Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pictures to Accompany Blog

I haven't quite figured out how to post pictures with blogs written on Word Office and opened on Blogger, so here are the pictures that should accompany the following blog.

Ignore the dates on the pictures. I obviously need to reset the date stamp on my camera. They were all taken yesterday, not ten years ago!

A Change of Season

As many of you already know, my sister passed away Saturday morning. Her greatest desires through her long ordeal were to go home and to see her grandchildren. Her son and his fourteen year-old twin sons visited her several times while in the hospital in Salt Lake. Her daughter's two children, both adults, came too, but what was hard was not to be able to see her granddaughter's twin girls (six) and their little brother. The small children weren't allowed in the cancer unit. And how she longed to see her grandson's much anticipated baby due in November. The day before she died, when death was inevitable, her husband and son made arrangements to transfer her to a hospital nearer their home and all of the grandchildren were able to visit her and say good-bye.

When the medical transport left Salt Lake Friday morning I cried, but a little song our father taught us when we were children came to mind. It went "one little, two little, three little Indians, four little . . ." Because there were ten of us in our family we changed the words to "one little, two little, three little Smiths, four little . . ." and on up to ten, then we counted backward "ten little, nine little, eight little Smiths, seven little . . ." The thought came to me that we're down to six now, but on the other side, they're up to four.

Feeling lost and sad yesterday, I found it difficult to settle into any of the many tasks I've ignored over the long months of my sister's illness. My son-in-law, Steve, decided I needed to get out, get away for a little while. He and my daughter with their three children came to collect my husband and me for a drive along the Alpine Loop. Seated next to my ten-year-old granddaughter, I took pleasure in her loving smiles and quick mind and laughed at our seven-year-old's efforts to eat all of the snacks and keep his little brother from getting too wild. It was a beautiful day, but I couldn't help thinking of how much my sister loved the mountains and changing of the seasons. It was a refreshing trip and brought me a sense of peace, reminding me that my little sister is no longer suffering, but is Home with our older brother and our parents. We finished the day with dinner in Heber and I found something especially dear about sitting next to my rambunctious, outgoing four-year-old grandson, my youngest, who is never still for a moment. Again I felt regret that my sister won't be able to interact with her grandchildren and take pleasure in a simple outing with them again and I was deeply reminded of how dear my grandchildren are to me.

Seeing the trees change with the end of one season and the beginning of another, I couldn't help thinking that the death of a loved one is also a change of season. Those of us who remain behind will see our lives change because of her absence. The change of season for her, I believe, is as dramatic and beautiful as the foliage changing from the green beauty of summer, to the vibrancy and colors of Autumn.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm inviting you to go to Meridian Magazine and read my column there. Instead of my usual review of an LDS novel I've talked about the condition of today's LDS Fiction and where I think LDS fiction is headed in the future. I talked to quite a few people, mostly authors and editors, before writing this column. As a writer and a reviewer I can't help wondering where readers (and others) see LDS fiction in today's market place, in your homes, and in your lives. What do you think is good about LDS fiction? What would make it better? and Where do you think LDS fiction will be two years or five years down the road? Please respond on Meridian's comment trail, or here. (By the way, everyone who responds with thoughtful comments at either of these locations, will be entered in the ongoing Wish List contest on my blog.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Attitude and Preparation

This past week hasn't been one of my better weeks. I told everyone to look under Entertainment for my reviews on Meridian when I should have said look under Books. I've spent extra time at the hospital with my sister this week so my brother-in-law could go home for his own Dr.'s appointment, thus I didn't get a blog posted on the V-formation or on my blog. I was expecting my column on Meridian to be posted on Thursday; it wasn't. It has a new posting date Monday, Sept. 20, so look for it then. (This column is about the current state of LDS Fiction and where I think it's going in the next few years and I would really appreciate comments here or on Meridian from readers, writers, and anyone else with a stake in the future of LDS fiction.) I have tendonitis in one knee and it's been acting up all week; do you suppose stress is a factor in that? I've read five books in the past few weeks. Three were awful, actually one was excellent for the first half then it fell apart. The other two books, both by consistently excellent authors, were good and even may have been better than I rated them, but with so many distractions I had to read in fast, short time bursts that made concentrating difficult.

Anyway enough of my Perils of Pauline whining. I spent a little more than an hour this morning clearing away weeds and overgrown foliage in my flower beds. It barely made a dent in what needs to be done, but as I worked I found myself planning where to plant new bulbs for next spring, debating whether a plant that didn't do well in its present spot might do better if I moved it to another location, and feeling good about my accomplishments because it will make next Spring's garden so much prettier. Spring is a long time away, but preparing now makes a tremendous difference in both the workload and the pleasure in my garden when it arrives.

It occurred to me that the editorial process of a book is much like fall garden work. Clearing out repetitions, getting rid of spelling and grammar errors, moving a section from one chapter to another where it fits better, results in a far better book on that magical day when it is finally released. I don't have a release date yet for my next book, though it has been accepted by my publisher, but there are things I and other writers and editors find make the editing process flow more smoothly and the satisfaction with the finished product that much greater. One of these is to keep a file of notes during the writing process, a chapter by chapter outline (some writers outline before, some after), and a character list with detailed descriptions. The editing process can begin many months, sometimes a year or more, after the manuscript is finished, so keeping these items can save precious time and headaches when the time does come to edit since it makes jumping back into that story easier.

Okay, I'm determined next week is going to be better, my Spring garden will be beautiful and colorful, and I won't moan and groan about my next editing process. Attitude and preparation! I'll keep reminding myself of those two things.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My column that was supposed to run on Meridian this morning didn't, so if you comment on any of the last four reviews I posted there, I'll count your comment as a contest entry. Comment here or there. My reviews are listed under the heading Entertainment - Book Reviews

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One contest ends another begins

Violettes is the winner of a Wish List Book. Please send me your wish list, five or more books from your wish list. Please don't include really recent books that are probably going to be Whitney nominees. I'll make some of them available next April after the awards have been decided. Along with the list, please include your mailing address. Send the information to bhansen22 at msn dot com. Include "wish list" in the subject line. And congratulations!

The next contest starts tomorrow. Please read my column on Meridian and respond either here or in the comment trail on Meridian.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catch Up!

Last Wednesday a car hit my internet service provider's equipment and demolished it. Five days without internet service was a royal pain, therefore I'm afraid I became a royal pain for Quest. I have a column to submit! I work from home! I want to talk to a real person! Their update line, reached after a dozen, automated questions was still just a recording that simply told me I didn't have service at the present time, but their technicians were working on the problem. Arrgh! Anyway I finally have internet back and tons of catching up to do.

To add to the last few days' frustration, my sister has developed an infection in her lungs and is back in the hospital. She's so tired and depressed she just wants to quit fighting, her husband is a powder keg ready to explode He's already thrown a few near-tantrums. Fatigue and worry will do that to a person.

I'm embarassed for my fellow journalists who turned the crack-pot ravings of one not-too-bright self-proclaimed preacher into an international incident. It's disappointing to see the world press feeding Iran's thirst for publicity as they drag out the release of a US woman who shouldn't have been anywhere near Iran in the first place and shouldn't have been arrested over such a silly non-issue either. I think I might resort to throwing something at Peter Caroon if I hear his "cheap cheap" commercial one more time. I'm really tired of the lies and innuendos candidates are already using in their campaigns and even more disgusted with media and supporters who jump on small matters to turn them into major stumbling blocks.

If I sound cranky today, I truly apologize because I'm a strong believer in looking for silver linings. And there are good things happening around me too. My publisher accepted my Murder Comes Calling manuscript. (The title is subject to change) I attended a fun and yummy Stake picnic Saturday and last night was the Oquirrh Temple Devotional held at the tabernacle in Salt Lake. Both were wonderful feasts, one for the tummy and one for the soul.

Meridian's comment feature attached to my columns is now working. I'm looking forward to hearing your comments on my various reviews. Should I add comments any of my blog readers make to my contest? You'd have to comment here too, so I'd know if you read both my Meridian review column and this blog. By the way the current contest ends in two days.

I'm not sure whether by strict definition this is a blog or just some random rambling. After an absence from internet contact for five days, let's just say it's my way of playing catch up.