Monday, June 28, 2010

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty!

Freedom is precious to all of us. It isn’t free, but it’s fought for. Have you ever wondered why tears so freely come to our eyes when we hear the Star Spangled Banner as our flag waves in the distance? Why do we value our freedom and hold it so close to our hearts?

Samuel F. Smith wrote, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

Our freedom was a God-given gift given to those who so valiantly fought for this liberty. These brave patriots hungered for freedom of choice, for their rights, and to worship according to the dictates of their own heart. The patriots fought with every fiber of strength they had, both bond and free. Many were barefoot and in tattered clothes; some were deathly sick and hadn’t had a decent meal for months. They were weary and hungry but yet they still fought for what they believed in. The patriots knew the value of freedom and were willing to pay the price. Many of these brave men were even willing to die for freedom.

Nathan Hale, a 23-year-old artist and schoolteacher, felt the conviction of his beliefs so strongly that he agreed to go on a dangerous mission for George Washington. He was caught with sketches of British gun emplacements and the penalty for being a spy was to be hanged. As he marched up the steps of the gallows, he was proud to be an American and held his head high. When he turned to face the people before him, he declared boldly, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Have we ever thought about the tremendous price these men paid for our freedom? Thomas Jefferson described what the patriots were fighting for as he wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These men were willing to fight for unalienable rights, for their liberty, for their family, for peace and equality. The Continental Army consisted of farmers and merchants, untrained for battle. With feet wrapped with cloth for protection and poorly dressed, the patriots crossed the Delaware in a blizzard. They were outnumbered but George Washington knew this was the right choice, knowing the enemy would be weary after the Christmas festivities.

Undaunted, General Washington took his army across the Delaware. In the early hours of the morning, the surprise attack was a never-forgotten battle of victory that stunned the Hessians and British alike. Afterwards, a count was taken and not one patriot was killed. This great battle turned the war around. After eight long years, the patriots finally gained their liberty.

Be proud to be an American. The next time we look at our flag, remember the cost as you pledge your allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Without God’s help, we would never have won the war alone.

Samuel Smith wrote, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my father’s died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside let freedom ring! Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light. Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King!” What does freedom mean to you?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Interview with Christian Romance Author Lori Copeland

Lori is a “best-selling” Christian author. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. They are quite involved in their church and support mission work in Mali, West Africa. Lori has three children, several grandchildren, a great grandchild, and over 95 books published. Whew! Those are quite the accomplishments. My personal favorites are: “Men of the Saddle” and “Brides of the West.”

Walker's Wedding: Jilted by his fiancée, Walker McKay is determined to never let a woman near his heart again, but he needs an heir. Courting someone new is out of the question, so he’ll have to find a wife another way. Wealthy heiress Sara Livingston wants to marry, but her suitors are deemed unsuitable by her unreasonable father. So she answers an ad for a mail-order bride and grabs onto it with both hands. Will Sara’s deception about her background and Walker’s wounded heart keep them from finding what they are looking for? Or are they truly meant for one another? 

Hello Lori. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to interview you. I have read several of your books and have enjoyed them immensely. I absolutely loved the “Men of the Saddle” series. Tell us about your new book, Walker’s Wedding. 

Walker's Wedding is the third book in my Western Sky Harvest series, and I have to say it's my favorite--of course all my books are like my babies. Actually, that isn't true; often a book will not turn out the way I envisioned and that always makes me sad. But there's the rare occasion that a book comes together exactly as I've planned and I rejoice. Walker's Wedding is one of those titles. This book was previously written for the ABA market and Harvest allowed me to refresh it the way I'd always envisioned the story. Without giving away the plot I'll just say that it's a book with strong emotions, a few laughs and always the message that through God all things are possible. 

I love your books because your characters are so well developed. Where do you get your ideas? Do you get some from real life experiences or your imagination?

Oh my---that's hard to say. I think every author draws on life experiences, though I have never experienced anything like what Sara Livingston does in this story! I usually mull the hero and heroine around in my mind for a while before I come up with the setting and situation. One of the fun parts of writing is that you never know where the story is going to lead. I am an author that has no problem veering from my original thoughts if I feel that the characters are suddenly taking the lead in the story. 

Lori began her writing career in 1982. "In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him." Lori, tell us about your journey from secular writing to writing Christian Novels.

I began my career in the ABA market. I wrote the short romances for Dell, Random House, Harlequin--just about every line going at that time. My heart was never in the secular romance. I was a Christian, but I wasn't serving God with my talent. I had prayed for fifteen years for Him to open a door to the Christian market, and He finally did. I began with Tyndale House with my Brides of the West series. Since then I've worked with Harlequin Steeple Hill, Zondervan and Harvest House. Please visit me at my web site: and catch up with all my latest titles. I have so many older titles that I hope to refresh someday--great stories that I would love to tell with a Christian voice. 

What does your family think about your writing?

LOL. You have to understand that I come from a family comprised mostly of men. My husband is an only child; I have three sons, they have four boys among them and one girl. Yay Audrey! And we were blessed with a darling great-granddaughter Anabelle, 17 months ago. And now Mya is on the way! We're gaining on 'em, ladies. I am certain that my family is very proud of my success, but around home I'm just mom, grandma and taxi service, and that's the best occupation a woman can have. 

So true! Being a mom is a full time job. By the way, we're complete opposites 'cause I have all daughters and no sons. (Six daughters in all.) Okay, tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

The real Lori Copeland is a very lonely author. I sometimes feel that I sit in a small office and write to air. Writing is a solitary job--and it is a job. A writer gives up much of what other people take for granted. We give up close friends--because friendships take time. We give up small pleasures like days off--because a writer is never far away for his work. We give up our innocence because everything we write about is suspect; friends think we're writing about them, enemies are certain you've stolen their material. Writing is both a curse and blessing---never forget that when you read a book. 

Lori, always remember that you have many readers to whom you bring great joy, including myself. You don't know how many hearts you've touched. If you really think about it, you don’t write to air, but to an audience that loves Christian Romance. It’s difficult to find a beautifully written romance that is clean for all ages. You entertain, bring joy to your readers, and make us laugh. I love the humor you put in your books. I often wonder if making a person laugh is the best job of all. That’s why you’re an author. We need this kind of entertainment. Thank you for a fun interview.

Book Review for Walker's Wedding:

Walker’s Wedding is a refreshing and adorable romance with plenty of humor. The story begins with Sarah who, at the age of 25, is considered an old maid. Every man that comes courting… her wealthy father doesn’t approve of or they are fortune hunters. At this rate she’ll never find a husband. Sarah wants to marry and have children. She is also desperate to get away from her controlling father and have a life of her own. She wants to love and be loved and would do anything… even be a mail-order bride. Without her father’s knowledge, she heads for Wyoming on the train to meet her husband-to-be.

Walker McKay isn’t sure what to expect when he meets the beautiful red headed Sarah Livingston. He had been abandoned at the altar once before and was humiliated. Not wanting to be jilted a second time and disgraced, Walker McKay plans a barbeque, just in case his new fiancée might skip out. This way, if she doesn’t show up, then no one knows he’s been jilted again. Sarah is surprised when she walks down the steps in her wedding gown and finds the room full of guests having a barbeque. When she turns to Walker with a puzzled look, he just smiles. He did not forget to invite the preacher who doesn’t even know he is about to perform a wedding. “Got your bible with you?” Walker asks the preacher. Who ever heard of a Barbeque Wedding?

Most romances are about a couple who meets, he courts her, and they fall in love… but this story takes a different direction all together. It’s about a couple who marries, he courts her, and then they fall in love. The humor is delightful throughout the book, with one twist after another. When Walker finds out that she isn’t who she says she is, he flies off the handle and isn’t sure what to do. Author Lori Copeland has written an adorable novel about romance after the wedding. I highly recommend this book. It’s fun!

Review written by Linda Weaver Clarke, author of Melinda and the Wild West, a Semi-finalist for the “Reviewers Choice Award.”

Monday, June 14, 2010

Interview with Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen knew she wanted to be a writer when her 6th grade English teacher read The Outsiders to the class. When she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” Ronda realized she wanted to write "golden” words just like Hinton. Her novel, Trapped, won 1st Place for “2009 League of Utah Writers Full Length Novel” contest. Read sample chapters Here.

"Just like its title, Trapped, snatched up my attention with its first sentence. Hinrichsen carefully presents absorbing characters, heart-tugging romance and mystical-laden riddles in a way that kept me turning pages way past bedtime." Jody Durfee

A forged letter, a golden vial, an ancient curse...” Wow! Tell us about your new book, TRAPPED.

TRAPPED is about a sheltered Florida girl who wakens to find a thief in her mother’s home. After she escapes, she discovers he not only stole two paintings, but he also left behind shrines dedicated to her and a mysterious note, a "trap," which eventually leads her and the man she loves to a mafia-like world within the Austrian Alps.

Your book sounds full of suspense. "As Emi struggles to understand her destiny, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences." Where do you get your ideas? Do you get some from real life experiences?

Ideas come from everywhere. In fact, I think of them as floating around in the sky, waiting for someone to grab onto them. Sometimes more than one person grabs onto the same idea. In fact, sometime ago while I was in the submission process with my first novel, MISSING, I came across a website where someone had expressed the idea for a novel that was very similar to MISSING. Even the characters. I couldn’t believe it! And yet, even with all those same ideas floating around, it’s the uniqueness of those who mold them into stories that make them different than all others.

Do real life events make their way into my work? Yes and no. Often a personal experience will spark my imagination or help me see the human truth within a situation. I also do a lot of research into real life places, people and situations to make my stories as authentic as possible, especially in stories like MISSING. But ultimately, my fiction is exactly that—fiction: a creative mix of fact and imagination.

Actually, TRAPPED is the result of two vivid yet very different dreams I had a couple of years ago. The first involved a child caught in a deadly trap and the second portrayed a fantastical scene of sacrifice, complete with character motivations, that ultimately became the basis for my finale. None of it was real, and yet I “experienced” the dreams.

Josi Kilpack wrote about your book, “Family secrets, magic, and a fascinating new setting. Well written and cleverly done, Trapped is a great example of what makes suspense novels so engaging.” What is your secret for suspenseful novels?

There are quite a few suspense-building techniques, but one I frequently rely on is I use fairytale plot structures because they are wrought with emotion, wonder, and danger, all elements that are important to suspense.

What genre do you consider your novel to be?

Good question. I think of it as mystery/suspense with a hint of fantasy. It's sort of similar to an Indiana Jones kind of story. :)

Now that’s what I call intriguing! What does your family think about your writing?

Some are proud of me. Some amazed. And some wonder why I do it.

Isn’t that the truth! I believe that families are amazed because it’s something new, not the average run of the mill career. Tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Several years ago, I saw the movie “Operation Petticoat.” In it, the pretty boy character played by Tony Curtis said he was a scavenging “idea man” rather than a sailor. As a writer, that’s what I try to do, too: come up with ideas and mix them up until they represent the people and stories in my head.

So you are a "scavenging idea woman." Is that right? Now you've got your new nick name! Thanks for such a pleasant interview, Ronda.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Interview with Author Laura Lyseight

Laura Lyseight has been a source of inspiration and great influence in the lives of many teenagers and children. Her burning ambition to see teens find and reach their full potential has driven her to write books to challenge, empower and enrich their lives beyond their own expectations. A private tutor and coach, and a best-selling author, Laura is mentoring teens to leadership and helping them create their own success stories.

Hello Laura. Please tell us about your books and what you want to accomplish in helping young people.

Thank you very much for this interesting question. My objective and obsession is to create an awareness of the untapped abilities, capabilities and hidden potential that lies dormant in the lives of many teens. This is the passion that has consumed and driven me to prolifically write and help teens break out from their limiting beliefs, both internally and externally.

When writing, do you get your ideas from real life experiences as a teenager?

Definitely, everybody has to pass through this unavoidable teen stage in life. Personally I think this is a vital stage where one can make or break him or herself. Walter Hoving says "Youth is a frightening many problems; so little wisdom to solve them."

In my teen years I actually wanted to be my very best. I was great with my academics, but was not an all round, as I lacked the ability to think outside the box. My parents encouraged us (my sisters and I) to get the best grades, so we could end up with good jobs, but I always used to ask why some people were extremely wealthy, while we were just above average. I wanted to know more, but had no mentor or role model to satisfy my curiosity. I knew people, who were doing extremely well financially, had secrets that the average person did not know about. Yet I had no one to show me the path to achieve great success. If I knew in my teen years what I know now, which I gladly share in my books, my life would have certainly turned out differently. I give thanks to my God in all things though, because the steps of the righteous are ordered by Him. This is one of my main reasons for mentoring teens.

1001 Life Changing Quotes 4 TEENS is a compilation of words of wisdom to inspire and change the lives of teens. These quotes are taken from various scholars. In your book you wrote: “Jesus says profoundly, ‘The words that I speak, they are Spirit and they are life.’ Words live and have incredible power, so watch what words you speak.” Your book is full of wisdom, “designed to motivate, challenge, and help teens in charting their successful path in life.” Please tell us why you want to inspire teens to a better life.

God has already placed in us the ability to rule, reign and take charge over our lives. He wants us to enjoy our lives, influence and affect others around us. He calls us to the abundant life, so that we can be channels of blessings. However, majority of people are clueless of this birthright and as the Bible clearly states "Because of LACK of knowledge my people perish." You need to gain knowledge, you must have a desire to make friends with words of wisdom because, you are called to success.

As a matter of fact, you are the only one who has the power to personally develop yourself. Throughout history all successful men and women have been known to tap into the power of wise words and you should want to do the same. You can do more when you are successful than when the opposite is true.

In your book you wrote: “You are unique and you are one of a kind. You can BE, DO and HAVE whatever you desire. Break loose from every limiting and wrong thought so that your genius can appear. You are created in the image of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. ” I love this quote. What did you mean when you said break loose from every limiting and wrong thought?

I will start by saying that any limiting belief comes about due to the accumulation of occurrences from childhood to whatever stage we find ourselves. Sadly enough both young and old have these limiting beliefs, but the good news is that we can all break loose from them.

I coach teens who normally come to their first meeting with all kinds of wrong thoughts and excuses on why they are not performing at their best. They have every imaginable excuse going on in their minds- they come from a broken home, they do not deserve it, they are not good enough, they are not clever, their skin color, they are not cool or pretty enough, and the list could go know what I am trying to say.

Truth is, life throws challenges at all, but you do not have to make a bed and sleep where you met the challenge, instead you make the best out of every misfortune. In my book TEENS BEAT FUTURE ECONOMIC CRISIS, I talk about a girl who had no friends in school because these group of girls in her class said she was not cool enough, as she listened to country music. She went home from school almost everyday feeling lonely and sad, but when she got home she would write her own lyrics to country music. She got signed up and the same girls who said she was not cool, came to her show, wearing her T-shirts. She admits those girls did her more good than harm, even though at that time it was painful, not having friends.

This is exactly what I am talking about when I say break loose from every limiting belief. You are the captain of your own ship, God gave you that power, do not let any circumstance or anybody sink your ship. There is a winner on the inside of you. His name is Jesus. You are one of a kind, because you are created in God's image.

Wonderful words of wisdom! What does your family think about your lectures and writing?

I thank God, because He never ceases to surprise me with the talents and gifts he has put on the inside of me. I just love teaching and mentoring, but I did not even know I could write as well. Out of my obsession to share more of my experiences and thoughts with teens as well as children I was led to write these books. I have two other books in the pipeline.

My husband reads my books and is fascinated by my style of writing, my mother and sisters keep on telling everybody about my books. My dad who passed away two years ago, would have been over the moon to see my achievements, he instilled such discipline and the "CAN DO" spirit in me.

You have a strong belief in God, Laura, and a wonderful outlook on life. Do you have any last words for our teens?

You are my successful teen, stand tall, smile, look at yourself in the mirror, do you see your uniqueness? You are a STAR, you cannot be hidden… shine, shine so bright.

Thank you so much, Linda, for giving me the opportunity to share on your site. You are a blessing.

Thank you, Laura. You are very sweet. You are a blessing to the youth. I hope that you will be able to help many young people. To learn more about her books, visit