Tuesday, December 11, 2012

24 Days with the Savior

My friend, Connie Sokol, has come up with a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas by focusing on the Savior.

Here's what she has to say:

"It's been the neatest, unexpected thing. I started posting a daily blog about the Savior, to have a more Christ-centered Christmas. Then ended up having many requests for the full "24 Days with the Savior". So with the help of great people, it's done and live, for this week at only .99 so that it's available to everyone, and we're donating ALL the profits to local food banks.

"If you're interested, you can check out the link below. 

"This has already been a great way to have a more Christ-centered Christmas, AND give to a great cause!" 

Connie Sokol

24 Days with the Savior

Do you desire a more Christ-centered Christmas?

Spend "24 Days with the Savior." For each day of December you'll find a scripture excerpt and an inspiring thought about one character trait of Jesus Christ. Simple, thoughtful, focused. Feel the peace and joy of the season by knowing Him more fully. Now available on e-book at Amazon.com, ALL profits are donated to food banks.  

24 Days with the Savior


Monday, December 3, 2012

Forged in Flame Anthology

Isn't this cover gorgeous? I love it!

From the back of the book: 

Forged in flame, wrought in blood, bone and steel, from the bowels of the earth and the inner most chambers of the heart, dragons arise. Fired by their passion, inspired by legend, six talented storytellers delve into realms of myth and fantasy as they explore what it means to be human.

First Flight: Vanderson Egilhard yearns to fly, but when he discovers his father’s secret, the fate of his family and perhaps the world falls into his young hands.

A Dragon’s Honor: When ancient alliances fail and friends stand alone to face certain doom, one dark secret and Calrym’s courage spell the utter destruction or dawning new age of two failing nations.

Birth Pains: Bellalinde made a terrible sacrifice for love. Years later, her choice sends her and her granddaughter on a journey from which only one can return.

Golden Legacy: Hated, hunted, marked for extermination, when a young assassin hunts down Zachariah, he must decide which of them truly deserves to live.

Heart of Steel: When murder steals his wife from Gideon Hendry, lust for revenge fires his passions. Only his fantastic creations know if he can escape his obsession before it seals his fate.

A Chink In The Armor: Blessed by the gods, Job has never lost a battle. He has triumphed over every challenge from man and nature. Arrogant? Yes, but he's invincible. Or is he?

My take: Fantasy ranks toward the top of my list in preferred genres, so I was excited to read this anthology. The stories are each unique, although some were a little dark. There are a couple of the stories that are steam-punk, but I thought it added to the story. 

I am not a huge fan of short stories, mostly because I end up wanting more. This was true of a couple of these stories from wanting more information to wanting the story to be fleshed out a bit to wanting the story to continue. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book. No other compensation was given.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Calling All Shoppers

It's a CYBER MONDAY DEAL! (and Tuesday).

For .99 you can purchase The Archer's Hollow at Smashwords. Use coupon code RR65U.

It's a fun, fantasy romance. A perfect way to ease your holiday stress AND a great gift for your friends. Buy one for you and one for a friend (or two or three). Easy, inexpensive, and you can cross a few names off your list. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have been fascinated by words for as long as I can remember. I love words that are fun to say, like 'antediluvian' and words that sound funny like 'ululate' (which really isn't funny). I remember loving Mary Poppins' song 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' and how cool I thought I was that, like Mary, I could say it backward. What a fantastic word. (I also grew up on games like Scrabble and Boggle, so maybe that explains part of it, too).

So, when one of my writer friends gave a writing lesson recently, I was excited to learn it involved words. (I know, what's a writing lesson without words, but be patient whilst I explain). One of her classes required extemporaneous speaking ('extemporaneous' might be a fun word if it didn't strike fear into the core of my being). The teacher would give them two seemingly unrelated countries and they had to find the commonality. So our exercise for the lesson was to pick two words out of a 'hat' that she'd prepared and come up with a question for our characters. It was a great exercise and very illuminating. Something you really could have fun with. Don't stop at one question or one answer (typically your first answer will be cliche' because, unfortunately, that is what is at the forefront of our imagination).

Your writing challenge for today: Open the dictionary to a random page and without looking, point to a word. Open your eyes and write down your first word. Repeat and write down your second word. Now, come up with a question for the characters of your WIP.

I would love to have you post your question(s) in the comments! Dont' forget to have fun with this.

Write on, my friends, write on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's a Blog Hop

What is the working title of your book? Narysian Treasure
Where did the idea come from for the book? Umm, my grandma was a florist, and so I started with my protagonist being a florist. The rest just unfolded as I went.
What genre does your book fall under? Sci-fi romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Zac Efron for my hunky hero and Mia Wasikowska (say that five times fast) for my beautiful heroine.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A bounty-hunting alien encounters an unexpected treasure in his hunt for the Fertility Guardian from his home planet.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Self-pubbed (I just self-pubbed my first book, The Archer's Hollow--a fantasy romance--on Smashwords in October of this year).
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I'm still working on it, but I've discovered I'm a better pantser than I am an outliner. I hope to finish a first draft early next year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Maybe A Wrinkle in Time but with romance. 
Who or What inspired you to write this book? My grandma and my husband.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? That there just may be life out there other places in the universe and maybe they're like us in more ways than not.

Monday, October 29, 2012

ANWA Writers Conference Spread-the-Word Contest

It's that time of year when we gear up for the annual ANWA Time Out for Writers Conference held February 21-23. The fun and learning will happen at the Hilton Hotel in Mesa, Arizona (be sure to let them know you're with ANWA when you reserve your room).

We have some great things happening this year. Some returning stars: pitch opportunities with agents/editors, the Beginning of Book (BOB) contest, wonderful workshops, the All-Star Breakfast, the bookstore and the fabulous James Owen as our keynote speaker. New stars to the line-up: the Protagonist Ball (come dressed as your favorite protagonist and have a great time mingling with attendees and presenters).

We want to let as many people know about the Time Out for Writers Conference as we can so we're hosting a week-long contest to Spread The Word. The winner will be randomly picked. You can earn multiple entries using the Rafflecopter below. The prize: a $25 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
inspired by Siobhan Dowd

Back of Book: At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.


Don't let the cover scare you off. I have to admit, though, that I love the cover. I have blinds on all my windows due to horror films/TV from my youth, so you would think that I would avoid reading something with a monster heading for a house and a 13 y.o. boy. But no, I picked this up and started reading it. 

It's a quick read (took me about two and a half hours), but so worth the time. It's a heart-wrenching tale that made me cry a couple of times (but, I'm like that, so no surprise there). I just typically don't read criers. But I digress. This would be great for book clubs and I want my kids to read it, too. In an environment where things worth reading can be hard to find, this shines! Get it. [Amazon.com] Read it.

Disclaimer: I checked this out from the library and received no compensation for this review.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Earthbound by Theresa Sneed

Earthbound by Theresa Sneed

Back of the Book: Heaven used to be such a perfect place . . .

As the time draws near for the first spirits to leave their home in heaven, a group of rebellious dissenters begins to appear at every blue-planet planning meeting, demanding that all mortals are ruled by compulsory choice, instead of having the freedom to choose for themselves. Daniel is a courageous Freedom Fighter who vehemently opposes the No Choice movement. Sophie is impressed by his strong desire to do what's right . . . and by his intense blue eyes. But she also has a strange attraction to the handsome and ostentatious Coe, a leader of the No Choice movement, who has his sights on her and will stop at nothing to claim her as his own.

LDS Romantic Fiction.

Normally I'm not a huge fan of LDS fiction, but I loved this book! I like fantasy/sci-fi and there were parts of this that fit right into that. This was also a book that made me look inside. It was a good reminder that every choice matters. And to have read it right before LDS General Conference didn't hurt either. I highly recommend it--even if you're not LDS (and if you're not LDS and have questions, stop the missionaries, they'd love to answer your questions or visit LDS.org). I'm looking forward to checking out Theresa Sneed's other book, No Angel.

Theresa's books can be found at Amazon or Deseret Book. Get it and enjoy an engaging and thought-provoking story.

Disclaimer: I bought this book and received no compensation for this review.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Healing Balm of Good-bye Letters

Last Good-bye Letters is a Facebook page dedicated to exactly that, Last Goodbye Letters. My friend, Susan Geer, had an amazing and healing experience that she shares and hopes you will be able to learn from it and even contribute to her larger project of compiling these letters into a book.

She also has a website by the same name: Last Goodbye Letters. It's a beautiful website and I encourage you to take a look and, of course, contribute if you can.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Lady By Any Other Name

A Lady by Any Other Name

A novel by Jennifer Kitchens available at Amazon. I'm excited to check out this new book and have it on my list of books 'to read'.

Jennifer also has a great blog that is really fun to follow. You can find her at Clean Romance Reviews.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Laiden's Daughter by Suzan Tisdale

Back of the book: Betrayed by lies before her birth, Aishlinn believes kind and honorable men do not exist. Raised in near seclusion by a cruel stepfather, she is traded to work at Castle Firth in Penrith England for the price of two sheep. When the despised Earl of Penrith attacks her late one night and attempts to rape her, Aishlinn stabs him in self-defense and flees England for the safety of the Scottish highlands. Surviving the horrific beating at the hands of the Earl, Aishlinn is rescued by a fierce band of highland warriors who swear their allegiance to her for killing the hated Earl--the same man who had destroyed their village and killed their families when they were boys. 

Duncan McEwan, future chief of the Clan MacDougall, has survived countless battles and bed innumerable women. He has scaled mountains, survived a horrific storm at sea and even hand-to-claw battle with a ferocious cat-o’mountain. But none of that could have prepared him for how his life is forever changed one fateful spring day when he rescues a very battered young woman from an icy stream. Together with his men, they risk everything to take her to the safety of their clan.

She soon learns that kind and honorable men do exist and one in particular changes her heart forever. She discovers an inner strength and it will be tested to the limits when she is forced to make a heart wrenching decision--allow the English to kill those she loves or surrender for the crime she committed. 

With an intense code of honor Duncan must now battle the feelings for the beautiful Aishlinn. He will do anything to keep her as his own and he’ll do anything to keep her out of the hands of the English.

My Take: I really liked this story. I loved the big Scottish Highlanders and their value of family and women (especially Wee William and how much he loved the bairns). I love accents and found meself reading in a wee brogue as I went along. There is some sensual heat in a few places and the point of view alternates between many characters, seemingly in an omniscient sort of way. It never took me out of the story, but could have been better. There are also several places where some editing was needed, but I typically overlook that if I'm into the story (which I'll admit, I was happy to go sit at the swim meet for hours because I had this book to read). 

To buy the book: Laiden's Daughter by Suzan Tisdale at Amazon or Laiden's Daughter at BN.

Disclaimer: I bought this book and received no compensation for this review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Searching for Arthur

About Searching for Arthur by Donna HosieLegend tells of King Arthur, mortally wounded at the hand of the traitorous Mordred in the final battle of Camlann. Before he was taken to the magical Vale of Avalon, Arthur declared that one day he would return, when the kingdom of Logres was once more in need of his leadership.

That day has now come.

It is hard to make friends when you’re constantly on the move. Seventeen-year-old Natasha Roth’s father is a diplomat, and so her mother – who is paranoid about terrorists – has moved Natasha and her brother, Arthur, to their eighteenth house in seventeen years: Avalon Cottage, deep in the heart of a Welsh forest.

Yet the terrorists are closer than they realize.
While out running, Natasha falls into a hidden tomb and awakens the legendary knights of Camelot: young warriors who have been in an enchanted sleep for a thousand years. All have been waiting patiently for the return of Arthur from the mysterious land of Avalon.
And now the knights are awake, they intend to reclaim their king.
When Arthur goes missing, Natasha joins forces with his girlfriend, “Slurpy” Samantha, in order to look for him. Natasha believes Samantha has fewer brain cells than an amoeba; Samantha believes Natasha is a freak. Retracing Natasha’s original steps to the hidden tomb, they bicker their way into a Welsh mountain and beyond, to the realm of Logres where the Knights of the Round Table are rallying once more.
Natasha falls in love with Sir Bedivere, the most loyal of knights to Arthur. He may be in dire need of a 21st Century razor, but he still possesses a set of lime-green eyes that can melt the soul. Yet just as Natasha starts to find confidence in this mystical land, Samantha deserts her. People who play by the rules are of no use to “Slurpy”. Samantha will take her own path to Arthur, aided and abetted by the dark arts which she willingly absorbs from a hot young stranger called Mordred.
A race across magical yet deadly lands is on. Natasha battles dwarf-riders, dragons, and eventually “Slurpy” to reach Camelot, where Arthur is held captive by the barbarian Saxon, Balvidore. 

Natasha’s woes become numerous. What will happen to her and Arthur when the knights realise the eighteen-year-old boy they thought was their king, is in fact a math student with appalling taste in girls? Can two people with a one thousand year age gap really have a relationship? And for the love of all things holy, how is a girl supposed to ride bareback in a pair of skinny jeans?

My take: I've always been a big fan of King Arthur. Read as much Camelot as I could get my hands on when I was younger. This was an interesting twist on the story and I found it difficult to put down. I will be checking out the next book in the series to see what happens. What I didn't like: the profanity and the teenage sex, and while it wasn't descriptive or necessary, I'm not OK with it. Also had some difficulty with mistaking the bad guy, Balvidore, for the amazing Knight in Shining Armor, Bedivere (liked him a lot). The names were just too close in spelling and so a few times I had to stop until I realized my mistake. I also thought Ms. Hosie did a nice job with Natasha's character growth. Would have liked to have seen the parents a little more sympathetic and am still confused by the reference to 'terrorists'. The modern term didn't fit for me. 

Disclaimer: a copy of this book was provided for review, no other compensation was given.

Monday, June 18, 2012

More Summer Reading

So recently I was fortunate to vacation in Hawaii for a week with my Knight In Shining Armor. Hawaii, as always, was fabulous. I had lots of time to relax, eat local food (YUM!), catch up with friends, and yes, read some great books. These are the books that I read: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden, Surrender (ARC) by Elana Johnson, The Duke's Undoing by G.G. Vandagriff.

I will give you my thoughts on each one (don't worry, I'll keep it short).

Edenbrook: I read it twice. Yes, it was that good. One of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a regency romance and I loved the characters and the way they fit so nicely into their roles (Donaldson makes it look so easy, but it's really not). The characters have stayed with me and I know I will read this one again. One of the best things about it is that I can recommend it to my friends! (and some of you know, I have).

 Seeking Persephone: Loved this one, too. Eden does a great job weaving the story and the characters. A serious tale sprinkled with humor in all the right spots. Wishing I could get my hands on more of her stuff. Sigh.

Surrender: Umm. It you haven't read Possession (book one of this series), buy it, read it, and then move on to Surrender. Liked it more than I did Possession. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about starting this one as I didn't like the ending of book one. But, after a few days of staring at the book, I gave in. Ah, sweet surrender. If you're a fan of dystopian, this is a must-read. Get it, read it. Today.

The Duke's Undoing: Liked the story, liked the characters, but the ending fell a little flat for me. I felt like there were things that weren't really wrapped up (or maybe just not wrapped up the way I thought they should be). It's a sweet regency romance, and I love those, so it was good reading, just a little disappointed at the end.

Enjoy your summer reading.

Disclaimer: I bought these books and received no compensation (other than great reading!) for these reviews.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Caribbean Crossroads by Connie E. Sokol

Caribbean Crossroads, by Connie E. Sokol

Back of the Book Blurb: New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard. Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them. 

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad. Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance' returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.

First off, don't you love the cover? I did. This book doesn't disappoint either. It really is the perfect summer read. I had a hard time putting it down--and it made me want to go on a cruise with my own sweetheart. I cheered for the characters and really liked that the typical ‘mean girl’ character had her nice moments. Loved Bryant, the hunky jock who can also sing and dance, (think Zac Efron in HS Musical—only much hunkier). Yum. And the main character Megan with all her love angst, I sometimes wanted to shake and say ‘look what you have right here in front of you!’ but at the same time wanted her to hurry and get her life figured out. Those characters, the twists and turns, and some fabulous secondary characters make it an enjoyable read. Definitely put this on your summer reading list.

Connie E. Sokol has several things going on in her life including her writing. To check out her author page, click here Connie E. Sokol. To check out her fabulous   Back to Basics progam, visit her Back to Basics website. To go straight to Amazon and buy this fun book, click CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS. Spice up your summer with a heart-warming story.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book, but that did not influence my review.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Beginning of Book 1st Place Winner Speculative Category ANWA Conference 2012


Chapter 1
Blue tape and eleven pushpins held the global map to the hotel suite’s wall. Rogan studied each point individually, assessing the progress of the crimes. He’d gone over it a hundred times, but still missed whatever linked them.
Lining up his notes he reviewed the information: dates, times, names of towns, addresses, names of the victims. Only the dates showed any order. Today was next in line for a hit. Rogan pinched the bridge of his nose. Nothing else stood out. It was impossible for the serial killer to be so random, yet no identifiable pattern existed.
Evan, his assigned partner and best friend, sat at the edge of the couch, flipping through news channels. Both hoped to find a clue to the next location before another plastic bead screamed bloody death from the map.
Rogan paced in frustration. Maybe he had over-thought the whole thing. He turned his attention to the blaring TV in the middle of the room. An advertisement for an upcoming World Heavyweight Boxing Championship flashed across the screen. Two contenders appeared for a split second before Evan switched channels. Tattooed numbers on the shoulder of one of the men caught Rogan’s attention. Instinct tightened his gut.
“Go back to the boxing ad, I think I saw something.”
Police tape and crying neighbors now played across the screen.
“Hold on, I think we might have something here.”
Impatient, Rogan grabbed the laptop and brought up the Championship information. The boxer in question had tattooed the location of every title win on his shoulder. Maybe that was it.
Rogan quickly logged in to the company’s GPS website and punched in the crime addresses. He scribbled them down in order and did some comparisons. The math genius part of his brain kicked in and it all came together. He punched in a new location. A place called Gilbert, Arizona, showed up.
“We’re headed to the heat.”
Evan either didn’t hear or was too focused on the details of the drive-by shooting to respond.
The satellite image on the computer rolled around dropping closer to earth until an abandoned-looking house and a grove of dying citrus appeared in the dim pre-dawn of the desert. Opening another screen he pulled up the town’s website and scanned through it in less than a minute. Nice town. He hoped they weren’t too late.
Ready for Evan’s full attention he pushed the power button on the TV.
“Hey, what’re you doing?”
Placing the open laptop on the coffee table in front of them he sat next to Evan.
“We should find him holed up in this barn,” he said as he pointed to the run-down structure on the satellite image.
“What? How did you—”
“Global positioning.
Rogan bounced his leg anxious to get moving. Although it didn’t show much, enough light peeked over the distant mountains for the pair to discern their meeting place. They studied it together, committing the image to memory.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch

I have really been looking forward to this. Donna Hatch is an amazing author. Her fun sense of humor and her love of romance shine through in her stories and I'm sure this one will not disappoint. Read on for more on her latest book:

Queen in Exile  is
combination of fantasy and romance. 
Don't miss your the
chance to win this thrilling tale.

Queen in Exile
by Donna Hatch

Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

March 7-Peggy Urry

March 8-Janette Rallison

March 9-Lydia Lindsey

March 12-Anna Arnett

Barbara White Daille

March 14-Valerie Ipson

March 15-Valerie Steimle

Want a win one of three copies of Queen in Exile? The answer isYES! And, it's easy.

1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why you're excited to read Queen in Exile. Remember to include your email address.

2. If you tweet about the blog tour, post about it on your blog or facebook, or become a fan of  Romance Author Donna Hatch on Facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an additional entry.

All entires need to be left by Midnight, MST, Sunday, March 18, 2012. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the Beginning

So, there's been some debate amongst my writer friends about whether you should start your story with the antagonist's (villain) point of view (POV) or the protagonist's (hero/heroine). Most of the time, stories start from the protagonist's POV.

Two things of note: I'm not much of a rule follower (unless it's practical) and I lean toward formal in things I like, e.g. pictures in frames should generally be the same size and color and symmetrically ordered on the wall. A mirrored balance makes me happy.

My soon-to-be-released novel, The Archer's Hollow, is in chronological order of events. Remember, I like things that way. This puts my villain in the very first chapter. It works for me and I hope it works for you when you read it.

This is why I think it will. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!

  • The first chapter is titled Nefarious Intent.
  • My villian's name is Nafaeri and not by accident (definite connection there).
  • Throughout the first chapter, I've tried to expose her for what she is. I definitely want the reader to know what the hero and heroine are up against.
So, do you think I can pull of this latest rebellion? Any tips for making a stronger case?

Write On my friends!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


There's a certain smell, the tiny cries, the miniature fingers wrapping around your own, the feeling that comes when the baby nestles into your shoulder and falls asleep. There really is nothing like it. This past week I got to visit my sister who has one of these said little bundles of joy. What a treat. Baby is so sweet and I got to snuggle him a lot. I didn't have to do any of the work to get him here, but pitched in as much as I could to burp, change, love, and adore the little guy.

In the meantime, my baby, previously titled 'Bound', now has a new title: The Archer's Hollow and I spent about zero time loving on it while I was gone. Now that I'm not snuggling my sister's baby, I'm devoting time to change, love, and polish my own baby. On that note, I've got to get back to editing, so Write On, my friends.

Monday, January 9, 2012

In God is our Trust by Laurie L. C. Lewis (Guest Blogger)

The Founding Fathers' vision of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance. 
But what if yours was the generation tasked with forging that nation?    
And forced to defend her once again. .  
Just before the heavens were about to open. . .
And a new dispensation was about to begin?    
These were the challenges facing a choice generation.
They were. . . FREE MEN & DREAMERS

Peggy: Hi Laurie. Welcome to my Blog.

Laurie: Hi! Thanks for inviting me to guest blog about my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books.

Peggy: Tell us a little about yourself and about your books.

Laurie: I’m from Maryland, but about 14 years ago, I fell in love with historic Williamsburg. There is a sacred spirit there, one felt also in other places that welcomed the great patriots—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Key, and others—cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and Georgetown; and places like Fort McHenry, Hampton, Craney Island, Fort Monroe, and dozens more.

I believe it’s because God’s hand was over the events that happened in these places, moving people where they needed to be in order to accomplish His purposes for this land.

The past eight years of my research and writing have focused on an incredibly fascinating, and rather forgotten, generation of Americans. Most of us know a bit about the Revolution, and we have some basic understanding of the issues that drove us into the Civil War, but far fewer know anything concrete about the War of 1812, and yet historians will tell you that it was this period and these events that finally forged us into The United States of America.

The idea for a historic novel began back in 1998 after my first visit to Williamsburg, but I set it aside and moved on to another project. After 9/11, my heart, like most Americans', turned more tenderly to America and her history. By 2004 I submitted the first draft.
The original manuscript was set in the late 1840’s, but after much soul searching, many hours buried in American history, and a small mention in Lucy Mack Smith’s “Biography of Joseph Smith,” I knew I needed to back the books up a generation.

It was Lucy’s reference to her brother Stephen Mack’s service during the War of 1812 that was the deal-breaker. I had never before made the connection between the Smiths and the War of 1812, but there it was! Joseph Smith grew up during that war. He and his generation were affected and shaped by the critical historic events of the tragic burning of Washington, the critical Battle of Baltimore, Key’s rallying of a broken nation with his writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The generation that would take on Britain’s war machine in the War of 1812 was already unique in that they were the children of the Founding Fathers’ generation. They were the heirs of the great patriots’ vision, those charged to build a nation founded on the lofty principles of liberty and freedom, and now they would experience the great religious reformation and the Restoration led by Joseph Smith.   

After eight years of research and rewrites, it is this generation’s story that I tell in my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books where we wind six fictional families—three American, two British, one slave—through carefully researched American history to illustrate the courage, sacrifice, and vision of this extraordinary group.

Peggy: Sounds so fascinating! How many books are there?

Laurie: There are five books in the series: DARK SKY AT DAWN, (2007); and TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, (2008) were each finalists in the 2008 USA Best Books Competition; DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, (2009); OH, SAY CAN YOU SEE? (2010) was a Whitney Award finalist; IN GOD IS OUR TRUST, (2011) is currently a nominee for a Whitney Award.. Preview chapters from each book are available on my website at http://www.laurielclewis.com/books.htm.

Peggy: Check out my previous blog post for an excerpt from In God is our Trust. 

Thanks for visiting my blog today Laurie! What a great journey it's been for you and a wonderful way to share the true spirit of our beginnings as a nation. If anyone has any questions for Laurie, you may email her at lclewis2007@gmail.com.

Excerpt from In God is our Trust by Laurie L.C. Lewis

Laurie: I’d like to share an excerpt from my recently released volume 5, IN GOD IS OUR TRUST. Our protagonist in the series is Jed Pearson, a moral but logical man who has aligned his course upon the strength and stability of government. But new, illogical, religious concepts threaten his tidy world, and despite his efforts to dismiss them, he cannot, setting the stage for a spiritual awakening that will test his faith in both God and the Constitution.

From chapter 29:

The Pearsons arrived in Washington City in July, well before Jed
was scheduled to be seated in the Senate, but not too early to receive
his first assignment from his friend, Senator Timothy Shepard, who
had been asked to assist Washington’s Mayor Weightman’s Jubilee
of Independence Committee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the
signing of the Declaration of Independence. Timothy quickly secured
Jed’s help.

“First things first,” Timothy began. “Congress commissioned four
paintings by John Trumball which will be hung in the Rotunda for the
celebration. The capstone of the celebration is his grand mural titled
The Declaration of Independence, depicting the five writers of the
declaration presenting the draft to their colleagues. Here’s a sketch.”

Jed studied the five images in the center of the sketch. The first
three were easily recognizable—Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John
Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania—but
the last two required greater thought. “I’m embarrassed to say I can’t
remember these two members of the drafting committee, nor some
of the other signers.”

“Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New
York, but I can’t name some of the signers anymore. I wonder if
future generations will learn their names and know the risk they
took when they mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor.”

Jed grew wistful at the thought. “So few of them are yet alive.”

“Charles Carroll is well, but Presidents Jefferson and Adams are
in failing health.”

“It’s remarkable to consider what that generation achieved in
fifty years, and yet the cost has been high. Two hundred and fifty
years ago the Indians roamed free in virgin forests and welcomed the
settlers. Now we are at war with them in many corners.”

“We fear them and they don’t trust us, often with good cause,”
Timothy said.

“If only we could share the land and live in peace, but we each
have very different visions for America. It’s rumored Andrew Jackson
will relocate the Indians west if elected president. As much as I love
what we’re building here, I can’t feel good about that.”

“It was a primitive new world when the first settlers arrived, as
if God hid it in His hand for millennia for a special purpose. I think
His hand has ever been and still is over this land.”

“And what do you think His purpose is? Even the Founders
couldn’t agree on religion.”

“They differed on the details, but they all believed in Christ.
Religion was and is still evolving here since the break with Europe.
Perhaps they purposely kept the language vague in order to
accommodate what might yet be.”

“Like a visit from God?”

Timothy scowled at Jed. “What?”

Flushing red, Jed wished he could retract the comment. “Don’t
mind me.”

“No, tell me. Who claims to have been visited by God?”

“A young man named Joseph Smith. Hannah is quite taken with

“But you doubt him?”

Jed leaned back slightly. “Do you believe God would condescend
to come to earth and visit a young man today in response to a

Timothy pondered the question a moment. Jed watched his face
soften as he thought. “I don’t know, but if God wanted to do such
a thing, I think this is where He would choose to do it. Religion
needs freedom to flourish, Jed, and I believe God helped us establish
and preserve ours. Now He’s blessed us with a decade of relative
prosperity and peace. If He wanted to open the heavens and speak, I
think He would do it here, and this might be the time.”

Peggy: Thank you so much for sharing Laurie. Remember, if anyone has questions for Laurie, you may email her at lclewis2007@gmail.com.