Saturday, June 30, 2012

The "LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY" Charmed Summer Giveaway!

Author Linda Gerber debuts "Hacked," the third book in her YA series about Cassidy Barnett,
reality TV star, a book that earns this praise from Publisher's Weekly:
"...lively and relatable Cassidy... steals the show." 

I'm pleased to announce that Linda Gerber is sponsoring a terrific summer contest to kick-off "Hacked's" launch. The details are below. This is a to-die-for fun activity for Tween girls.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Come east! Come east! And if you're already living here, count yourself blessed, at least for the next few years, because there is so much to see and do and celebrate! In a time when America's current state of exceptionalism is up for debate, revel and recharge your patriotic juices by visiting places where American history was made! There are terrific lessons to be learned from the lives of the extraordinary men and women who carved the great red, white, and blue path. . .     
. . .wonderful stories of courage and sacrifice, stories of accepting great defeat and rising from bent knees to try once more.

This is a nation carved from that type of determination, but did you know we almost surrendered? Did you know that for hours many Americans weren't even sure the nation still stood?
It all happened during the War of 1812, the forgotten war, the war that saw our capital torched, our coastal cities decimated, our economy shredded. It's also the war that gave us the Star-Spangled Banner, and the anthem that healed a people. Historians say these events sealed the Revolution, made us a nation, taght us what it meant to be "American."

You can learn more about these pivotal moments in history through my books, a series called FREE MEN AND DREAMERS. 

The economy has deterred many cities from celebrating these nation-building events, but Baltimore and Washington are in full regalia for the next two years. Last week Baltimore hosted a stellar kick-off to the bicentennial celebrations. Here are some photos of events in and around Fort McHenry where the Battle of Baltimore was waged that inspired Francis Scott key to write our national Anthem.
     Fort McHenry's big "Sailabration" ended last week, and it was magnificnt to see the tall ships sailing along the harbor. McHenry's reenacters pounded a salute out with cannon-fire which was returned by many of the ships who carried their own cannons. But don't dismay. Despite budget cuts that have reduced some of this grand Baltimore fort's celebratory plans, there is sll plenty to see and do, particularly if you time your visit well.                                                      

Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Many thanks to Kathy at "I AM A READER NOT A WRITER" and "UNIQUELY MOI BOOKS" for sponsoring this hop. My prize is a $25 Amazon gift card. And here's my

Summer is a perfect time for a great read, and on this hop I'd like to introduce readers to my favorite summer beach-read:

"Awakening Avery"
my 2010, Whitney Award-nominated women's novel.

* * *
"She broke the television first. . . "

Every woman grieves differently.

Avery is figuring it out with a little help from her friends.

"An incredible journey of healing and love."

"Awakening Avery" is a quirky, tender, chuckle-out-loud, grab-a-hankie type of read. It's my personal favorite, but listen to what others have said about it:

"I loved this book! I laughed and cried and can't wait to try the pancakes! The characters give great insight to obstacles we all face in one way or another. This book is a lesson manual for overcoming challenges with a splash of fun!"
Susan Fisher

"This is an amazing story of one woman’s journey for peace after losing her husband too early. I laughed and I cried. It is an incredible journey of healing and love. Take a break from your life for 344 pages of travel from Utah, to Baltimore, Maryland to Sarasota, Florida and follow the adventures Avery experiences in learning to love again."
Valerie Steimle -

It's one of those books that really makes a person think. Love it!
Nichole Giles

"I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It's an LDS story with LDS values, great lessons and the kind of far-reaching lessons that touch lives."
Heather Justeson -

"A heart warming and very emotionally driven book. There are many feelings that are brought up in the reader as this novel progresses. I was hooked from the very first page."
Sheila Staley of the LDSWBR-

"Awakening Avery is a thought provoking book that will tug at your heartstrings . . . a novel unlike any other I’ve read, and I highly recommend it."
Kimberly Job -

"Vivid and compelling . . . a beautifully written story full of rich language . . . It carries some beautiful messages of love, forgiveness and family. . ."
Alison Palmer -

"Laurie has a way of moving readers to laughter, tears, and deep pondering. I recommend Awakening Avery one hundred percent. Let Florida's sea air transport you to a place where life's darkest shadows eventually get blown away."
Anne Bradshaw -

And it's now available as an e-book.

You have five ways to enter to win the gift card. Please note that inorder to have each entry counted, they must be posted separately. Thanks so much. Now here's how you enter:

1. You must be or become a follower of this blog.
2.  Friend me on Facebook. (Doesn't that sound pitiful?)
3. Follow me on Twitter. ) (I know. Also pitiful sounding.)
4. Friend me on Goodreads. (I'm beyond help. . . .)
5. Post this on your facebook or Twitter page:

 Every woman grieves differently. Avery is figuring it out with some help from her friends. "Awakening Avery."
That's it. Thanks for stopping by. Now visit all these other great blogs!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Today marks the 200th anniversary of America's second declaration of war with Britain--her second revolution, or the War of 1812.  Baltimore and other cities who played prominently into these events are in full historical replay, pulling off wonderful celebrations with reenactments, military displays, concerts, and a host of family-friendly ways to learn about this neglected chapter of history.

The papers and news reports are conflicted over how to represent this war, and rightfully so, since historians also debate its military value. But most agree that it marks the decisive shift in America's view of herself, and perhaps was the absolute moment the fragmented, fractured republic finally saw her possibilities, sadly in the same moment she faced her potential failure.
I did not want  modern historians' perspective to cloud my judgment as I wrote  my Free Men and Dreamers books. I sought out actual first-hand accounts from principles as the war played out along their coasts, as invaders' feet marched across their fields,  and torched their towns. I found many, but few sum America's situation up better than one government notation. Here it is, as it reads in the Acknowledgments Page of volume 3, "Dawn's Early Light:"

While researching the War of 1812, I discovered that Britons (including Canadians who were then part of the British Empire) and Americans each believed firmly that their nation’s cause had been noble, their positions defensive. And each could cite reasons why their nation proved victorious in a war that, ostensibly, produced no true victor.

While most experts agree that the war was a monumental draw, a waste of lives
and money with neither nation benefiting in any consequential way, most believe an immature America was too quick to leap into battle mode, reading malice into Britain’s simple desire to prevent American trade from strengthening France’s Napoleonic war chest. However, the following statement from the Senate Military Affairs Record of the Thirteenth Congress, which convened November 5, 1814, may provide the most accurate glimpse of America’s assessment of their situation.

It may be fairly presumed, that it is the object of the British Government, by
striking at the principle sources of our prosperity, to diminish the importance,
if not to destroy, the political existence of the United States.


As we approach the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the planned celebrations
of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the American flag’s emergence as our national icon,
I’m sure this position will be reexamined and re-debated. No matter the musings and
deliberations, only one thing really matters in the end—what the principals believed
in their own day: for this generation proved the mettle of the U.S. Constitution, tested
the office of the presidency, produced the greatest national icon in the world—the
American flag—and forged the identity of America and Americans from an immigrant
population. Moments later, America would become the cradle of a great religious reformation,
and within a generation the nation would be sorely tested again in the Civil War.

Theirs was an extraordinary generation. They were free men and dreamers.

Thank you for revisiting them with me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Tom and I travelled to Virginia Beach this past week to attend the weeding of our  niece who joined the Navy after high school. It was a beautiful wedding as this cute Petty Officer/chef married her own Navy hero.

Nikki's decision to join the Nay shocked us all. She had always been a sweetheart--kind, gentle, loving--but quiet and shy. She took a look at her life and realized she would have to make some big changes if she wanted to broaded her choices, so she spent enlisted with a delay, spent the summer getting into shape at the gym and running, and headed off for Basic Training. We were amazed by her determination.

The woman who emerged from Basic Training was very different from the girl who began. Her best friend who enlisted with her, didn't complete the program and opted out, but Nikki stuck it out and became a powerhouse, inside and out. her confidence was up, her body was sculpted, her view of the world was broadened, and perhaps most importantly of all, her view of people was expanded.

Our military is a multicultural, gender-blended military, and Nikki emerged with friends that crossed all color, religious, economic, educational, and ethnic lines. This segment of American society has pushed past the trivialities these barriers pose to many of the rest of the country, and they've learned to value people based on what matters most--loyalty, dependability, performance, and effort. It was so evident at her wedding where the majority of the guests were brown-skinned or black, where back-pats, handshakes, laughter, singing, dancing, hugging, and hand-shaking abounded. It was beautiful.

Nikki chose culinary arts as her specialty and she has been responsible for catering many five-star admirals and their guests. A mother and wife now, she has a career that will transfer beautifully to the private sector if and when she decides to exit the Navy.

She met her husband while they were stationed, of all places, on Tinker Air Force Base, a strange assignment for two Navy people, or so I thought. But I've learned that the branches of the military support one another, and that's why these two sailors were there.

For a variety of reasons, our extended family is very small, and sadly, Nikki grew up with few cousins, aunts, uncles or even grandparents. That changed for her on Sunday. Her husband, Gerod, hails from an extraordinary family where love, laughter, and loyalty to family are evident, and on Sunday I watched this large supportive family draw Niki, her mom, and her brothers, into their circle as their own.

This Navy Lady got her sailor, and in the journey to this day, she picked up a brave, broad, diverse world of friends, drawn from America's finest. It was an honor to be there for her big day. Many thanks to all our military people and their families. Tom's work draws us close to military brass, but Sunday we enjoyed the company of many enlisted men and women and vets. Few of us know the stress their service poses to their marriages and families. Deployment is hard. It requires something extraordinary in a union to endure these separations. Sadly, the divorce rates are high, and on the way to divorce, they often ruin one another financially, leaving soldiers, sailors, and marines mired in debt for years. The combo sets up a perfect storm for depression, and with the added stress of battle, it's easy to see why suicide rates are also on the rise.

So take a moment and celebrate that two of these military heroes found love and happiness, and give thanks every day to all the military men and women, and to their families, for all they sacrifice to give us the gift of peace.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



By H. B. Moore

H. B. Moore’s decade-long immersion in Book of Mormon research and Meso-American culture has produced eight previous novels based on this beloved book of scripture. In Daughters of Jared, her ninth Book of Mormon-based novel and eleventh book overall, Moore fills her pen with that rich understanding and illustrates this world in vivid detail, deftly interweaving excellent storytelling into an historical account of deception and intrigue pulled from the Book of Ether. The result is a novel with appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.
Moore’s use of a fictional, under-regarded, second daughter of Jared provides a unique perspective on the events of this dethroned king and his power-hungry eldest daughter. The author effectively ramps up the tension and character development in the book by playing the two sisters off one another, leaving the true nature of their relationship fragile and unclear, and the fate of the heroine in peril until the book’s end. It’s an interesting plot device that serves the book well. From the back cover:

Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva’s resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of the plan.

Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her, breaking Naiva’s heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever. Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become queen. When Akish’s wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and honoring her new belief in the true God—a forbidden belief that could cost her life.

The story will be familiar to readers of the Book of Mormon, but this tale of power and corruption is ageless with universal appeal, even to those unfamiliar with the scriptures upon which Daughters of Jared is based.

No matter one’s familiarity with the Book of Mormon account, Moore’s research brings this complex culture to life, shedding light on previously obscure facets of Meso-American religion, customs, dress, diet, hierarchy, and geography. The author follows the historical record, and with the addition of a few support characters, she fills gaps with intriguing, plausible storytelling that breathes life into the history.

But Daughters of Jared serves as more than a good historical fiction read. Readers that may have an objection to fictionalized accounts of scriptural stories can trust Moore’s instincts. As in her previous books, Moore takes her readers into the culture, delivers a great read, and leaves them with a war-chest of insights and understandings of this civilization and culture that will enhance their personal scriptural study of the Book of Mormon.

I’d also recommend Daughters of Jared as an insightful family read. H.B. Moore is a deft writer and an avid scriptorian who strikes a perfect balance—able to deliver a compelling story while delicately touching on the principles and lessons contained in the original scriptural narrative. Her book, Daughters of Jared, offers parents an opportunity to launch into discussions on topics such as loyalty, accountability, faith in adversity, and a host of others.

Daughters of Jared is a book I highly recommend, but take full advantage of all the benefits it offers to enrich not only your pleasure reading, but your understanding of this period and people. Read more about this gem at

Friday, June 8, 2012


Most people I meet tell me they have a story they've wanted to write. I'm convinced that nearly everyone has a great story or two weaving its way through their mind, but they simply don't know how to begin, and eventually they talk themselves out of trying.  If you're an avid reader, you probably have imagined your own endings to books, or had an occasion or two when you felt you would have written things differently.

I think the main difference between most writers and non-writers really is simply that writers finally got their ideas down, and non-writers didn't.

Not every writer needs or wants to be published. Some just want to leave their stories behind for their posterity. Some want to pass information along to a limited group. Whatever your goals, don't allow fear, or lack of knowledge to keep you from realizing your dream.

A writer's conference is a great place to pick up some tips, learn the discipline, hone skills, and network with people who've already jumped the hurdles you're facing.

The LDStorymakers group hosts a large, amazing, professional writer's conference every May in Utah. This year they're also hosting a smaller, more intimate conference in Kansas. It's a great opportunity to ask questions, attend workshops on fundamental topics like plotting, outlining, character development, writing suspense and action, writing historical fiction, and a host of other topics. Published authors will lead the classes so you can also pick their brains on other topics as well. (I'll be teaching two classes and I'd love to see you there.) They keynote speaker for the conference is Lisa Mangum, who is both an editor at Deseret Books, and the best-selling author of "The Spiral Staircase" and "The Hourglass Door."

Registration just opened. I'm posting the details and links below. If you have any questions just email me at

I hope to see you there.


Midwest Writers Conference
Registration is now open!

Date: Saturday, September 15th, 2012
Time: 8 am – 9 pm
Location: Holiday Inn – Olathe (101 W. 151st St., Olathe, KS) 913-829-4000 *Discounted hotel rooms are available for $78/night. Please reference the Storymakers Writers Conference when you call to make a reservation.
Registration Fee: $95, includes all classes, lunch, dinner, and conference materials.

We’re excited to announce our Keynote Speaker:
Lisa Mangum
 (Editor for Deseret Book & Shadow Mountain and Best-Selling Author of The Hourglass Door series)

We’re also delighted to have the following authors as presenters:

Traci Hunter Abramson

Don Carey

  Karen Hoover

Heather Justesen

Josi Kilpack

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis

  Steve Westover

 Pitch your latest story to Lisa Mangum. Appointments are available on a first come first served basis. Meet your favorite authors at the Friday night Authorpalooza. Network with other writers across the Midwest.
Sign up for a day full of awesomeness! Register here:

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Sorry for the delay in posting, but I've got issues. Well, not me exactly, but my computer. It's been sleeping over at the Geek Squad office at Best Buy awaiting repairs, and I brought it home yesterday expecting to plug it in and find a recovered, cooperative PC, but instead I'm finding little nuisance errors that, amongst other things, prevented me from getting access to my Blogger Dashboard.

I'd be in a total panic if I didn't know I've got a 3-layer security plan to protect my files.

I lost everything a few years ago. A friend was here to tune up my sluggish PC and when he turned it on it died right in front of him. (If this were my car or a household appliance, it would never die when a repairman was near.) So I at least had someone knowledgeable present when disaster struck.

Suffice it so say that all my manuscripts, photos, journals, genealogy, tax docs, etc, (MY documentable LIFE) was in peril, and I wanted to cry. After a few ashen-faced looks from my friend, he and Tom rigged a remote hard drive, (we called it Frankenstein) to my dead computer, and using that drive we were eventually able to access the old hard drive and copy all the files. (Bullet dodged.....)

I learned an essential lesson that day--Back everything up, all the time, many ways.

We attached a Bounce Back back-up drive to my computer which backs up the hard drive nightly, but eventually we found that even that plan was not infallible, so we finally bought a Carbonite plan--the super-duper Cadillac version) and now I know if my computer completely fries they will send me an actual hard-drive in the mail loaded with a complete copy of my computer on any date I specify.

Some brainiac devised a virus that currupted Norton for a time. Did you know that? So those of us who relied on Norton Anti-virus software to protect our computers were vulnerable as well. I ended up with three killer viruses a few months ago. I started getting the dreaded, "Blue Screen of Death" from time to time even though Norton kept assuring me it had scanned and eliminated all threats and  I was fully protected. Then one day a few weeks ago . . . Nada . . . nothin'. Blue Screen warning, and then Frozen PC-City. But I didn't panic. I had a Geek Squad Black-Tie policy, and Carbonite. We've since added the Geek Squad's Technical Plan as well--three computers for three years for $249. It's slight overkill, but I can barely text and type, so now Geek Squad can install my Carbonite back-up drive if I ever need it.

So I'm back in the saddle, albeit on a slightly sway-back horse, but I'm still tweaking things with great expectations of perfection on the horizon.

My advice to you? Check to be sure you're backing up your computer regularly. Stop and consider how much of your life is stored on there--photos, address lists, financial documents, correspondence, and if you're a writer, your work. I have so many story ideas, character maps, rough drafts, contact lists, contracts, marketing tips, etc, on here that I'd probably lose the equivalent of years of work. So be smart and safe and maje sure you've got a plan. There are other remote sites and services as well, like Mozy. Just get something. You'll sleep better. Heck, I'm a worry wart. I'll sleep better knowing your work's safe too!