Sunday, July 31, 2011

Author Tristi Pinkston gets ready to "HANG 'EM HIGH!!!"

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.

Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.


Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.

Second, come to the book launch!

You are invited to an

August Authorama!

Saturday, August 13th

Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

12 – 4 pm

Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,

and Dutch oven cobbler

prepared by world champion cook

Keith Fisher.

Authors Tristi Pinkston, J. Lloyd Morgan, Cindy Hogan,

Nichole Giles, and Heather Justesen

will all be there to sign books.

This is one book launch event

you will not want to miss!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


It’s fitting that as soon as people cross into the National Air and Space Museum they look up—at planes and rockets hanging above their heads, drawing visitors’ attention to the skies and to flight. And that is exactly where the young people I spoke with are still focused, despite the end of the Space Shuttle era with the landing of Atlantis, whose final flight touched down in the pre-dawn hours, Thursday, July 21, 2011.

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s two display facilities boast the largest collection of aeronautical vehicles and spacecraft in the world. From balloons to the Space Shuttle Discovery, the history of man’s reach for the heavens comes alive here.

July 21st was a fascinating day to tour the museum’s National Mall building. Some visitors came specifically because they knew that date would forever become a part of the museum’s history as it marked the end of the Shuttle program. Others simply were there because this museum, perhaps more than any other, awes them time and again.

Victor Arrieta and his wife first visited during their honeymoon trip, and today, on their 17th anniversary, they wanted to return with their daughters. “It’s quite an amazing journey that comes to an end today. I’m not even aware of [America’s] plan for the next one.” What he did know was that the Soviets’ Soyuz program was ready to fill the void. He discussed a conversation he had with his daughter as they admired the Apollo capsules. “I told [her] that it’s quite an amazing thing to look inside that piece of technology that sent man to the moon. It’s like watching Columbus’s ship.”

This archive of America’s triumphs in air and space will soon add another treasure to its inventory when the Space Shuttle “Discovery” comes to rest permanently at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Its current tenant, the Enterprise, will be moved to New York.

Sam Sepulveda, a volunteer at the information desk expressed his feelings about the end of the shuttle era. “Like everyone at NASA expressed this morning, it’s the end of an era for the space program, and the beginning of another one. The space shuttle has been a very successful program . . . that contributed a lot to the history of NASA and the space program for this country.”

And when will the Discovery arrive? Said Sepulveda, “It’s presently being prepared by NASA for transfer to the Smithsonian, and that will happen probably in the early part of next year.”

When Ohioans, and first-time museum visitors, Mike Stretch and his ten-year-old son Christopher, were asked about the end of the shuttle program, Christopher’s reaction was, “It kinda stinks to hear that.” Mike Stretch admits he followed the space program as a kid. “I saw the first landing on the moon with everyone else. What was exciting for me was pushing beyond our known boundaries. Once we did that it just opened new frontiers. It’s kind of like exploring the west. We thought that was the frontier at one point in time, and now look at it. Every time we take a step forward into something we don’t understand, it just opens up another door. That’s what so exciting about this place, because it’s all about steps people made to make us better, push us farther, faster.”

The Mahan family from California is a science and technology-oriented family, enjoying their first trip to the museum. Rachel loved seeing the spacecraft, while her sister Morgan was fascinated by the innovators and the milestones they reached. “I like learning about people who went in there and were the first ones, and were the best and the fastest.” Garrett enjoyed the progression of the technology. “I like seeing all the rockets, how different they are, what time period they were launched in, and how they were made.”

The Mahan children’s father, Mike, has no concerns about the end of the shuttle program. “My guys here are starting to imagine stuff that I could never even dream of. They’re picturing teleportation ideas where we were picturing just going into space. So [the shuttle program] may be a milestone at one point, but it causes their imaginations to move on to another point and to start working towards that next level.”

The Gardner family, from Ohio were glad they just happened to come to the museum on this historic day. Sally Gardner looked at her teen-aged sons and said, “We had Apollo missions, and we saw it all progress, and you guys have been around since it’s been happening and we’ve been going to the moon, so I hope they have an appreciation for how far we’ve come.” Her son Evan said, “I think we could potentially start moving on to exploring farther planets.”

As the Space Shuttle program passes into history, it leaves behind a new, inspired generation of minds and hearts who are ready to extend their reach “into infinity and beyond.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011


The lights in D.C. never went out at night last week as officials scramble to prepare for a default over the debt crisis. Many things are going wrong in Washington, but there is still so much to celebrate about this city and the ideals it represents.

The words engraved on this monument touched me deeply as I stood outside the National Archives building: “The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.” This building was the cherry on top of this trip to D.C. The temperature outside the Archive Building was 100 with a heat index of 114, and the lines inside were long, but it was all worth it to see the new exhibit of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

I know I’ve said it before, but a sacred spirit envelopes the places and documents of liberty. I felt it so strongly there, and I wasn’t the only one. A large group of well-dressed high school-age youth were in line ahead of me, waiting to enter the Rotunda where the documents are on display. They were talking and texting and flirting while the line inched forward, but as soon as they crossed into the Rotunda, a hush came over them too. They whispered their awe as they pointed to the signatures of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin and Hancock—men so revered they’re almost mythical. It was an incredible cap on my week.

On Thursday, I visited the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall on the day of the Space Shuttle Atlantis’s final touchdown, to speak with parents and youth about the significance of the end of the shuttle program and this date in aeronautical history. I walked away buoyed by their enthusiasm and vision of the future.

I’ve been to DC many times with family, on school trips and with friends, but this was the first time I’ve ever gone alone, walking the city at my own pace, seeing whatever the spirit led me to. It was wonderful. I heard dozens of tongues and dialects spoken by diverse people from many lands, reminding me that Washington is a global city.

Two moments touched me deeply. One occurred at the White House, the other at the Washington Monument. Both drove a point deep into my heart—that despite the troubles looming in government, this is a city of hope, a light on a hill for people everywhere.

I was interviewing people, asking them about their impressions of the city when I saw this beautiful mother pushing a stroller with two children in it—a baby and a three year-old. I asked her what brought her to the city and she replied, “My daughter wanted to see where Barack Obama lives.” As they neared the gate and caught their first view of the south side of the White House, three-year-old Maya squealed, “That’s Barack Obama’s house!”

Politics aside, I caught the excitement President Obama still represents to many people. This was very personal to this family, and it pulled me from my small town, conservative platform and helped me acknowledge the importance his presence in the White House represents to many.

The other moment reminded me how interconnected we all are. It was blazing hot, and at the edge of the Ellipse a perforated hose had been set out, providing a cool sprinkler for overheated tourists. A Chinese family played in the cool mist, running back and forth and squealing as the cold wetness hit them. A mounted Park Police Officer rode over, allowing the children an up close glimpse of his horse between runs through the mist. It captured so many aspects of this wonderful city.

I turned to cross the street to walk to the Washington Monument and I saw a Muslim family, including several fully-draped women posing in the heat for photos on the walkway. A moment later I witnessed what was for me a stunning moment when a Chinese woman offered to take a group photo of the women. So there we had it—a Chinese woman taking a photo of a Muslim family as they stood before the flag-surrounded Washington Monument. It was an iconic image. You couldn’t script a better moment.

I love this city. I love what it represents, and no matter what happens, the ideals are alive in America’s people and in the people who still look to that light on “the Hill.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My husband, Tom, was assigned to attend a computer show in D.C. this week, and since he had no helpers for the first day, I was invited to come and assist. The timing is especially providential for me. I left home with the final ending of book five, "In God We Trust," the final volume of my FREE MEN and DREAMERS series, unwritten. I've been struggling over two potential endings, and now I'll write the final account, and the words, "THE END," while sitting in my hotel room here in DC.

It will be a particularly sweet coda to the series that revolves around this city, and the affect American historical events had in preparing America to become the cradle of the Restoration. I have to admit to feeling this is turning out to be a sweet personal gift to me.

We're in a rather swanky hotel room here on Pennsylvania Avenue. A view of the Washington Monument greets me from our window, two blocks down is the White House, and several blocks behind me sits the Capitol--pretty amazing inspiration since part of the final scene is a confrontational moment at the Capitol.

It's blazing hot in DC this week, as it is everywhere right now. Since today is the "coolest" day of the remaining two of this trip, (under 100 degrees) I'm taking part of today to walk around the Ellipse and take photos. I can't miss this opportunity!

Then it's back to the hotel room to choose an ending, and type the words, "THE END."

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011


For those who've been waiting for the release date, this news will disappoint--book five, "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST," won't hit store shelves until September.

Having a real date and seeing the end of the series is somewhat surreal. I've been on this history treadmill for eight years, living under a slide rule of deadlines. I'm ready for a rest, but I absolutely needed this volume to satisfy my readers, and me, and I feel confident it will.

Someday I'll write about the spiritual experience I had in March that changed the direction of the book and forced a delay in its release. I prayed for something, I received what I needed, and it has been that way ever since, with facts and ideas flowing like a steady stream to me in the moment of my need. This is the book I was supposed to write. I am pleased with it now.

I made one of those promises, or trade-offs, to buy the time I needed to clear almost everything from my calendar so I could finish this volume, and when "OH SAY CAN YOU SEE" is launched, I'm taking some time off to fulfill it.

So that's the news today. My cover designer is laying out the cover, the marketing consultant is planning a signing tour, and we'll have ads in book mags and on the radio. A web guy is designing book trailers, and another one will be designing a new web site since my old one is broken. So we've got people hopping and helping to make the launch great. Can't wait!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I didn't say much following the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. I was shocked, and angry that she wasn't, at the very least, charged with neglect for failing to report Caley as missing for thirty-one days. To me, that made her an accessory after the fact. But I am even more shocked by the lynch-mob mentality overtaking America in regards to the jurists. This is wrong, and it needs to stop.

I had the same knee-jerk reaction at first. "What were they thinking?" But bravo for cooler heads that pointed out that the jurists didn't have a twenty-four-seven narrative of "experts" decoding and translating every detail from every angle. They only had what was presented in court, and that had to be evaluated using the instructions they were given.

What, perhaps, offended me most during the trial was the dearth of truth and honesty, and with it, the casualness with which people lied under oath, because, (and this was a shock to me), people are rarely prosecuted for perjury. Really?

Worse yet is the Mack-truck-wide hole a liar opens up in a defense or prosecutorial case through lying, because now that entire witness's testimony can be thrown out. So a wise strategy in any case could easily be to find a few liars who will perjure themselves here and there, frustrating the prosecution, causing the judge to cast out pages and hours of crucial testimony, and in the end, confusing the jury. It's brilliant, it's frightening, and it threatens our judicial system.

John Adams knew the slippery slope America would face if the day came when integrity and honesty were no longer the underpinnings of our society. Said he, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
We're still rolling from Wall Street's and corporate America's lack of moral and ethical integrity. People's confidence in the integrity and honesty of its leaders is at a new low. Now our courts are infected with a moral malaise.

Moms and dads, grandparents, neighbors and teachers, it's time to up our game, to live a more morally-perfect life, to extol virtue every chance we get, and to eschew actions that sidestep honesty and integrity. We need to raise a virtuous generation. In so doing, we can right our crooked course.

And we need to hold people accountable for cheating, lying, stealing, harming society in any way. We don't need to be Draconian about it. Justice is the counterpart of mercy, but let's care enough to call right--right, and wrong--wrong, and make it matter. And let's hurry.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


For years, people have encouraged me to send a set of Free Men and Dreamers books to Glenn Beck. I declined for lots of reasons--I never thought he'd ever actually see them, and I knew he liked his history straight up.

A friend of my husband named Pete is a huge supporter of the Wounded Warriors Project--an organization dedicated to supporting wounded soldiers and their families. He knows Glenn Beck personally because he is also a huge supporter of these heroes.
Pete provided a very special and beautiful box--a humidor emblazoned with the official White House Seal--for me to use as a "mailer," and then I heard the announcement that Glenn's Show was about to be cancelled. I decided the books would make a nice thank you gift for all he's taught me during his show. Here's what I appreciated about Glenn Beck.

. . .For Founder Fridays, for rekindling a love of the Founding Fathers and their principles in this generation.

. . . For inciting enough concern in me that I called my husband and said, "Would you like to go on a date with me tonight?"
"Sure," he replied enthusiastically. "Where do you want to go?"
"To Costco. I watched Glenn Beck and I want to buy some more food storage."

. . . For being brave, and bold, and challenging us to do the same.

. . . For unabashedly loving God.

. . . For celebrating the courage and goodness of others.

. . . For shining a spotlight on people and groups playing hide and seek with our freedoms

. . . For making individuals feel as if there is power in the "one."

His show was cancelled because a group called "The Color of Change" threatened his advertisers if they continued to sponsor his show, and because his supporters didn't answer back with equal power and in equal numbers, Fox eventually numbered his days.

He came in big, and he exited larger than life. Yes, he was outrageous, and uncivil at times, but overall, he smacked our complacency into vigilance, and he scared the beejeebers out of the left.

Whether or not you cared for his tactics, he made you think, he made you "question everything," and he made you feel something--anger, fear, pride, courage. . .

Two weeks after sending the books I received an envelope from New York. Inside was a signed photo from Glenn, a letter from one of his staffers, these stickers you see advertising his "Faith, Hope, and Charity" lessons, and his new "E to the fourth" project which revolves around the concepts of "Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship."

He's still out there in the Internet and on the radio, riling us up, calling us to action, like a modern-day Captain Moroni waving a new "Title of Liberty."

Thank you, Mr. Beck. Yes, we're still listening and thinking.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


We're about to conclude my FREE MEN and DREAMERS series with the much anticipated August release of volume five, "In God Is Our Trust." Throughout these past five years of the series, I've appreciated fans' interest in American History, and as a result, I've been assembling a series of articles on places to visit and thigns to see during the next four historic years as America celebrates and remembers two pivotal anniversaries--the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and the Sesquicentennial od the Civil War.

The series of articles begins today with the publication of "Going East to rediscover America." Deseret News' print subscribers can find it in Jul 3rd, 2011, Section C, Page 10.

For online readers, you can find it here.

I'll post the links as each succeeding article appears. Thanks!

Friday, July 1, 2011


The Jubilee actually kicked off in 1824, when President James Monroe extended an invitation to the Marquis de Lafayette, a Revolutionary War hero, inviting him to come to America for an extended tour of the nation he helped liberate. Monroe’s hope was that this visit would launch Jubilee festivities and help instill the spirit of 1776 in a rising generation.

From the moment he arrived at Staten Island, America rolled out the red carpet to the French “adopted son” of her beloved George Washington. As he toured all 24 states, he discovered the extent of America’s gratitude. Children, colleges and even entire cities had been named for him, and monuments to him were found across the nation’s expanse.

Most poignant was the attention Lafayette paid to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, and to the family of his deceased but adored friend. He spent time at Monticello as well, visiting Thomas Jefferson in his home, and for a few days, two lions of liberty were again assembled.

The mayor of Washington established a Jubilee Committee to plan a 50th celebration for the nation's capital. Similar celebrations were planned for cities throughout the 24 states, but the mayor of the nation’s capital had the clout and distinction to request the attendance of a special set of guests. The three surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence — Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Charles Carroll — were invited, as were the surviving past presidents of the United States, which included Jefferson and Adams as well as James Madison and James Monroe. None were able to attend that day, but the request for their attendance reminds us that they remained larger than life, a nation’s last physical connection to its past.

Each wrote letters of regret that ran in Washington’s newspaper, The National Intelligencer, on the day of the Jubilee, July 4, 1826. It is in reading Thomas Jefferson’s letter that we capture the final mindset of the author of the Declaration of Independence and his charge to a nation he would soon leave behind.

Ill and bed-bound, his words did not flow easily, as his heavily edited first draft reveals, but he persevered until the passion and spirit that consumed him in 1776 again revitalized his mind. The final version, written and sent on June 24, 1826, is below.

Respected Sir:
The kind invitation I received from you, on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of American Independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument, pregnant with our own and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day; but acquiescence is a duty under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations, personally, with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make, for our country, between sub-mission and the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind them-selves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. The form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few, booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others; for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

Nine days later, this brilliant, questioning mind took its final rest, leaving behind counsel that remains timeless and timely. May we all reflect and remember.
* * *
Laurie LC Lewis's award-winning Free Men and Dreamers historical fiction series is set against events of the War of 1812. Volume four, "Oh Say Can You See?, was released in 2010. Volume five, "In God Is Our Trust," is set for a summer 2011 release.