Monday, March 8, 2010

Guest Blogger Lauralee Bliss: Adventure (plus) Writing (equals) Lessons Learned

Hi, I’m Lauralee Bliss, and I’m a lover of adventure. Sounds like the introduction for some group therapy session, huh? It reminds me of a time back in 2007 when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail. The kindly mayor of a small town in New York State asked if I needed psychiatric help after I informed him that my son and I were hiking the entire route from Georgia to Maine (which we completed in ’07). It was all in jest, of course. :) Adventure is simply a part of me—from traveling, to hiking, to adventures on the homefront caring for family members or dealing with the trials that pop my way. And that adventurous side of things frequently sneaks into the pages of my novels.

So it is with my brand new series from Heartsong Presents, set in the beautiful state of Utah. To research this series of books, my husband and I settled on the ultimate adventure—flying to Salt Lake City with our camping equipment packed into duffel bags, renting a car, and touring the state. Each of the books covers a famous aspect of Utah. Book One, Love’s Winding Path, found us in Moab with rafting on the Colorado and a tour of Arches National Park. Book Two, Heart of Mine, is set in one Utah’s larger towns, Cedar City, gateway to canyon country and the most famous canyon of them all, Bryce Canyon National Park. And Book Three, Wasatch Love, takes place in the largest city in the state, Salt Lake City, flanked by the beautiful yet rugged Wasatch Range. And so our Utah tour covered all these unique locations. And with that tour, I gained an appreciation of the scenic beauty of the state along with the people, towns, and the culture that prevails.

Day One of our Utah adventure found us roaming the streets of Cedar City. What a wonderful touristy town that boasts a famous Shakespearean festival every year and an annual summer Jamboree with old model cars on display, of which both events are depicted in the second book of the series, Heart of Mine. Our journey into canyon country led us to Cedar Breaks National Monument and finally Bryce Canyon where the reader will enjoy glimpses of both as experienced by the hero and heroine.

Day Two of our travels brought us to the doorstep of Moab, Utah and the principle setting of Book One, Love’s Winding Path. For this research, my husband and I booked a half day rafting trip on the Colorado. Armed with a list of questions I needed answered, my husband quizzed our guide while we rode the bus to the put-in area for the rafting companies. I was able to discover all that the river guides did on our trip down the Colorado. I learned the names of rock formations such as Fisher Towers and the Gummy Bear, paddled over rapids, and even played games on the beach and on the raft. The day ended with a trip into Arches National Park and views of the Window Arches and Delicate Arch—both incredible illustrations of God’ s creative touch, and both described in Book One (though words do it little justice).

At the very end of our trip, we returned once more to Utah and Salt Lake City for a drive into the world of the Wasatch Mountain range. Cold and foggy, the particular day lent a unique visual backdrop for the heroine’s wanderings in Book Three, Wasatch Love, where she attempts to discover herself. We drove by green meadows and snow capped mountains, to a silent ski resort and a few hiking trails meandering into a wilderness setting—all a perfect representation of what we face in the crossroads of our lives.

Our journey did not just include Utah but some famous parks on the West Coast such as Lassen Peak, Crater Lake, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Olympic, to name a few. Oh, how I would love to write about each of them! I feel blessed to be able to bring to the readers at least a tiny taste of the beauty that exists in this great nation of ours. Yes, we hear so much doom and gloom in the news. But one thing I have discovered on this trek—that our nation, the United States, is worth fighting for. Worth preserving. Worth writing about. And worth discovering. I hope you will consider going on your own adventure soon and seeing for yourself the great wonders that exist right here in our beautiful land.

For insight into the personal inspiration behind the prodigal son theme of Love’s Winding Path, please check out my guest blog post this week on the Heartsong Connection blog,

You can learn more about my books at


Vickie McDonough said...

Don't you just love Utah, Lauralee? I think it's one of America's best kept secrets. My husband and I were there last year. I'd love to go there again.

I'll have to read your books. It will be fun to read about places I've visited.

Rhonda Gibson said...

Utah is a beautiful state with lots to do and places to see. I'm an adventure too in the aspect that I enjoy hiking and seeing new places. I'm looking forward to reading this series.

Mary Connealy said...

I stared at those arches for a long, long time trying to make them make sense. All I could see was someone GLARING at me.

A stone creature.

I think there was a Star Trek episode like that.

sanjeet said...

It will be fun to read about places I've visited.
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