Monday, November 29, 2010

Interview: Anne Bradshaw

Today, my guest is Anne Bradshaw. Anne is a multi-talented author, as you will see below. Welcome, Anne, to my blog, I'm excited to have you here.

What is your current book and how would you describe it?

Anne: I actually have two new books out, but the one I'm concentrating on right now is True Miracles with Genealogy~Help from Beyond the Veil. Compiling it was an amazing experience.

True Miracles is a collection of inspiring research stories, spiritual moments as help comes from beyond the veil. It is unique, comforting, and powerful. Each account can't help but touch hearts as readers come to the heady realization that there really is a world of spirits.

How and when did you gather stories for this book?

Anne: I put out requests for stories on many social websites, including Facebook. Genealogists from all over the USA and from other countries responded. It amazed me to read so many unusual experiences—to learn of the many different ways researchers received the help they needed.

I'm sure my book contains only a tiny portion of the vast number of stories that go unrecorded every year—even every day—throughout the world. As someone says in the book, "Heaven is only a whisper away." It really is that close, but most times in the busy hours of our life, we're not in tune, or not ready to listen and act.

I began compiling seriously at the beginning of 2010. The more stories I received the more fascinating, and compelling it was to keep going. Once the initial call for stories went out, friends began telling others about the project and story gathering took on its own momentum.

There was a lot of work involved in the initial story editing to make each one fit the book's style. I thought about putting different accounts into categories within the book, but as stories kept arriving, I they simply didn't fit neatly into any particular groups because each experience was unique, and as such, each one needed its own classification, which defeated any effort to make them match others.

Is there a website for True Miracles with Genealogy?

Anne: Yes, I created a website at to further the book's purpose of sharing research stories. I hope many readers will send in their experiences. I realize it's unusual for most people to have more than one or two genealogy miracles in a lifetime—and many have none—but treasuring and sharing these events is so worthwhile.

The website is also home to the book's reviews. These are under the Book Review tab, top of the page.

Where can readers purchase this book?

Anne: It's available in both paperback and electronic form. I deliberately kept the price low so more can afford to enjoy it. The Kindle and Nook eBook versions are only $2.99. I hope local bookstores will soon make it available. The book is on many Internet sites. Below are sample links. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free software for your computer, phone, iTouch, iPad, and more on Amazon at .

Amazon's CreateSpace $8.99, shipping $3.61

Amazon $8.99, shipping $3.99

Kindle eBook $2.99

What other genres do you write?

Anne: I’ve tried my hand at several—YA mystery suspense (my other new book is titled Dingo), adult fiction, poetry, non-Fiction, and screenwriting.

What type of writing schedule do you have?

Anne: Now the children are grown and flown, I can write any time I choose, which is most of the day on one thing or another. I get up at 5.30 a.m. and fit speed walking, chores and meal making between writing.

How do you handle life interruptions?

Anne: Interruptions are good breaks for me. If I type too long, I get neck and shoulder pain, so I welcome a change of pace—unless I’m in the middle of something that’s going particularly well, or coming to an end—then I grit my teeth and hit “save.” And I usually scribble down whatever thought was passing through my mind at the time, because I'm sure to forget it later.

Where did you go to college and master in writing?

Anne: I studied writing through an online college course in England. The rest was practice, practice and more practice. And reading, reading and more reading – especially books about writing.

How much time does writing take?

Anne: Many long hours. For me, getting it right is not a fast process. Re-writes take forever. Marketing takes even longer.

What else do you do besides writing?

Anne: My hobbies include vegetable and herb gardening, photography, and getting lost in great books. I’m a lousy cook, but we have to eat. Years ago in England, we reared goats, chickens, and bees, and I really enjoyed those times. As for travel, if it weren’t for children and grandchildren spread around the country, I’d be perfectly happy staying home. Travel seems such a huge, uncomfortable thing these days, but, like eating, it has to be done.

Are you ever nervous when writing? Ever have self-doubts as to your skills?

Anne: Oh yes, all the time. If I dwelt on doubts, I would never get anything written. But they do serve a purpose. My doubts make me continue to read about the art of writing. There is much to learn and relearn. I attend writing conferences, also. They are great for rekindling enthusiasm, and an excellent resource.

What have been some of your most successful work habits as a writer?

Anne: Probably my most successful habit is the ability to stay focused. And I'm happy to change a manuscript if it means a better story. Growing a thick skin against rejection was a tough one for me, because rejection feeds self-doubt. It never gets any easier to read, "Thanks for your manuscript, but . . .” However, these days I'm doing better at shrugging it off and battling on.

Do you believe there is any "magic" formula to being published?

Anne: I’d love to know it if there is one. Sometimes, it seems more like good luck, striking the market at the right time, and combining that with huge marketing efforts.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Anne. I always love hearing about how other authors work and play, it's kind of like comparing notes. Best of luck with all of your writing endeavors!

To learn more about Anne Bradshaw visit

Friday, November 26, 2010

Talley Family Hulapalooza

Traditions are very important in my family. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is known as the Talley Family Hulapalooza. We bring out all the Christmas decorations and decorate the house and yard. I love to have lights outside, especially if it's snowing--makes my house look all magical.

We used to cut down our own tree, but after the beetles and the drought attacked most of the pinion trees in the area some years back, we couldn't bring ourselves to cut down a tree that survived against such odds. We have a lovely fake tree, but somehow, the smell of a live one is missing. I keep trying different air freshners to try to capture that Christmas tree smell, but so far I've failed. We do go out and cut a few branches off trees so we can have a little of that fragrance.

During our years of cutting down trees, our favorite tradition was to drive inside the garage with the tree still on top of the Suburban, wedging the tree between the van and the garage door. Every year we'd remind ourselves, even as we drove down the driveway not to go inside the garage, and yet, we'd still manage to forget until we heard the crunch of the tree trying to go under the raised garage door.

Every year, though, we still watch Christmas Vacation. Every time I see that chipmunk on  the back of Chevy Chase I roar in laughter. I love Aunt Bethany and the Jell-O with cat food, the fried cat under the chair, and Eddie's dickie under his polyester suit. The whole group is nuts, from Eddie to the in-laws and they make me laugh.

We've also added Elf  to our tradition and now we can all quote from it. My kids even add syrup to their spaghetti--gross. We love this movie and have fun watching it each year.

Most of all, I love the Hulapalooza because we laugh and have so much fun together as a family. It's even more perfect if we have a snow fall and sit inside, next to the fire, watching the flakes pass by the window as we're sipping hot choclate.

Yep, this is a great time of year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Color Me Unimpressed

About a month ago, my husband was headed to town to do a Scout training. A few miles from our house, he had a close encounter with a herd of deer that had been spooked by hunters. Four or five deer ran into the side of his car. The resulting damage: both doors caved in, driver's window shattered, dented fender, broken bumper, dented hood, cracked windshield, destroyed windshield wiper, and both mirrors were broken. Pretty major damage. Cost $7300.
I called my insurance company, American Family, and the woman told me that my best option was to take the vehicle to their approved body shop. I could take it to any body shop, but I'd have to have an independent adjuster come out and then I'd have to get estimates and it would take a lot longer. And, American Family would not guarantee work by any other shop nor would it intervene if there were any problems. So, I had the car towed to the only approved shop in my area.

I was told that the car would be ready November 12. Since I live 30 miles away, I made arrangements for a ride so I could pick up the car. I called that morning just to be sure and found out that it was, in fact, not ready. However, the shop guy told me to come to town and he'd call me on my cell phone because he thought it'd be ready that afternoon. I did so, but the car was not ready.

I was then told it would be ready Monday and, again, arranged for a ride only to find out that, again, it would not be ready. This went on all week. Come to find out, American Family insisted that only a used door be installed on my car and the used door was a different year so it wasn't compatible with the wiring which meant the windows wouldn't roll down and the air bag wouldn't deploy if we had another accident.

Now, I've paid premiums for about 12 years or so to American Family, far more than what it cost to fix my car. I never cut corners. I never tried to get out of payments. I paid in full year after year after year. The only claim we've had in those 12 years was for $300. Yet, instead of a new door, my car now has a used door so American Family could save money. Not so I could save money, but for my insurance company to save money. Of course, they'll try to pass the costs on to me at my next renewal, charging me even more money to only have used parts put on my car should I have a need.

During this time, my agent never called. He had called my husband the day the car was towed and that was the last we'd heard from him. He never called to check on us, to see if we needed anything, or to see if there were any problems with the repairs. Not a word after that intial call to my husband--I think that was probably the second time he'd ever spoken to my husband because I've always been the one to talk to the agent and he never called to speak with me about the accident. After being his customer for about 12 years, he didn't even think to call and check on us during the 3 weeks it took to repair the car.

By the end of the week, I was frustrated because I was getting the run around from the body shop, no help from my agent, and no car for my husband to use for work. Fortunately, we have a 15-passenger van that he could use, but the additional cost for diesel for three weeks was pretty high. I did finally call my agent and when I mentioned that, he offered to sell me more insurance so I'd have rental reimbursement in the future--yeah, I'm without a car, I'm frustrated, and my agent offers to sell me more insurance. Cool.

I finally picked up the car with shattered glass still on the dashboard and I was not impressed with the way I was treated by the people in body shop.

I have to ask myself why I have an agent. I did all the phone calling. I checked on everything. What did he do besides sell me my original policy, oh, and try to sell me even more insurance? I think I'd get the same service from an online company. So, I'm going to be researching other insurance companies. My husband said that you never know how good your insurance company is until you have your first big claim. Well, I found out mine isn't so great.

I will never patronize the body shop nor will I ever buy a car from that dealership. They didn't commmunicate well and they didn't treat me very well.

All in all, I was very dissatisfied with the whole experience, but we finally have our car back and now I don't have to deal with any of them again. Moral of the story: don't have a close encounter with a deer herd.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Friends with Tristi

One of the coolest things about the invention of the internet is the ability to make friends despite physical distance. I live in a rural area of CO, 25 miles from town, and I have a large family so I spend most of my time caring for my family, keeping the house semi-clean, and when I have a bit of time, writing. I don't "do lunch" with a bunch of girlfriends. I don't get my hair or nails done. I don't make regular trips to the mall (in fact, I only go when one of my teenage daughters drag me there). I don't socialize much, except with my immediate family or my sister and her family. Besides my husband and kids, my sister is my best friend. But, she has 11 kids so we don't hang out a lot because we're both so busy trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done each day. We mainly talk on the phone because we can clean and talk at the same time.

When the internet arrived, all of a sudden, I could socialize with people. I could "talk" to people in my pajamas on my own timetable. I could even "meet" people I admired, such as the many writers I've met. I love Facebook, email, and groups I belong to that all take place on the internet because it works so well for me and my schedule (and I don't have to wear make-up or a bra to socialize).

One of my favorite people that I've met online is Tristi Pinkston. I've since met her in person, several times, and I love her as much in person as online. She's funny, entertaining, and very supportive. She's a writer so she "gets me" and we're both co-chairing the bootcamp portion of the LDStorymakers Conference on May 5, 2011. Tristi is sponsoring "Making Friends Monday." The idea is that she places info about some of her online friends and we put info about her on our blogs and then we all end up making more friends. Cool idea, or what?

Here's some info about Tristi so you can get to know her a little bit better:

Tristi Pinkston has been blogging since 2006. On her main blog, ( she covers everything from writing tips and the life of a published author to kid funnies, spiritual thoughts, and embarrassing moments. She also has a weight loss blog, one for writing challenges, another for her fictional characters … and she lost count of how many others she has. You can find the links for them on her sidebar.

Tristi is the author of five published novels, one coming out in January, and a whole kit ‘n caboodle of unpublished novels. Right now she’s focusing on cozy mysteries, although she has written historical fiction in the past and plans to write more in that genre. She works as a freelance editor and a virtual book tour coordinator. She loves taking long naps, being charmingly annoying, and watching good movies. She’s a Mormon, a homeschooler, a Cubmaster, and most of the time, a headless chicken.

Check out Tristi's blog --it's full of fun, just like Tristi.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Write Planner

I'm a list person so I have a daytimer that I use for household chores because if I don't write it down, I'll forget it. My daytimer is my brain. Sad, isn't it? I totally depend on it to help me remember who I need to call, what appointments I have, what jobs need to be done, and, very important, what bills I need to pay. I love the feeling of looking at my day's list with check marks next to each item. I do include writing on my list of to-do items for each day and I'm especially happy when I can put a check mark next to that.

That's why I'm excited about this new planner especially for writers. It was created by Writer Remedies.

Right now, I use a regular daytimer to keep track of my projects, but I've found that it doesn't meet all of my needs. I think this planner is a fantastic idea. It looks like it keeps track of everything that I need and would help me focus more on what I need to get done with my writing. Maybe, I'd even be more productive, which would be a good thing.

If you're interested in this planner be sure to check it out here.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pre-Order Contest Winner

Thanks so much to all of you who entered the contest. I sure appreciate your support and hope you will enjoy The Upside of Down. I wish you could all win!

I used to randomly pick the winner. I'm happy to announce that . . . Rachael Anderson is the winner! Yay! Rachael, I'll be sending you a $50 gift card to Amazon.

Thank you again for entering the contest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 6

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

“How are you doing this evening, Sister Drake?” the bishop asked, drawing her focus to him.

“A little frazzled, but okay.” A nervous laugh fell out of her mouth while her heart thudded.

“I’ve spoken with your husband. I’d like to extend a call to you.”

“Me?” No wonder Spence was smiling. She looked back at Bishop Franken. “But I’ve only been teaching my Primary class for a few months.”

“I know,” the bishop said, his eyes piercing. “But we, as a bishopric, have prayed, and the Lord would like you to serve as Relief Society president.”

She stared at the bishop’s dark brown eyes. “Come again?” Relief Society president? He must be insane.

“I’d like to extend a call to you to serve as the Relief Society president.” He leaned forward, looking deeply into her eyes.

“Are you sure?” she whispered.

Natalie sat back against the chair, her hands damp. She let out a sigh and looked over at Spence. Her eyes pleaded with him to object, but his face radiated delight.

“I’ve never served in the Relief Society.” She paused while both men stared at her.

“I don’t know what happens in there. I—I can’t even remember the last time I attended. I’ve only served in Young Women and Primary since I got married.” Surely this would convince the bishop that he had the wrong woman.

The bishop didn’t retract the call. In a soft but firm voice he asked, “Sister Drake, would you accept this calling from the Lord?”

Natalie drew in a long deep breath. Relying on her desire to do the right thing, she said quietly, “If that’s where the Lord would like me to serve, then . . . yes.” Her eyes stung with emotion. “I will accept the calling.” She could hardly believe the words as they escaped her mouth.

Spence’s eyes glistened as he reached over and squeezed her hand.

“Thank you,” the bishop said.

She gave a faint smile, feeling like her face might crumble. “You’re absolutely sure?” Natalie asked, knowing the answer but still in a state of disbelief.

“Yes. We all had a strong witness that you should serve in this call¬ing.” He studied her for a moment. “The sisters in the ward need you.”

Her eyes widened. “They need me?” Natalie repeated the words in her mind, clutching onto Spence’s hand.

“Yes,” the bishop said.

She raised her eyebrows, her throat suddenly thick. “I’ll take your word for it.”

Her mind spun in a thousand different directions, trying to absorb the implications of her new calling. “Your husband has agreed to sup¬port you. It will be busy and intense at times, but the Lord will bless you as you dedicate yourself to Him.”

Spence nodded. Natalie reluctantly let go of Spence’s hand when the bishop extended his hand to shake hers. He shook hands with Spence and then turned back to Natalie.

“We’ll set up some training for you. You’ll need to pray about the sisters in the ward and submit names for your presidency. We’d like to sustain you a week from

Natalie stood and numbly followed Spence out the door and into the late-winter evening, cold air licking at her cheeks. Sitting in the car, she stared ahead of her, lost in her thoughts. Her head pounded with so much pressure it felt like it might explode.

That's the end of Chapter 1. How did you like it? If you decide to pre-order it, be sure to enter the contest here.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 5

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

A few moments later, Laura stood in the doorway holding the handset. “Mom, it’s for you.”

Natalie whispered, “I’m a little busy right now.” She pointed to Bradley, who was draped in suds. “Who is it?”

Laura shrugged. “It’s a man.”

“Fine.” Natalie wiped her hands on her well-worn black sweats and grabbed the phone.

“Sister Drake?” Her stomach tightened.

“Bishop, I’m so sorry. I completely forgot. We’re on our way, but it’ll take us at least twenty-five minutes.”

“I have another interview I can take care of. I’ll see you in a bit,” the bishop said.

Natalie hung up the phone. “Laura!” she yelled from the bathroom.


“Please finish bathing Bradley,” Natalie said.

Laura stood in the doorway of the bathroom, a large textbook in hand. “I have a ton of homework.”

“I need your help. I have to go to the church.” Natalie mentally chastised herself for being so forgetful.


“I’m not exactly sure. But I’m late. Where’s your dad?”

Laura shrugged. She placed her book on the floor, bent over the bathtub, and patted Bradley on the head. “I’ll wash your hair, okay?”

Natalie raced down the hall. She peeked into each bedroom as she passed. “Spence?”

No response.

She spotted Mariah in her bedroom. “Can you find Daddy and tell him I need him right away.”

“Okay.” Mariah ran away calling for Spence.

Natalie yanked a black skirt and bright pink blouse out of her closet. “I cannot believe I did this.”

Spence entered the bedroom. “What’s wrong?”

“We have an appointment with the bishop.” Natalie glanced at the clock radio on the nightstand. “About twenty minutes ago.”


“Brother Lakes called earlier and made the appointment. I got so busy with dinner and bathing Bradley that it slipped my mind.” Nata¬lie’s fingers fumbled as she tried to button her blouse. “Bishop Franken is waiting for us.”
Spence stepped over to his closet and grabbed a white shirt. “Did he say what it’s about?”

“I have no idea. I’m so embarrassed.” She finished buttoning her blouse.

During the ride into Farmington, Natalie tossed the reasons through her mind of why they were meeting with the bishop. “Do you know anything?”

Spence shook his head. “I’d guess it’s for a new calling.”

“But both of us have only had our callings for a short time.”

“What else could it be?”

“I don’t know.” Natalie applied some mascara and brushed her hair. “I can’t believe I forgot about this appointment. I’m so spacey lately.”

Spence gave a big smile. “Do I have anything in my teeth?”

“Nope. Perfect as usual. Though you still have some unruly hair in the back.” She patted down a clump of his hair.

They pulled into the church parking lot. Natalie checked her hair one more time and fluffed it before exiting the car. She hoped the appointment would be short and simple so she could get back home and put the kids to bed.

Inside the foyer of the building, the bishop, a short man with round glasses, stood at the top of the stairs just outside his office.

Natalie gazed up at the bishop and said, “I’m so sorry we’re late.” The embarrassment rose to her cheeks.

“No problem. I finished my other interview and had a bit of paper work. Brother Drake, may I have a word with you first? Sister Drake, we’ll only be a moment.”

Natalie sat on the upholstered couch at the foot of the stairs. The soft fluorescent lighting bounced off the cream-colored walls. Plum-colored carpet lined the entryway and the stairs leading down to the family history library. Her Primary classroom was across the cultural hall. She tried to imagine the large three-level building as the stake center many years ago when the stake included wards in New Mexico and Colorado. Now it housed three wards in Farmington, New Mexico, one of which included her rural La Plata ward.

Natalie bit at her fingernail, a nasty habit she’d picked up as a kid. Who could blame her after growing up with her mother? She placed her hands on her lap and laced them together. What was the bishop discussing with Spence? A calling? For him? Her?

Time dragged on while she waited. She checked her watch. A queasy feeling tempted her to bite her nails again, but she resisted.

She checked her watch again. How long could this take? Finally, after a few more minutes that felt like hours, the door opened, and Bishop Franken invited

Natalie into the office. Natalie sat in a chair opposite the bishop’s desk. She glanced at Spence to see if she could read his expression. He gave her a reassuring smile.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final installment . . .

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 4

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

Natalie unlocked the front door to let Spence into the house. He stepped into the entryway, his sandy hair windswept, and Natalie attempted to smooth it back into place. Spence pulled her into a hug and then gently kissed her.

“Daddy!” Mariah squealed. She and Bradley both rushed their father, pushing Natalie out of the way.

Spence embraced Mariah and then picked up a giggling Bradley. “How’s my little man?”

Bradley let out a few more giggles. Spence set him down, and he ran off down the hallway.

“Hi, Dad,” Justin said when he rounded the corner from the living room. He gave his dad a hug, his light brown hair peeking out from under his Arizona Diamondbacks baseball cap, reminding Natalie he was due for a haircut.

“Something sure smells good. What’s for dinner?” Spence said as he and Natalie walked into the kitchen while Justin and Mariah trailed in behind them.

“Lasagna,” Natalie said.

“My favorite,” he said with the familiar sparkle in his pale blue eyes. He leaned against the beige-tiled countertop in the kitchen.

“Every dinner is your favorite, Daddy,” Mariah said. She was wear¬ing a pink tutu and a glittering crown.

“Are you a ballerina today?”

Mariah placed her hands on her hips. “No, Daddy, I’m a princess.”

“Oh, I see.”

She smiled and turned abruptly, her long braid whipping around her head as she ran off after Bradley.

“Has Ryan fed the animals?” Spence asked.

“He’s not home from practice yet, but he should be here in a few minutes. The Kings picked him up tonight. Andrea called and said she’d be home soon too.” Natalie opened the oven door to check the lasagna. The blast of hot, garlic-spiked air made her blink. She pulled the lasagna out and set it on top of the stove. “Dinner’s almost ready. Time to set the table.”

“I think I need another kiss.” Spence swept Natalie into his arms and gave her a long kiss.

“Eewww. That’s so disgusting,” Laura said from the dining room table. “Do you have to do that? I’m trying to do my homework.” She shook her head, and her dirty-blonde hair fell around her shoulders.

“You have one hot mama,” Spence said. He gave Natalie another squeeze. She enjoyed his playful, romantic side. Even more, she enjoyed Laura’s protests.

Laura overacted a dry-heaving motion. “You’re so embarrassing. The kids at school don’t even act like you two.”

“Aren’t you glad we love each other so much? You wouldn’t be here otherwise.” Natalie moved her eyebrows up and down.

“Okay, that’s gross. No more details.”

“What’s gross?” Justin asked, sitting at the table.

Laura rolled her blue-green eyes. “Nevermind.” She gathered up her books and headed down the stairs to her bedroom.

“Dinner is in five minutes,” Natalie called after her.

“How was your day?” Spence asked.

“The doctor’s office was incredibly fun, as usual. We waited for a long time. Bradley rolled all over the floor, went through all the draw¬ers, and then climbed up and jumped off the examining table. How such a cherubic-looking child can be so mischievous is beyond me.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help. I had one meeting after another and couldn’t get away this morning.”

“No worries. Both the kids got their immunizations.” Natalie tossed the salad inside a large red bowl. “Why so many meetings?”

“Discussions about some new legislation and how it may impact the company.” Spence reached over and grabbed a cookie from the cup¬board.

“Should we worry about your job?”

“I don’t think so.” He snatched another cookie.

Natalie gave him a look. “You can’t snack on cookies when dinner’s ready. You’re as bad as the kids.” She turned to Justin, who was still sit¬ting at the table, absorbed in playing his Nintendo DS, an extravagant gift from her mother. “Go wash up for dinner and tell the other kids it’s ready.”

“Huh?” Justin didn’t look up from his game.

“Justin,” she said in a loud voice.


“I’m going to take that thing away.” She took a few steps toward him, intent on taking the handheld device and disposing of it. She dis¬liked Justin’s obsession with it, and she was still angry with her mother for giving it to him against her wishes.

“Okay, okay, I’ll turn it off.” He slipped it into his pocket.

“I better not see it the rest of the night. Now, go wash your hands and tell the other kids that dinner’s ready.”

Justin scurried out of the room.

“How was the rest of your day?” Spence asked.

“I took Bradley and Mariah to lunch and witnessed a disturbing scene that hasn’t left me. A young man treated his wife and his little daughter with such contempt. He was downright mean to them.”

“What happened?”

Natalie grabbed some bottles of salad dressing from the refrigerator. “His little girl had Down syndrome, and he was calling her names. It broke my heart. His poor wife seemed so scared.” She placed the bottles on the counter.

“Did you say anything?”

Natalie nodded. “He told me it was none of my business, among other things.” Reliving the experience brought back the fear she’d experienced at the restaurant. “I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I don’t know why it’s affected me so much.”

“Because you’re a compassionate and caring person. That’s one of the reasons why I love you so much.” Spence ran his finger along her cheek.

“Even after all these years? With all of my gray hairs?”

“What gray?”

“If I didn’t pluck them all out, there’d be plenty.”

“You’re as beautiful today as you were twenty-three years ago.”

Beautiful wasn’t how she’d describe herself. Exhausted, bedraggled, wrinkly, frumpy—those were much more descriptive terms. “I think you need your eyes checked.”

“You are. And I love you.” He squeezed her around the waist.

“I love you too.”

The front door opened, and Natalie’s tall, lean son, Ryan, walked into the kitchen. He dropped his backpack with a thud. “Yes! I love lasagna.”

“Hurry and wash your hands for dinner,” Natalie said.
Ryan returned from the bathroom, and the rest of the kids filed into the dining room. After the usual argument of who would sit next to Natalie, Bradley said the blessing, as he did for nearly every meal. Everyone began eating.

“How was soccer today, Ryan?” Spence asked.

“Good. Coach says I’ll probably be a starter for the next game.” He piled lasagna on his plate and then reached for a piece of garlic bread.

“You’ll need to feed the animals after dinner. Be sure to take the slop out to the pigs and check on the horses’ water,” Spence said.

The front door flew open. Andrea shouted from the entryway, “Sorry I’m late. I had to stay longer than I thought. Mmmm, smells de-lish.”

Andrea found her seat at the table.

“How was school?” Natalie asked.

“Interesting,” Andrea said.

“Must be about that guy,” Laura said with a smirk that exposed her braces.
Andrea’s blue-gray eyes lit up, and a smile appeared her face.

“What’s this?” Natalie asked.

“His name is Tristan. He’s Ali’s cousin. He’s living with them until he finds an apartment, and he’s going to San Juan College,” Andrea said.

“Ali who?”

“We’re on student council together. I’ve talked about her before.” Andrea flipped her long auburn hair behind her shoulder.

“What about this boy?” Spence asked.

“Dark, thick hair and green eyes. He’s from Grants, and he’s almost twenty-one. I wish he’d ask me out,” Andrea said.

“Is he a member of the Church?” Natalie handed the bowl of salad to Justin.

“No, but there’s no one to date from our ward. It’d only be for fun. Stop worrying. I’m sure he’ll never ask me out, anyway.”

After dinner, according to the job chart, Laura cleared the table, Justin unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and Ryan wiped down the table.

Natalie grabbed hold of Bradley. “I think you wore more of your dinner than anything. How about a bath?”

Natalie and Bradley ascended the stairs together, one step at a time. They walked into the bathroom, and Natalie laid Bradley on the dark green bathroom rug to remove his diaper. “Remember, potty in the diaper? No, no.” Natalie shook her head. “Potty in the toilet? Yes, yes.” She nodded. “Let’s make a deal. I’ll pay you one million dollars if you potty train. How does that sound?”

Bradley nodded, his blond waves bobbing. “Potty in toilet.”

“That’s right.” Natalie finished filling the tub and was placing Brad¬ley in the mound of bubbles when the phone rang.

Be sure to check back Monday for the next installment . . .

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 3

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

During the twenty-minute drive home from Farmington, New Mexico, to rural La Plata, where they lived, the situation replayed itself in Natalie’s mind. How could a father be so heartless? She said a prayer of gratitude that her own husband was a kind and devoted father and that none of her children had been afflicted with Down syndrome, or any other handicap, so they didn’t have to encounter such repulsive behavior from others, especially family.

Mariah interrupted her thoughts. “I don’t like that mean man.”

Natalie nodded. “He wasn’t very nice. That’s not okay, is it?”

“Nope. He wasn’t being like Jesus. He’s a bad man.”

Natalie paused, remembering her own judgment of the young man. “He’s not a bad man, but he was doing something bad. Remember, we’re all Heavenly Father’s children, but sometimes we make bad choices that hurt other people.” She needed to convince herself as much as Mariah.

“You’re a nice mom.”

A tear rolled down Natalie’s cheek. “Thank you.”


After they arrived at their gray, Victorian-style, two-story house, set back from the highway, Natalie talked Mariah and Bradley into watching a Disney movie. Mariah agreed as long as she could have some popcorn. Natalie glanced at the clock on the wall. She had enough time to study her lesson before the school bus dropped off nine-year-old Justin and sixteen-year-old Laura. She mentally tracked Ryan, her eighth grader, who had soccer practice, and Andrea, a senior in high school, who was staying after school for her student council meeting.

She crept up the stairs to her bedroom and found her sanctuary— the master bathroom. It wasn’t always a place of solitude, but she fig¬ured that Mariah and Bradley would keep themselves occupied long enough for her to think about her lesson and have a little quiet time. The situation at the restaurant still disturbed her, especially how the young father called his daughter stupid and retarded. How cruel.

As she perched on the toilet with her manual spread across her lap, the phone rang. “Let the machine get it,” she yelled from the bathroom.

Another ring. “Don’t answer the phone! I’m busy right now.” She listened for the next ring but only heard a thundering silence. “Oh no,” she said aloud.

Before she could do anything, she heard Mariah’s voice. “It’s okay. She’s going potty. I’ll get her because she takes a real long time in there. Nope, she won’t mind. I’m almost there.”

Natalie gulped. It obviously wasn’t Spence on the phone. The door slid open slightly, and Mariah’s petite hand appeared, grasping the handset. Natalie cleared her throat and grabbed the phone.

“Hello?” she eked out, still hoping for a familiar voice on the other end.

“Sister Drake?”

“Uh, yes?” Her cheeks flushed.

“This is Brother Lakes. Bishop Franken would like to schedule an interview with you and your husband for this evening, if possible.”

“I’m sure that’d be fine.” She tried not to think of how she’d face Brother Lakes after what Mariah had told him.

“Seven at the church?”

“We’ll be there. Thank you.”

Natalie hung up the phone, determined to give Mariah a stern lec¬ture, again, about what was and was not appropriate information to share with people on the phone. “Going potty” definitely topped the not-to-be-shared list.

As her embarrassment abated, her thoughts turned to the purpose of the phone call. She’d been teaching the CTR 7 class for less than a year, and she loved being in Primary. She loved the kids’ natural curios¬ity and their willingness to learn. They were like sponges, soaking up everything. Their small but sincere testimonies touched her, and she loved their energy, at least most of the time.

Spence had only been serving as the Scoutmaster for a few months. He was so comfortable with the young men and looked forward to an adventure-filled summer of campouts and hikes.

Maybe it wasn’t a new calling for her or Spence after all. Maybe it was about Justin or Mariah acting up in Primary or Bradley’s antics in Sunbeams. Perhaps the bishop wanted to visit about Laura’s pathetic seminary attendance or Andrea’s plans for this summer after graduation. Or maybe he wanted to call Ryan to serve in the teachers quorum presidency.

Natalie’s head hurt trying to figure out why the bishop wanted to see them, so she decided to put it out of her mind and not think about it. She needed to concentrate on teaching her Primary class about the Word of Wisdom.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment . . .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 2

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

He whipped around and finished placing the order for his family. He instructed his wife where to sit in the dining room.

Natalie’s cheeks throbbed. Rage-induced shaking overtook her body. His vicious words hung in the air, reminding her that she did not want to fight with him. Yet she desperately wanted to reach out to this innocent girl and her helpless mother.

“Next?” the cashier’s voice rang out, but Natalie, still paralyzed by the confrontation, didn’t move.

“Mommy?” Mariah tugged on Natalie’s shirt.

Natalie stepped up to the counter.

The cashier, a teenage girl with large brown eyes and a nose piercing, said, “Can I take your order?”

Natalie tried to concentrate on the menu. “I . . . I,” she stammered.

“He ain’t no kind of dad talkin’ like that,” the cashier said. Her gaze darted to the table where the family sat.

Natalie cleared her throat. “No. He’s not.”

“Poor kid. She can’t help it.”

“I want a cheeseburger. And a toy,” Mariah said.

“Toy,” Bradley said, his blond curls bobbing up and down with his vigorous nodding.

“I guess we’ll have two kids’ meals. Cheeseburgers. With Sprite to drink.”

“Anything else?”

“I’ve lost my appetite.” Natalie gave a weak smile.

“I don’t blame you. He should be ashamed of himself, actin’ like that.” The cashier rang up the order.

Natalie searched the dining room for an empty table and found one much too close to the young family. They sat down, and Mariah grabbed her cheeseburger. She took a bite and then slurped her soda while Bradley played with the action figure that came with his meal. Natalie was grateful they were both entertaining themselves.

“Eat your lunch,” the man said to the little girl in a rough voice.

Then he turned to his wife, “What’re you lookin’ at?” He paused for a moment.

“What? You think I’m proud to have a retard for a daughter? She can’t even do nothin’ but stare at me with those bug eyes. I’m tellin’ you, we shoulda given her to them people when she was born. She ain’t ever gonna do nothin’.”

Natalie closed her eyes to stop the tears. She couldn’t believe anyone could be so nasty about any child, let alone his own, especially one with a handicap. His words cut into her heart, and sadness settled heavily on her shoulders as she considered the little girl’s home life.

She wanted to get involved, to protect the little girl and her mother from this raving maniac, but when she accidentally made eye contact with him, a tremor of fear raced down her back. She didn’t want to put her own children at risk, so she remained quiet, uttering a silent prayer in the girl’s behalf.

“He’s mean,” Mariah said.

“Shh.” Natalie put her finger to her lips.

“But, Mommy, he has mean eyes.”

Natalie placed her fingers on Mariah’s lips to quiet her. “We’ll talk about this later. Okay?” Natalie glanced up to make sure the man hadn’t heard Mariah.

He yanked his daughter out of the chair and walked out of the restaurant while the mother followed them, staring at the ground. As the older model pickup truck left the parking lot, Natalie’s stomach twisted.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment . . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Upside of Down: Chapter 1, Part 1

Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.

Chapter One

Natalie grabbed the hands of her two youngest children, five-year-old Mariah and three-year-old Bradley, and walked across the parking lot into the fast food restaurant. After a long morning at the doctor’s office for immunizations, she was eager to eat lunch quickly and return home so she could prepare her Primary lesson. She wanted to get through the line without incident.

A young family stood in line ahead of Natalie. “I told you to stay next to your mother,” demanded a man who looked only a few years older than Natalie’s oldest child, Andrea. His gray eyes almost seared a hole into a little red-haired girl who stepped behind her young mother. Natalie noticed the young girl’s physical features—slightly upward slanting eyes and a tongue that seemed too large for her small mouth— and concluded she had Down syndrome.

“Take your mother’s hand, right now. I mean it,” the man commanded again.

The girl reached up and slipped her hand into her mother’s.

Natalie positioned herself between the family and her own children, hoping to shield them from the young man’s harsh demeanor. In an attempt to divert her kids’ attention, she turned back to Mariah and Bradley and said, “Look outside the window. Do you see that big truck across the street? Isn’t it huge?”

“Where?” Mariah stood on her tiptoes to see out the window.

“Make sure she behaves and doesn’t embarrass me,” the man in front of Natalie said.

His wife cast a glance to the floor, and she brushed at her flushed cheeks. A loose ponytail held her mousy brown hair back from her plain face.

“Over there in that parking lot. It’s orange,” Natalie said to Mariah.

The raw anger of the young man clamped around Natalie’s throat. She bit at the nail on her right index finger and avoided looking in the family’s direction.

While they waited to order their food, Bradley wrapped himself around Natalie’s left leg and Mariah eyed the toys included with each meal. “I want that one,” Mariah said, flipping her long dark braid and pointing to a small figure in the display case.

The sizzle of the french fries laced through the heavy air while the scent of cooking hamburger patties stung Natalie’s nose. The soda machine hissed as an employee filled paper cups with soda pop. Natalie squinted her eyes to read the small print on the menu above the counter so she could order as soon as she stepped up to the register.

“Stop moving, right now. Do you hear me, or are you too stupid to understand a simple thing like that?” the man in line said to his daugh¬ter. Without meaning to, Natalie glanced at him and saw his bright red face.

The little girl froze in place. The mother whispered something to her husband. He countered, “Don’t give me any lip. I know what I’m doing. You’re as stupid as she is, anyway.”

Natalie’s heart beat furiously at hearing his cruel words. She pulled at her shoulder-length hair. The man didn’t seem to care that he was verbally abusing his daughter. He stepped up to the counter to place his order. Natalie seized the opportunity to soften his callous words. She bent down and said, “You sure are pretty.”

“Don’t talk to my kid,” he barked from the register.

Startled, Natalie stood quickly, fear strangling her voice.

“Leave her alone,” he said, his eyes blazing.

“I’m sorry. She looks so frightened.”

“Mind your own business. You don’t know nothin’.”


He stepped toward her. “She’s retarded. You got a retarded kid?”

Natalie wanted to put this bully in his place, but instead she pulled Mariah and Bradley closer to her, attempting to shelter them with her hands. Other customers in the dining room stopped talking, and she felt their gaze on her. The cashier took a few steps back, her eyes wide.

“Well, you got a retarded kid or not?”

In a barely audible voice, Natalie said, “No.”

“Then shut up.”

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment . . .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prologue: The Upside of Down

Here is the prologue for my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a contest for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.


Natalie sat with her arms folded and head bowed on the green and gold upholstered chair they’d purchased from Deseret Industries a few weeks earlier. Her husband’s hands rested atop her head, and she silently repeated his inspired words.

She focused on a sentence in the blessing: “Soon Heavenly Father will send you a spirit to begin your family, one of many.” Spence con­cluded the blessing, and a soft reassurance wrapped itself around Nata­lie as the Spirit witnessed the truthfulness of the promised blessings. She drew in a breath and reveled in the peace that filled their one-bed­room apartment near Brigham Young University.

Spence leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. She stood and embraced him. “I feel better now. Thank you.”

“We’ll have children. We need to be a little more patient,” he said in a tender voice. He pushed a wisp of her dark brown hair from her face.

She held the gaze of his pale blue eyes. “I know. I’m eager, that’s all. I want to raise a bunch of kids and teach them the gospel. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Everyone in our ward either has a baby or they’re expect­ing one . . . except us.” She brushed a tear from her cheek.

“We don’t know Heavenly Father’s timetable or His reasons, so we need to have faith it will all work out. I’m confident we’ll have the chil­dren Heavenly Father intends to send us when the time is right.” He ran his fingers along her cheek.

She nodded. “I needed that blessing.”

Spence smiled and it made her heart skip a beat, the same way it had the first time she had seen him on the dance floor at Ricks College. His reddish-blond hair, strong jaw line, and vibrant smile had caught her eye, and when he’d asked her to dance, she wasn’t sure her legs would comply. From that moment, her attraction had grown into a deep and mature love.

Spence broke into her thoughts. “While I was pronouncing the blessing, I saw—”

Natalie cut in, almost afraid to mention what she’d seen. “A baby?”

Spence’s eyes widened. “Yes. A girl.”

“With big, round blue eyes?” The dazzling color and clarity of the child’s eyes stood out in her mind.

Spence nodded. “And blonde hair.”

Natalie’s skin pricked while a tingling sensation traveled up her spine to the top of her head. “Our first baby?” Joy enveloped her as she imagined holding a baby in her long-empty arms.

“Maybe. I saw her so clearly.”

“Did you see any others?”

Spence shook his head. “Only a baby girl.”

Natalie’s insides warmed at the thought of realizing her dream to be a mother. “She must be coming to our family.” Anticipation wound itself around her heart.

That night Natalie lay in bed as other words and phrases from the blessing circled her mind. After two miscarriages and three long years of watching every woman around her give birth, it seemed as though the time was now right for her and the baby she’d seen would soon come to her home. She focused on remembering every detail of the child’s face so she would recognize her. Excitement surged through her body. At long last, it would be her turn.

Though she’d recently graduated from BYU with a degree in psychol­ogy, she had no interest in pursuing it. She’d finished her degree to appease her parents, but her goal was to start a family. She wanted to raise a righteous brood, hold family home evening each week, have daily family prayer and scripture study, and attend church together—something she hadn’t been able to do with her parents. An eternal family was her first, and only, priority.

Her eyelids became heavy. Euphoric images of children running through her home and laughter bouncing off the walls danced across the stage of her mind until she fell asleep.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to begin reading Chapter 1 . . .

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pre-Order Contest: The Upside of Down

My new book, The Upside of Down, goes to press today. Woo hoo!! In celebration, I'm going to hold a contest for a $50 gift certificate to Amazon. I've never done a pre-order contest before, but my goal is . . . 1000 copies pre-ordered in 10 days. That's 100 pre-orders each day. I'm so excited! With your help, I know we can do it!

In case you haven't seen the cover or read the blurb:

“Hmmm,” the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, “What does that mean?”
“You do know you’re pregnant, right?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “Excuse me?”
“You’re pregnant.”
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. “I’m what?”

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise—she’s going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn’t what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Beloved author Rebecca Talley carefully creates this touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations, The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.

Here are the rules:

1. Pre-order my book at Amazon here
2. Send me a copy or your receipt or other proof of purchase for the pre-order at rebecca(AT)rebeccatalley(DOT)com to be entered into the drawing. Each pre-order gets one entry into the contest--if you purchase two, or ten :), as gifts each one garners an entry

3. The contest runs from Monday November 8, 2010 until midnight on Thursday, November 18, 2010. You must send me proof of purchase during these dates to qualify.

4. The winner will be chosen at random and posted on Friday, November 19, 2010.

5. The winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to Amazon--just in time to use for Christmas!

The books should be available for shipping in late December or early January. If you purchase my book, be sure to check back after the first of the year for another contest.

Tell all your friends! Thank you!!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Things I've Learned from Nano

I've been doing Nano ( this week. Nano is the shortened version of National Novel Writing Month, because, well the official title is just too long. I'm not sure why I joined in. I certainly have enough to do without the added pressure of writing 50,000 words all in one month's time, especially a month with the kids home from school for a week and Thanksgiving, but, I decided to take the plunge because I need to finish this rough draft and let it sit for a month before I revise it in January--at least that's my plan.

I've learned a few things from my foray into Nano:

1. Writing is hard. Well, I didn't really learn that from Nano, I've known for a very long time that writing is hard, but this has definitely reinforced the fact.

2. Nano has forced me to write more than I would each day. Generally, I can write about 1000 words without batting an eyelash, but my goal for Nano is 2000 words a day to make up for the days I won't be writing. Even at that goal, I'll be pushing pretty hard at the end to fit in 50,000 total. But, it's been good for me to stick to it until I have over 2000 words.
3. I like writing slimy characters. They seem to come easy to me--not sure what that says about me. The more I write the main slime guy, the worse he gets, and the more I like it. I know what's going to happen at the end so maybe I just like making him so evil and nasty that when he get's what's coming, he'll really deserve it.
4. I love to write. Again, not a new revelation, but Nano has also reinforced this. I can't imagine not writing and I'm very grateful for a husband who supports me in my pursuit of this crazy writing thing.

I will have plenty of rewriting ahead of me as I add descriptions and fully flesh out the story. And, since it is a huge departure from books I've written in the past, I'm not sure there will even be a market for it. But, it's the story that haunts me right now, so even if it's never published, at least I can write it and get it out of my head.

Happy Nanoing!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We Can Vote

First page of Constitution of the United StatesImage via Wikipedia"We believe that  governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society." (Doctrine and Covenants 134:1)

Today we have the opportunity to vote. I believe that we are held accountable for the choices we make, even when it comes to voting.  It's so important that we vote for those that we think will best represent us and will do what we feel is best for our great country. In my area, there is a candidate who represents most of my beliefs. Unfortunately, she supports abortion. I cannot vote for her because abortion is too important to me. Yes, by not voting for her I will not counteract a vote for the other candidate who does not represent my beliefs at all. But, in the end, I cannot vote for any candidate that supports abortion and I have to vote my conscience.

Our government should benefit us, not drain us, and it should uphold the Constitution. The Constitution is a divinely inspired document and it was created  for our good. "And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (Doctrine and Covenants 101:80). Many politicians seem to be trampling on this document claiming that it is outdated and needs to be modernized. I disagree. It has served us well for over 200 years and it was inspired by God. I believe in upholding the Constitution. I believe that our government should serve us, not the other way around. I believe that I should have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to choose my own healthcare. I believe our government has grown far too big and is overstepping its bounds. I believe we need to cut out the wasteful spending and vote out those who do not have the integrity to represent our citizens and our Constitution. Too many politicians have been corrupted by power and forget that they work for us and should be representing our best interests, not theirs.

Today we can send a message. We can let our voices be heard. We can stand for our Constitution.

We can vote.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Free Men and Dreamers: Oh Say Can You See by L.C. Lewis

The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is less than two years away, and America is gearing up to host spectacular celebrations of the 200th anniversary of her second war of independence. LDS author, L.C. Lewis, saw the event fast-approaching and began writing a historical fiction series to commemorate this often overlooked moment and generation. Along the way, Free Men and Dreamers has garnered an impressive array of reviews, endorsements, and awards. Though each book continues the overall story, each volume is written as a stand-alone read as well, and Lewis thinks volume four, Oh, Say Can You See? which weaves her characters through the events surrounding the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, may be the most timely of all the volumes.

This week author L.C. Lewis is prepping for the national launch of Oh, Say Can You See?

From the backliner of the book:

Although the British raids have left Washington a devastated, blackened city, the battered Constitution has held and the presidency has survived!

But the struggling government has no home. The British saw to that. Gone is the Capitol and her magnificent library, the chambers of the Supreme Court, the President’s House, and every relic and document not secreted out of the city.

Next on the list of British prizes—the rebellious port city of Baltimore! A victory here would assure the Americans’ defeat, but a loss would dilute the importance of the destruction of Washington.

But has the raid on Washington stiffened the backs of the Americans? This is the question gnawing at the leaders on both sides.

The Willows women are mourning their absent men—gone to war, or wounded, or captured—as they await the birth of a blessed child.

Mere miles away, attorney Francis Scott Key embarks on a diplomatic mission that will leave an everlasting mark on America. Proving that a pen can be more powerful than a sword, Key records his fears and hopes—the fears and hopes of his embattled people—as he watches the bombardment of Baltimore while detained in the midst of the British fleet.

What changed in this noble man’s pacifist heart, empowering him to pen the powerful anthem, known today as “The Star Spangled Banner,” an epic poem that rallied a shattered nation to rise from its knees to claim the dream of “one nation under God?”

Experience the personal sacrifice of five families placed in the firestorm of the War of 1812, citizen heirs of the sacrifice of the Founding Fathers.

Enjoy the trailer:

Learn more about L.C. Lewis at her website.
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