Friday, December 30, 2011


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 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!

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

Friday, December 23, 2011


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


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.

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

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!!!

Frozen bread dough
2 sticks butter
Brown sugar
powdered sugar
few tablespoons milk

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



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 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.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011


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.


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 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!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


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!


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


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:


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!/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."

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!"


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


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.



Monday, December 5, 2011


Volume Two


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.



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


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




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.


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 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 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!