee's or The Cheesecake Factory. The winner can choose!

Here's how you enter. Keep in mind that each entry MUST be posted separately to be considered.

1. MANDATORY ENTRY- You must be or become a follower of this blog!

2. Friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=703634776#!/profile.php?id=703634776. If you're already my friend, post the name of your favorite Christmas carol.

3. I'm on a book tour in Utah right now for my newest book, "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST." I could use your help spreading the word about my book. Post the following blurb and link on your facebook, twitter page, or blog and receive one additional entry for each. Just post each one separately indicating where you posted:

"What if yours was the generation tasked with the building of a nation? Read Free Men and Dreamers." www.laurielclewis.com

That's it! Now head on over to these other wonderful blogs and see what they're giving away! Thanks for stopping by, and "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas!"

Laurie


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

JUST THINKIN'

I'm enjoying the first true pause in my schedule in weeks--months perhaps. I left behind my sweet hubby and the residue of post-Thangiving to come to Utah on a book tour/family visit. I do dread returning home next week in the middle of December to pumpkins and turkeys after seeing so much Christmas beauty out here. At least my tree is up.

So it's 5:40 a.m., and I'm sitting on the floor in the spare bedroom at my son and DIL's apartment after awakening to the terrible thought that I wrongly scheduled a post on my blog and therefore have disappointed countless people in the cyber universe. Dates and places I need to be dart through my mind, then I remember that I only have one place to be today, and it's with family.

I pull out the computer. The blog trouble is fixed, the people contacted, my heart rate is lowered, and now I pause. It's sometimes a crazy life...

But oh, how sweet. Yesterday was a lovely day . . . truly lovely. In the late morning my DIL Brittany and I visited with her beautiful, talented aunt, Nichole, the creator of Sterling Obsessions and the gorgeous silver jewelry I commissioned for each of my earlier books. We chatted about life and God and family while Nichole bedazzled out nails. So fun and relaxing.

When we left Provo Canyon and it's beauty, we met Adam for lunch at the Paradise Bakery. Delicious, and fun to sit across the table from these two. They're expecting their first baby and still marvelling over this blessing. Adam is a bit silly and giddy with expectation, like a colt on a warm spring day, and Brittany gazes at him and smiles. Love these moments.

The next stop was Christmas shopping. ( plan to leave Utah having completed the shopping and wrapping for Tom's and Adam's families.) We head to Gateway and I watch as Adam gets excited over the chance to select a new pair of running shoes. Brittany and I cast furtive and worried glances between us because I've already ordered a pair just like the ones he's ogling. Finally, unable to halt his enthusiasm, we tell him the secret, and he beams--he's 28 and he still beams over Christmas. What could be better?

We stop at Brighton Collectibles and I see Brittany eye, pick up, and then set down an item she wants but declines tonight. Adam and I have a Secret Santa-like mind-meld and he lures her away so I can sneak the little bauble away to the register. I can see that this little covert "mission" is as fun for the clerk as it is for me. Mission accomplished, we exit excited and with the magic of Christmas blooming fully in my heart.

But from across town I receive news that another member of my family is suffering over the illness of a loved one, so I'll go there today, remembering that Christmas magic can't fix everything, and that while we need the joy and peace of the season, it's the reason for the season, our Savior Jesus Christ alone who can cure some of the troubles that bedevil us.

The last stop of the night was the Deseret Books' downtown store. There is magic in that store, from the dazzling antique cookie machine in the window, to the magnificent depictions of Christ and the Book Mormon displayed everywhere, to the calming music lilting through the air. Voices are hushed, smiles are reverent as fingers touch precious future gifts. Across the street the lights of Temple Square twinkle and beckon. The scene is like a living Christmas card testifying to the truthfulness of the gospel of Christ. My son marvels over the view and wonders how anyone could see it and not know the Gospel is true . . . it's all true.

I love Salt Lake at Christmastime. I love that it does stand like a light to the world, testifying that on good days and bad, in good times and hard, Christ is the miracle, His Gospel is The Way, and the door is always open.

Thank you for all your support of my work this year. I hope it has touched you in some way and lightened your heart. I wish you each the merriest of Christmases, and pray the blessings of heaven upon you and your family. And may we each pray a little harder for America this year. She needs us, and we and the world need her--strong and pure.

Warmly,

Laurie

Monday, December 5, 2011

BOOK NOOK REVIEW: "TRUE MIRACLES WITH GENEALOGY, Volume Two"

TRUE MIRACLES WITH GENEALOGY
Volume Two

by

Anne Bradshaw



Anne Bradshaw's second anthology of inspiring genealogical stories recently debuted, and the title aptly foreshadows the power of these tender stories.

Bradshaw has reached across oceans to collect these miraculous true-life experiences from people at all levels of genealogical experience, and the accounts she has gathered illustrate how thin the veil between mortality and the Spirit World is, how very real these post-mortal spirits are, and how badly they want to have their work done.

True Miracles With Genealogy 2 is guaranteed to touch any reader deeply. But for those who've desired to seek out their ancestors, and particularly for LDS readers, this book is a master class on Family History that will inspire, motivate, and provide dozens of new research ideas from people who've successfully applied them with marvelous results.

One of greatest gifts this book brings to readers is the way it testifies to the existence and nearness of our deceased family members. True Miracles With Genealogy opens with a remarkable story of a woman who, like many people, hits a dead end while searching for an ancestor. A curious suggestion is offered to the researcher encouraging her to reach for divine help in a way generally applied only to the living. The researcher makes a spiritual and mental leap in regards to the way she views her kindred dead. Suddenly she sees them as living spirits, not merely as names, and she applies the advice with remarkable conclusions. It is ideas and concepts like these that are the gems of the book. They catapult us beyond being detached descendants, expanding readers' vision of the divine purpose of this work--to save souls and bind eternal families.

True Miracles With Genealogy arrives on shelves at a perfect moment, following Elder David Bednar's October Conference talk about involving our youth in this critical, divine work. If making research personal is the key to successfully introducing youth to Family History and Genealogy, then the tender stories in Bradshaw's would provide a perfect catalyst in helping them catch the vision of who they are laboring to serve. But even in it's simplest application, the divine and tender vision of True Miracles with Genealogy will linger with readers long after the last page is turned.

Both volumes of True Miracles With Genealogy are available in your local LDS bookstores, and on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.

BOOK NOOK REVIEW: THE ARMOR OF LIGHT

THE ARMOR OF LIGHT


Volume Two of the Wolfchild Saga


by Karen E. Hoover



Karen Hoover continues her intriguing fantasy series, The Wolfchild Saga, with volume two, The Armor of Light, and I’m delighted to say that the pace never lags, Hoover’s creativity never slacks, and her characters continue to take readers on a journey that captivates.

Ladies rule the day in The Armor of Light. All of Hoover’s leads, the good and the evil, are females, providing a unique twist to the series. Ember Shandae, and Kayla Kalandra Felandian, are young women on the cusp of adulthood when the burden of saving their endangered world falls onerously and unexpectedly upon their shoulders.

Like volume one, The Sapphire Flute, The Armor of Light reads like two books within one, as each heroine’s story runs separately but parallel to the other in succeeding chapters. Ember and Kayla are unknown to one another except in dreams, yet they each know they must meet and form an alliance in order to preserve their world from the soulless sorceress, C’Tan. (Even the names of her characters are little puzzles that delight when the hidden meaning is realized.)

Ember is a long-awaited White Mage, possessor of all seven colors of magic. Kayla is the guardian of one of seven keystones—the Sapphire Flute. Though each of the young women possesses powerful magic, they struggle to control and master it.

But they are not left alone. Guardians are assigned to protect them, valiant men, some of whom come from strange origins. Ember enters the Mage Academy to learn how to master her magic in time to stand up to the devastating forces threatening her world. She does so under the protection of the mute, DeMunth, for whom she feels an instinctive attraction, but DeMunth is rendered ill as his own keystone, the armor of light, transitions into a power unto itself.

Kayla is caught between her beloved Brant and a prince from another realm. As tensions mount Kayla’s moral agency is tested, exposing the boundaries under which her powers function. As a result, all three are endangered, endangering everyone and everything.

The book is fast-paced and layered with tension, consequence and betrayal. Each chapter places these two heroines in a struggle to master their gifts sufficiently to hold C’Tan at bay while protecting the people and world they love.

Hoover has a seemingly limitless imagination. Armor of Light’s diverse cast of magical beings are well developed and their mystical elements boggle readers’ minds. Her writing style has a literary bent producing vivid detail to the story in a voice that draws her readers into this ancient world. She does this so well that one becomes aware of the occasional instances where her characters’ dialogue shifts into more modern slang, pulling one from the story for a moment.

The settings, and the action are beautifully handled, placing the reader smack in the middle of these curious realms, expecting some incredible new creature, demon, threat, or power at each corner, and Hoover does not disappoint.

Elements in the story may make the Wolfchild series too intense for young readers, but the series will satisfy fantasy lovers from YA to adult. Hoover’s The Sapphire Flute, and The Armor of Light need to be read in order to fully appreciate and understand the storyline. Even reading one immediately after the other required some back-reading to keep the large cast straight and to capture small details that matter later on.

The series is complex, but these books are worth the effort. And there are more to come in this marvelous saga.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

BOOK NOOK REVIEW

COLD RIVER
By
Liz Adair

Award-winning author, Liz Adair, delivers a crisp, delicious read with her recently released romantic suspense novel, Cold River. Once again, Adair draws from locales and events dear to her heart—this time it’s the northwest timber country—to create intricate, realistic settings and characters with an endearing quirkiness.

When life in Albuquerque becomes complicated, twenty-nine year-old Dr. Mandy Steenburg finds escape in her newly earned doctoral degree. Two remote school districts need a new superintendent badly enough to take a chance on this enthusiastic newbie — one is in Alaska, the other is Limestone, Washington. So, Mandy packs up her life and ships it north.

Tossing her doctoral degree on the back seat, she exits the big city in her sassy Miata bound for Washington State and a small town of residents descended from North Carolina depression-era settlers. The only thing smaller than Limestone is the residents’ gene pool.

The climate change was expected, but the chilly reception Mandy receives from this community makes it clear she’s unwelcome as the replacement for Grange Timberlane, her beloved, but facially-afflicted predecessor, who is now her frustrated assistant.

Welcome or not, Mandy is determined to make a difference in this seemingly undisciplined school system despite the tangled web of feuding families, suspicions, and secrets. Headway is slow, and friends are hard to come by — that is except for Fran, the manager of the Qwik-E-Market, and her wickedly handsome boss, Vince Lafitte, who just happens to also be the head of the local school board. Tangled as five coon dogs in a fox hole, right? Well, hold on.

Vince and Grange share unpleasant history as well, and the more Mandy comes to care about each of these two men, the more accidents and near-death experiences she seems to have. Toss in some moonshine, some magnificent Bluegrass music, and the unexpected arrival of Mandy’s teenaged sister, and Adair has concocted an intriguing romantic suspense that will leave you smiling, snarling, and page turning until the satisfying end.

It’s no surprise that Adair was the 2009 recipient of the Whitney Award for Romance. She is a master storyteller who does her research, creating books that breathe with realism. Adair spreads enough guilt and motive around to keep the reader nail-biting and guessing about the conclusion until the end, while injecting the read with delicious moments of humor.

Walnut Springs is the fortunate publisher of this charmer. I highly recommend Cold River for readers who love a good suspense novel, a tangled romance, or both.

Friday, December 2, 2011

BOOK NOOK REVIEW--"CARVING ANGELS"

CARVING ANGELS

By

Diane Stringham Tolley



One magical element of Christmas is the increased desire families have to gather and read together, and whether you feel drawn to inspirational stories about the Christ Child, or to whimsical tales about Santa and his elves, give Diane Stringham Tolley's charmer, "Carving Angels" a try. It wraps inspiring themes of service, divine nature, and family love around an endearing North Pole tale that makes for a lovely family read.

Papa Adam, a gifted carver, believes he is an elf without a purpose since blindness robbed him of his talent. But losing his sight is a not all Papa Adam has lost. As he retreats inwardly, other elves mourn his condition and reverently coddle the old master artisan. But where is Papa Adam’s family?

One day, Amy, his five-year-old and only granddaughter, pays him an unexpected and much-needed visit. Born late and last to parents whose arms are already swarming with grandchildren, Amy also feels a bit displaced, and comes seeking the companionship of her famed, but despondent grandfather.

She arrives with a splendid piece of wood in her hands, seeking a favor--to have the nearly-crippled and blind Papa Adam carve some wondrous creation for her, as he previously had done for all the other children. The old elf laments that he cannot, dwelling on the infirmities plaguing him, but Amy bring additional gifts—her “blind” faith in him, words of confidence, and her own personal need she believes only her grandfather can fill. Papa Adam finds the will to try once more.

But his gifted hands, lifelong experience, and renewed inspiration will not lead him to carve mere toys. No, he begins to see a greater purpose to fulfill, and more than that, he finds that Amy harbors secret talents of her own. And like the wood they work, marvelous beauty emerges within them, and within the people whose lives they touch.

Tolley’s Carving Angels is a gentle read, suitable for small children, while the messages will resonate sweetly with adults and tweens as well. At under 120 pages, it’s a fairly quick read that could fill bedtime story hour for a week, and inspire worthwhile discussion on a number of timely, family-friendly themes. I found it delightful and plan to share it with my grandchildren this Christmas.






Published by Cedar Fort, this charmer is available in most LDS bookstores, and on Amazon.

BOOK LOVERS' HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY HOP

Thanks for stopping by, and many thanks to Kathy, the very busy host at I AM A READER, NOT A WRITER, and to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy, for co-hosting this splendid Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop. It goes live at 12:01 on December 2, and closes out at midnight on December 6th.

Each entry MUST be posted separately because I'm one of those lazy people who uses Random.org to calculate the winner. (Cutting out all those names on slips on paper and pulling one from my fish bowl was way toooooo taxing...)

My prize is an autographed copy of any one of my books, and a second, gently-read volume I've enjoyed this year.

I'm actually out in Utah on my book signing tour for "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST" this week. I'd love my hop guests to help me get the word out. So here's how you enter and win additional entries....

1. Mandatory entry: You must be or become a follower of this blog. Just let me know that you already are, or that you have just become a follower and you're in!

2. For additional entries, please post this message on your Facebook page, Twitter page, or on your blog. One additional entry for each, up to four total entries:

Laurie LC Lewis is in Utah this week greeting current readers, meeting new ones, and signing copies of her Free Men and Dreamers books, including her recently-released volume five, IN GOD IS OUR TRUST. Visit http://www.laurielclewis.com/news.htm for places and times.

That's it! Just record each post individually below. Thanks again for visiting, and thanks for supporting the wonderful joy of reading. Readers like you make it possible for us to get our stories published and distributed. We need you. Thanks!

Now take a moment and visit all these other wonderful stops on the blog hop!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

EUPHORIA, LETDOWN, and EUPHORIA AGAIN

Just a quick update about life and holidays. The entire Lewis tribe made it home for Thanksgiving this year. We're a small tribe compared to most of my friends--fifteen souls--but we're raucous and loud and the exhausting chaos was wonderful.

I'm a bit bummed today. The last little Lew departed and that always makes me sad. Most live far, far away. I'm washing linens, doing dishes, finding things in unusual places, and putting away Thanksgiving decorations while pulling out Christmas boxes. It's more manic than usual because I leave Maryland 0n Thursday and head to Utah for my book signings for "In God Is Our Trust," so I'm trying to clean, decorate, pack, and prepare for a two-week departure at the busiest time of the year.

Here's my signing schedule. If you're in the area, please stop by and say "hi." These signings can be a bit lonely and a friendly face from a familiar friend or Facebook buddy is a sweet gift.

Enjoy your own holiday preparations!

Laurie

December 2nd
Seagull Centerville store from 5 - 7pm
The Book Table; Logan, Utah, 8:30-Midnight

December 3rd
Seagull Redwood store from 10am - 12pm
Deseret Books Layton store from 2 - 3:30pm
Seagull Family Center from 5 - 7pm

December 9th
Seagull West Jordan store from 5 - 7pm

December 10th
Seagull South Jordan store from 10am - 12pm
Deseret Books Ft. Union store from 2 - 3:30pm

Saturday, November 26, 2011

LINCOLN'S THANKSGIVING DAY PROCLAMATION

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the LORD.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

--Abraham Lincoln - October 3, 1863

Thursday, November 24, 2011

FOR THANKSGIVING: FREEDOM, PILGRIMS, AND AN IRANIAN MINISTER NAMED YOUCEF NADARKHANI


As pressure mounts for jailed Iranian minister, Youcef Nadarkhani, to renounce his Christian faith and avoid the death penalty, some Christian ministries across the globe view this case as a bellwether moment for all middle-eastern Christians.

Nadarkhani’s conviction caused an international outcry over Iran’s 2009 decision: "Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of Mohammad, at the age of 19."

Under Sharia law, Youcef Nadarkhani is charged with heresy, and sentenced to death by hanging because he became a Christian, and for founding a small Christian church.

A nonpracticing Muslim, Nadarkhani converted from Islam to Protestant Evangelical Christianity at the age of nineteen. Now in his thirties, Nadarkhani founded a small Christian church he named, "The Church of Iran." He first came under scrutiny in 2006 after attempting to register his church with the state. Though he was arrested, he was subsequently released. Nadarkhani again approached officials in 2009 to stop the forced teaching of Islam to his children at school. This objection led to his arrest on heresy charges.

This case has placed the Iranian court system in a precarious situation. They cannot release Nadarkhani without offending the tenets of Sharia law, and they face an angry international community if they carry out the sentence of death.

This international pressure is credited for the delay in Nadarkhani’s execution. More than that, when worldwide religious, civil, and political leaders condemned Iran’s actions toward Nadarkhani, the charges suddenly changed.

"His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity," said Gholomali Rezvani, deputy governor of of Iran's Gilan province where the pastor was convicted. "He is guilty of security-related crimes."

Charges of violence and rape were leveled at the pastor next, followed quickly by charges of spying for Israel. Rezvani quickly rushed in to explain that any misunderstanding over the charges was the result of the western press. "No one is executed in Iran for their choice of religion," Rezvani added. "[Nadarkhani] is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes."

In an effort to pass the decision on, the Iranian court system has asked the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to decide the fate of Nadarkhani. In the interim, the pastor has been issued pro-Islamic reading material that attacks the validity of Christianity, in the hopes Nadarkhani will renounce his Christian faith and return to Islam. Family and friends of the pastor believe the court’s real hope is that when questioned, his answers will be seen as challenges to the documents, in which case new charges of heresy could be raised. Ironically, the strategy is one Christ's oppressors are recorded to have attempted to similarly convict Him.

Nadarkhani's status as a nonpracticing Muslim adds another element of controversy to his arrest and conviction. Generally, the charge of apostasy can only be leveled on a practicing Muslim adult who disavows the religion. Nadarkhani never meet that standard, but the courts ruled that Muslim ancestry alone was sufficient cause to find this pastor of a series of small house churches guilty of heresy.

Supporters from every corner of the globe rallied to the pastor’s cause. Speaker of the House John Boehner was the first U.S. official to issue a public outcry regarding this case, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House have since issued strong statements to the Iranian government, decrying their actions and calling for Nadarkhani’s release.

America's leaders and citizens should raise their voices on this issue. It hits close to home. As Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded that four hundred years ago similar religious freedom-seekers found themselves worshipping under penalty of imprisonment for daring to question the Church of England. Since the King of England was regarded as both the Britain's political leader and the conduit to heaven, rebellion against the church was also considered treason, punishable by imprisonment or death. Many of these religious rebels, left their homeland as banished exiles, arriving in America.

One such dissident was John Lathrop who, in 1607, was ordained a deacon for the Church of England and placed in charge of the prestigious Egerton Church in Kent where he served for 14 years. In 1623, doctrinal questions put him at odds with church doctrine and he renounced his ecclesiastical orders to secretly lead an illegal independent church. In 1632, the group was discovered and 24 members were arrested, including Lathrop. By 1634, all those arrested had been released on bail except for Lathrop. During his imprisonment his wife, Hannah House, died, and his six surviving children were found begging for bread on the streets of London. Lathrop was finally offered the option of banishment from England. He and his remaining children, and exiled members of his congregation, arrived in Boston in September of 1634. Lathrop remarried and has many notable Americans among his descendants — Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, and U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Governor Mitt Romney.

We still have our own struggles with the issue of religious tolerance. Remember John F, Kennedy's need to delineate his faith from his governance? Centuries later, in 2009, John Lathrop's descendant Mitt Romney issued this statement when the former Massachusetts governor felt a need to assure America that if elected president, he would serve "no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. . . . I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind . . . My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. … These are not bases for criticism, but rather a test of our tolerance."

We still struggle with religious tolerance at times, and Iran's intolerance should make us vigilant in defending the rights of religious freedom. Religious expression needs freedom to flourish. Perhaps that underlying theme of liberty, prevalent throughout God's inspired word, is what terrifies tyrants.

The Koran itself teaches of religious freedom. “The Truth is from your Lord, whoever wills let him believe and whoever wills let him disbelieve” [Chapter 18: verse 29].

These passages from the Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants reaffirm the divine right of freedom and liberty.

Galatians 5:1 — Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Alma 46:12 — And it came to pass that [Moroni] rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it — In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children — and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

Isaiah 61:1 — The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Doctrine and Covenants 98:5 — And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

Alma 61:14-15 — Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God . . . according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.

"...the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in each of His children."

May God bless you, Mr. Nadarkhani. We are praying for you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WE KICKED OFF THE LAUNCH OF "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST" YESTERDAY!

Yesterday was the official launch of IN GOD IS OUR TRUST held at This is the Place Bookstore in Kensington, MD, near DC.


This sweet face belongs toVicki Allgaier. Vicki and her husband, Dr. Wayne, (the photographer) have been advisors/beta-readers/cheerleaders on my last four books. Wayne is my medical advisor, and Vicki provides great editing advice, cozy hugs, and rah-rahs as needed. Authors need a lot of those from time to time. Great couple!


I gave away lots of great books, chocolate, a bicentennial flag, and copies of the Charters of Freedom yesterday. I'm bringing some more great items out for my Utah signings.


I pausing momentarily to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. (The entire tribe is flocking home!!!!) Then two days after the last chick departs, I fly west to Utah to begin the string of signings out there. Fun, right?


Here's my current signing schedule. I hope to see many of you as we launch IN GOD IS OUR TRUST.


December 2nd Seagull Centerville store from 5 - 7pm

The Book Table; Logan, Utah, 9-Midnight


December 3rd Seagull Redwood store from 10am - 12pm

Deseret Books Layton store from 2 - 3:30pm

Seagull Family Center from 5 - 7pm


December 9th Seagull West Jordan store from 5 - 7pm
December 10th Seagull South Jordan store from 10am - 12pm

Deseret Books Ft. Union store from 2 - 3:30pm

Friday, November 18, 2011

SIGNING BOOKS IN DC SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19


We're kicking off the release of

"IN GOD IS OUR TRUST"


which is in stores now!!!

I'll be signing copies of all my books on
Saturday, November 19th, at

THIS IS THE PLACE BOOK STORE

in Kensington, MD, from 10 until 3.

Unfortunately, it appears this will be my only signing in the DC area before Christmas.

If you can't make it to the signing, you can call the store at (800) 924-2665 and reserve an autographed copy.

Utah signings will begin in early December. Please check my web site at http://www.laurielclewis.com/ for dates and locations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

THE GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY HOP

THE GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY HOP



Thank you to Kathy at I AM A READER NOT A WRITER, and All-Consuming Books for sponsoring this Gratitude Hop.

The purpose of this hop is to thank our followers for the great support you've given each of us this year. So . . . THANK YOU for popping by, for coming back and reading posts, for making great comments and supporting my work. I really appreciate it!

We're making this an easy-entry hop--only one required entry per person. Just become or be a follower of this blog. That's it!

And the prize? I'm putting together a nice package--your choice of any volume of my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books, another new book from my shelf, and a gently read book I've enjoyed this year. How's that sound? Thanks again for coming by, and here's my wish for you to enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving.

Now pop on by these other grateful bloggers:



Monday, November 14, 2011

THE STAR PROPHECY

With the holidays drawing close, hearts seek books that uplift and build faith. Joan Sowards' The Star Prophecy" is just such a read that would make a great family Christmas tradition.

From the back cover:

"You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned."

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously--the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five Years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great water in search of his dream--to see the face of the Messiah.

The Star Prophecy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and his friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ child.

"I love Joan Sowards' inventive mind. She begins this adventurous tale with "what if?' and tells it so well that the reader closes the book thinking 'why not?' The Star Prophecy adds a surprising new dimension to the Christmas story." -Liz Adair, author of Counting the Cost

"Action-adventure, romance, inspirational, and historical fiction all rolled into one make the Star Prophecy an exciting page turner." -Margaret L Turley, author of Save the Child

Friday, November 11, 2011

My "THANK YOU" to our Veterans

Happy Veterans' Day!

My "thank you" to our veterans appears in the Deseret News today. It recaps a marvelous glimpse I was privileged to catch of these heroes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

MY BOOKS ARE HERE!!!!

The demonic expression on my face belies the sweet enthusiasm of the moment when I opened the box and held a copy of "In God Is Our Trust" in my hands. It's volume five of Free Men and Dreamers, and my seventh published novel, but the thrill of seeing your words and thoughts in published format is still the same.

Signings are being scheduled in DC and Utah, and hopefully in L.A. as well. If you're a FM&D fan, please come by and say hi.

If you've never read a volume, please jump on board and catch some great American history wrapped around a tender story of family, God, and country.

I've gotta go and stare at the books again. Thanks for stopping by!

laurie

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY HOP

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY HOP

Thanks to Kathy, at "I'M A Reader Not a Writer," and to Tristi Pinkston, for sponsoring this hop. It opens at 12:01 a.m. on November 8th and ends at midnight on November 11th.

Once again over 400 sites are offering up great bookish prizes, so enjoy!

This month marks a huge professional milestone for me. After eight years of research and writing I've launched In God Is Our Trust, the concluding volume in my FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction saga. I could use some help spreading the word.

Here's what I'm offering on my patriotic stop along the hop: a copy of "George Washington: The Founding Father," and an autographed copy of any one of my books listed on my web site.

Here's how you enter. Each entry must be posted separately to be considered in the drawing.


1. You must be, or become, a follower of this blog, preferably by email.

2. Become my friend on Face Book

3. Copy the above pic of the Star-Spangled Banner and my books to your blog, Face Book page, or Twitter with this caption:
"One Nation Under God" It was not left to chance! Read L.C. Lewis's Free Men and Dreamers.

Report each posting separately. You can earn one entry per posting.

That's it! Thanks so much! Now stop by these other amazing blogs on the tour.






Monday, November 7, 2011

OLD SOLDIERS

Veterans' Day is drawing close and I wanted to share a glimpse of some senior soldiers I've been privileged to share the past few years.

The last few Septembers I've headed down to Quantico Marine Base with Tom for some fund raisers for The Wounded Warrior Foundation, and a massive Marine expo. A friend of Tom's, a great patriot named Pete, organizes a golf tournament/auction to raise scholarship funds for for a foundation called "The Young Marines." I had never heard of this group before, but like the ROTC, it teaches military discipline and service the marine way, preparing future officers and leaders.

The experience was moving. I was surrounded by officers in all their variety, from generals on down, with post commanders and retirees proudly wearing their caps and shouting "Ourah!!!" at any mention of the corps. These men are proud Marines, and proud of their Marine heritage which dates back to 1775, and rightly so. Even in my research on the War of 1812, the toughest fighting squad, next to Joshua Barney's Flotillamen, was a group known simply as "Miller's Marines."

As the golfers moseyed in off the greens, the older soldiers posted their golf scores on the board and then gathered around a table to talk, and there was no shortage of opinions or wisdom reflected there. And the topics on these veterans' minds? It wasn't sports scores or movies or popular media darlings. They were doing what they had done for a lifetime--assessing the news, reading between the lines, gathering intel and discussing strategic political and military options some of them no longer had the power to implement. I was a fly on the wall, and the conversations were fascinating as they discussed places that still seem to strange to most of us but places that had clearly been on their radar for many years--Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel.

Their faces were emotion-filled. They were deeply invested in these corners of the world where their young comrades-in-arms were serving or might serve one day. Some had sons and grandsons deployed here, and clearly, they were on their minds.

They talked about God, and about country as if they were unseverable appendages to one another. They knew the Bible, and saw a clear connection between events written there and our circumstances today. These men of different colors, different nationalities, and likely of many different faiths, see their service as an extension of their personal faith, and they see their defense of America as a defense of Christianity in a world becoming increasingly negative towards Christians.

A highlight of one day ocurred when three sisters of a Marine killed at the 1983 bombing in Beirut came to participate in the launch of a scholarship named for their slain brother. Several were also Marines themselves, and they wept over the ache of their loss as well as the pride that his memory would be honored in such a manner. It was an honor to be there, and to see steeled, battle-scarred brothers-in-arms from every branch of the service shed a tear or two as well. It reminded me of something Colin Powell once said about how no one works harder for peace than a soldier.

Hug a soldier today. Better yet, thank one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CONTEST QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who Has The Greatest Influence On a Nation?

God or Government---

Who Has The Greatest Influence On a Nation?


This is a fundamental theme behind all the Free Men and Dreamers books, but it is the primary force behind volume five, the concluding volume of the series, "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST," and the question you'll have to comment on in order to enter this week's giveaway. I'm offering a winner's choice of 3 great patriotic prizes.

Did, or even could, the Founding Fathers have realized the religious fallout that would occur following the break with Britain. They had calculated the political, military, social and economical concussions, but could they foresee how being cut off from the king, the supposed conduit to God, would affect the faith and worship of the fledgling nation?

And how would America bridge that break? Who would be their advocate to God? And how? It left a spiritual vacuum.

Would they model their new churches on the model of the Church of England many thought was corrupt? And what of the immigrants from foreign lands with their different religions, different views of deity?

One of the first great tests of the freedom to worship began immediately.

In the interim, they sought stability through government, but the Founders were aging and dying, and a new generation of visionaries was needed.

America remained a weak confederation of states, having never achieved the vision of "one nation under God."

Citizens' loyalties were to their states, not their country.

Some states threatened secession.

The years preceding the Revolution churned with political tumult that did not settle with the end of the fighting. Even the signing of the Constitution did not lift Europe's boot from America's throat, until a strangling America was forced to go to war again to end Europe's oppression once and for all.

The War of 1812. It cost both nations dearly in blood and treasure, and secured no great concessions of land or rights for either side.

Some call it a nothing war, but historians agree it changed America forever--

It produced a new generation of leaders just as the last of the Founders were passing away.

It produced national pride that relaxxed attachments to individual states. We were no longer just Virginians or Marylanders or identified by our state. . . We were Americans.

It unified a weak confederation into The United States of America.

It produced the first icons of America--a victory flag lovingly titled the Star-Spangled Banner, and the song that heralded its appearance over an embattled fort.

It catapulted a respected America onto the world stage.

It opened trade doors that had previously been blocked.

What else did it do? Let IN GOD IS OUR TRUST show you.

An American Renaissance began.

Immigration increased.

Westward expansion increased.

A decade of peace and prosperity ensued between 1816 and 1826. With our energies no longer focused on war and defense, religious debate began anew, spawning a new religious reformation. In the middle of that decade of peace and spiritual searching a boy emerged, claiming to have spoken to God and His Son, and America's claim of religious tolerance was put to the ultimate test.

Within the pages of IN GOD IS OUR TRUST, Jed and Hannah Pearson experience each of these changes in America, alongside the people whose lives have intersected with theirs during the war. Like Jed, many believe America's strength lies in strong government. Hannah and others believe God holds the answers to America's future. When tragedy again strikes the Pearsons, Hannah is reacquainted with a young man named Joseph Smith, whose tales of visions and gold plates divide families, and test the mettle of the Constitution.

THIS WEEK's GIVEAWAY

The prize this week is one I'm very excited about. The bicentennial of the War of 1812 begins in a few months, launching a two-year celebration of wonderful American history. In 1814 we will celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and the flag it commemorates. For this week's prize, I'm offering a winner's choice of one of the following:

1. A replica of the fifteen-starred flag that became known as the Star-Spangled Banner.

2. An unframed, parchment-printed version of the U.S. Constitution, suitable for framing. (See what this document looks like if you choose to mat and frame it)

3. Your choice of any volume of Free Men and Dreamers, autographed and personalized for the recipient of your choice.

HOW TO ENTER You can enter up to FIVE times, but each entry MUST be posted separately to be considered.


1.You must be, or become, a follower of this blog, by GFC or by email, to be considered.

2. Post your comment on the question above. I'm anxious to hear what you think.

3. Copy and paste the following graphic and caption for IN God is OUR TRUST onto your blog, Twitter, or Face Book page. Yuo'll get one entry for each posting.



"One Nation Under God Wasn't Left To Chance."

Thanks! Good luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE YEAR THE TRICK WAS ON ME

I am a proud member of “The McGyver Sisterhood,” women who find . . . shall we say . . . unconventional ways to accomplish needed tasks. Why reach for a hammer or a screw driver when a shoe heel and a table knife are handier and equally suited for most household tasks? I applied that same level of ingenuity to my holiday decorating regimen.

My household decorations were elaborate—not classy or elegant--but displaying the appropriate level of Dollar Store gaudiness requisite for the season. We were not a family capable of transforming field squash into masterpieces, but one year I had a particularly vivid vision for our Jack-o-Lantern. It would be more than a token triangle-eyed pumpkin. I would create a vignette!

I envisioned a scarecrow sitting in a lawn chair, holding our precious Jack-O-Lantern in his lap while a bowl of candy sat at his feet. I built a head and a pair of hands from stuffed nylons and quilted them into perfect form. Then I selected clothing items appropriate for a dapper scarecrow.

To my dismay, I didn’t have enough stuffing material to fill our friend, but I remembered the full basket of ironing in the hall closet. Most of the pieces were my husband’s—dress shirts and slacks he probably wouldn’t need for days. The items perfectly plumped our scarecrow, and with a few minutes of staging, our “man” was seated by the driveway in a nylon-webbed lawn chair.

A few rudimentary cuts produced another slack-jawed, triangle-eyed pumpkin face, and a four-wick pillar candle illuminated our Jack-O-Lantern which sat merrily in our scarecrow’s lap.

With the stage set, we packed the troops into the car and headed off to Trick-or-Treat. Up and down the road we heard complimentary reports about our festive scene, and when we returned home the effect was so darling we decided to let it remain lit until the candle burned down.

The next morning I received a call from a neighbor. “Did you guys have a bonfire last night?”

Odd question, I thought. “No. . . . we put the kids to bed as soon as we got home from Trick-or-Treating.”

“Oh. Then I wonder who had the fire blazing last night. It looked like it was coming from your place.”

Tom enters. “Honey, do I have an ironed shirt ready? I have a meeting today.”

“Uh. . . no . . . but I’ll. . .” Little wheels began to turn. . . Get the scarecrow!

I opened the door and looked outside, expecting to find the scarecrow still sitting in the morning fog, but there was nothing. Where is the scarecrow stuffed with Tom’s clothes? I gasped. Had I put it all away for the night?” I was almost certain I had not.

A few steps later, my fears were realized as I came upon a burned circle six feet in diameter and mere inches from my car, in the exact spot where the nylon lawn chair had been placed the night before. All that now remained was the charred chair frame, a few dozen blackened buttons, and the gargoyle-like face of a roasted pumpkin. I gasped as I saw evidence of felony arson. And the perp? My Jack-O-Lantern.

The fat, four-wick pillar candle had burned down to a sea of wax that filled the base and flowed from the Jack-O-Lantern’s mouth. Embedded within the wax, like a fossil stuck in prehistoric amber, was one of the four wicks. The other three, I deduced, had been released as the candle burned down. They floated out of the pumpkin’s slack-angled mouth and into the scarecrow’s lap, turning “Jack” into a flaming torch.

The miracle, of course, was that the car had not exploded from the heat of the fire. Perhaps that was also the treat. But the trick? Well, that was played on me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SPOOKTACULAR BOOK BLOG HOP

Thank you to Kathy at "I Am A Reader Not A Writer," host of this month's Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop, and to co-host Rhianna at "TheDiaryofaBookworm."

This Spooktacular Giveaway Hop runs from Oct 24th to midnight on the 31st.

Each entry absolutely MUST be posted separately in the comments section below to be counted. I use RANDOM.ORG to calculate the winner and it can only consider separately posted entries.

HERE'S THE NEWS:

I'm about to release the final volume of my FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, "In God Is Our Trust." Author Braden Bell had this to day about it:

"In the final installment of this epic series, Lewis deftly blends the many strands she began earlier. This final book is a well-executed and engrossing tale. But it is also a powerful meditation on freedom and bondage, and the many ways in which we can lose freedom and become enslaved. Through the eyes of her characters, the reader comes to appreciate the blessings of liberty and more fully grasp the responsibilities that come to those who are free. Elegantly connecting the dots between our three great responsibilities, God, Family, and Country, Lewis leaves the reader with a visceral appreciation of those who have gone on before and a commitment to stand more firmly in the moment that is now ours. A week after staying up all night to finish it, the characters and themes of this masterpiece haunt my mind and heart."

To celebrate the launch I'm giving away a 3-book prize package including:

1. An autographed copy of any of my books, (The winner can choose one from any of my seven titles at http://www.laurielclewis.com/),

2. One other new novel of my choice, and

3. One gently-read novel I've enjoyed this year.

This prize is open to entrants from the U.S. and Canada. Here's how you enter:

ENTRY 1
You must be a follower or become a follower of this blog through GFC or by email. (Click on the box on the side).

ENTRY 2
For a second entry, please visit my new website and watch the banner change. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think about the new look! And be honest. I've got a great web guy who will tweak it to please.

ENTRY 3
For a third entry, please copy and post the following link/announcement on Facebook, Twitter, or on your blog. Report back and tell me where you posted it.

"Preview FREE MEN and DREAMERS, volume 5, "In God Is Our Trust!"

ENTRY 4
Friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=703634776

ENTRY 5
Friend me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/laurielclewis

Now enjoy all the other stops on the hop!