Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Days are Like That

Yesterday was an interesting day in an odd sort of way.  I had shots in both knees and hurried out to do some Christmas shopping before the anesthesia (local) wore off.  (When it wears off I always get a king size headache similar to a migraine.) I got some great deals, but also had a flat tire on my new car.  The dealership very graciously agreed to replace the tire even though the problem was a big long screw in the sidewall, not a tire defect.  I came home to find no internet service and I'm trying to finish up the edit on Heirs of Southbridge.  Fortunately my Meridian column for this week had been turned in early; unfortunately my Christmas book column for next week may be post-poned a week and I'll run another review next week.

Also the November Wish List contest ends tomorrow.  Comments posted on any of the blogs or reviews I posted this month count as entries, as do each follower.  Multiple comments each count. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Day to Give Thanks

As I was shopping for a few last minute items I forgot when I did my Thanksgiving shopping, the yams I selected shot through the bottom of the plastic bag and scattered all over the floor. As I bent to begin picking them up, a boy tore off a plastic bag and began gathering them up for me. When he finished, he set them in my cart, I thanked  him profusely, and he hurried off to join his mother.  The boy was probably somewhere around ten or twelve and I'd never seen him before. He had no way of knowing how much my knees hurt or that I'll soon be having surgery on them. I'm not only grateful for his act of kindness, but I'm thankful there are young people in this world who are growing up with kind hearts, the kind of future leaders my generation can safely trust with the responsibilities they will face as tomorrow's decision makers.

I've found myself thinking lately about Mrs. King, my third grade teacher who taught me something of the history of Thanksgiving. With big paper buckles on our shoes and pilgrim hats and bonnets on our heads or a feathered headband and beads, we sat down to a Thanksgiving feast of apples, raisins, and some kind of bread similar to fry bread.  Even now I remember the song she taught us to sing before we began our feast.

            Bless this house, O Lord we pray.
            Keep it safe by night and day.
            Bless these walls, so firm and stout,
            Keeping want and hunger out.

I know, the song wouldn't be acceptable in today's classrooms, but I'm glad it was in mine.

I've talked all month, as have many of you, about those things, large and small, for which we are thankful.  Today I'll only add my gratitude for good food, family to enjoy it with me, and a warm home to shelter us from the cold.  May your day be as filled with warmth, good food, and love as mine.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


My historical novel now has a title, The Heirs of Southbridge, and a tentative release date of March 2012. I started my part of the editing process today and so far it's going really well.  It's always a little odd to go back to a story written almost a year ago.  There are a number of things I didn't see then, but fortunately my editor did.  There are a lot of things I did right and I'm enjoyng the story in a way I couldn't when it was so fresh in my mind.  As many of you know this is the story that would have been Diamond if the Bracelet series had gone to the six books originally intended.  I like it as a stand alone and hope you, the readers will too.  I'll post a picture of the cover as soon as it is available.

On another note I recently finished posting an earlier book of mine on Kindle.  Journey Home is the book that follows Run Away Home in my three book Home trilogy.  I had a hard time finding a new cover, but thanks to my cousin Ruby, who lives in Alaska where much of this story takes place, my Kindle edition has a real Alaska landscape cover. Just this evening I got the message that the book is now live and available for Kindle readers.

Both of these items are additions to my gratitude list for this month.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


One week from today is Thanksgiving Day.  One day is not enough for turning our thoughts toward the things that are right in our lives.  Most of us can list a dozen or more grievences, disappointments, and failed dreams, but for this week I suggest we consider those things that are right and good in our lives.

I'll begin by expressing gratitude for this country I call home.  It is a land of beauty, mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, vast fields, flowers, snowy mountain slopes, and rugged deserts. It's a land filled with rich natural resources.  It's a land that respects the past, but zooms ahead to embrace newness and innovation.
I love the rich mixture of ideas, beliefs, cultures, and faiths.

My extended family is large and diverse.  We represent an array of races and beliefs, but at the core we love and respect each other. We enjoy each other.

My husband, children and each of their small families rank right at the top of my gratitude list. How sad I would be if I had missed out on being a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  I even like being a mother-in-law since I have four of the greatest sons-inlaw on earth and a lovely daughter-in-law who brings love and kindness wherever she goes.

I'm thankful for my house.  I watch House Hunters on TV sometimes and laugh at the things some people think are wonderful and scratch my head over some things some people find a drawback.

I'm thankful that I was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became a convert as I discovered its truths for myself.  I'm thankful for all the many opportunities I've been given to serve and give through the Church.

And I'm even thankful for all the mundane small things that go into making my life pleasant; things like my new car, telephones, computers, chocolate, a microwave oven, books (and the education that enabled me to read and develop a talent to write), modern plumbing, electricity, and the list could be quite endless.

And lest I forget to add them elsewhere, let me say I'm thankful for all of the teachers, editors, productin staff, and readers who have made me able to make the claim, "I'm the published author of more than twenty books!"

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Salute to Heroes

Among the heroes in my life are the men and one woman who served in the military who have made a personal impact on my life.  There's my son-in-law Rich, my brothers Jerry, Ron, and Vic, my Uncle Russell and his son, Don, my great niece's father Bob, my friend Kerry Blair's son, Matt, and Major Rushton (Pat), a delightful friend I used to visit teach.  Jerry and Uncle Russ are no longer with us, but I wish all of the rest of them, along with the many other men and women who have served the cause of freedom both in America and foreign countries, a day of peace and the gratitude of grateful nations.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For the Birds

Sitting at the table in the breakfast nook, I like to watch the birds that visit our birdfeeder.  The smaller birds; the sparrows, the finches, the chickadees, and such flit in troupes from the trees to the feeder, to the fence, to the bushes, and back again.  Entertaining and fun, they're constantly on the move and squander their energy on following the crowd. The doves stick to the business of eating as they plant themselves under the feeder and scoop up all the seeds the busy smaller birds knock off the narrow edge.  They grow fat and complacent feeding off easy pickings. A number of other birds; magpies, crows, woodpeckers, robins, hummingbirds, those that don't congregate in flocks or depend on the feeder make brief appearances, eat quickly while keeping a wary eye out for danger, search out a few worms or bugs in the garden, then hurry on their way.  Another bird that is a regular visitor to our backyard is a hawk. When the hawk  appears  almost all of the birds make a mad dash for safety.  Unfortunately a few burrow deep into the pine limbs as though hoping to remain invisible to the predator; they usually wind up being the hawk's lunch.

Some writers are like those sparrows.  They're so busy flitting about between conferences, web sites, Facebook, and other places where writers congregate, they get little writing done, almost no original research, and expend all of their energy running about, hanging out, and wishing.  If they actually reach the point where they submit their work to a publisher or agent it suffers from a lack of attention to detail, more dreaming than actual work, or a myriad of other shortcomings.  A few cower in a corner, never getting brave enough to actually submit a manuscript or search for an agent. Their talent dies from a lack of courage. 

Some writers are like the fat doves, content to live in their make believe world and do little to actually get  published.  They're content with whatever falls their way.  They may get published, but they never reach the heights they might if they worked harder and had more motivation.

Some writers are more like the robins and woodpeckers who show up for a few communal sessions, work hard, then go on to the next opportunity. They scope out the market, draw their material from multiple sources, and take personal responsibility for their success or failure. Like the hummingbirds, some work extra hard, and are a blur of color and industry.

Now where does the hawk fit into this picture?  There are a number of parallels I might draw here.  There are a few writers who like to puff out their chests and let everyone know they're bigger and better than anyone else.  They thrive on cutting other writers down.  Occasionally the hawk might be the person who is too big for the feeder, too proud to pick up what falls on the ground, but takes savage delight in writing nasty critiques or reviews to kill the work and confidence of others who are a little vulnerable or insecure.  (I've yet to meet the published writer who isn't still a little vulnerable and insecure.) And sometimes the hawk is the talented individual whose talent and hard work makes it possible to soar above the ordinary.

In the ten years I've been writing reviews for Meridian, I've read over a thousand books, met scores of writers, and watched writing careers that have soared to great heights and lost sight of writers whose careers have dropped out of sight. I've seen great talent squandered through sheer laziness and I've seen writers who succeeded in getting published through hard work and persistence in spite of limited natural talent. I've cheered when a deserving author got a big contract and I've cried when a talented author received rejection after rejection.  I've been uplifted; I've been bored, I've been informed, I've endured, and I've been entertained in the most delightful ways.  To all of you, thank you.  You've made this past ten years memorable for me.  And I hope you don't mind, if while I stare out my window, I name a few birds in your honor.
Just a reminder that the November Wish List contest is underway.  Each comment counts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


We got a full blown winter storm overnight.  My husband actually had to get out the snow blower and use a long pole to knock snow off of the trees that still have leaves; they were in danger of breaking from the heavy load of snow.  I'm grateful for him.  I'm thankful, too, today that I went shopping yesterday instead of leaving it for today. Actually my husband took me shopping for a couple of new outfits for my birthday, then out to lunch.  I also did some Christmas shopping.  That's another thing I'm thankful for, grandchildren to give me an excuse to shop for cute kid things.  I dislike most shopping, but I have to admit it's fun to shop for things for a little girl who will be ten months old at Christmas.

Here are a few pictures taken this morning before the snow was knocked down from the trees and the bird feeder cleared.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Contest to First Taste of Winter

Winners for October's Wish List contest are Steph (from Wyoming) and Becky (I don't know where she hails from).  Congratulations!  Please send me your wish list of five or more LDS novels you would like to have and I'll send one from your list to each of you.  Send to bhansen22 at msn dot com and put Wish List in the subject line.  I'll also need your mailing address.

The new contest begins today and since it's November, it's time to talk about gratitude.  I'll admit I wasn't too grateful this morning when I looked out to see snow falling, but overall I am grateful for the snow.  It means water for next summer and it means skiiers coming to Utah's slopes.  I don't ski, but I'm well aware of how much the ski industry helps my state's economy.

At the top of my gratitude list is my family.  I have a pretty cool one.  We're a diverse bunch, but we love and support each other a lot.  I'm thankful for my testimony of the Gospel, my freedom, my house, my car, my income, my writing talent, good food, indoor plumbing, access to good medical care, and all those things that make my life comfortable and safe.  And yes, I feel gratitude for even some of the small, simple things like chocolate, my computer, telephones, and a husband who likes to cook.  The past few days we've spent time with my siblings and their spouses (we've lost four of our number in recent years and gained two new ones).  There's something satisfying about spending time with the people who have made this journey with me since my earliest memories and been my best friends through all the many moves we made while growing up.  There's something special about inlaws who are as dear to me as my own siblings, some of which share more than fifty years of memories.  How could I not love the two sisters-in-law who turned my brother's sadness into continued years of happiness?

Our society sees more of complaints and anger than gratitude these days.  All this month I'm going to think of at least one thing each day I'm grateful for.  Care to join me?

And here's a glimpse of this winter's first snowfall: